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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.

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