Thank You for coming to my Blog page!

I hope that you will be able to use the information provided to make educated decisions about your health and fitness goals. All questions are welcome, so please ask! Also feel free to go to my website and learn more about my company.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Take Our Challenge for a Real Life Experience of Fitness & Healthy Eating

It gets more an more difficult to stay on track with exercise and nutrition when you find thousands of publications on the latest diets, the latest news on fitness and the bulldozer marketing of the supplement and meal replacement industry. Believe me, I have fallen victim to this many times in the past and it took years to start stripping away at facts versus marketing. 
When I started to study Chinese Medicine I took a stealthy approach of throwing the pharmaceutical gorilla off my back. It was a bit easy to do this because I didn't ever buy into the idea that we need to fill our bellies with man made medicine to make me feel better when I was feeling sick or less enthusiastic than normal. 
The hardest battle I faced was getting away from supplements and meal replacements because they were so convenient. This is the same culprit that has led to the SAD (Standard American Diet) eating patterns of fast food which has contributed to the growing trend of childhood obesity and the obesity epidemic in Americans in general. 

It is for this reason that in 2014 I want to and will offer a FREE series of fitness and nutrition seminars. I hope to educate and reveal the dirty secrets that the supplement and food industry is using to get people hooked on their brands and start a movement that will start a viral health promoting movement. So I thought of this title for my free educational seminar, "The Phit Loser" Challenge? This is short for 'The Physically Fit Loser' meaning that you lose and give up something in order to improve your health. I would love to hear what you think of this idea? 
I will be launching the website soon which will be directly linked to www.irondogfitness.com. I hope to see you at one of the seminars and in a few days you will hear my announcement.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

9 Tips to Eat Guilt-Free for the Holidays

#1 Add an extra 10 minutes of daily fitness. If you workout 6 days a week this will add up to an extra hour of exercise.
#2 Avoid all breads
#3 Avoid all liquid calories (*If you are juicing your veggies and fruits this does not apply)
#4 Try avoiding meat until Thanksgiving Day. This simple step will make a dramatic difference in your consumption of several forms of fats, most importantly the saturated fat you should already be avoiding. This step will also make a dramatic difference in the amount of calories you have reduced in your daily food intake.
#5 Make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep. This will help you get adequate rest which will aide with recovery as well as helping the body perform optimally. 
#6 Enter the 5 Weeks to Holiday Madness Challenge. If anything it will make sure you got in all that extra and much needed activity. 
#7 Try parking further away from where you work, shop and visit. This step will help you get the recommended 10,000 daily steps.
#8 Avoid having dessert.
#9 Avoid dressings regardless of what the label says. Normal food spoils in less than two weeks. This should be a clue of what to avoid.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Benefits or Regular Daily Exercise

Words like exercise, physical activity, exertion and strength training often become mental barriers to people because these words mean stepping out of a comfort zone. Most people prefer the term 'comfort' because it means that you don't have to do anything more than what you are already doing. Comfort to most means sitting back and watching a movie, taking a power nap or eating (in most cases fast foods and processed foods) just to name a few. Comfort doesn't require any extra effort. Laying down on the couch is an effortless activity which has no benefit unless you are trying to recover from a serious workout or illness in which case you need that type of rest. Exercise requires 'Action' just like anything positive which you are trying to accomplish. If you want a degree, you have to go to school for many years and put it countless hours of studying. If you want to get better at your career you still have to put in countless hours of learning, successes and failures and a continuous effort to grow. A lot of people actually put more effort into their careers while neglecting their health not realizing that there are benefits to exercise, a good diet and proper rest that can help improve their careers at a much faster and efficient rate. Here are just some of the great reasons you should be exercising and how they will not just improve your health but also help you grow in your career:
  • Increases HDL
  • Decreases LDL
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Strengthens Your Bones
  • Helps prevent Osteoporosis
  • Improves sleep
  • Combats depression and anxiety
  • Improved memory
  • Increases size of brain structure involved in memory
  • Boost Immunity
  • Increase rate of recovery from illness and serious injury
  • Prevents Stroke
  • Prevents Heart Disease
  • Weight Control
  • Prevents HBP
  • Boosts Self-Image & Self-Confidence
  • Strengthens Your Bones, Ligaments & Tendons
  • Prevents and Reduces Injury severity 
  • Improved performance of Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)
  • Increased work capacity
  • Improved flexibility
  • Decreased body fat stores
  • Increased mobilization and utilization of fat
  • Reduced glucose-stimulated insulin sensitivity
  • Prevention of Type II Diabetes
  • Decreased Resting Heart Rate
  • Sports Performance enhancement
  • Decreased incidence of some cancers
  • Increased Total Blood Volume
  • Keeps the spark and improve sexual performance
  • Increased Energy (so you don't need to waste money on energy drinks or supplements)
These bullet point benefits are only a fraction of the positive reasons to exercise which are listed. Now that you have this information, you have a compiled list of various reasons to make the decision to exercise. Believe me! When you stick to it, you will be more than rewarded for stepping out the comfort zone.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Technology to Track Your Fitness

In today's world of technology you can find almost anything and everything online. You can also even download applications for your phone which will help you share life events like on Facebook and pin your favorite pictures on Pinterest to share with anyone and everyone. We use technology to do many things but rarely do we use it to help us stay healthy. I thought I would share some applications you can download on your phone to help you stay focused on your fitness goals as well as have a way to track your progress.
In today's world of technology you can find almost anything and everything online. You can also even download applications for your phone which will help you share life events like on Facebook and pin your favorite pictures on Pinterest to share with anyone and everyone. We use technology to do many things but rarely do we use it to help us stay healthy. I thought I would share some applications you can download on your phone to help you stay focused on your fitness goals as well as have a way to track your progress. 

If you are a Samsung or Droid phone user, odds are you have an application called SHealth already on you phone known. SHealth can help you track your daily steps like those fancy pedometers you see some people using. Walking '10,000 Steps' was first started in Japan to protect for the purpose of staying healthy and losing weight. Did you know that it takes about 2000 - 2500 steps to walk just 1 mile and you will burn somewhere between 250 - 600 calories? I mile is equivalent to 4 laps around a typical Track lane. To get 10,000 steps you will have to walk about 5 miles in one day which means 20 laps around the track. So to burn a typical cookie or donut you may have to walk at least a mile. If you had more than one you will probably need to walk 2 miles and that is not counting excess calories in other meals. If you had a Frappuccino later that day you will have to walk another mile or two. So is it worth it? Other great things you can do with SHealth: You can track your weight, exercise and food intake. You could also keep records of your blood sugar and blood pressure which will help you see how you are improving in these areas. If you decide to buy available accessories you will be able to track you heart rate and even your sleeping patterns. 

How about the iPhone? You can download MapMyWalk or MapMyRun may be the best free app you can use on your phone to help your health. What you can do with it: Map and track your walking routes, share and find routes others are using, track your food log and share your progress via Facebook and other social media to use it as a tool to ask your family or friends to hold you accountable for your goals to live a health life and maybe even lose some weight. 

The key here is it doesn't really matter walk type of exercise you do to stay health. What does matter is that you stay consistent and find a convenient and useful way to help track your progress. When you see results you are more likely to stay motivated and continue to do what seems to be working. Technology has made it easy for us to do many things so why not use it to stay healthy and track your fitness goals? Enjoy!
Have questions? If you have any questions you can reach me by e-mail at: damien@irondogfitness.com 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Women and Running

Exercise can help anyone and everyone if they set their minds to getting past the 'sedentary zone'. There are so many reasons why it doesn't make sense to remain sedentary but I will list a few: Heart Disease, Stroke and unnecessary muscle injury from lack of movement. There is also the commonly known but much neglected personal circumstances to consider when beginning an exercise program. Things you need to consider is posture, exercise history, exercise experience and past as well as present injuries. 
Understanding proper running mechanics is important but just like enough calcium consumption is more important in women then it is for men, it is also equally more important to understand basic body mechanic considerations in women. It is funny that I ran into this article about women and running mechanics because my newest client has knee issues and the doctor had told her the same thing I told without ever speaking to him. Here is what I told her. Your hip width plays a factor in how you run, your excess weight also places a crucial factor in the level of stress impact received by the knee and ankle joints and based on your current lifestyle, the odds are high that you have tight hamstrings and weak hips. Bam, that was exactly what the doctor had told her. So I immediately started implementing some simple exercises that can be done with no equipment but rather using her own body weight. These simple exercises along with the new ones I will be adding will help address both her weight goals and her joint pain concerns. Here are a few things to consider if you are a woman and plan on running. I will keep it in simple english to avoid confusion. Women's hips tend to be wider so there is an increased risk that the knees will collapse inward. If your toes are pointed out and your knees are pointing inward, you are going to have some serious knee and possibly ankle issues. It is important to keep you shoulders slightly retracted, especially in women with larger breasts. Run tall, maintaining an upright posture with a very slight forward tilt of the entire body. There should be an obvious feeling of being aligned straight from head to tows without bending forward at the hips. If you haven't been running you may want to start a walk, fast walk, jog and then a running plan after a few weeks of the first three mentioned. If you are overweight, stick to walking and indoor cycling to avoid undue stress on the knee and ankle joints. 
You need a strong core to allow proper natural twisting and rotation of the pelvis without excessive twisting which could have negative consequences on speed as well as conservation of energy. Over twisting can be prevented by insuring that your arms are swinging from the shoulder joint rather than from the elbow joint. Think of the old fashion wild west movies when the two opponents are in a prepared stance to reach for their guns. The elbows are flexed at or close to 90 degree angles, hands relaxed and when they reach for their gun they will have to swing the elbow back to reach their hand to the handle of the gun in the holster. This action occurs from the shoulder. When the grab the gun from the holster they will once again swing the arm forward from the should causing the elbow to first swing back and then forward. They will not allow the torso to over-rotate nor will they allow the hands to over cross the midsection. This will make sure there aim is directed directly toward the opponent whom they intend to shoot before they get shot. The same is true about running in which it is important to pump the swing of the arms at the shoulders and not the elbows to avoid a hammering type appearance. 
There are also considerations to be looked at during the stance phase and the swing phase of running. I will say that the most important part to watch for is over-striding which is seen during the swing to stance phase of the legs in which your foot lands to far ahead of your body. When this occurs you are hitting the breaks and slowing down your running so try and prevent over reaching during running. Your focus should be in such a way that your body is directly over your foot as you land to push off from the ground. If your foot is to far ahead you will find yourself pulling the ground rather than pushing the ground. This is dangerous because this can easily lead to a pulled hamstring. There is a whole science to proper running but I hope that these hints will be helpful in making you a better runner. :D
Keep in mind that the worse your form is the more likely you are to develop injuries and increase the magnitude of the injury as well. Also, your running form will either help you conserve energy or it will begin to deplete your resources at a faster rate. Knowledge is power when it is applied. Have a great running experience. :D

For more information you can go to: http://tworiverstreads.com/natural-running-form/
Look at magazines such as Runner's World and books like Running Anatomy, The Non-Marathon Trainer and Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Glutathione: The Most Powerful Antioxidant and Why You Don't Need to Supplement Your Diet with It

You may or may have not heard of Glutathione. If you have you've probably heard that your may be low in this Antioxidant or some other crazy claim like your body can't produce it anymore. Let's address some real life issues here. First of all, most likely you don't really need to take a Glutathione supplement. Second, Glutathione is a Tripeptide ( a combo of 3 Amino Acids bonded together) and finally, if you read my article on antioxidants and ORAC Scores you have a great idea of what the benefits of getting these nutrients are. What do we really know about this Triple-bond Amino Acid? The body actually produces it on its own like it does with Vitamin D, just at a different level with different method of production. You can actually increase
this antioxidant in your body by exercising, eating foods known to contain it and avoiding as much as possible the following: toxins, meds, stress, pollution, poor diet, trauma, infections and radiation. Most of the
 things that I mentioned as things to avoid are preventable and fixable. The four things that we can't completely avoid are stress, pollution, toxins and trauma because we don't have full control of our environment but there are measures we can take to reduce them. Stress control is mostly mind control but the factors that cause them can be physical or emotional. Trauma would be a physical stress that we may witness if we are involved in a car accident or some other freak accident but we can take our own measures like safer driving practices to reduce the odds. A death in the family is for any normal person a severe stressor but with the right help and by talking about it with others you can reduce the negative emotional stress causes at the emotional level and hence the physical level. So let's get back on the subject of Glutathione. There are many foods that we can eat to increase our levels of Glutathione. Although it may be true like anything else in the body that our bodies ability to produce Glutathione is reduced as we age, we can take dietary and physical measures to help the body make more and slow down the rate of loss in developing this antioxidant. Exercise is believed to be one way of increasing production as well as eating foods high in Glutathione like Berries, Spinach, Avocado, Asparagus, Melon, Grapefruits, Peaches, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Brussels Sprouts Squash and so much more. Are you surprised by some of these possibilities. As always, eating whole raw foods continues to be the best source of every body preserving health promoting nutrient promoted by every supplement company out to grab your dollars. Grow your own Glutathione in your back yard or front lawn by planting as many vegetables, fruits and spices as you can possibly plant. If you don't have the space then go out and support your local farmers markets to help reduce the levels of toxins and pesticides used by conventional growers. Wish you the best and if you have any questions you know you can always reach me at damien@irondogfitness.com. Need a quick fix of Veggies, Fruits and many Super foods? Go to http://damien.natragood.com/ 

To learn more about Glutathione go to: http://livelovefruit.com/2013/07/glutathione-the-most-powerful-antioxidant/ You can also always google Glutathione and find all kinds of useful resources but be weary of the ones trying to sell you tons of products.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Do I Need to Take a Supplement with a High ORAC Score?

It's not always fun being in my industry. Every supplement distributor, vendor or MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) nutrition related marketer whether independent or founder looks to me as a gold mine for their product. It doesn't stop there either. There is a whole army of self-proclaimed anti-aging specialist out there as well. 
I am not a big fan of supplements and focus on getting my clients to eat whole foods. I do have my favorite brand which is why I take it for breakfast but for the most part I eat what mother nature continues to provide by purchasing it at local Farmer's Markets. So what does ORAC mean? It means Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity. So why is this important? Free Radicals are theoretically believed to cause aging in organisms and in this case I am referring to the human body. Anti-Oxidant levels in foods are measured by this ORAC system. So theoretically it is believed that foods high in Anti-Oxidants or in this case those that have a very high ORAC score are thought to have very strong anti-aging and immune system boosting properties. Wikipedia describes it this way, "Antioxidants are reducing agents, and limit oxidative damage to biological structures by passivating them from free radicals". So if this is true, that would mean that you are reducing the speed of aging in this sense of the word Anti-Oxidant thus it would make sense to consume foods high in ORAC value or antioxidant levels.
When you cut an apple in half you immediately start to see a browning effect and as you continue to allow it to be exposed to the elements such as air and sun. You will notice that the apple will continue to age and eventually rotten. This is what is defined as oxidation. Who came up with this theory? A man named Denham Harman back in the 1950's.
Free Radicals damage today are believed to be the cause of pre-mature again, a poor immune system, cancer and many other life threating, life shortening diseases. So how does this happen? Again, theoretically it is believed that Free-Radicals are unstable atoms or electrons which are missing an electron in one of it's orbits. Since Electrons normally occur in pairs on any given orbit of it's structure and this is not true of a Free-Radical, when it comes in contact with another molecule it will strip away an electron from it to complete it's needed pair. Well guess what? That once normal molecule in the body becomes a Free-Radical and the viscous process continues. This can also happen in DNA molecules and cross-linking can occur. This damage leads to mutation of the DNA molecule and therefore believed to be the cause of cancer, aging and various other health problems.
So now your wondering how Antioxidants stop this nightmarish process. Antioxidants are believed to donate that needed electron to create the pair needed by Free-Radicals which then leads to it's neutralization.
So what can lead to an increase in Free-Radical production? The answer: It's funny that I talk about health threatening foods all the time because they cause cancer, heart disease, central nervous system disorders but they also cause the increased formation of Free-Radicals. These foods are fried foods, meats, polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats (not true of monounsaturated fats so consider eating this type of fat). Meat in particular raises pH in the body causing acidity levels to increase (thought to be a main way to feed cancer cells) which forces the body to release calcium from the bones (which cause bone loss and eventually osteoporosis). Calcium is alkaline and reduces acidity which is the reason you will find calcium in all your over-the-counter antacids (no surprise). Other non-diet related causes of increase Free-Radical production include mental distress (anger, anxiety, tension or stress), alcohol abuse (and consumption in general), smoking, food preservatives, pesticides, environmental pollution, sunlight, chemotherapy and radiation).
So if you are interested in anti-aging you need to eliminate as many causes of increased free-radical producing behaviors and foods as possible and stop wasting money on all these anti-aging products out there. Eliminate the cause and you eliminate the problem and the reason to protect against them. Prevention is always the best medicine, so if you truly want to take health promoting, free-radical demolishing measures all you really need to start doing is: Get enough sleep, Eat an abundance of Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Grains and Legumes plus avoid the promoters of free-radicals as much as possible. You will also need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily :D Good Luck.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Latest Studies About Static Stretching

I often tell people that what I say today may not hold true tomorrow. As science and research evolves the things once believed to be true lose their validity. It is always important to consult with professionals in the specific industry of your concern to make sure that what you know today is still true. It may also be true that all though it was a know fact today may not be true tomorrow. The important thing is that you remain aware.

I've written several articles on Stretching and those articles conflicted with old traditional beliefs about Static type stretching. In the days of my father's high school years, static stretching was always encouraged and promoted by coaches and phys ed school staff. In my college years this belief changed and has been disputed for over 20 years. Who do you think was right? Well it really depends on the argument being made. So here is the argument being disputed in which I am referring too. Before the 80's it was always a common practice to promote static stretching both before and after exercise. After that period things began to change. The new belief which was being promoted is that static stretching should only be performed after physical activity and that a more active type dynamic stretch be performed prior to exercise. The reasoning for arguing in favor of dynamic stretching was that static stretching could lead to injury and that it would have negative impact on performance in strength, power and speed. It was also believed that cold muscles did not like to be stretched and thus you could pull a muscle. What was being encouraged is a brisk walk or light warm-up activity like cycling which was to be followed by an active type stretch taking muscles through various ranges of motion in a continuous moving fashion. This was believed to be the best way to prepare muscles for movement. Well that latest research according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine's finding has some flaws. Read today's latest research by following this link: Static Stretching Pro's and Con's

Sunday, July 7, 2013

WHAT ABOUT THE PALEO DIET?

I get this question asked a lot by people who have either heard of it or have tried it. I won't name the fitness company that promotes it a lot but I definitely understand why they promote it so much. An awesome movie which I watched called 'Forks Over Knives' and their group of experts would disagree with Paleo Diet self-promoted experts. The primary disagreement is on living off of a primarily animal-based diet rather than a primarily plant-based diet. A good read like 'The China Study' would also make you disagree with the claims made by Paleo Diet enthusiast. I have seen more studies which promote the benefits of a highly plant-based diet and the risks of a high animal based diet than I can count. If you think about how little saturated fat you get from a plant based diet in comparison to an animal based diet you too can come to the easy conclusion that a Paleo type diet may increase the risks of stroke, cancer, heart attack, arteriosclerosis and many more diseases. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. 
Dr. Ben-Zur of 'The Cardiovascular Institute' in Encino would also disagree with the Paleo Diet. In a conversation I had with Dr. Ben-Zur - who shared with me his many years of expertise in heart health - he pointed out that a primarily animal based diet causes undue excess stress on the kidneys which in turn  directly affects the condition of the heart and the rest of the body. In Chinese Medicine this belief system can also be seen in the 'Five Element Theory' which is used for diagnosis of patients. The Heart is said to be associated with Fire while the Kidney is associated with Water. When in harmony the Kidney it is said to control the Heart or Water controls Fire. Makes sense if you think of using water to control a fire and this is called the Inter-Acting Cycle. In disharmony the Kidney over acts on the Heart this is called the Over-Acting Cycle and thus can be seen as Water putting out a Fire or consuming the fire. If the Heart rebels on the Kidney, it is called the Counter-Acting Cycle which is another stage of disharmony in the body. This can be thus described as Fire scorching out the water. In a wild fire this would be a very undesirable outcome. 
You don't have to agree with me but many years of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a primitive knowledge of the body have stood the test of time as has the pyramids of Egypt to which this day have not been rebuilt by man. The Earth has provided us with many foods to consume and one may argue that our ancestors also ate animals. That is true, but they also didn't eat animals plagued with antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. So if you chose to follow the Paleo Diet, please be more conscious of the meats, fish and poultry you chose to eat and stick to sources which have come from farmers who have chosen to provide a better standard of living for their animals. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to post :D

Learn more from these sources: Forks Over Knives and WebMD - The Paleo Diet

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Top 12 Strategies for Optimizing Your Health by Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola

#1. Add Sprouts to Your Diet

One of the most nutritious powerhouses to add to your diet are sprouts. They are an authentic “super” food that many overlook or have long stopped using. In addition to their nutritional profile, sprouts are also easy and fun to grow in your own home as they don’t require an outdoor garden.

They can contain up to 39 times the nutrition of organic vegetables grown in your own garden, and allow your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fats from the foods you eat. During sprouting, minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, bind to protein, making them more bioavailable.

Furthermore, both the quality of the protein and the fiber content of beans, nuts, seeds and grains improves when sprouted. The content of vitamins and essential fatty acids also increase dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seed, broccoli and pea sprouts tend to top the list of all the seeds that you can sprout and are typically each about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. While you can sprout a variety of different beans, nuts, seeds and grains, sprouts in general have the following beneficial attributes:
  • Support for cell regeneration
  • Powerful sources of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage
  • Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic)
  • Abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment
Planting and Harvesting Sprouts at Home

I used to grow sprouts in Ball jars over 10 years ago but stopped doing that. I am strongly convinced that actually growing them in soil is far easier and produces far more nutritious and abundant food. It is also less time consuming. With Ball jars, you need to rinse them several times a day to prevent mold growth. Trays also take up less space. I am now consuming one whole tray you see below every 2-3 days and to produce that much food with Ball jars, I would need dozens of jars. 

I am in the process of compiling more specific detailed videos for future articles but I thought I would whet your appetite and give you a preview with the photos below.

About to plant wheat grass and sunflower seeds – 2 days after soaking

Wheat grass and sunflower seeds – 3 ½ days post germination

Sunflower seeds and pea sprouts – 3 days until ready for harvest

Sunflower seed sprouts and wheat Grass – ready to harvest

My two favorites are pea and sunflower sprouts. They provide some of the highest quality protein you can eat. Sprouted sunflower seeds also contain plenty of iron and chlorophyll, the latter of which will help detoxify your blood and liver. Of the seeds, sunflower seeds are among the best in terms of overall nutritional value, and sprouting them will augment their nutrient content by as much as 300 to 1,200 percent! Similarly, sprouting peas will improve the bioavailability of zinc and magnesium.

I have been sprouting them now for a few months and they have radically improved the nutrition of my primary meal, which is a comprehensive salad at lunch. They are a perfect complement to fermented vegetables. My current salad consists of about half a pound of sunflower sprouts, four ounces of fermented vegetables, half a large red pepper, several tablespoon of raw organic butter, some red onion, a whole avocado and about three ounces of salmon or chicken. It is my primary meal. In the late afternoon, I typically only have macadamia nuts and coconut candy in addition to drinking 16-32 ounces of green vegetable juice. I break it up occasionally by going to a restaurant with friends.

#2. Make Fermented Vegetables a Daily Staple

#3. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels with Appropriate Sun Exposure

#4. Intermittent Fasting

#5. Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into Your Exercise Routine

#6. Get High Quality Sleep

#7. Get Grounded

#8. Drink Pure Water

#9. Limit Processed Foods and Replace Non-Veggie Carbs with Healthy Fats

#10. Avoid Toxins

#11. Have Great Tools to Address Your Stress

#12. Replace Drugs with Natural Alternatives that Address the Cause

To get more info and to suscribe to Dr. Mercola's blog go to: http://www.mercola.com/

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Conscious Eating

It is a battle I face every day. Why do I face this battle? Primarily because I was raised on a traditional Mexican family diet or at least what it became over the past few decades. 
I understand the difficulty of eating healthy but I also seriously understand the consequences of not doing so. It's not really your fault and to some extent it is not really your parents faults either. 
The food industry has serious political strength and much more than you can imagine. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) make decisions about what will and what won't make it to our dinner tables but the choices also come with political pressures from farmers and other companies in the food industry. Read enough and you will learn that these types of decisions may be based on profits over peoples health. It may sound crazy but there is an organization of doctors who have chosen to help people heal through nutrition rather than drugs. You might say, 'No way' but I have real life experience to this reality. If you would like to hear that story you better be willing to sit down over a cup of tea and listen to the whole story.
So what do I mean by 'Conscious Eating'? Here is what I mean. We rarely stop to think about what is in our food or what process it went through to get it on the table. People often associate food from high end restaurants as food that has been handled in some special way or is a more expensive cut from some animal or exotic plant that may have come from some higher end supplier. Maybe it's a gaming animal like deer or a unique delicate snail. So how about some Fois Gras? What is it? It's fatty liver from a duck. You won't get something like Fois Gras at King Taco but that doesn't mean that it will be healthier than King Taco. You will pay a good buck, but have you stopped to think of where it comes from, what it went through to get to the restaurant and what impacts it may have on your health? Maybe you did or maybe you didn't. I added a video which bares some light on what these poor ducks have to go through in order to get their livers (Fois Gras) just to satisfy someones expensive taste. Expensive food doesn't always mean healthy food or better living standards for animals. It does not mean that other animals are going through more humane slaughter to justify the mark ups on the packaging. If you would stop for a minute to meditate on what has been placed in front of you for eating, you may be making a huge and positive impact on your personal health and the prevention of inhumane animal slaughter. Caesar Chavez who started up the United Farm Workers fought for better treatment and safer working conditions of farm workers amongst many other things, but his battle also forced owners of  farmers to find craftier ways of accomplishing the same results with environmental impacts to our crops. If a larger majority of us become more involved in our health, we will soon make decisions that will force farm owners to make more sustainable and health friendly farms. Consider your health before their profits!

If you wish to read more: Fois Gras



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Are You Fit Enough to Make it to the LAPD?

You may think this is some kind off gimmick or that I just wanted to catch your attention. Maybe the first thing that crossed your mind was a police officer at the donut shop enjoying a Cup of Joe and a Glazed Donut. Well you may be partially right. For sure I was trying to catch your attention but this was no gimmick and not all cops eat a donut while sipping on their coffee. 
When ever I hear people talking about the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Dept) or law enforcement in general the conversation usually revolves around getting a ticket, cops not doing their job because they are at the donut shop or worst case scenario is excessive use of police force. These statements in themselves may be true to some extent but it's not all the LAPD is all about. 
Those who know me closely enough are well aware of the fact that I serve as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach to the LAPD Centurions Football Team so I get to see a side from them that most people rarely get to see and I also get to listen to some very interesting stories. 
Let's get to the point. You may have thought of or over heard someone talking about going into law enforcement. They may have mentioned their interest in entering the LA Sheriffs Dept. or the LAPD Dept. Academy. Getting into the academy doesn't guarantee that you will get in nor does getting a formal education  guarantee that you will be accepted but getting educated and putting in the application definitely will get you on the right track. You may be a genius but if you don't have the right conditioning you will definitely reduce your odds of getting in and through the academy. So what do they expect from you? Here is a summary straight from the archives of the LAPD:
  •  Flexibility
  • Strength Training
  • Endurance Runs
  • Calisthenic Exercises
  • Obstacle Course conditioning
  • Self-Defense Training
The flexibility component is quite obvious. Inflexibility can lead to injury, hinder performance and leave you susceptible to injuries. Calisthenics can include Squats, Reaches, Twists, Lunging, Jumping, Landing, Pushing, and getting up and down on the ground like burpees.  
You will for sure need to practice Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Pull-Ups and a 1 1/2 mile run on a full track. You will be scored on how fast you can complete these events in the Physical Fitness Qualification standards. If you can't pass their exams and meet the State-Mandated Exam you won't be able to become a police officer. 
So what other components will you be faced with in order to qualify? Here is the breakdown:
  • 99 yard obstacle course that includes simulated curbs, weaving courseways of right and left turns, wooden horse jump, and 40 yard sprint
  • 165 lb body drag for 32 feet on a flat surface
  • Climbing a 6 foot Chain link fence
  • A 6 foot wall climb
  • 500 yard run on flat track
There is much more to the details but I thought I would share with you a sneak peak of what you should be prepared to face or if you simply want to try and see if you can do it or train as if you were attempting to qualify for the academy, now you have some guidelines you can play with. :D Hope you enjoyed this article.




Living to Age 100 plus and Healthy


I have come across a lot of interesting comments in my past 15 years of involvement in the health and fitness industry. The most interesting one that I have heard in the past 3 years is a lack of interest in living longer. This lack of desire for longevity may be the first sign of a depressed person. 
This topic of longevity comes most often in conversation when I discuss food and my desire to live to be 120 years old and still self-sufficient with my (ADL's) activities of daily living.
The most interesting part of this is that people today seem to find food to be a main source of pleasure rather than seeking other forms of pleasure. Although this is a temporary form of pleasure when practiced incorrectly it can lead to many bad forms of eating which in turn has many negative and detrimental effects to ones health. 
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., specifically wrote a book which he titled 'Eat to Live' which is the way nature originally intended it. The book was written to teach people how to eat not just for weight loss but for good health. Good health should be the priority, weight loss will happen naturally if a proper nutrition intake is eaten. Food was intended to be a source of replenishing nutrients, maintaining health and a way of consuming ingredients which would help the body repair itself as well as acquiring fuel to sustain life and physical activity. These days the trend has become a way to happiness, relieve depression and many other mood altering effects. 
A recent report by the Wall Street Journal published the finding of an almost 6 year study which involved 73,308 members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine. This is little in comparison to a 30 years of research that was reported in a book titled 'The China Study' by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D which involved 2,500 counties across China and Taiwan demonstrating the conclusive connection between nutrition (an animal based diet versus and plant based diet) heart disease, diabetes and cancer. 
Although both of these studies have similar and conflicting findings, here is what the study reported: 
(Only read this if you want to live to be over 100 years old and healthy)
  • Vegetarians experienced 12% less deaths over the period of almost 6 years
  • Vegetarians were 19% less likely to die of Heart Disease
  • Fewer deaths form Kidney failure and diabetes in the Vegetarian Group
  • Caloric intake did not make a difference and both consumed about the same amount of calories
  • Men benefited the most from a Vegetarian Diet
  • Cancer rate was roughly equal amongst both groups
  • Nutrient profile of Vegetarians provided more Fiber and less saturated fat
  • Vegetarians had leaner body structure
Even though this study claims that there were no significant reductions in preventing cancer, both studies demonstrated that those who follow a vegetarian or mostly plant-based diet are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and will also reduce the mortality rate from these two diseases as well as Kidney failure. These reasons alone in addition to the 12% reduction in death are good enough to follow a primarily if not complete plant-based diet. The Choice is Yours! I want to live to be 120 years and still be as self-sufficient as possible. This gives me another 80 years of helping transform lives toward good health :D




Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

This year I have been a guest speaker to various Chamber of Commerce's and service clubs like the Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and even private businesses like Mission Foods. Several times I covered the topic of health, water, sports drinks and other types of drinks such as vitamin waters. 

I have spoken largely against them because of the use of artificial sweeteners, deceptive food labels and the
misconceptions of their benefits to health and sports performance. Of greatest interest was the topic of BVO (Brominated Vegetable Oil) and it's use in sports drinks. Today's public is becoming more and more aware of what is being added to our food and/or food products as technology, social media and other avenues of spreading information has advanced. In an article by Men's Journal, PepsiCo., has chosen to address public concern of the use of certain ingredients like BVO by removing them from their products like Gatorade (Yes,   in case you didn't know Pepsi owns Gatorade and other drinks. Also, Coca-Cola Company owns drinks like Vitamin Water). 

Do you research and you will find that acidity has been linked to diseases like Kidney Stones, Osteoporosis and various Cancers to mention just a few. Sugar as we know has various detrimental effects to our health including tooth cavities. Research reported by NASM (National Academy of Sport Medicine) Insider Monthly Blog, published this conclusion: 

In agreement with the literature, it appears that fruit juices and energy drinks appear to have greater erosive potential versus sports drinks. However some in vitro studies (researchers immersing samples of human tooth enamel in sports drinks) demonstrates a potential to damage teeth. To mitigate such problems athletes should follow proper oral hygiene care and limit sports drink consumption to exercise sessions lasting 60 minutes or more. Physical activity lasting 60 minutes or less warrants the use of water to help keep athletes hydrated and minimize tooth enamel erosion.

When we talk about investing money into our future it may be a good idea to consider investing money into foods that protect and prolong our personal health. The Choice is Yours!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

All Eggs Are Not Equal


One popular discussion I have with my clients revolves around the deceptive practices of food labeling. On labels you see words like Fat-Free, Sugar-Free or Low-Sodium to name a few. This is to done to imply that you are having a healthier meal if you eat what is in the package. 
If you started doing your research and placed greater emphasis on reading the ingredients list, what you found is that there is more fat, sugar or salt and possibly a lot of calories that you normally would not have seen in a similar food. Today you see all kind of labels on Eggs and you even see egg products. 
So what do all these food labels mean? A website called TakePart.com  did a great job of helping us to distinguish the differences. Below is a summary of the article:
  • Cage-Free: The absence of a cage. Birds that qualify as cage-free can still be packed tightly into an overpopulated and darkened barn.
  • Free-Range: When chickens are free-range, they’re required to have access to the outdoors—but that may amount to a narrow patch of dirt. Access to it can be a tiny door cut into the back of the shed.
  • Organic: This label dictates that the birds are antibiotic and hormone-free, in addition to being provided with access to the outdoors. Still, some organic farms abuse the system by housing their hens in overcrowded sheds.
  • Certified Humane: According the Humane Society, even this certification allows for farmers to house chickens indoors at all times if they choose, and also permits beak cutting. A similar term, "American Humane Certified" allows laying hens to be caged.
So what kind of eggs should you look for? According to the website Take Part you should be looking for the label 'Pasture-Raised'. Why? Here are the reasons:
  • Chickens are raised outdoors in an actual pasture.
  • They have access to shelter when they desire.  
  • They are raised without harmful chemicals
  • Chickens don't experience painful procedures such as beak trimming
  • Loaded with more nutrients
If you want to read the full article you can go to:  http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/03/28/ethical-eggs?cmpid=tpfood-eml-2013-3-30-eggs


Static Stretching and What You Need to Know


Whether you exercise or not you may have heard about the importance of stretching. Atlhetes for the most part understand its importance but in general most people do no have a thorough knowledge of why, how and when to stretch. There are many forms of stretching from static to dynamic, etc. Most people are familiar with static stretching but very few ever do it. With todays advancements in technology, sedentary behavior has become more of a standard way of living. Sitting happens almost all day from sitting behind a desk to perform job tasks, to eating, driving and watching TV. Today's generation of youth lack flexibility compared to the youth back in the 70's and earlier years when sedentary behavior was much less common and daily outdoor activities predominated especially if you were raised in a farm. 
When I was in junior high my life involved playing outdoor sports with friends and family, at other times fun games like freeze tag. When I would get  home from school I would climb up the trees in my dad's backyard to grab some fresh fruit to eat. As I got older I became more sedentary. Even today as I personal trainer I find myself sitting frequently. I sit to review and rewrite client workouts, write this blog and as I have to drive to clients homes. The most I get in physical activity comes from training myself, getting in and out of my car, demonstrating exercises and grabbing plus returning my equipment to my vehicle as well as daily stuff I need to get done. 
So what is Static Stretching? According to NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) it is defined as: The process of passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. 
There are various schools of thought which argue whether or not Static stretching is good to do before starting exercise. Most would agree that some form of light activity should be performed prior to stretching to  help improve the elasticity of the muscle, raise body temperature and to prevent pulling (straining) a muscle while stretching. The most common theme I hear is 'cold muscles don't like to be stretched'. In the athletic industry it is believed that static stretching may decrease maximal strength and power for up to 10 minutes (NASM). The evidence is not well established but if your an athlete you may want to experiment and test this type of stretching well in advance to see how your body reacts. Everyone is unique and going off of unknown facts may be of great disadvantage to your athletic career. 
Here are some tips that may help improve your flexibility, range of motion, prevent injuries, help discover unknown muscle tightness, promote circulation and overall posture. 
#1 Do some light walking, cycling or movements that will help raise your body temperature.
#2 Try one week of static stretching prior to exercise and one week of non-static stretching prior to exercise to see how your body responses. Take notes so you can remember what helped and what didn't.
#3 Stretch every main muscle group.
#4 Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and no less than 10 seconds.
#5 Always perform static stretching after a workout to help maintain and improve flexibility as well as relax your tensed muscles. 
#6 Make sure you feel slight tension but not pain.
#7 Exhale as you attempt to stretch (ex. breathe out while sitting and stretching forward to reach your toes).
I hope these tips will help. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave your comments :D

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Get Fit with Your Loved Ones

Getting fit and healthy has many challenges. Part of the challenge comes from outside pressures either at work or at home. I've been in the fitness industry for over 15 years now and in that time I have come across more excuses than you can imagine on why people won't choose to prioritize their personal health over other things. One of the most difficult challenges can come from a lack of support either from family or in worst cases in the form of insecurity from the person they are in a relationship with. What individuals in these situations encounter is a jealous lover who is afraid their partner is getting in shape because they are trying to catch the interest of someone else outside of the relationship. More often than not, this perceived threat is unreal.

I can remember many instances in which I would consult with an individual interested in getting in shape because they were concerned about their health and weight. We would discuss their concerns and goals and once I gave them a quote they almost always said they had to consult with their other half. I would ask them to get their partner on the phone and many times they would say that it might not be a good idea especially since I was a guy. That is too bad because rather than offering to support their spouse they discourage them.

Working out with your loved one, spouse or even family can be a great way to bond. It can also be a great way to add quality time. In a blog by NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) it explains, "These are great ways for couples to squeeze in exercise, support each other’s health, and enjoy quality time together". When losing weight is the main goal and both of the individuals involved in the relationship have to drop some pounds, it's almost a perfect scenario because they can help support each other to stay with the goals and pick foods the will benefit the two. It's also a great way in which together, everyone involved can help choose different types of exercise activities which can be fun like dancing, cycling, mountain climbing or hitting the weights at the gym. Explore your options and make it work.

Whole Coconut Juice vs Packaged Coconut Juice



I received an e-mail earlier from Brenda Rollins who is the author of 'Raw Foods on a Budget' and she lead me to my newest power partner on health and nutrition Luis Souza who runs his own newsletter, blog and website know as Raw Vegan Power. Well of course Luis ended up leading me to another great resource to look into. I clicked on the video and listened in and realized that John was giving some great and valuable information to help best shop for fresh coconut juice and coconuts in general instead of buying those packaged name brand coconut juices. Hope you will enjoy the information as much as I did :D 

Sunday, May 12, 2013



Chickens are cute when they are little chicklets just like most other baby pets. As the chicklets become chickens, the hens begin to lay their eggs. Now you have two choices, let them hatch or start consume them as food.
I couldn't imagine having to eat my only family pets so this wouldn't work for me. 
I remember one day when I got home and found the chickens missing at my dad's house. I noticed we were having chicken soup for dinner. I asked my dad, "What happen to the chickens?" He said, "They must of gotten away. Then I asked my grandmother the same question. The answer was very different. She said she had made the soup out of the chickens. I was furious because I had helped raise them as little chicklets and suddenly they were for soup. I was saddened by the idea that those chickens must had suffered a painful death. I had considered them part of our family but now they were dead. In a fit of anger I walked over to the pot of soup and dumbed all the soup on the floor outside. Well as you can expect, my parents were very upset and I refused to eat anything they made after that. It didn't really have any impact until much later in life.  The fact that I was eating other sources of meat seemed okay to me since I had not watched them suffer and they were not raised at home.
Last year I met a very good Cardiologist, Dr. Ben Zur. I had an anxiety attack but since I had never suffered such symptoms, I didn't know what was going on with me. I thought I was having some heart issues which didn't make sense but after very well focused extensive testing Dr. Ben confirmed that I was simply suffering symptoms of the mind and not the heart. I was still shocked but what shocked me even more is his suggestion that I avoid eating meat and consumption of all stimulants. He said that as long as I followed these instructions I would not have to see him again. He was very clear about his purpose as a Cardiologist. Dr. Ben explained to me that if I followed his suggestions my body would heal itself and that his ultimate goal was for me and all of his patients to never have to take a pill or go under the knife. If he could accomplish this, he was fullfilling his true purpose. That blew my mind away. A doctor who would rather not have patients unless there was no other choice.  It's everyone's everyday choice to either take Dr. Ben's advice or avoid it. Avoid it and you will have to see him or some other medical doctor at some point in your life. Dr Ben suggested I watch 'Forks Over Knives' so that I could understand him more. I can not say I have completely cut my meat supply but what I can say is that I am making serious efforts to stop eating animal based foods. I have cut my meat consumption by 90%. That is big since I had always joked about being a T-Rex dinosaur and that I would eat the Vegan dinosaurs to get my meat and veggies. 
I don't want to take prescription medicine, I don't want to disappoint Dr. Ben, I don't want to have to go through an unnecessary surgery and I want to live a healthy life because I promote great health for a living. 

Also, I remember reading a story about Cesar Chavez who founded the United Farm Workers. He said that he would not eat animals because he realized that like people, animals also feel pain. Wow, that really touched me. Most people never stop to think about what they are eating, where it came from and what process it had to go through to get on the dinner table. People in general see meat, fish, chicken, eggs and other animal based products as an inanimate source of food never stopping to think any further past that. When I hear folks talking about bacon and how delicious it is, I get very puzzled because bacon is one of the worst things you can eat and has many detrimental ways in which it affects one's health. Food has become a source of pleasure rather than a source of life preserving, health promoting and energy producing meal. Do you live to eat or eat to live!

'The Fat Burning Zone'? What is It?

When it comes to weight loss or getting 'ripped' (very toned look) people are always looking for shortcuts and the secret to fat loss. The most famous one in exercise is called the 'Fat Burning Zone'. What is the 'Fat Burning Zone'? 
I don't want to disappoint you and I am also not a self-professed expert. What I am is a normal person just like you who is being realistic. Here is one tip you may find helpful. Cut down your meat consumption by half in the next 30 days and watch what happens! A body builder will freak out if you tell him this.  If you drink soda cut it off all together in the next 30 days and watch what happens. Change nothing else in your diet but these two things and you will be amazed at how easy it is to lose weight and especially strip some pounds of fat right off. Why is that you may ask? You just stopped adding a whole bunch of saturated fat calories, eliminated an excess load of sugar and cut unnecessary calories from your diet. You also cut off a chemical lab of hormones, antibiotics and industrialized products from your body. These two things when done at 100% commitment may cause some positive changes to your health. 
You may ask, "What does this have to do with 'Fat Burning Zone"? It's simple, your body now has time to burn of fat calories that have been sitting dormant in your body since the bad sources have been partially cut. 
Let's move forward with the answer to the mysterious 'Fat Burning Zone'. Guess what? There is no such thing as the 'Fat Burning Zone'. Did you just say, 'What'? Yes, I know some trainer at the gym, or some magazine you read or the treadmill you get on says there is a 'Fat Burning Zone'. Time to LOL (Laugh Out Loud). You will see this funny chart on cardio training equipment and various books and charts on the 'Fat Burning Zone'.  The suggestion is that by working out at lighter intensities and more specifically between 70 - 75% of your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) during cardiovascular training that your body will primarily burn fat as a source of fuel, LOL. So let us look at it from a realistic stand point. What if I told you that you could burn more fat calories at a higher training zone rather than what I would call a lazy 70 - 75% training zone. It may be reasonable if you are new to exercise to get you in shape to train at higher intensities but in the long run it doesn't make sense. 
Here is an example for NASM's Essentials of Personal Training Fitness: An individual exercises for 20 minutes walking at a 3.0 mph pace results in an RQ (Respiratory Quotient) of 0.80. What does this mean? The result is 67% energy consumption from Fat and 33% from Carbohydrates. So in the 20 minutes of exercise this person burns 64 calories from Fat and 32 calories from Carbohydrates. This person burned a total of 96 calories, the result of burning 4.8 calories per minute. What if they did the same workout in 20 minutes but at an RQ of 0.86 which results in only 46% of fuel coming from Fat and 54% from Carbohydrates. Yet, this resulted in burning 9.75 calories per minute and a total of 104 calories of which 90 calories were from Fat . Which would you rather burn? 64 calories of Fat at the lighter intensity or 90 calories of Fat at the higher intensity. How about 96 calories or 194 calories. You see, the "Fat Burning Zone" guide is all great if you want to burn less fat in the same amount of time and burn less calories in the same given time but if you really want to be in the 'Fat Burning Zone' you got to put in hard work. The pay off is so great you will thank yourself. :D


Saturday, May 11, 2013

What If You Got Paid ... to be Healthy?

What if you got paid to workout? What if you got paid to learn how to eat healthy? What if you got paid to live a healthy lifestyle? Would you do it? Iron Dog Fitness Personal Training offers you the opportunity to join our team of health oriented people who get together to workout, learn about healthy eating, learn about healthy living and helping others do the same. What if you could help someone lower there blood pressure, help lower their blood sugar, helps someone unhealthy and maybe overweight turn life around for the better? Would you do it? Contact me at damien@irondogfitness.com and provide me your phone # and e-mail and I will make it a point to get in touch with you so together we can touch lives :D

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Is Burger King really serving Horse Meat?

Although Burger King had initially denied claims the chain food restaurant seems to had changed it's claims, “Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA"

Want to read the full story? Follow this link: Burger King and Horse Meat Question