Archive | October, 2010

Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory benefits linked to gene expression

21 Oct

Client of the Month Spotlight October 2010

20 Oct

Client Name: Patrick Wai
Age: 44
FIT member since: February 2010

3 years ago I was working constantly and never had time to exercise or eat well. My body weight climbed to 197.  Then, in November 2009 I hurt my back.  The pain was so severe that even with medication I couldn’t drive.  It took over 2 months of intense therapy and exercise before I felt better.  During that time Tony from Agile Physical Therapy introduced me to FIT and I started working with Danielle Durante.  It took a lot of time, sweat and tears, but gradually my core strength increased and my stamina improved.  I never want to experience that back pain again.  My goals are to remain pain free, become stronger, and have more energy.

I have been pain free for 8 months.  I am also stronger, have more energy, and (the best part) I can lift and carry both of my kids at the same time without straining my back.

Exercise Likes: push-ups and the elliptical machine.

Exercise Dislikes: “man maker” workouts, and any exercise involving the gymnastic rings.

Personal Best: 15 pull-ups, 50 push-ups in a minute, and successfully climbing the rope on the first try.

What do you enjoy about training at FIT? Everyone is so friendly at FIT.  They are never too busy to say hello or offer assistance with an exercise.

Challenges Patrick’s faces: It’s never easy to find the time to exercise, but I consider my health one of my top priorities.  Also, when I am busy it’s difficult to eat right.

Key to Patrick’s success: There are no short cuts – at the end of the day the key to success is hard work and consistency.

Want motivates Patrick to keep coming back, and adopt a healthier lifestyle? I want to remain healthy for my loved ones.

In Patrick’s words:

If I had known how much of a difference having a trainer would make in my exercise regime, I would’ve hired one ten years ago.  It’s has made a world of difference having a professional provide guidance so I don’t hurt myself, motivate me when I am feeling sluggish, and change the workouts to keep the routines interesting.  Danielle and FIT have played a key role in my recovery from back pain.

Patrick’s favorite workout music is Top 40 remixes.

Patrick’s favorite healthy snack is fresh fruit.

When Patrick is not working hard in the gym he enjoys playing outside with his kids.

In Danielle’s words:

The keys to Patrick’s success lies in his consistency, coming to FIT twice a week for half hour sessions, and his diligence to training on his own two to three times per week.  Patrick also pays close attention to eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress.  When Patrick started training at FIT in February, he had a couple of goals in mind: 1) he wanted to be free of back pain free, 2) improve overall fitness (increasing strength, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility), and 3) to develop the stamina to keep up with his children.  With a lot of hard work and dedication, Patrick is now pain free!  We really focused on building his core strength and improving his muscular and cardiovascular endurance.  Patrick can now do strict pull-ups and push-ups for multiple repetitions, back squat and bench press his son and daughter’s weight, and is starting to learn more complex movements such as olympic weightlifting cleans.  Having a healthier lifestyle has enabled Patrick to keep up with his kiddos and loved ones.  Patrick is always a pleasure to work with and we are proud that you are part of FIT.  Good work!

Got 15 More?

13 Oct

Last month we asked that you take 15 minutes to listen to Jeremy’s story regarding his adventures of learning to ride a bike.  You watched, you supported and Jeremy succeeded and achieved his 15 miles of fame. 

This month we are asking for your support of the entire FITBuddies program as we try to reach out to more individuals in the community just like Jeremy.  Please help us by taking 15 seconds to vote for FITBuddies in the Pepsi Refresh Contest EVERY DAY during the month of October.

FITBuddies is in the running to win $25,000 in grant money from the Pepsi Refresh Contest which would be used to help expand the program and support more individuals, like Mahayla, who come to FITBuddies with the help of scholarship money.

PLEASE take 15 seconds to VOTE
PLEASE pass on the link to 15 friends, family and co-workers
Text 102861 to Pepsi (73774)

Thank you for your constant support of FITBuddies!!

INVIGORATE and ENJOY Your Golf Game.

13 Oct

Golf is a game that requires strength, flexibility, stamina, and a mental steel trap. Knowing that golf requires these attributes and obtaining them are quite different.  For individuals who have the game of golf nailed down, we call them professionals.  The rest of us are out there to enjoy nature, get some exercise, hang out with friends, and have fun!  Now, I would be willing to bet that a number of golfers start a round without having done much more of a warm up other than tie their shoes.  A proper warm up is important to both invigorating and enjoying your golf game whether you walk or ride in a cart.  The physical demands of the golf swing are stressful.  The benefits of a proper warm up allow you to: a) be at peak performance from the first hole, and b) lessen the potential for injury.  You do not need to spend 30 minutes prior to your tee time warming up; here are some simple exercises that can be done in less than 5 minutes.

•    Leg swings – use your club, a post, cart or a tree to stabilize and assist you.  Move the leg forward and backward increasing your range of motion as you start to loosen up.  Click here to view the movement.

•    Lateral or side-to-side leg swings – face your club/cart, etc., and swing the leg in front of your body, side to side, increasing range of motion and speed as you warm up.  Click here to view the movement.

•    Upper body exercises – start by holding your driver or adjustable ball retriever at opposite ends.  With straight arms move club from waist, to above head, to behind body as far as comfortable.  Bring the club back to the front and repeat the movement.  Try to increase the range of motion behind the head each time.

•    Figure 8 movements – starting with the club in front of the body and move it around the head, behind the body, back around the head and back to your starting position.  Repeat the movement working on fluidity of motion.  Repeat the same movement in the opposite direction.

•    Lastly, hold the club overhead and perform a squat movement.  Try to keep the club in a fixed position and squat as low as possible.  Perform these exercises for 10-15 repetitions.

The next phase to invigorating and enjoying your golf game is just that, to ENJOY it.  While there are some serious golfers looking to take the title of every round, many of us are weekend warriors, or once or twice a week players.  Trying your hardest and becoming a better player are positive goals.  However, become really good at something you only do once a week generally doesn’t happen.  When a few bad shots ruin a person’s round, and they become that person you don’t want to be around, words flying everywhere not to mention the occasional club hurling through the air, it takes the fun out of the game.

We all know the effects of stress in our life; stress on the golf course is no different.  Don’t let bad shots affect your golf game and the others around you. Be focused, concentrate on the shot at hand and do the best you can.  Also, slow down a bit.  Take in and enjoy your surroundings.  If you hit a bad shot try to get it out of your mind so it doesn’t influence your subsequent shot.  Individuals that seem to be in control, who are not stressed, and appear to be enjoying what they are doing are the ones who walk away from the activity wanting to come back again.  Remember golf is a game, so enjoy it.

Exercise is essential for normal gene expression

7 Oct

Fall FITKick Series

6 Oct

FITKick uses boxing and mixed martial art punches, kicks and strikes interspersed with athletic drills for a power packed, energizing workout.

You will enhance cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, as well as improve balance, coordination, power and speed.

This class is scalable for all fitness levels.  No prior boxing or martial arts experience necessary.

Sunday Mornings 8:30-9:30AM

October 3, 10, 17, 24

November 7, 14, 21

December 5, 12, 19

Cost – Fall Series 10 classes $120 or $10 per class.

October is National Seafood Month

6 Oct

Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that naturally decrease inflammation in our bodies. However, shellfish, such as shrimp and clams, naturally contain higher levels of cholesterol as well as omega-3’s. This has lead to a controversy concerning whether or not foods containing cholesterol, especially the low-density lipoproteins (LDL’s) which are a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), should be included in a heart-healthy diet.

In order for an individual to decrease his/her cholesterol, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Association’s National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) suggest a heart-healthy diet contain no more than 200mg/d of dietary cholesterol. However, a study published in Cellular Molecular Biology this past February suggested that the consumption of cold water prawns, at least in healthy, male subjects, does not affect LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. The prawn intervention group ate 750 mg/d of dietary cholesterol and was compared to a control group that consumed 200 mg/d . The intake of omega-3’s from prawns was estimated to be between 0.5-0.7 g/d for the intervention group. The researchers concluded there was little evidence to suggest prawns need to be restricted for individuals trying to decrease their total blood cholesterol.

Another study published in 2000 concluded that dietary cholesterol has little effect on the plasma LDL/HDL ratio. Analysis of the available epidemiological and clinical data indicates that for the general population, dietary cholesterol makes no significant contribution to atherosclerosis and risk of cardiovascular disease (McNamara, DJ, 2000).

Finally, in this upcoming November issue of Current Atherosclerosis Reports, there is article suggesting the need for the United States to revisit their dietary guidelines for dietary cholesterol (Fernandez, ML, et al., 2010). This article suggests that clinical studies have shown that even if there is an increase in dietary cholesterol that may result in elevated plasma LDL cholesterol in certain individuals (hyper-responders), there is always an accompanying increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Therefore, the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is maintained. Ideally, we want our LDL/HDL cholesterol to be at a 2:1 ratio. More importantly, dietary cholesterol reduces circulating levels of small, dense LDL particles, which are a well-defined risk factor for CHD (Fernandez, ML, et al., 2010).

Based on these studies, we can enjoy and celebrate National Seafood Month with a healthy dose of seafood that may contain cholesterol, and not worry about increasing our risk factors for CHD. Bon appetite!

Halloween: To Treat or Too Sweet?

1 Oct

If you are not looking forward to the massive sugar explosion that is often unleashed on both children and parents during Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of  alternative treat suggestions.

At home treats – instead of the bowl of mini-candy bars

Dark Chocolate Almond Bark: Melt 2-3 organic dark chocolate (80%-90%) bars.  Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle raw, organic almonds (or slice/crush if you prefer) across melted chocolate and place in freezer for minimum of 60 minutes.  Break into pieces and enjoy.

Dark Chocolate CocoNut Balls: Mix 1c almonds, 1c pecans, 1/2c walnuts in the food processor and set aside.  Mix 6 pitted dates with 1 tbsp raw, virgin coconut oil, and add to the nut mixture slowly until all is mixed thoroughly in the food processor.  While running food processor, add 1tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Add 2-3 tbsp raw coconut (if desired).  Scoop mixture out of processing bowl and mold into small balls (fitting in your palm) and place in the freezer (in tupperware or on parchment paper) for at least 60 minutes.  Once they are firm, melt 1 dark chocolate bar (80%), and drizzle the melted chocolate over balls, placing back in the freezer for at least 60 minutes.  Enjoy.

Roasted Nuts: In gallon-size ziploc bag, toss 1c each: raw almonds, walnuts, pecans and/or cashews in 2-3 tbsp heated coconut oil (liquid).  When all nuts are covered, place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, celtic sea salt, making sure to cover all nuts.  Roast for up to 15 minutes at 350.  Keep an eye on them as the coconut oil will heat up quickly!  These are great placed in a bowl and left around the house to snack on.

Instead of handing out candy, try:

Raw nuts or dried fruit purchased at the farmers market

Raw apples (they’re in season! yeah!)

Mini bagged carrots (they look like fingers – scary!)

String Cheese

Boxes of raisins

Mini dark chocolate covered raisins

If you choose to go the non-food route, school supplies and fun treat-bags often get a smile and a giggle too!  Think of mini-slinkies, koosh balls, erasers, and kids sunglasses.

If you have suggestions that you’d like to share, please email .

What’s in Your Brown Bag?

1 Oct

Making a lunch seems to be a lost art in a lot of busy households.  Here are some ways to create a healthy lunch that is fun, creative and interactive!
Instead of a sandwich, let’s get “rollin’”…

  • Roll-Ups (use spinach, sun-dried tomato, or romaine heart to wrap)
  • Roast Beef and Cheese (fresh, raw cheese if possible – NOT PROCESSED)
  • Turkey and Avocado
  • Almond Butter and Orange Marmalade (not on lettuce)
  • B.E.A.T. Salad (Bacon, Egg, Avocado, Tomato)
  • Lettuce Logs (fill lettuce with grilled/stir-fried chicken, tofu, scallions and low-sodium Tamari)

Instead of a salad, get creative with your fruit and veggies!

Kebabs (fun and interactive)

  • Stoplight Peppers (Green, Yellow, and Red Peppers)
  • Very Merry Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blueberries)
  • Go Greek (Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Kalamatta Olives)
  • Ants on a log – Celery with nut butter or cream cheese topped with raisins
  • Yummy-Mummies (Wrap dates, figs, melon, apples, or pears with proscuitto, ham, or cooked bacon – aim to use pastured, nitrate free pork as often as possible!)

Instead of chips, let’s “crack” up!

  • Almond Crackers (recipe includes almond flour, olive oil, blend of spices – bake and roll out)
  • Pita Crackers (cut up fresh pita, brush with olive oil/walnut oil, bake)

Chip away – chip alternatives

  • Kale/Chard Chips (clean greens, brush with olive oil, bake)
  • Sweet Potato Chips (peeled, sliced thin, brushed with olive oil, seasoned salt, baked)

Instead of buying a mix, make it your own!
Trail Mix – include a blend of raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit

  • Nuts and Bolts – Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberries, Raisins, Apricots, etc.**Be sure to check to see if your school is nut-free because of allergies

Instead of a sugary treat, try some natural sweet!

  • Greek Yogurt w/Cinnamon and crushed almonds or walnuts
  • Applesauce w/Cinnamon and crushed almonds/walnuts or pecans
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes w/ Cinnamon

How to Integrate Exercise into Your Demanding Lifestyle?

1 Oct

We all have commitments, such as managing your household, succeeding in your profession, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in extracurricular activities.  Most of us do not have the time to spend hours on end in the gym.  Research has shown that short duration, high intensity workouts are one of the most efficient ways to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass, and optimize health.  For example, Arthur Weltman, Ph.D., found greater reduction in abdominal adiposity with the inclusion of high intensity exercise (~75-80% of V02max) three days a week when compared to exercising five days a week at lower intensity (~50-60% of V02max).  Martin Gibala, Ph.D compared the effects of high intensity training with continuous endurance training and found remarkably similar changes in muscle oxidative capacity and exercise capacity.

The solution
Schedule four to thirty minutes in your busy day for a short duration, high intensity workout (remember, intensity is relative and should match your current level of fitness).  Then, try one of these full body workouts to get more “bang for your buck.”  Meaning, the workouts will incorporate all major muscle groups, and use all three energy systems: the phosphagen system (anaerobic), glycolysis (anaerobic), and the oxidative system (aerobic) which will eventually increase your metabolism (burn more fat and calories), strength, endurance, stamina, and quality of life.

Note: Please check with your physician before performing these workouts and always properly warm-up and cool-down before and after each workout.  Also, technique and safety is very important for performing all these movements.  If you are not comfortable with these movements, I would highly suggest seeking advice from a professional.

Workout #1: Manmakers
Select a pair of dumbbells that you know you could perform multiple movements with, without putting the weight down.  Perform one repetition of each movement five times for one round. Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat for a total of four rounds.
•    DB Push-Up x 1
•    DB Renegade Row x 1 (each arm)
•    DB Clean x 1
•    DB Push Press x 1
•    DB Overhead Lunge x 1 (each leg)
•    Reposition and start over.
Click here to see Manmakers video

Workout #2: Tabata
This high intensity intermittent training method (dubbed Tabata) belongs to Dr. Izumi Tabata and other researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Japan.  Tabata uses a four minute interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum work, followed by ten seconds of rest, and repeated eight times.  You can do this workout using bodyweight exercises, such as squats, push ups, and pull ups, as well as cycling, running, rowing, and jump roping, or even the elliptical.  For the workout below, all you need is a stop watch, a pull-up bar, and a floor mat.
(20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest x 8 = 4 minutes for each exercise.  Rest 60 seconds and move on to the next exercise for a longer workout).
•    Row
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Bodyweight Squats
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Pull-Ups
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Push-Ups
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Sit-Ups

Time should not be an issue when you can incorporate one of these fast and efficient workouts into your daily routine.  Set aside a small amount of your day to improve your health and get the results you have always wanted.

American College of Sports Medicine, 2008.  High Intensity Exercise Best For Improving Body Composition.  Retrieved by:

Gibala, Martin J., (2007). High Intensity Interval Training: A Time-efficient Strategy for Health Promotion?  Current Sports Medicine Reports, p 211-213.  Retrieved by: Gibala_CurrSportsMedRep-6_2007.pdf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/Gibala_CurrSportsMedRep-6_2007