Archive | September, 2010

More Support for Cruciferous Veggies

16 Sep

Watercress may suppress breast cancer development according to a new study.

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September 2010 FIT Member Spotlight

11 Sep

Linda Hinton

Age: 47

FIT Member Since: 4/2005

Goals Starting at FIT: To get ripped!

Results: “On my way! I have the guns, now I need the rest of the arsenal!”

Exercise Likes: Weigthlifting

Exercise dislikes: Burpees

Personal Best (PR): Clean & Jerk 47.5kg   Snatch 35kg

Keys to Linda’s success: “Knowing what time I’m going to train and never missing the session”.

Challenges Linda faces: “Bad knees and a repaired Achilles tendon, plus old age”

What motivates Linda to continue adopting a healthier lifestyle and keep coming back to FIT? “Being able to lift more than Mariko, my 14 year old daughter and of course the FIT trainers”.

Linda’s favorite workout music and artist is Eminem

Linda’s  favorite healthy snack is fruit

Favorite non-gym physical activity? When Linda is not working out in the crossfit class, she enjoys Kayaking

In Linda’s words: It took me 45 years to learn and realize that you just have to do it! You have to workout and make it as important as anything else in your life.

In the Trainers words: Linda was one of, if not the first, CrossFIT client at FIT.  She began in personal training and now trains solely in our CrossFIT program.  When Linda began her training program, her knees would not allow her to run.  She had difficulty squatting and you couldn’t get her to jump!  Now, her favorite mode of exercise is weightlifting.  She is sprinting and racing her daughter Mariko during workouts, and jumping on the 18” box. She has changed her diet, lost weight, gotten stronger and more powerful, and even got a great new haircut! Linda’s dedication and hard work combined with her great attitude has made a huge impact on her life and has earned her Client of the Month at FIT. – James Noriega

Java for healthy DNA

9 Sep

Coffee MAY reduce damage to DNA, according to this study.

Low-carb, high meat diet has higher risks

9 Sep

If you do a low-carb diet, don’t forget those veggies, according to this study.

Late Summer Garden Salad

7 Sep

Ingredients:
Yellow Wax beans
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Olive oil
Lemon
Fresh ground pepper

In a pot of salted water, par-boil the yellow wax beans until just barely soft.  Drain and then toss into ice water to stop the cooking process.  In a medium sized pan over medium-high heat, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and the beans; toss to coat and let cook until slightly browned and a little bit crispy.  Don’t let the beans cook too long – they will either burn, or become too soft and overcooked.

While the beans are cooking, core and slice the tomatoes and cucumbers into wedges.  Place these in a serving bowl with a pinch of salt.  When the beans are cooked through and starting to brown, pour the beans – with oil – into the serving bowl.  Toss to mix all the ingredients and coat the cucumbers and tomatoes with oil (you might need to add additional oil).  Squeeze a lemon wedge or two on top and a few turns of fresh ground pepper.  Another variation could be to add a little bit of red wine vinegar once the vegetables have been mixed.  Would also work cold as a picnic/barbecue side dish.

Don’t sweat the small stuff (i.e. exact quantities) as cooking, and therefore eating, should enhance life and be enjoyable, and not a stressful process made worse be having to measure out every ingredient.

From Saw Palmetto to Nutrition for Prostate Cancer: What Does the Science Say Today?

7 Sep

Saw palmetto, an extract from the berries of the dwarf palm tree, is an herb that has a long history of use as a remedy for treating the symptoms, and possibly curing, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous swelling in the prostate gland usually found in older men, characterized by an increase in inflammation. Taking saw palmetto is believed to reduce inflammation in the prostate and urethra, which minimizes the “dribbling” that commonly happens to men with BPH or prostate cancer.

A dose of saw palmetto at 320mg per day has been shown to be safe, but the efficacy of saw palmetto was questioned following publication published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 354, pp. 557-566) that reported no difference between the herbal remedy and the placebo. However, the results were described as “puzzling” by industry experts since they contradict the conclusions of previous studies, including a meta-analysis of 18 clinical trials (JAMA Vol. 280, pp. 1604-1609) and 21 clinical trials (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002 Iss. 3) that reported positive results for easing the mild-to-moderate symptoms. Thus, the research concludes that saw palmetto may help those with a family history of prostate cancer, but a man should not necessarily totally depend on it.

As of now, the best science can do is speculate at the nutrition data. Most of the data draws correlations and makes suggestions for what may or may not be an effective nutritional strategy for men with BPH or those wanting to prevent prostate cancer. In men with BPH or prostate cancer, research shows that there is an increase in inflammation within the prostate gland and damaged surrounding tissue, caused by oxidation. Therefore, nutritionists suggest men should eat foods that will naturally decrease inflammation and provide various anti-oxidants.

Research suggests men should eat:
•    tomato-based products for the antioxidant lycopene.
•    coffee, green and black tea, and pomegranate juice (without added sugar) for the antioxidant-containing polyphenols.
•    raw or steamed cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, wasabi mustard and horseradish that may induce protective proteins in the liver.
•    supplementation of vitamins K, D, E, zinc, seem to be correlated with a lower incidence of prostate cancer.
•    lignans from flaxseeds to prevent the spread of cancer cells.
•    wild, dark fish, such as salmon at least one-to-three times per week for the omega-3’s anti-inflammatory abilities.

Meanwhile, men should avoid foods that promote inflammation and oxidation. Foods that should be avoided are:
•    overcooked or fried meat of all types
•    charbroiled chicken with intact skin and charbroiled red meat
•    excessive simple sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup, found primarily in processed foods

In conclusion, nutrition to prevent prostate cancer will also prevent a number of other diseases and improve overall health. Perhaps saw palmetto and other supplements are beneficial, however, the science is inconsistent. They are certainly worth trying and they may be a great adjunct in the overall nutrition plan. Natural foods, especially cruciferous vegetables, minimally cooked, low in sugar and devoid of high-temperatures, offer the most benefits.

Physical Activity and Cancer

7 Sep

New research suggests Lance Armstrong’s training regimen may have aided his recovery.

Undoubtedly, you have read or heard about the benefits of regular exercise.  You may even be aware of the association between physical activity (which includes exercise) and attenuating risk factors for disease.  However, until recently, most people dealing with cancer were told to rest and avoid exercise.  This is contrary to the advice given by Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who states the message should be to avoid inactivity.  In fact, new cancer research has suggested that Lance Armstrong’s training regimen may have aided his recovery (what an amazing recovery!) and has resulted in new exercise and cancer guidelines that urge cancer patients to be as physically active as possible during and after their treatments.

Exercise boosts energy, helps manage weight, and improves emotional well-being.

Most of us are not in the elite athlete category with Lance Armstrong, and the last thing someone dealing with the physical and psychological impact of cancer wants to hear is “exercise more.”  However, experts are now suggesting that exercise may provide very positive benefits, such as boosting energy, managing weight, and improving emotional well-being.  It should also be noted that exercise continues to provide disease prevention for heart disease and type II diabetes during and after cancer treatment. The question is, how much exercise is enough?  And, what type of exercise will provide the most benefit?

How much exercise is enough?

The short answer is even a small amount of movement, for example a short 10-minute walk, is better than no activity.  Research indicates that individuals who participated in low to moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking or cycling, 2 to 3 days a week experienced less fatigue during cancer treatments.  Additionally, the minimum physical activity recommendation for the general public of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, which works out to be about 20 minutes a day, has been deemed appropriate for cancer patients.  Research has shown that participating in daily moderate intensity physical activity reduces stress and aids the immune system.  Although more research is needed on the effects of resistance training for cancer patients, experts agree there are definite benefits, particularly for addressing muscle atrophy, bone mineral density, body composition, and insulin resistance.

The more complex answer depends on the specific type of cancer, the level of fitness prior to diagnosis, and the physical and emotional state of the individual on any given day.  If someone is already physically active prior to diagnosis, the general consensus is to maintain that regular exercise routine as much as possible.  Of course, it is best to seek the advise of a health care professional before embarking on a new exercise program, and to inquire about individual exercise recommendations. An appropriate exercise program should be tailored to the individual’s diagnosis and tolerance for physical activity.  Working with clinicians and health fitness professionals that monitor individual responses to activity will allow for proper and safe exercise progression and avoid injuries.

The bottom line – avoid inactivity

Although you personally may not be dealing with cancer, you may have a loved one, family member, or dear friend that needs your support and encouragement to remain or become physically activity.  Suggest a hike or a walk around the neighborhood.  Spend the afternoon playing Frisbee, or an evening dancing.  The bottom line is to avoid inactivity.  Even a small amount of physical activity can improve fatigue, emotional well-being, and quality of life.

References:

CNN Health (2010) Cancer? More exercise, not less, may be best. http://articles.cnn.com/2010-06-12/health/cancer.exercise.health_1_cancer-patients-cancer-and-exercise-acsm?_s=PM:HEALTH

Nation Cancer Institute. U.S. National Institutes of Health.  Physical activity and cancer. http://www.cancer.gov

thedailytimes.com.  (2010).  Cancer patients can reap benefits of exercise.

2010 FIT Summer Camp Wrap Up!

7 Sep

My hope is the successes, skills and knowledge these kids obtained during the camp will last them a lifetime.

The 2010 camp was a great success! Our campers enjoyed a fulfilling fitness experience that left them with a great sense of accomplishment and Joy.  Each child set an individual weekly goal, such as a personal best for the 1 mile run, climbing the rope, or jumping higher, and I am happy to say almost every goal was met! The hard work and dedication that these young people showed was truly amazing.  Many of the attendees enjoyed the experience so much they signed up for multiple weeks of camp.  As a coach, watching these young kids work so hard was inspiring!  My hope is the successes, skills and knowledge these kids obtained during the camp will last them a lifetime.

I commend the parents for signing their children up for a camp that is focused around fitness. This is a great step in paving the way for the future health of their children. A child’s self perception of exercise is formed by their parents, as well as personal experiences and environments (Presidents council on physical fitness). If this view is tainted at a young age, our young people may shy away from exercise and digress into a sedentary lifestyle that will negatively affect them for a lifetime. Doctor Weiss stated
“Significant adults are primed to structure the environment and exhibit behaviors that
enhance children’s physical competency beliefs, self-esteem, and enjoyment of physical activity. In turn, these perceptions and emotions are the keys to solving the mystery of motivating kids in physical activity.” (Maureen R. Weiss, Ph.D.)

The youth programs at FIT strive to promote a healthy active lifestyle for all young people and will continue to offer year round programs for kids and teens. These goal based fitness programs will enable your child to be part of a positive group environment that will help them shape a healthy outlook for the future.  For more information and current camp schedules, please contact Frank Knapp frank@focusedtrainers.com

References:
Research Digest-series 3, Volume 11. Sept 2000

You May Be Doing More Than You Realize to Improve Your Health and Well-being.

7 Sep

“So I just got back from a really great hike!”
“I really enjoy throwing the Frisbee around at the park with my dog.”
“Do you want to go with me to the beach, maybe swim a little bit, play some paddle ball?”

Do these sound like things you might say? How about calling up some friends to play a little pick-up basketball?  There is a lot to be said for conscientious attempts at improving physical health and well-being – establishing a gym program, setting out regularly for a run or swim.  It must also be stated, though, that unstructured and casual embraces of physical activity are equally, if not more, important.  Sports and organized exercise are not the only ways to improve one’s physical – as well as mental – self.  Among other benefits, all types of physical activity may reduce serum cholesterol and hypertension, improve bone mineral density, reduce stress hormones, and improve social skills.

Gardening, for example, while not outright physically demanding, can improve not only physical processes, but also mental ones.  Have you ever spent all afternoon planting, weeding, and pruning vegetables or flowers in your garden?  What does your body feel like the next day? Are your legs or shoulders sore?  Crouching down to plant all of those wonderful seedlings is definitely a workout for your legs.  What about that mild suntan that you picked up while out in your backyard?  Remember that getting sunlight daily is the best way to absorb vitamin D, which will allow your body to increase bone density from D’s interaction with calcium and other important minerals.

And what about that casual stroll through town with a friend?  Individuals who regularly walk have been shown to be more successful in managing weight-loss.  The friend you’re walking with? Social connectedness has been linked to all sorts of benefits, including motor skill retention, cancer survival, immune function, and overall longevity.  Walking, in addition to any other weight-bearing activities (up and on your feet) have been shown to improve bone density all by themselves.  The physiological processes are complicated, but suffice it to say that your bones respond to the stresses you place them under, and will become stronger and more rigid the more time you spend on them.  This is greatly important as we age since bone mineral composition generally deteriorates as we get older.

So now what? Well, if your social calendar is full of important events to get to, there’s probably a good chance that the personal interaction benefits could be covered, but what about all of the stress of jumping from one event to another? Maybe all you need is to just cut loose, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.  Any suggestions on how to spend a free afternoon? I know I’ll be taking my dog to the park.

Sources:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Benefits-of-Leisure-and-Recreation&id=1468218
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195317
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/social-wellness-health-research/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/hunter-gatherer-leisure-time/

The Wounded Warrior Project

7 Sep

It was a trip I’d made a number of times – SFO to Seattle, Seattle to Anchorage, Anchorage to Kodiak.  This time my family had traveled up ahead of me and I was on my way to meet them.  Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and I ended up ‘stuck’ in Anchorage airport for 2 days.  With all this child-free time on my hands and in the same boat as many other stranded Kodiak-bound travelers, I set about making some friends to pass the time with.  As I waited to board the flight that finally landed me in Kodiak, I made my last 2 friends of my airport adventure – two warriors traveling with the Wounded Warrior Project on a Kodiak Expedition.  One had no legs, one arm, long scars on his head, neck and arms – he had been back from the Middle East for over 5 years and has a two year old.  The other had lost an arm and seemed to have returned from the war relatively recently.

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides tangible support for the severely wounded and helps them on the road to healing, both physically and mentally.  WWP helps injured service members successfully transition into civilian life and reintegrate into their communities.  Support and counseling for wounded vets as well as their caregivers is another benefit the project provides.  The Kodiak trip is one of many trips donated annually by individuals and corporations to enable these individuals to connect with one another while having access to some good old-fashioned fun.  Additional programs include peer mentoring, job training and alumni support.

Three years ago, the Wounded Warrior project became a beneficiary, along with Athlete’s for a Cure, of CrossFit’s annual Fight Gone Bad fundraiser.  Unlike prostate cancer, where unfortunately we all know someone who has been affected, the Wounded Warrior Project always felt a bit more distant to me.  Sitting there next to these 2 guys really brought home the benefit that every dollar raised brings to the lives of these young men and women who have given their life, as they knew it, in service to our country.

Fight Gone Bad has always been an awesome day here at FIT where participants accomplish more then they thought themselves capable of.  Each person comes in with his or her own motivations and goals.  At the end of the day, not only will each participant go home with the satisfaction that comes from physical accomplishment, but also with knowledge that their efforts helped and inspire those whose suffering unfortunately does not end when the workout does.

If you are, or are thinking about, participating or donating and need some added inspiration, please take a few minutes to read the stories of some of our country’s wounded warriors: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/content/blogcategory/96/878/