Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great Quote

Now I push myself to the threshold
Because I am stronger
Because I believe
Now I spit in the face of defeat
Now I'm stronger then all uncertainty
-Jamey Jasta

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Red Wine & Health

Red wine has been associated with heart health for a number of years now.  The reason is an antioxidant in the wine called Resveratrol.  Resveratrol may be one of natures most powerful anti-aging supplement out there.  It has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation in the blood, basically making the blood "less sticky."  It also has anti-inflammatory properties.  It inhibits LDL cholesterol, (the bad kind).  In a few test tube studies it also inhibits tumor growth.  
Wines made with grapes in cold weather climates seem to have the most Resveratrol.  It is also low in carbs for anyone following a low carb or atkins type diet.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Good Reading

I just finished reading two books.  The first was called the "Year of Living Biblically," by A.J. Jacobs.  It follows his year as an agnostic Jew of living his life by every law in the bible, a little over 600 to be exact.  From the so called "big ones," such as the Ten Commandments, to the little obscure ones such as not cutting your hair on the sides of your head and not wearing mixed fiber clothing. 
 Jacobs gives a fun account of his year and the struggles and triumphs that ensue.  What I found interesting is the the old idea of fake it to you make it concept.  If you lived your life like how you wanted instead of how you felt, does your life take on those characteristics?  If you act humble even when you feel proud day in and day out, will you in fact become more humble?  They say it takes 21 days to cement a habit.  Try picking one thing and doing it for 21 days and see if it becomes a bit easier to do.  
The other book I finished was a very quick read.  The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  It was a simply written but beautiful book.  It tells the story of a father and son traveling in a post apocalyptic time.  Its the tale of two people trying to keep their morality in a world that offers nothing in return if they do.  Can you keep hope alive in the midst of despair.   Both books were good reads and worth the time to dig into them.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can Eye Movements Enhance Strength

The last few weeks I have been playing with a concept I first heard from Mike T. Nelson, a trainer out in Minnesota.  He is a Z-health practitioner.  They have some very interesting concepts and protocols for health and performance.  The originator Dr. Eric Cobb presents some intriguing joint mobility exercises and drills to enhance performance.  One such drill is for enhancing the extensors.  With the head in neutral, look up with your eyes.  This should bring about an increase in your extensor power.  While the opposite is also true, looking down with will enhance the flexors.  Keep in mind this is eye movement.  So the head stays completely neutral.  No cervical hyper extension!  So give it a try.  Next time it's heavy deadlift day, grip it and look up with the eyes and see if it comes off the floor with a little more pop.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Band pull-aparts in Grand Rapids

Here is a pretty good exercise and a video off of youtube. This band pull-apart works the posterior deltoid and is a good warm up exercise for any type of upper body exercise. I always throw this into the warm ups for the Grand Rapids Rugby team when they come into our gym to train. Think about pulling the shoulder blades down and back and keep the thumbs towards the ceiling.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Article Worth Reading

This is from Dr. Michael Eades. MD. Well worth the time to read. It raises great thought on what to eat, especially when you are sick. Low carb diets have more and more research behind them. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Scoop on Fat

Ever wonder what a pound of fat looks like in comparison to a pound of lean muscle?  Yea...big difference!

Fat requires a large amount of blood supply in the form of tiny capillaries compared to an equal amount of lean muscle mass which is supplied by larger vessels.  This puts a strain on the cardiovascular system.  
Losing weight is now believed to only shrink the size of the fat cells and for them to become metabolically less active.  Yes, fat is metabolically active.  Fat can make inflammatory agents, not only that, it attracts immune system cells called macrophages which promote inflammation.
Inflammation is now viewed as the key mechanism in heart disease. Most heart attacks aren't caused by blockages but inflamed plaque that breaks off and causes a blood clot.  Which then leads to heart attack or stroke.  
Fat cells also secrete estrogen which is linked to cancer, primarily breast cancer.  So fat is not just a lump that lies on the surface and makes your pant size go up.  
A recent discovery now shows that wear you accumulate your fat has huge implications to health and how it is viewed in the body.  Put simply, fat cells behave differently depending on where they are in the body.  
Fat that's around the butt and thighs isn't as metabolically active.  So it doesn't produce the negative health effects as much.  This also means it's harder to get rid of because it's not as metabolically active.  Fat that accumulates around the organs in the abdomen, called visceral fat, is the opposite.   They are metabolically active and have a high association with diabetes  and produce more inflammation and clot promoting compounds.  The good news is this is the first place you experience fat loss with exercise.  Take home message...get exercising!  Oh and visceral fat isn't going to get removed with liposuction for all those looking for the easy way out! 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Understanding Digestion

1. Chewing produces more saliva which helps to break down food.
2. Food travels down the esophagus and into the....
3. Stomach (here acid and enzymes converts food into a type of paste)
4. Pyloric Valve....this keeps the acid from coming back up.
Digestion takes place in 1 to 4 hours. Carbs leave the stomach first, then protein, then fat.
5. Nutrients enter the Duodenum, which is the first part of the
6. Small Intestine
7. Pancreas ...enzymes from here and the duodenum complete the rest of digestion.
8. Liver....produces Bile and is secreted by the
9. Gall bladder. This assists with fat digestion and absorption.
10. Jejunum
11. Ilium These two have twenty feet of absorptive tissue. These two sections have many folds called villi and finger like projections on the villi called microvilli. They provide over 820 sq. ft. of absorptive capabilities.....the size of a tennis court.
From there, nutrients are shipped off to your liver for further processing, then to cells, which create and store glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Vitamin D will be the next big supplement. Did you know that Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a hormone? There is a ton of research coming out on how it can help in about every way possible from athletic improvement to fighting cancer to bone health. The standard 400 IU recomendation has been grossly understated. Expect it to move up to 1000 IU in a few years. Its also pretty hard to get in the standard diet unless you've been guzzling your cod liver oil? Anyone? Also with the slathering on of 45 spf your not getting it from the sun.

2. Brain actually uses lactate for fuel during exercise not glucose. How cool is that? Carbs are looking less and less important. Score one for the protein fat camp.

3. Intervals have once again beaten the socks off of LSD ( long slow death...sorry....long slow distance) when comparing fat loss. Instead of running a mile, try running 8x200 with appropriate rest intervals, if fat loss is your goal.

4. If you keep your glutes strong and your hip flexors loose, 90% of low back problems will be resolved or never come to fruition.

5. Having rotator cuff problems? Internal and External rotations with a light band for 3x12 will not resolve the issue. Strengthen the scapular stabilizers. The scapulae is the answer for most shoulder problems!