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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, July 26, 2014

Did They Lie to You When They Told You to Blame Your Diet as the Cause for being Overweight?

Is it possible that all this talk about being over weight is attributed to your diet and it's just a bunch of hype? You hear this thing all the time about counting calories and getting on these crazy diets that will help you lose 30 lbs in 5 days. If you even Google the phrase I just wrote you will find websites with recommendations on how to do so. Is it true? Is it safe? Maybe, mabye not? If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight permanently the right strategy is to clean up your diet. Take all the garbage out. Is over eating really the problem? It all depends on your situation. Have you ever considered that you are possibly under-eating? Have you ever considered how much physical activity you get on a regular basis? Have you even considered that your sleeping patterns may be a part of the problem? Maybe it's your stress levels. So what are the hard cold facts? The variables may be numerous. 

We know these facts. Eating an excess of calories in comparison to your body weight will definitely make you put on more weight than you desire. If you eat to much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods you may be putting in more calories than you know. A perfect example of this is consuming may liquid calories. You don't feel the load because these types of calories go through your body much faster than solid foods. Why is that? The answer. Your body has to do less work to break down the calories you've just consumed because in liquid form they are almost at the most basic form of breakdown. The other problem associated with this is there may not be enough quality nutrients in a source of nutrition that is primarily liquid. A great example is seen in soft drinks. A typical soft drink will have roughly 20 oz of fluids, 250 calories but if you get the X-large drinks you may be looking at about 500 plus calories, 0 fat, 155mg of Sodium, 69 grams or carbs (which is 69 grams of sugar) and 0 Protein. You will also get a nice cocktail of chemicals and (HFCS) High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yes, this HFCS is probably coming from GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Corn. Sure you may get some Potassium and Phosphorus but that is hardly abundant in comparison to the junk you are getting which will lead to poor health. 
Although your diet may play a critical role in whether or not you become over weight or obese their is still that question of whether or not you are getting enough physical activity. In a previous article I discussed how getting 10,000 steps a day could help maintain your cardiovascular health as well as help with weight control. What if you aren't getting those daily steps? You need to make sure you are getting some form of exercise. In a recent article published in the ACE -ProSource Blog, they recommended a call to action of getting 150 hours of weekly physical activity. In other words, get at least 2 1/2 hours of exercise weekly or an average of 30 minutes 5 days a week. It may sound like a little but its far more than most Americans are getting. In this same article they reported a staggering increase in physical inactivity. We are talking about reports of going from 19.4% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010 in women while in men those numbers went from 11.4% to 43.5%. What this research then suggests is that men remain to be more physically active then women. This is a major concern for women who are more susceptible to conditions like osteoporosis then men. If that is not alarming enough, 71.1% of black women between the ages of 40 and 64 report to be physically inactive in 2004. Mexican-American women were the second highest at a tight margin of 70.3%. Probably what I found to be more troubling is that diet remained quite stable according to this same study. In other words, people have not really increased their caloric intake but they have definitely decrease their physical activity. A thought I found even more disturbing is that this study didn't really address income levels and jobs requiring physical activity. This study seems to suggest that even though it's common knowledge that Mexican-Americans and Blacks (Non-hispanic) seem to have jobs which require more physical work.  White women or white men who are more likely to have office jobs which are less labor intensive are still getting more physical activity. This still brings another question. Is it possible and safe to say that the increased intake a processed foods may be another contributing factor? I am going to guess that the answer is yes. This is something that needs to be looked into more directly. While we may not have all the answers, what we do know is that regardless of your race, the one main condition which stood out is women need to become more physically active in comparison to men. 
If you think these statistics aren't true. Take a look around you today. If you work in an office, start counting people and create your own charts. When you go shopping create your own research. When you are at a local venue, take down your own statistics. I would love to see what your numbers look like and you can share them here. Report your city, location which you were at during the time of your data collection and a summary of your findings. Try this in three different locations so you can come up with an average. Are you curious about your neighborhood? Use this as an excuse to go meet your neighbors and tell them you are conducting a research paper and thus collecting statistical data about your neighborhood health. Mention that you require to know the ages, number of people in the household, sex gender and how many people they would consider to be overweight in their home. It's a great way to bond with your neighbors and possibly start your own healthy neighborhood project. Go break the ice with your neighbors. One benefit other than getting to know your neighbors is getting some physical activity out of the way as you walk from door to door. :D
*If you wish to read more about this report go to: ACE ProSource August 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part V - Upper Body Training

The TRX Suspension Trainer is quite a toy that can be used to train any part of your body as you may have seen in the previous four segments of this series. We focused in body parts in stages of what I feel is most important to important and now the final piece of the puzzle. We worked on the core because it's what separates your lower body from your upper body. Then we worked on your lower body because it's what has to carry you all day. Now we will address the upper body because it's what completes what is left of your body.Your upper body handles pretty much ever other task that doesn't fully require your legs. You grasp with your hands, pull and push with your arms and then of course your arms are led in many different directions by your shoulders to complete the tasks required by the arms. Your back muscles aid many of the requirements when pulling. Make sure that when you train your body you focus on balanced training principles. Some people love working out on their chest so they focus a lot of work on that. Some people love flexing their arms because they want to show off their guns. That's all great but if your muscles aren't worked out in a balanced manner you will end up having weakness in the area you workout the least. Imagine having big arms but no chest or a big chest and no arms. We all know those folks with the big upper body and the skinny legs. You probably remember Popeye the Sailor cartoons. Popeye had these enormous forearms which were very un-proportional in comparison to the rest of his body. Then you have Brutus who's belly was over enlarged compared to the rest of his limbs. Those are cartoon characters but people too actually have some of these unbalanced traits in real life either because of under-training, over-training or lack of exercise. Wimpy love hamburgers so his belly reflected it. When you exercise please remember to balance some cardiovascular activities with endurance work, strength training and core work. It great way to make sure you do balanced training is to consider the exercise you are performing. Are you flexing at your arms as much as you are extending? Do you do equal amounts of Chest Presses with Rowing exercises? Are you pressing upward as much as you are pulling downward? Are you flexing at the hips as much as you are extending? Here is a good suggestion on cycling your exercise regimen best known as Periodization. Start a week with 1 - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps, the next week go train at 12 - 15 reps, then go for 8 -12 reps. Don't push to much to fast. Work up slowly but surely. Over time you will get the results you want. If you push to hard to soon you will get hurt just as fast or fail to make continuous progress because of poor progressions. Journal your workout to see how your progress is coming along. The same holds true with your diet.
I found this great chart of upper body exercises using the TRX Suspension Trainer. Work on uni-lateral exercises before trying bi-lateral exercises when it comes to this style of training. When you work with free weights, you are better off doing the opposite to see if there is an in-balance in strength or endurance. For example, if you do arm curls try and see if you can crank out the same amount of reps with both sides. If you can't then don't do barbell curls until you have equal strength on both sides. If you find these in-balances it may not be a good idea to use the TRX until you balance both sides. Download the workout chart here!
To Purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer which comes with a Guide Click Here: TRX Suspension Trainer

Friday, July 4, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part IV - Leg Training

In our previous three segments regarding TRX Suspension training you learned some basics about the core and how it is the connection between the body and the extremities which are the legs, arms and neck which holds your head in place and the rest of your limbs and joints. I provided a link to a TRX Suspension Trainer Core Workout. My next favorite thing but actually my all-time favorite body part to train are the legs. Why the legs? Our legs have to carry us every single day and are our direct source of transportation from here to there. Without our legs we become dependent on others to help us get around unless you retrain yourself to get around using your arms which is much more difficult but eventually possible. 
One of my special strengths has been in having the ability to perform what is called a Pistol Squat. I first learned the Pistol Squat from my Mentor, Instructor and Comrade Pavel Tsatsouline who was a former Soviet Special Forces physical trainer. Later when I got certified by the International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation Founder Steve Cotter who also became my mentor and comrade I picked up the Pistol Squat with pleasure because unlike most folks, I could perform it.
So here is the Single Leg Squat that you may have to learn in order to actually be able to perform a true Pistol Squat without the assistance of a device. As you get stronger you can add weight to increase resistance. Make sure your knees are healthy before attempting to do this exercise.
Reasons you should be performing the Single Leg Squat: It is key to having balanced strength on both legs independently of each other so that when you perform traditional Squats which require the use of both legs you aren't faced with leg dominance of one side. It strengthens your ankles which is necessary for single leg balance. This exercise can help you in sports performance in which leg, glute and hip strength is a key factor. 
Key things to remember. Hold on to TRX Suspension Trainer as lightly as possible. Keep your knees pointing the same direction as your feet. If your feet are facing forward than your knees should be pointing forward. Don't allow you knees to collapse in or collapse out. Keep the natural arch of your spine. Make sure your feet remain in full contact with the ground. Drop as deep as safely possible. Keep your chest tall. 
Exercise which can help you gain strength to perform this exercise are Lunges, Split Squats, Deadlifts and Squats which like the Single Leg Pistol Squat are all body weight type exercises in which you can add resistance increase resistance. Remember to train your legs for endurance, strength and power. I hope you are enjoying this series and will come back to learn some more. :D