It’s Everywhere: SUGAR follow up

A few weeks ago I posted an article about SUGAR. I have been telling people for years that “BIG SUGAR” is a lot like “BIG TOBACCO”. The SUGAR pushers have been actively involved in a disinformation campaign for years. If my last sugar article didn’t convince you,  check out this recent article in the New York Times:

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Hey there…thanks for stopping by. Due to some family obligations I am temporarily not adding any new content. There are literally hundreds of articles to choose from in my archives, going all the way back to 2008. Please take a moment to look around, I am sure you will find stuff worth exploring.  I’ll be back soon with new content for you to enjoy.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

STROKE: Are you prepared?

A stroke happens about every 40 seconds. Each year, about 795,000 Americans have a stroke. Do you know the warning signs?

If you do have stroke warning signs, this means your brain isn’t getting the blood it needs. Damage may be temporary or permanent. For example, you might lose the ability to speak, but recover it with time. You might have partial or complete weakness, for example, in the use of an arm or leg.

The important thing is what you do if stroke symptoms happen. The sooner the treatment, the less chance of serious damage to the brain. And this means less chance of permanent disability.

Stroke Warning Signs

Sometimes symptoms of stroke develop gradually. But if you are having a stroke, you are more likely to have one or more sudden warning signs like these:

Types of Strokes

Stroke symptoms may differ, depending upon the type of stroke, where it occurs in the brain, and how severe it is. A less severe stroke may be more difficult to recognize.

An ischemic stroke happens when a vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked. It can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, fatty deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis) can cause blood clots to form. Sometimes a blood clot forms in the heart from an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It then travels to a place where it blocks an artery supplying the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain. This can also happen for a variety of reasons.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a “mini stroke” from a temporary blockage. Although a TIA doesn’t cause permanent brain damage, it may cause stroke warning signs, which may last minutes or even hours. Think of this as a warning sign you shouldn’t ignore.

What to Do if You Have Symptoms of Stroke

Remember that a stroke is a medical emergency. Sometimes it is even called a brain attack.

Don’t ignore stroke warning signs even if you have just one warning sign or if symptoms are mild or go away.

Don’t wait! Every minute counts. Call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) if you have one or more symptoms for more than a few minutes. An ambulance can get you to a hospital without delay. Check the time when symptoms begin. This is important information to share when you arrive at the hospital.

What if you’re with someone else who might be having stroke symptoms but you’re not sure?

Take charge and call 911. Some people may deny that there is a serious problem. They don’t want others to make a fuss. Or they might ask, “What’s the big rush?” It may help to remember this: What’s the worst thing that can happen if this isn’t a stroke? An unnecessary trip to the hospital. But what’s the worst thing that can happen if you ignore the problem and it turns out to be a stroke? The result could be much worse.

TAKU’s NOTE: The above material was gathered from various sources around the web. I am sharing it here for information purposes. I have been away from my blog because someone near and dear to me recently suffered a stroke. This has been a life altering event for me and my family and I would not wish this on anyone. I’ve learned a few things during this process.

1. Be sure your life is in order. In other words G.-Y.-S.-T.

2. If you or someone you know has already had a stroke, be sure and explore your available resources.

If you think someone may be having a stroke remember this acronym: F-A-S-T

The Passing of a HERO:

I just got the very sad news that we have lost one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Casey Viator has passed away at the age of 62.  Casey is famous for his incredible strength. His workouts are the stuff of legend. He was unequaled in both his focus and intensity while training.  Among his many accomplishments Casey is perhaps best known for his participation in the Colorado Experiment. During this well documented, and highly supervised training regimen, Casey underwent perhaps the most dramatic body transformation that has ever occurred.

Later in his life Casey still coached others doing seminars, working with athletes one-on-one as well as acting as a consultant through his web-site, training videos, and a self published book.

Today is a sad day indeed for those of us in the Strength and Fitness world. Please join me and take a moment to remember this amazing man.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Balanced training or Training for balance

No_BOSU

By TAKU

I’ve been working as a trainer for 25 years now. Back when I first started, I learned quickly that strength was, and is the most important quality we can cultivate. Strength training using evidence based exercise concepts is the safest, and most efficient method to impact global health and fitness in minimal time. As I have said before, strength is the foundation of function.

As a strength coach and personal trainer, the question of training for balance often comes up. Athletes often want to know if there is an exercise that they can do that will improve their balance in their chosen sport. For average fitness folks the balance question most often arises as it relates to aging and maintaining mobility.

Many coaches and trainers on the “Balance Training” Band-Wagon claim that functional exercises should be performed on an unstable surface, in order to promote  balance. This is a very common approach to training equilibrium, whereby the emphasis is placed on proprioceptive sensitivity and core stability. While it seems, superficially, to be an obvious method of choice, it is actually counterproductive to real functional stability. The irony in these methods is that the property that is introduced to try to enhance balance control — an unstable surface — is the very element that prevents the nervous system from correcting for postural deviations.

Stay with me here…

Equilibrium is maintained through the application of force into the ground. As the center of gravity shifts over the base of support, force is applied through the feet in order to re-center the center of gravity. The inherent problem with labile surfaces (wobble boards, dyna-discs etc) is that the objective of the exercise is to avoid displacing the surface. In other words, the goal is to keep the surface from moving. To do this, the subject must actually resist applying force to the surface, and therefore, is being trained not to exert force which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. Clearly this practice would have a dubious effect on balance control.

(LIGHT-BULB!!)

Furthermore, this type of balance training involves static balance control, in which motion of the center of gravity is severely restricted. Hamilton and colleagues (2008), quite interestingly, report no correlation between static balance control and hopping capability, a very dynamic stability problem, and one of those “highly functional” movement skills.

What does seem to aid in balance control is increased muscular strength and power. Research demonstrates evidence of a direct correlation between muscular strength and power, and the ability to maintain balance (Orr, et al, 2006, Santos and Liu, 2008). Butler and associates (2008) have even determined that insufficient strength in the ankle musculature results in a reduction of proprioceptive acuity. Conversely, increased muscle force capacity contributes to enhanced proprioceptive capability. Arguably, equilibrium may be enhanced through a simple process of muscle strength development that promotes force application. This may, in fact, be accomplished on a leg press.

The truth is that balance is task specific. A common misconception is that fundamental abilities can be trained through various drills or other activities. The thinking is that, with some stronger ability, the athlete will see gains in performance for tasks with this underlying ability.

For example, coaches often use various balancing drills to increase general balancing ability. Such attempts to train fundamental abilities may sound fine, but usually they simply do not work. Time, and often money, would be better spent practicing the eventual goal skills.

There are two correct ways to think of these principles.

First, there is no general ability to balance, rather, balance is based on many diverse abilities, so there is no single balance ability, for example, that can be trained.

Second, even if there were such general abilities, these are, by definition, genetic and not subject to modification through practice. Therefore, attempts to modify ability with a nonspecific drill are ineffective. A learner may acquire additional skill at the drill (which is, after all, a skill itself), but this learning does not transfer to the main skill of interest.

Do not attempt to mimic or imitate a skill by using a completely separate *gadget, or with exercises in the weight room. It can’t be done. Strengthen the muscles in the weight room, develop a high level of conditioning, and practice the skills used to play your sport or game. It’s that simple!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

*In Plain English: (Just in case I have not been 100% clear up to this point). You should never waste any time or energy doing any of the things demonstrated in the  images above if your goal is to improve performance in a totally separate sport or activity.

Excerpts from this article appear (with permission) from the article:

The Truth on Fitness:
Functional training
Paul M. Juris, Ed.D.
Executive Director, CybEx Institute

Other References

Bryant, C.X. (2008) What is functional strength training?
American Council on Exercise.

Butler, A.A., Lord, S.R., Rogers, M.W., and Fitzpatrick, R.C. (2008).
Muscle weakness impairs the proprioceptive control of human standing.
Brain Research. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.03.094

Greenfield, B. (2005). Functional exercise that makes sense.
Ezine Articles.

Hamilton, R.T., Shultz, S.J., Schmitz, R.J.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STRENGTH TRAINING DURING MENOPAUSE

By TAKU

At Hybrid fitness we recommend brief, intense, infrequent strength training workouts as the foundation of a total fitness program. This style of training is safe efficient and effective for everyone.

Often women will avoid strength training with weights for fear of bulking up or sometimes because they just don’t realize the benefits to be gained. With this in mind I offer the following information with regards to the many benfits of strength training before and during menopause:

Reverse Genetic Markers of Aging –It’s a generally established medical fact that the benefits of brief effective strength training are a practical fountain of youth. Strength training delivers the health benefits that no other form of exercise will.

 

Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis – As we age our bones naturally get more porous and less dense. That makes them more brittle and prone to breaking. Brief effective strength training reverses this process and adds density to bones.

Improves Cholesterol Profile – Brief effective strength training exercise lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. These are two key markers of heart disease that are improved by Brief effective strength training exercise.

Positively Impact Hormone Profiles – Brief effective strength training causes your body to produce more of its own, natural growth hormone. Increased HGH is known to boost libido, improve your sleep, improve memory and decrease the wrinkles in your skin!

 

Boost Metabolism and Increase Fat Loss – Adding muscle to your body increases your Basal Metabolic Rate which means you will naturally burn more calories and lose fat 24 hours a day. Adding just 5 pounds of new muscle will burn off 20 to 30 pounds of fat annually.

 

More Energy – Having more muscle means that every activity throughout the day is less taxing. That means having extra energy left over to enjoy life more.

Look Better – Strength training changes the composition of your body in two very positive ways. It increases lean body mass and decreases fat. In short, strength training makes you look younger and more fit.

Positive effects on depression – Regular strength training exercise improves cognitive function, enhances mood and promotes daytime alertness and restful sleep. Brief effective strength training will increase endorphin levels which are the bodies’ natural pain relievers.

A high intensity, no momentum workout program is the safest and most effective means to achieve muscle strength and endurance, reduced body fat, higher metabolism, increased bone mineral density, and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Now imagine getting all those benefits by performing perhaps one or two brief, effective strength training workouts a week. The point is that greater strength equals greater health. Now is the time for you to become your best. So what are you waiting for, get started on your strength training program today.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

SLEEP & REST “WHY IT IS IMPORTANT “

By Steve McKinney

According to an article in the premiere issue of the NFPT REVIEW, sleep is very important, they write:

One of the most inherent values of sleep is the concurrent breakdown of toxins in the cerebral spinal fluid that accumulate during waking hours. After 48 hours of sleep deprivation, test subjects have been found to display a significant long and short-term memory loss, and a reduction in their ability to reason and communicate effectively. All of these symptoms have been attributed in part to this build up of toxins in the cerebral spinal fluid during waking hours. It is also interesting to note that the rate of toxin build up in the cerebral spinal fluid is unique from individual to individual thus explaining the reason why some people can function effectively on less sleep than others.

What exactly does that mean to us? Well, one thing it means is, we need to get enough sleep. You see, in our society we are pushed to the limits of our abilities on a daily basis. We need to work more hours and get less rest in order to “make ends meet”. This mentality, however, can cause us to function at much lower levels than where we should be. I understand the above quote as saying, if I don’t get enough sleep I am not going to function at near the capacity that I am potentially able. If I reduce my sleep to one hour less per night and that toxin build up is not completely removed, it will then accumulate. Over a period of time it will accumulate to levels that cause me to have short-term memory loss, poor communication skills and less ability to reason. That is not how I want to function in my daily personal and business activities.

Sleep also restores our body’s energy supplies that we have used up during the course of our day. Some people require more sleep than others based on the amount and type of work they do. If you labor intensely you will require more sleep than someone who does mental work. Some people simply require more sleep than others. Teenagers, because of the hormonal changes that are going on in their bodies, require much more sleep than they did when they were children.

There are people who have trouble sleeping. This can include inability to fall asleep or stay sleeping for more than a few hours. Let me give you some things that could be causing sleep problems:

  • Caffeine–Too much caffeine during the course of the day can affect a sound nights sleep. I personally had to reduce my caffeine intake drastically after I turned 40. I may have a cup of coffee before my workout but I never drink it on a daily basis. I don’t know why it was around that time of my life these changes needed to occur, it might have been hormone related. I do know that my sleep was affected and the subsequent reduction of caffeine made the difference. Consuming caffeine too late in the day can also affect your sleep. Caffeine consumption comes in more forms than just coffee, it is found in sodas, both diet and regular, it is found in chocolate and teas, both herbal and regular. A word of caution, dropping your caffeine intake can result in severe headaches. This is due to the blood flow restriction from lack of caffeine. It should go away in about 3-7 days.
  • Stress–Stress debilitates your health, it’s that simple. Stress can take many forms: work, relationships, parenting, etc. You’re always going to have stress in your life, the key is, to control the amount that you have and to learn how to deal with it.
  • Alcohol–Alcohol consumption reduces your ability to sleep deeply. It also can attribute to sleep apnea because it relaxes the upper airway muscles. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause people to awaken numerous times during the course of a night. (An interesting aside about one client of mine and sleep apnea. When this client started coming to me he weighed 265 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea. He began to exercise and lost 60 pounds while gaining some muscle. His sleep apnea went away! The sad thing is he stopped exercising, regained all the weight and lost muscle size. Guess what happened next? The sleep apnea returned.)

Now let me give you some pointers on getting a sound night sleep:

  • Develop a sleep pattern–Try to get to bed at the same time every night. Your body thrives on regularity. I know some people who have such a good sleep pattern that they don’t need an alarm clock to wake them.
  • Keep your sleeping room free from distractions–Having your room dark and quiet will help insure a deep, sound sleep. If you sleep with the T.V. on, as some people do, your sleep will be affected.
  • Get up–If you find yourself tossing and turning, it may be a good idea to get up and take a hot shower or read a book. When I toss and turn I find that I end up getting more frustrated and add to my inability to sleep.
  • Use supplements if necessary–If you have trouble sleeping you can use some natural alternatives to help you get to sleep. Check with your local health food store for natural sleep aids.

A point of interest is that exercise can improve the quality of sleep. Proper exercise can relieve stress and allow you to get a good night sleep.

Another important aspect of your lifestyle change is rest. Taking some time to get away from the daily routine is essential for you to function at a high level of performance. When I talk about levels of performance I mean doing what you do in the best way you can, be it working or parenting and so on. The idea is simply for you to be the best you can be. So resting on a regular basis every day can help you.

A lot of clients of mine do not take a lunch break; they just work and eat at their desk. It is so important not to do that. You need to get away from your work area and let your mind rest. This goes for every person reading this article. Take a short break away from your work once or twice per day if it is possible. I personally schedule a 5-10 nap in the middle of the day. This keeps me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. My wife does not like the short naps but prefers longer ones. Unfortunately she is not always afforded this luxury with work schedules and such. She does occasionally get a chance to get a break in her day, which she finds helpful as most of us do.

Sleep and rest, most of us don’t get enough, some of us get too much but that is rare. Just find a happy balance for yourself and make it part of your lifestyle. If you ignore these important aspects of your life it can lead to undue stress! Go to bed an hour earlier than usual. Stop burning the candle at both ends. You will find that you feel better and your attitude will be brighter!

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my good friend Steve McKinney for this weeks article. For more info on Steve, click on his name at the top of this asrticle.