Archive | October, 2009

Motor Amnesia: Getting Down

29 Oct

My three-year-old niece has the physical skills that a lot of adults don’t. She knows how to get down. That is, she can drop to the ground, roll over, and then spring to her feet with the same effort that most adults take for a mere breath. I mean, she doesn’t just get down, she drops down kamikaze-style, making the grownups around her cringe as though she just shattered herself.

She doesn’t hurt herself, of course, just simply entertaining herself. 1 CRAWLING MANThis basic activity — fundamental patterns of play — is something many adults have forgotten how to do. We all probably know adults who’d have difficulty easing themselves onto the ground without looking like awkward land mammals, much less rolling and then springing back onto their feet.

I see adults spending hours in health clubs doing specialized exercises on fancy equipment (and that’s good), but most probably still can’t get on the ground comfortably, should they need to. Heaven forbid, but: what if there’s a fire in the building and you must get down and crawl? What if some lunatic opens fire in a shopping center parking lot? What if you just want to play with your 3-year-old niece?

If you’ve been regularly intimate with the ground through exercise, play, or work, then I hope you keep it up (it’s a skill worth having for the rest of your life, if not for emergency then for fundamental fitness). But if you haven’t been getting on the ground and getting up regularly, then I encourage you to start now. Here are basic instructions to get going:

PHASE ONE Just find a spot on the floor of your living room (with carpet or rug, of course, but try not to use a soft mat, if you can). Just get down on the ground on all four, and then maneuver back up. Keep your knees aligned with your feet as best as you can (don’t let your knees twist from side to side). Other than knee alignment, use whatever means you want in order to stand all the way back up, and don’t worry about your overall technique — after all, your body is not dumb, so don’t let the fitness gurus and personal trainers tell you that you must demonstrate perfectbiomechanics for something as fundamental as getting up from the ground. When you’re comfortable with getting down and getting up, then you can repeat this action for repetitions — it doesn’t matter how many, just do as many as  you can. You’ll be limited by either muscular endurance, or by cardio-respiratory endurance, or both.

PHASE TWO Now, when you’re on the ground, stretch out on your stomach. Then use your arms to push back up onto all four limbs, and then stand up like before. Again, when comfortable with the movement, repeat this for reps.

PHASE THREE Next, inoculate your body to the ground further by rolling onto your back, then roll again onto your stomach, and then get up. Roll all the way to one direction for one full rep back onto your feet, then to the other for the next. Repeat this for reps, alternating the direction that you roll.

Now, this may sound pretty easy for those who are fit and athletic, but I know there are a good number of us out there who don’t think in terms of getting on the ground as a part of our daily routine, and therefor this fundamental movement can be challenging, and a decent exercise. In fact, even for those who are fit and athletic, give this a try for high-speedrepetitions: do 20 (or even 30) in as little time as you can. You will find that this elevates heart rate and works your muscles in ways you’re not used to.

1 crawl

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The Dos And Don’ts Of Exercising When You Are Sick

29 Oct

You wake up in the morning with that little scratchy feeling in your throat, but you shake it off. As you get ready for work, make breakfast, and get the kids ready for school, you begin to sniffle. Yes, you are coming down with a cold. The question is should you cancel your exercise session today, or is it ok to exercise when you are sick?

Mild to Moderate Exercise for the Common Cold

Based on current knowledge, if the cold is confined to your head, such as a runny nose and sore throat without a fever or body aches, exercising is fine. Studies have shown that people engaging in mild to moderate exercise, such as walking, while sick with the common cold did not experience any more sever symptoms, longer cold duration or negative effects on exercise performance. In fact, some researchers suggest that mild to moderate exercise could speed the recovery of a minor cold by stimulating immune defenses. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Exercise seems to have a curvilinear effect on immune defense. Mild to moderate exercise supports immune defense responses, but as exercise become intense or prolonged, it suppresses immune defense. Exercise intensity can be resumed a few days after the cold symptoms have cleared up.

Rest for Systemic or Symptom Complex Illness

If your illness is systemic (whole-body) or symptom complex, such as respiratory infections, fever, swollen glands, extreme fatigue, and muscle aches and pains, rest is recommended. Exercise can be resumed after adequate rest and recovery. The actual length of recovery can depend on several factors, such as the severity of the illness, quality of rest, high levels of unmanaged stress, very low-calorie intake and rapid weight reduction. Ease back into your training program by taking 2 to 4 weeks to gradually resume intensive exercise.

Hampering the Spread of Cold Viruses

Contrary to my grandmothers warnings about going outside with wet hair, current research suggests cold viruses are passed from person to person primarily through nasal and airway passages. To hamper the spread of cold viruses, coughs, sneezes and “nose-blowing” should be smothered with a tissue, or as my father use to do, with a handkerchief. Wash your hands often with soap and water to avoid spreading cold viruses to your surroundings, and disinfecting your workout area would be greatly appreciated by your fellow fitness enthusiasts. To keep your immune system healthy and strong, current knowledge suggests eating a well-balanced diet, managing stress levels, preventing chronic fatigue, getting adequate sleep, and participating in daily exercise.

Summing Up

•   Do exercise at mild to moderate intensity if the cold symptoms are from the neck up.
•    Mild to moderate exercise includes (but not limited to) walking, light resistance training and stretching.
•    Intensive exercise maybe resumed a few days after the symptoms have cleared.
•   Don’t exercise with fever, extreme fatigue, swollen glands, muscle aches and pains.
•    Ease back into your exercise training and allow approximately 2 to 4 weeks before resuming intensive exercise.
•    Do eat a well-balanced diet, manage stress, prevent chronic fatigue, and exercise daily for a healthy immune system.


Reference:

Nieman, D.C., Weidner, T., and Dick, E. Exercise and the common cold.
http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=current_comments1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8635

American College of Sports Medicine. (2009). Protect against colds with exercise. http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=About_ACSM&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=13537

Fiber: Eatin’ the Roughage

21 Oct

Fiber is one of the most popular nutrients that intrigues scientists, yet we learn that there is continuously more to know. We know it’s good for us, but what is it? Where can we find it? Does it help with fat loss? What else is there? Here we try to answer these and other important questions.

1 fiberWhat is Fiber?

Unfortunately, there is not a universal definition of fiber that is accepted throughout the world. Why? Because so many types of fiber behave differently under various conditions that scientists cannot agree on what is a definition that would cover all of the physiological and scientific behaviors of fiber.

The “accepted” definition of dietary fiber is “the plant polysaccharides (i.e. long-chain sugars) and lignin which are resistant to hydrolysis by digestive enzymes of man.” In layman’s terms: undigested long-chain sugars and lignin from plant cell walls. The problems with this definition are:
•        It fails to include the types of fiber that may reach the large intestine.
•        It uses the ability to be digested as the basis for the definition when undigested food reaching the colon does not   necessarily lack the ability to be digested, nor is it necessarily unavailable to the body.
•        Fiber actually can be broken down, and used as an energy source for the body.
We will see later how this definition does not cover those types of fiber that reach the large intestine intact, but are broken down into byproducts made available by the local normal flora (i.e. the bacteria normally found there).

Viscous and Fermentable Fiber

In the US, fiber is typically categorized as “soluble” and “insoluble” fiber, but even these terms are now starting to fade away. Soluble fiber were once characterized to be viscous in the stomach or small intestine, attenuate blood glucose after eating, and lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Some still do, but not all soluble fibers are viscous.

Insoluble fiber was once thought to be those that do not dissolve in water, contribute to fecal bulk and improve laxation. However, not all insoluble fibers improve laxation.

So the terms “soluble” and “insoluble” are being phased out as more physiologically meaningful definitions such as “viscous” and “fermentable” are preferred.  Below is a list of some of the many types of fiber found in plants and on ingredient labels:

  • cellulose
  • hemicellulose
  • lignin
  • pectin
  • guar gum
  • xanthan gum
  • methylcellulose
  • agar
  • psyllium
  • carageenan

The effects of the above types of fiber vary based on the types and concentrations of ingested fiber in each meal. Significant characteristics of dietary fiber that affect its physiological and metabolic roles include:

  • water solubility
  • hydration or water-holding capacity and viscosity (thickness of fluid)
  • adsorptive attraction or ability to bind organic and inorganic molecules
  • degradability or fermentability by intestinal bacteria

As such, we should get our fiber from various sources to take advantage of viscous and fermentable fiber.

Soluble fiber (mostly viscous) can be found in oatmeal, oatbran, nuts and seeds, legumes, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, and blueberries.

Fermentable fiber can be found in whole grains, fruits, beans and veggies.

Physiological Effects of Fiber

When you hear fiber and the body, you have to think about the GI tract.  The effects of fiber on the body and GI tract are largely dependent on the type and concentration of fiber eaten.

Many, not all, studies have shown viscous fibers in the stomach can delay the rate of emptying ingested foods from the stomach into the duodenum. The discrepancies in the studies could be as a result of the other food components and the amount or type of fiber consumed.

In the small intestine, the viscous, gel-like material produced by fiber has been shown to:

•    Inhibit enzyme activity associated with fat, protein and carbohydrate digestion. This results in reduced intestinal absorption of these macronutrients as well as cholesterol.
•    Reduce the glycemic index of a meal
•    May reduce the risk and treat upper small intestine ulcers (specifically fruit or veggie fiber, not cereal fiber).

The effects of fiber on the large intestine (colon) are very dependent on the type of fiber’s fermentability, which depends on the chemical behavior of the fiber and the concentration of natural bacteria in the colon. Highly fermented fibers are oat bran, pectin, psyllium and guar gum, whereas cellulose and wheat bran may be poorly fermented. In general, fruits and veggies (rich in hemicelluloses and pectins) contain more fermentable fiber than do cereals (rich in celluloses). Fiber also may attract water while traveling through the colon. The greater the attraction of water into the colon (e.g. wheat bran), the greater the laxative effect. As fermentable fiber passes through the colon, they produce large amounts of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (including butyrate, acetate and propionate) which is the primary energy source of the colon and hypothesized to be protective against colon cancer.

Fiber and Weight Loss

Viscous fiber has been reported to reduce hunger. This has partially been attributed to the delayed emptying of food from the stomach, causing an extended feeling of fullness. However, this is dependent on the amount of fiber consumed.

It has been repeatedly shown adding fiber to a weight-reducing diet results in greater weight loss when calories remain the same between a control and experimental group. One interesting study demonstrating this used a resistant starch. Resistant starch (RS) is another term used to describe any starch that is not digested in the small intestine but passes to the colon. During this study, the researchers discovered that following eating a meal consisting of 5.4% RS, stored fat, not meal fat, was the predominant source of fat utilized for energy, contributing approximately 80% of the total fat metabolized. The researchers suggested the increase use of endogenous fat may be due to an increase in circulating SCFA’s produced by the bacterial metabolism of RS reaching the colon.

Therefore, for those trying to lose weight, fiber may help to burn more stored body fat and help individuals achieve successful fat loss.

Fiber and Its Many Preventive Abilities

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Researchers at the US government science agency Agriculture Research Service say the results from a study of over 2000 people suggest at least three or more servings of wholegrain foods each day could reduce chances of developing “metabolic syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome is a condition marked by a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, poor blood sugar control, low HDL “good” cholesterol and high blood fats. Collectively, these increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The ability of fiber to be beneficial for type 2 diabetics comes from the list of how viscous fiber behaves as previously mentioned: decreases meal glycemic index, delayed gastric emptying, and slower rate of digestion and absorption. Included in this list is an increase in insulin sensitivity. The cells of diabetics have difficulty identifying insulin. Bodily cells that are more insulin sensitive respond to insulin better than cells that do not; this is called insulin resistance. It is believed that people who ingest whole-grain foods and cereal fiber have a lower type 2 diabetes risk. However, it is most effective for diabetics to totally eliminate starch.

Blood and Heart

Large epidemiologic studies showed a protective effect of dietary fiber against coronary heart disease (CHD). The mechanism by which fibers may protect against CHD include lowering blood cholesterol, triglycerides (i.e. fatty acids in the blood), blood pressure, homocysteine and normalizing after-meal blood glucose levels.

What is nice here is that both viscous and fermentable fibers have been recorded to protect the heart and blood – one is not necessarily better than the other.

Cancers

It was long thought that fiber was protective against colon cancer. However, three long-term studies of hundreds of people looking at polyp recurrence concluded that dietary fiber is not protective against colon cancer. Why? The following reasons have been proposed and suggest further research:

•    Polyp recurrence may not be a good surrogate marker for colon cancer
•    Insufficient fiber intake
•    Wrong type of fiber used in the studies
•    Confounding dietary factors may have been present

Fiber may be protective against breast cancer. The mechanism  that has received the most attention is through decreasing serum estrogen concentrations. Estrogen is excreted via the GI tract, but may be reabsorbed in its broken form (i.e. unconjugated form). Fiber can bind to its unconjugated form, therefore preventing its reabsorption.

Finally, because of fiber’s ability to regulate blood estrogen concentration, some researchers have hypothesized a protective effect against hormone-related cancers, such as endometrial, ovarian and prostate cancer. Thus far the research is young. The research is questionable for endometrial cancer, potentially favorable for ovarian cancer, but there is no significant differences involving the risk of prostate cancer and dietary fiber.

Recommendations

The current adequate intake suggests that adults consume 25-38 grams (or 14 g/1000 calories) of dietary fiber per day, not necessarily one type over another. Men are at the upper end of this recommendation versus women.

The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics should get 25-50 grams of dietary fiber (15–25 g/1000 kcal) per day.

Children over age 2 should consume an amount equal to or greater than their age plus 5 grams per day. The average American eats only 14-15 grams of dietary fiber a day.

Adding Fiber

Start making changes slowly, adding an additional 3 grams more per week until achieving the adequate intake. Initially, you may experience an increase in flatulence, laxation or feeling bloated. However, as the gastrointestinal tract begins to adapt to this overload of fiber, your body will become comfortable and adapt.

For those that may think they need fiber supplements, look for those that contain psyllium, a viscous fiber. This is the most comfortable form of supplementary fiber available. Others do exist. However, understand that many dietary fiber supplements require high doses in order to get a significant amount. It can be annoying taking capsules after capsule. Read the labels and know what type of fiber you are ingesting.

Eat more fiber-dense vegetables, such as broccoli, celery and asparagus. However, people with digestive disorders may still want to take a fiber supplment. On the good side for these people, there is no evidence that long-term use of fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Konsyl or Citrucel, is harmful.

Many people take fiber supplements for constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids every day if you take fiber supplements. Fiber tends to absorb water. If your fluid intake is low and you increase fiber in your diet, stool can become hard — making constipation worse.

Conclusion

Various sources of fiber are an important part of a healthy diet. Some times, for those of us struggling with dieting, it is the missing link needed to reach our goals.

Get at least the 25-38 grams of dietary fiber per day for adults. For children over age 2, the recommended intake is the child’s age + 5 grams. The best sources are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes, and whole-grain foods.

Understand there is a limit, and in some cases too much fiber can create poor absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium or zinc. However, this does not happen in the presence of adequate mineral and water intake.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

•    Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
•    Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole-grain products.
•    Choose whole-grain cereals for breakfast. Fiber One has the most on the market. Put in yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese or on salads.
•    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.
•    Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.
•    Eat the skins of vegetables, such as potatoes, cucumbers, grapefruit, etc.
•    Wisely research and consult with a physician any fiber supplements before taking them.

More Isn’t Necessarily Better: Symptoms of Overtraining

21 Oct

“So if working out a little is good, then doing more must be better.”

When you’re looking for getting new and better results in the gym, the name of the game is about consistency. If you don’t go, you’ll have nothing to show.

When we go to the gym on a consistent basis, we may start to notice that our results are not coming to us as frequently as when we had started. Eventually, we start going a little more, training a little harder and longer in order to achieve those results we have not accomplished. Eventually, the above quote becomes a mantra that gets into our heads and, eventually, we pay for it – developing a condition known as overtraining.

1 overtrainingOvertraining occurs when an athlete is training intensely, but, instead of improving, performance deteriorates, even after an extended rest period. The first noticeable difference is in an athlete’s performance, and may extend over a period of weeks or months.

Overtraining syndrome (OTS) and exhaustion are a consequence of an imbalance between stress and recovery. Ideally, when an athlete trains, his/her performance should be constantly improving. However, when the adaptations of training develop longer than the initiation of exercise, the body is receiving a repeated bout of physical stress requires recovery, but the body does not recover adequately.

Generally, the first indication of impending OTS is a change in mood although it is the decline in performance that usually captures the attention of the athlete, personal trainer and/or coach.

Unfortunately, scientists do not have a universal agreement of the diagnostic criteria for OTS. There are a number of hypotheses in the literature, but each explains only one or a couple aspects of OTS.

In 2000, Dr. Lucille Lakier Smith published an article describing the potential mechanism of OTS. She proposed that excessive training/competing causes repetitive tissue trauma, either to muscle and/or connective tissue and/or to bony structures, and that this results in chronic inflammation. The traumatized tissue synthesizes a group of inflammatory molecules called cytokines.

This article will present a brief review of the other proposed mechanisms of OTS and how cytokines may be the “lost mechanism.”

Glycogen Depletion

Some of the complaints of OTS are “heavy legs” and general fatigue. The glycogen depleting hypothesis suggests that these symptoms occur as a result of a lack of energy. Therefore, symptoms of OTS should be avoided if enough carbohydrates are eaten to fill muscle energy stores (i.e. muscle glycogen). However, when scientists tried this in cyclists, the cyclists still elicited signs of overreaching (short-term overtraining) and might have met the criteria for overtraining had the subjects been followed for a longer period of time.

Central Fatigue

This hypothesis suggests the general complaints of fatigue (low blood glycogen) may be due to an excess of an amino acid called tryptophan in the brain and spinal cord. This is the same amino acid that is found in turkey and blamed for that “Thanksgiving Coma” we get after eating that big meal. Strenuous exercise may create an increase in a neurotransmitter called serotonin via the extra tryptophan in the blood. This causes lethargy, depresses neural excitability, alters hormonal functions, decreases muscular contractions, and may impair judgment.

However, this was demonstrated in rats and has not yet been demonstrated in humans. Also, it does not explain the tendency for infections that typically occurs in OTS.

Glutamine Hypothesis

Glutamine is an important amino acid involved in optimal functioning of the immune system. Lower blood glutamine levels have been measured in overtrained athletes. This may be the cause for the increase in infections associated with OTS, however, it does not explain the change in mood or decrease in energy levels when an infection does not occur.

Nervous System and the Endocrine System

The adaptations and performance of exercise is dependent on the intricate links between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the endocrine system (the hormonal system). Any changes in either of these will affect performance in the muscle system. The endocrine system in particular controls an intricate group of glands whose hormones are vital to all aspects of life.

When overtraining occurs, then there must be a disturbance of some sort with the endocrine system and the factors that control it – namely, the autonomic nervous system (i.e. the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems).

The following table compares the signs and symptoms of two types of overtraining called A-overtraining and B-overtraining.
a)    A-overtraining (Addisonic overtraining) is named after Addison’s disease and it is associated with diminished activity of the adrenal glands, which prepare muscle for physical activity in the face of stress. This is difficult to detect early because of the absence of any dramatic symptoms. This is usually not diagnosed until a decrease in performance happens.

b)     B-overtraining (Basedowic overtraining) is named after Basedow’s disease, which is associated with thyroid hyperactivity, affecting internal stress management and metabolism. This is the classical type of overtraining with its abundance of symptoms.

The Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis Hypothesis
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are located very closely together in the brain. When the hypothalamus receives a message from the body, it uses the pituitary gland to carry out its “orders” by the using various hormones. As such, it is commonly referred to as the “neuroendocrine system.”

A natural response to increased workload is increased levels of stress hormones. During overtraining, an individual will create oddly high or low concentrations of several of these hormones.

Much of the scientific literature on overtraining is based on aerobic activities, despite the fact that resistance exercise is a large component of many exercise programs. Because of various resistance training programs, chronic resistance exercise can result in differential responses to overtraining depending on whether either training volume or training intensity is excessive. The neuroendocrine system is a complex physiological entity that can influence many other systems. Neuroendocrine responses to high volume resistance exercise overtraining appear to be somewhat similar to overtraining for aerobic activities. On the other hand, excessive resistance training intensity produces a distinctly different neuroendocrine profile. As a result, some of the neuroendocrine characteristics often suggested as markers of overtraining may not be applicable to some overtraining scenarios. This hypothesis lacks consistency in individuals. Therefore, further research is needed to better understand the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis in OTS.

Cytokines

Recently, other authors have recognized the “cytokine hypothesis” as the most attractive hypothesis that accounts for the observed neuro-endocrine-immune disregulation of OTS. As you can see from what has already been mentioned in this article, there is a wide array of variability of symptoms that fall under OTS, yet it is impressive to find one source for all of these.

There are several families of cytokines and many different cytokines within a family. This article will refer primarily to the pro-inflammatory cytokines: interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). These three have a natural and specific role in promoting inflammation in order to complete the healing process.

This hypothesis proposes that because OTS is a response to excessive training/competing with insufficient time for rest and recovery, this results in some form of tissue trauma and associated chronic inflammation, with the resulting release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines increase in the blood and are capable of accessing the central nervous system and stimulating specific brain areas, resulting in changing behaviors such as depression, loss of appetite, and sleep disturbances, etc. These behaviors are associated with OTS.

Biochemically, cytokines are capable of increasing certain blood markers associated with OTS such as C-reactive protein and ferritin.

In terms of athletes becoming more susceptible to infections and allergies, in an overtrained athlete, the immune system becomes more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections. This renders the individual susceptible to developing an infection, and genetically predisposed individuals may develop allergies.

All three of the above conditions can affect an individual physically by decreasing performance.

The Solution

In a word: rest and try some recovery techniques. All of these symptoms create an adaptive type of response in the body such that they promote withdrawal from training and encourage rest in order for recovery to happen.

How much rest? That is largely dependent on the individual. Some recovery techniques involve a massage, meditation, contrast baths, yoga, a nap, contrast showers, sauna and/or hydrotherapy. Try one, several or all recovery techniques. For some athletes, just as missing a day of training is not an option, neither should an athlete’s recovery be missed.

FIT Client of the Month – Sean Henry

21 Oct

Client of the Month

seanhenry2Name: Sean Henry

Age: 47

FIT Member Since: 2007

Short-term Goals:

Muscle-up (I’m really close!)

Multiple full-range handstand push-ups

Long-term Goals:

500M Row in 1:30

To get my knees healthy enough to be consistent performing snatches and some limited running (400-800 Meters)

Really long-term:

When I have grandchildren, I want to be the grandparent who is in amazing shape and in better shape than the parents.  This will be challenging; I have some athletic kids.

What exercises do you like?

Snatches and squats in particular, but most anything is fine… except for my dislikes.

Dislikes?

Barbell sumo deadlift high pulls

Metabolic conditioning workouts over 10 minutes

L-Sits and wall sits

What is the key to your success from training here at FIT?

Consistent effort, and listening to my trainer.  Also, I think cleaning up my diet has helped a lot.

Celebrations/Results:

I can now do halfway-reasonable overhead squats.  If you saw what any of my squats looked like when I first started, you would have bet serious money I would have never gotten where I am now.

Personal records for Sean:

Snatch (full range of motion): 30kg

Power clean and jerk: 60kg

Deadlift: 300lbs

Back Squat: 100kg

Strict pull-ups: 10+ consistently

Row 500m: 1:42

Keys to success (in Danielle’s words): Sean’s key to success is coming into FIT once a week, training on his own three to four times per week, and paying close attention to his sleep, stress, nutrition, and recovery.  When Sean started at FIT in the summer of 2007, he had a couple of goals in mind: 1) He wanted to learn how to properly deadlift and squat; and 2) Gain better overall fitness (increasing strength, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility).  Starting out, Sean had limited range of motion performing all types of movements, especially squats and deadlifts.  Two years later, Sean’s dedication has acquired him to have full range of motion in all of his movements; he has increased his strength and endurance; and he can execute more complex movements with no pain.  Sean we are proud that you are part of FIT and succeeding on living a healthier lifestyle.  Congratulations!

October Announcements at FIT

14 Oct

JOIN US on Sunday mornings for a variety of activities and classes!

Come and “kick it” with us on Sundays from 830am-930am for FIT Kick.  And then follow your high-intensity cardiovascular class with Flexibility for FITness, taking some time for stretching and active recovery from 930am-1030am.  These fun and energizing classes will be offered on 10/04, 10/11 and 10/25.  $12 drop-in fee per class or $60 per 6-session package.  For more information, please email karen@focusedtrainers.com.

FIT, Highest Fundraising Team in NorCal Region for FGB IV

14 Oct

1 fgb4

Thank you to all of you who participated and donated to our Fight Gone Bad IV event benefitting Prostate Cancer Research and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Below is the congratulatory message from Scott Zagarino and team at the Sportsgrant Foundation. The congratulation extends to all of you!

Congratulations! CrossFIT Los Altos was the highest fundraising team in the FGB IV NorCal region in the 26> division!  Your team has won the honor of hosting the NorCal REGIONAL CHAMPION Traveling Trophy until Fight Gone Bad in 2010.  Your team name and year you won will be engraved for posterity on the award! SWEET!

Once you receive the Traveling Trophy, be prepared to take good care of it!  It will go to FGB’s NorCal Regional Champion year after year, so we’re trusting you to keep it clean and displayed in a safe place.

Next year, we’ll send you a box with pre-paid shipping so you can return it to us and we can award it to FGB 2010’s NorCal Regional Champion.

The Traveling Trophy will be delivered in 7-8 weeks to the address supplied during registration.  Please let us know if you would like us to ship to a different address.

On behalf of Athletes for a Cure, the Wounded Warrior Project, the men and their families fighting prostate cancer and our country’s injured servicemen and women, we thank you for your dedication and support of Fight Gone Bad IV.  We are truly honored to be among your company.

Sincerely,

Scott Zagarino, Greta Rose Zagarino, Bobbi Settje, Julie Wilson
Sportsgrants Foundation

Chew Your Nutrients

14 Oct

Today’s technology could theoretically provide all of our nutrients in a pill or powder. Think about what’s in a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement: plenty of RDA goodies in there. Fish oil? Sure, can take a tablespoon of that, or even put it in a vitamin. Phytonutrients? Sure, got those in another powder.

Then why eat? Do we really need actual food? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just drink some pills and powder in our hectic life? Is our food just about the individual vitamins, minerals and nutrients, or is there something more that suggests they all work with one another in some sort of balance that nature has already provided? Science suggests that nature has had it right all along.

Cauliflower Mash Recipe

13 Oct

This is an excellent side dish that compliments grilled or seared fish, chicken, turkey or pork.

1 cauliflowerIngredients:

1 large head fresh cauliflower

4-6oz fresh Bella Mushrooms, diced

2-3 oz fresh green onions, cleaned and diced

2-3 cloves garlic, diced (depends on how much you like garlic!)

Extra Virgin Light Olive Oil

Italian Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

*Fresh low-fat/non-fat Feta Cheese

1.  Clean and cut cauliflower into large cubes and place in water on high.  Add 1/4 tsp salt to water, cover and let steam.  Remove from heat and strain once cauliflower is soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork.  **If you prefer “chunky” mash, remove from heat slightly sooner.

2. In small saute pan, place diced  mushrooms, green onions and 1/2 desired amount of garlic in 1-2 tbsp olive oil.  Saute on medium-high heat, reducing heat as mushrooms start to darken and onions start to brown. Remove from heat and let sit in oil to soak flavor.

3. In large serving bowl, mash cauliflower using a fork (or hand mixer if you want it smooth), slowly adding up to 1tbsp olive oil to create creamier texture.  Gently stir in mushroom-onion-garlic mixture.  Add salt and pepper until desired taste.

*If you include dairy in your diet, add 1/4c low-fat or non-fat Feta Cheese, fold in, and let sit covered for 10 minutes before serving. **You can also place Feta cheese on top of mash, place in oven beneath broiler (set on high) for 1-2 minutes to melt cheese and crisp the top of the mash.

**This recipe can also be made without the mushrooms, substituting black or white truffle oil for the olive oil and mushrooms.

Enjoy and please share alternative versions and tastes!

7 Habits of Fit & Active People

12 Oct

1 active peopleMost of us know that physical activity is the key to disease prevention, weight management, stress reduction and a general sense of well-being. Here are 7 habits I adopted to support a healthy and active lifestyle.

1.    Prioritize fitness – Everyone struggles with how to fit physical activity into their busy schedules. With 60-hour workweeks, business travel, running a household, or juggling school and work there is never enough time. Fit & active people prioritize their fitness, elevating it’s importance in their mind and in their life. The key to success is to put fitness at the top of the list.
2.    Do something everyday – Whether it is a hour exercise class, 45 minutes in the weight room, 20 minutes of calisthenics, or a 10 minute walk around the block, fit & active people do something active everyday. Consistency helps develop new habits.
3.  Vary activities – Following the same workout routine day after day can not only become boring and tiresome, but may result in overuse injuries and even diminishing fitness returns. Fit & active people focus on developing all components of physical fitness and making sure all the major muscle groups are included.
4.   Set realistic goals – Goals are an essential part of behavioral change and progressing fitness levels. The wrong goal, one that is unrealistic to our current level of fitness, or level of commitment, can be defeating and unproductive. Fit & active people set goals that are realistic and achievable, while still pushing themselves to meet the next challenge.
5.    Fuel up with healthy foods – Good nutrition is a priority for fit & active people. A well balanced diet consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates provides energy for all bodily systems to function optimally. Low quality foods do not provide adequate energy and promote the storage of fat.
6.   Social network of active friends – working out with a partner or a group can create a supportive relationship for physical activity. Fit & active people look for social networks that provide a motivating and positive environment to keep physically active, meet challenges, and celebrate successes.
7.    Adequate recovery – sleep is important to both our mental and physical wellbeing. Research has found a link between sleep deprivation and impaired cognition and obesity. Sleep in also important to exercise recovery. During sleep the rate of cell building is increased while the breakdown of cells is decreased. This means that muscle is repaired and becomes stronger during sleep. It is rumored that Paula Radcliffe, world record marathon runner and Olympic athlete, sleeps about 11 hours a day.

Karen Moreno, MA Candidacy Kinesiology/Exercise Physiology
BA Social Science/Education