Monday, December 24, 2012

What’s the best time to workout?

While convenience ultimately prevails and you may be better off working out whenever your schedule allows, here are some things to consider.

The average person is about 25% hypoglycemic upon awakening. This could be good or bad.  Good because the resultant insulin levels are low from a hypoglycemic state and you are more lipolytic naturally (favorable to burning fat) than any other time of day.  Bad, because your core body temperature, your energy level (and quite possibly motivation) is low and your joints are stiff (especially if you are over 40).

Monday, December 10, 2012

5 Ideas for Stressful Living

So, you want your life to be stressful?

It’s amazing how many people consistently apply habits and actions in their daily lives that guarantee stressful results. They repeat the same things over and over again, expecting different results, which is, if I recall correctly, the textbook definition of insanity. After hitting the same wall every day for 20 years, people think “okay, if I just really hammer it this time then maybe it suddenly won’t be there.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Is there anything special I should eat after my workout?

In addition to catecholamine increase, exercise stimulates the production of cortisol to boost the breakdown of fuels within the body. These high levels of cortisol not only decompose stored fuels, but also begin muscle breakdown once the stores of glycogen get low. A post workout meal should therefore consist of high Glycemic (quick digesting) carbohydrates, as they not only promote higher glycogen storage, but the insulin released counteracts the catabolic activity of cortisol that follows. This is possibly one of the few times when high Glycemic carbs are superior to low Glycemic carbs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Resistance Training & Hypertension

Although it’s true that blood pressure increases “during” Resistance training, it' noteworthy that blood pressure tends to decrease at rest in the long-term with an appropriate resistance training program.

This long-term adaptation occurs due to a reduction of chronically elevated plasma catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), causing a reduced basal tone of the sympathetic nervous system. This leads to reduced arteriolar tone and decreased total peripheral resistance by a resetting of the peripheral baroreceptors threshold.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you should observe the following safety precautions:
  • Use endurance training, such as walking, jogging, etc. as your primary exercise mode
  • Use resistance training as a supplement to endurance training, not as the primary exercise
  • Keep the resistance low and the repetitions high
  • Avoid exercises with an isometric component
  • Avoid holding your breath and straining during exercise (Valsalva maneuver)
  • Report any changes in medications and/or any abnormal signs or symptoms before, during, or immediately following exercise
  • Move slowly when transitioning from the floor to standing, since you may be more susceptible to a sudden drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) if taking antihypertensive medication
  • If you have severe hypertension you need to be carefully monitored during exercise initially, and possibly long-term
The overall exercise training recommendations for mild to moderately hypertensive individuals are basically the same as for apparently healthy individuals.

Frequency: Exercise at least four times per week. Daily exercise may be more appropriate for you if your functional capacity is low.

Duration: A longer and more gradual warm-up and cool-down period (>5 min) is recommended. Total exercise duration should be gradually increased, possibly to as high as 30 to 60 min per session, depending on your medical history.

Intensity: Low-intensity dynamic exercise vs. high-intensity, high-impact exercise is recommended. The exercise intensity level should be near the lower end of the heart rate range (40 to 65%).

While it is true that people with "uncontrolled" hypertension should not perform resistance training exercise, and that certain resistance training actions can elevate blood pressure beyond recommended levels (e.g., breath holding, isometric holding, maximum weightload), it's also clear that sensible resistance training has never been shown to adversely affect resting or exercise blood pressure. In fact, there is plenty of evidence and research in this area over the past 20 years that properly performed resistance training is both safe during exercise execution and beneficial for resting blood pressure. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Be Unreasonable

We live in a time when the only prediction that holds true is that no prediction will hold true.
Is this a paradox? Not if you have innovative thinking. This knowledge could give you an inherent advantage if you aren’t afraid of change and transformation. If you realize that change is inevitable.

For the ordinary, it amounts to anticipating change and planning a course of action to avoid foreseeable disaster, steering clear of genetic traps, intellectual barricades and social stereotypes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Power Of Attitude

Attitude is everything.  It’s how we view the world.  Our attitude affects how we act and feel in everyday life. Optimistic people have a positive expectancy that helps to achieve the goal at hand.  It’s with this can-do attitude that we take action to accomplish our goals.  Pessimistic people have a very passive attitude.  Focusing on what they can’t do.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I have Type 2 Diabetes, can I still exercise?

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, most likely you have a high blood glucose level, and either a low, normal, or high insulin level at the same time. High blood glucose levels can either cause insulin resistance that amplifies insulin production, or in some cases, overwork the beta cells that produce insulin resulting in decreased insulin production.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dealing with Plateaus

Frustrated because you’ve been exercising regularly and have a controlled diet, but can't seem to lose any weight. Plateaus can make you feel that way - particularly when it feels like you're doing all the right things.

Sixty to seventy percent of your calories are used just for the "bare basics" of life when your body is at rest: breathing, keeping your heart pumping, and regulating body temperature. Another 10 percent go for digestion and processing the foods you eat.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

So you want to be happy?

Or maybe just “happier”! 

Maybe you want to stop smoking, exercise more, lose weight, or eat healthier. I know I’d like to improve in some areas of my life, like exercise more regularly and eat healthier.

Statistically speaking, every year, 30 percent of the people in The United States make a single resolution, the other 70 percent make three or more. Increasing exercise is the most common, made by 37 percent. Decreasing the consumption of unhealthy food is at 13 percent and quitting tobacco is at 7 percent.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grassfed Beef - healthier than grainfed beef?

Beef from cows that feed on grass instead of grain in feedlots is healthier because it contains twice as much beta-carotene, has more vitamin E, and is lower in calories and saturated fat. Grass-fed animals are also known to be the richest source of one of the most potent cancer fighters - Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA - a "good fat."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Increments & Decrements


Progress is not made in leaps. It is the accrual of many small increments. If you decide not to workout today it may seem like it doesn’t matter but that small piece and other such missing pieces may never let you make any significant growth.


It is also true that you don’t spring backwards in leaps either. Retreats too are the accumulation of many decrements. If you decide to stop at the doughnut shop on the way home for just a doughnut, it may seem harmless at the time but that event and other such incidents add up and keep you from making improvement too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tips to Prevent Neck Pain

The most common causes of neck pain are the result of bad habits or poor ergonomics. Here are just a few of the most common reasons. Take a look at them and make an effort to correct them. Your neck will thank you!

Center your monitor. People who sit at a computer with the monitor even slightly off to the side are ultimately doomed. This results in the head turned to one side. If this is a temporary position

Monday, October 1, 2012

Break Plateaus with Interval Training

Interval Training can take your conditioning to the next level or break a stubborn plateau.  Using intense aerobic activity alternated with periods of recovery allows a longer “duration” of training time at your own peak performance level.

When you train to your maximum output (pushing the muscle’s pain limit) several changes occur that allow you to push even further into your anaerobic zone the next time. More capillaries develop in the muscles. Your heart adapts to pump more blood for any specific time interval.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Muscle Gain at 40

The two primary hormones responsible for muscle gain are Testosterone and Growth Hormone. 

Healthy males and females reach peak testosterone and growth hormone levels at age 20-25, steadily decrease to 50% by age 40 and level off to 25% of peak levels by age 50. Obviously, higher levels of these hormones with the correct resistance training and nutritional protocol significantly improve your chances of gaining muscle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Herniated Disc Management

Surgery isn't usually considered unless you develop severe pain or nerve damage that gets steadily worse. 

Prior to any surgery, there are some basic actions you could perform right away that will help reduce pain, manage symptoms, and provide you with some comfort.
You should avoid sitting for long periods of time, consider taking breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, and pay close attention to your posture. We suggest that while sitting you should:
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Adjust your seat so your knees and hips are at 90 degrees, and
  • Hold your head directly above your pelvis

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rotator Cuff Injury

Your rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder. These muscles and tendons connect your upper arm bone (humerus) with your shoulder blade. They also help hold the ball of your upper arm bone firmly in your shoulder socket.

Rotator cuff injuries are fairly common. Causes include poor posture, falling, lifting and repetitive overhead arm activities such as: throwing a baseball,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I’m trying to lose fat, when can I eat before I workout?

If you are not insulin resistant (Normal) and trying to lose body fat, you should not eat for about an hour before exercising, allowing for even the slightest insulin elevation to plateau and you can expect great results (see graph above).

On the other hand, if you are insulin resistant (Obese or Type 2 Diabetic), you need to extend the period between a meal and your exercise session to 1-3 hours depending on the severity of your condition. But be careful, because although too short a gap can prevent you from utilizing fat as your primary fuel source, too long a gap poses a risk of hypoglycemia and low energy which could stop you from continuing and confound your workout plan.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hydration formula simplified

The best hydration drink is one that does not shut off the osmotic drive (the drive to drink) and that minimizes urine output. Clinical trials on cyclists have shown that we’ll drink more if:
  • The drink tastes good
  • Doesn’t upset the stomach (isn’t too concentrated)
  • Replenishes lost sodium, and
  • Provides energy to muscles in the form of carbohydrates (about 6 to 8 percent solution is optimal)
To find the concentration of a drink, take the number of carb grams

Monday, July 25, 2011

I just started weight training, what kind of results can I expect?

As a beginner you will most likely see improvements in your motor skills in the shape of better exercise form within the first two weeks. As you continue to exercise consistently through the next six weeks, you will make considerable strength gains due to various changes in motor unit recruitment, known as neural adaptation.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What can a personal trainer do for me that I can’t do myself?

The cartoon above is humorous but in all reality a good personal trainer is an educator who provides well-informed answers to your fitness questions. A skillful trainer chooses safe and effective exercises for you based on your age, gender, level of conditioning, health, motor skills and goals so that your training sessions are not only productive because the exercises are suitable for you but the intensity and progression are appropriate too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Water, Electrolytes, Carbs & Cramps

Athletes need to consume fluids before, during and after exercise because dehydration of more than 2% body weight can cause exertional heat illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Approximately 73 percent of our lean body mass is water. Without food, the body can maintain life for weeks; without water, only days. But while the importance of water cannot be overstated, the number one protection against the harmful effects of dehydration and cramping is consumption of the right combination of fluids with electrolytes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I exercise a lot and hydration is very confusing, can you help me?

This is a broad subject and by no means is this answer the most comprehensive. For the sake of simplicity, lets look at hydration in context to four different situations:
  1. Basic hydration that is life-sustaining
  2. Pre-exercise hydration
  3. Exercise hydration
  4. Post-exercise hydration
Basic hydration is simple and involves maintaining your water balance throughout the day.  Pure water is perfect for this and you ordinarily need a 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.  That's ten 8-ounce glasses a day if you weigh 160 pounds.  For every 25 pounds more, increase it by one 8-ounce glass.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is my "BMI" reliable or should I get my "Percent Body Fat" checked?

Let me start by saying that at 5'9" and 185 lbs, I am "Overweight" bordering on "Obese" according to the BMI (Body Mass Index) Index and yet I am around 13% body fat which is "athletic" or "Fit" on the American Council on Exercise Percent Bodyfat Index. Really? Why?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life after Physical Therapy

We know that physical therapy can be a long, hard road and it takes willpower to keep at it. Staying consistent with your appointments can be hard at times and you might feel like celebrating when it’s all over; but what comes after you’re done with your therapy?

Your therapist will leave you with words of advice at the time of your discharge. The most important thing you’ll be told is that if you ever have a relapse you should remember the exercises you are doing during treatment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Importance of a Warm-up

Have you ever wondered about the real physiological benefits of a warm-up and what exactly happens when you go through it?

Well, as you start to exercise your body needs to make a number of quick adjustments. The three most profound changes that occur during a warm-up include an increase in heart rate, neural activity, and temperature.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you know when to use ice and when to use heat on an injury?

Most people know to apply ice to an acute injury but aren't so sure when to use heat. There are two basic types of injuries: acute and chronic.

Acute Injuries are sudden, sharp, traumatic injuries that occur immediately (or within hours) and cause pain (possibly severe pain). Most often acute injuries result from some sort of impact or trauma such as a fall, sprain, or collision and it's pretty obvious what caused the injury. 

Acute injuries also cause common signs and symptoms of injury such as

Friday, June 10, 2011

Prevent Back Pain

Four out of five adults will experience significant low back pain sometime during their life. Work-related back injuries are the nation's number one occupational hazard, but you could suffer back pain from activities at home and at play, too.

Are you at risk?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Survival of the Most Responsive

Charles Darwin is often misquoted as saying evolution is the survival of the fittest.  Not quite true.  He actually said ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’  In other words, the creatures most suited to the current environment will be advantaged and reproduce.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How soon after my exercise session should I eat?

Exercise causes an increase in catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), allowing you to function at a higher level of output. In addition to physiologic stimulation, catecholamines and other hormones allow you to start using stored fuels like glycogen and fats at a faster rate.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Understand & Avoid Muscle Cramps

You’ve probably experienced a muscle cramp sometime, and it probably happened while you were exercising. Or it may even have occurred while sitting, walking, or just sleeping. You felt a sudden contraction of one or more muscles that resulted in intense pain and an inability to use the affected muscles.

Although cramps typically happen from overuse and dehydration during activity in warm weather, injury and muscle strain, or staying in the same position can also cause them.