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Wagyu Beef

10 Dec

Thompson River Ranch, the wagyu beef supplier for FIT describes the “Wagyu Legend”..

The tradition of producing premium quality Wagyu is not new but it is certainly impressive.  The Japanese Wagyu were developed over the past 500 years as work animals, recently being discovered as having extraordinary meat qualities, resulting in it being of the most coveted cattle breeds in the world.  Genetically quite different than the traditional American breeds, Wagyu are world renowned for their marbling abilities resulting in taste and tenderness far surpassing the traditional experience.   For instance, the USDA scale for meat quality has 3 levels – Select, Choice, and Prime.  Today roughly 3% of the traditional US cattle grade Prime.  Contrastingly, the Japanese grading system

has 12 levels, 7 are above the USDA Prime (see above).  Our cattle routinely grade at the Japanese level of BMS 7-8.   quality comes from meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to premier genetics and healthy nutrition.   We are committed to offering Wagyu beef that is 75-100% Wagyu genetics, which is quite different than virtually all the Wagyu beef in America today.   We feel strongly about our program and hope that you value our commitment to producing sustainable, healthy, tasty and tender beef.

Wagyu, or “Kobe Beef” as marketed by many, is a specific breed originating from Japan.   Wagyu is a breed of cow, just as Angus is the predominant breed in the USA.  “Kobe” is a location in Japan where cows are raised, comparable to Texas or Montana.  Historically, the Kobe region in Japan produced very high-quality Wagyu cows.  “Kobe Beef” is a catchy marketing term used by many US meat marketers. We believe that it is more appropriate to call the cattle “American Wagyu”.

Wagyu cattle are a genetically unique breed.  These animals are more ox-like in structure and are built for endurance.  As a result, the marbling occurs in the muscle of the animal rather than on the perimeter of the muscle.  In the early 90’s, as a result of a new trade agreement, a herd of ~40 full blood Wagyu cows and bulls were brought into the US.  Since that time, just a few ranches have been active in producing this outstanding breed.  Even today there are limited numbers of 100% Wagyu animals in the United States, numbering only a few thousand.  The majority of the Wagyu or “Kobe” meat sold in the US is a 50/50 cross between a Wagyu and an Angus.
Wagyu contributes its intense marbling, Angus contributes size and growth, resulting in meat that is a significant improvement over 100% Angus.  After testing a variety of genetic crosses specifically for beef consumption, we believe a 50/50 cross breed animal does not showcase the best traits of Wagyu.  A higher percentage of Wagyu genetics is needed to achieve the renowned marbling and taste of these animals.

Thompson River Ranch is one of the top American ranches producing 75-100% American Wagyu cattle.

Our concept of nutrition is pretty simple – a healthy, well-fed animal produces healthy beef. Our program consists of grass-fed animals through the first 12-months and then switching to a nutritious diet still consisting primarily of grass, supplemented by other natural ingredients (hay, distiller’s and other grains), focused on slow growth through the age of 30-36 months.  Our animal’s weight gain is designed to be 1.75 lbs/day for 500 days.  The result is an animal that naturally matures, another aspect of producing delicious meat.
Beef is an excellent source of protein and vitamins B-6 and B-12.  The largest health concern for beef is the type and amounts of fat and any additives.  With our beef, we never use hormones nor feed antibiotics.

Additionally, studies have been done quantifying the advantages of feeding cattle a high percentage hay diet over a long period of time.  The data is pretty amazing relative to the type of fat produced.  The human body can manufacture most of the fat types it wants, except for essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Most positive health benefits are seen in two types of EFAs – linoleic acid (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3).  Wagyu beef is an excellent source of both of these EFAs.  Another unique advantage in Wagyu is that it contains a much higher proportion of the desirable fats (mono) than other beef. The Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids to Saturated Fatty Acids ratio (MUFA:SFA) is up to three times higher, 6:1, in Wagyu than in any other beef (normal ratio is about 2:1). Consuming Wagyu beef is beneficial to your health, possessing a unique high concentration of beneficial omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and a higher ratio of mono to saturated fats.
The health/fat benefits come from:  1) The Wagyu breed – more ox-like, endurance animal that genetically is more marbled than other cattle breeds; 2) The lower-caloric, long-feed program-producing a 1400-1500 lb. animal over 30-36 months; and 3) The type/ratio of feed – grass, roughage and grain – lower in calories and higher in the EFA’s that represent healthy fats.

We hope that you can tell we are proud of our American Wagyu Program.  Our commitment to provide sustainable, healthy, tasty and tender beef is unwavering.  Our hope is that you are as passionate in discovering products that matter in your family’s health and in sustaining the earth’s resources.  We feel confident that if these things matter to you, then Thompson River Ranch high-percentage, long-fed American Wagyu is the right product for you.

Thompson River Ranch is located at

300 Thompson River Road 
Marion, Montana 59925

Weight lifting and Breast Cancer

9 Dec

Weight Lifting for Women at Risk for Breast Cancer–

Related Lymphedema

A Randomized Trial

  1. Kathryn H. Schmitz, PhD, MPH;
  2. Rehana L. Ahmed, MD, PhD;
  3. Andrea B. Troxel, ScD;
  4. Andrea Cheville, MD, MSCE;
  5. Lorita Lewis-Grant, MPH, MSW;
  6. Rebecca Smith, MD, MS;
  7. Cathy J. Bryan, MEd;
  8. Catherine T. Williams-Smith, BS;
  9. Jesse Chittams, MS

[+] Author Affiliations

  1. Author Affiliations: Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia (Drs Schmitz and Troxel and Mss Lewis-Grant, Bryan, and Williams-Smith and Mr Chittams); Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis (Dr Ahmed); Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Dr Cheville); and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Drs Cheville and Smith).


Context Clinical guidelines for breast cancer survivors without lymphedema advise against upper body exercise, preventing them from obtaining established health benefits of weight lifting.

Objective To evaluate lymphedema onset after a 1-year weight lifting intervention vs no exercise (control) among survivors at risk for breast cancer–related lymphedema (BCRL).

Design, Setting, and Participants A randomized controlled equivalence trial (Physical Activity and Lymphedema trial) in the Philadelphia metropolitan area of 154 breast cancer survivors 1 to 5 years postunilateral breast cancer, with at least 2 lymph nodes removed and without clinical signs of BCRL at study entry. Participants were recruited between October 1, 2005, and February 2007, with data collection ending in August 2008.

Intervention Weight lifting intervention included a gym membership and 13 weeks of supervised instruction, with the remaining 9 months unsupervised, vs no exercise.

Main Outcome Measures Incident BCRL determined by increased arm swelling during 12 months (≥5% increase in interlimb difference). Clinician-defined BCRL onset was also evaluated. Equivalence margin was defined as doubling of lyphedema incidence.

Results A total of 134 participants completed follow-up measures at 1 year. The proportion of women who experienced incident BCRL onset was 11% (8 of 72) in the weight lifting intervention group and 17% (13 of 75) in the control group (cumulative incidence difference [CID], −6.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], −17.2% to 5.2%; P for equivalence = .04). Among women with 5 or more lymph nodes removed, the proportion who experienced incident BCRL onset was 7% (3 of 45) in the weight lifting intervention group and 22% (11 of 49) in the control group (CID, −15.0%; 95% CI, −18.6% to −11.4%; P for equivalence = .003). Clinician-defined BCRL onset occurred in 1 woman in the weight lifting intervention group and 3 women in the control group (1.5% vs 4.4%, P for equivalence = .12).

Conclusion In breast cancer survivors at risk for lymphedema, a program of slowly progressive weight lifting compared with no exercise did not result in increased incidence of lymphedema.

Panel approves Rx diet pill

8 Dec

December 7, 2010, 4:42 pm

<!– — Updated: 4:14 pm –>

F.D.A. Panel Backs New Diet Pill


12/8/10 | Updated with more detail

A federal advisory committee on Tuesday recommended approval of what could become the first new prescription diet pill in more than a decade.

The advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted 13 to 7 that the benefits of the drug, Contrave, exceeded its risks. The drug was developed by Orexigen Therapeutics of San Diego.

The endorsement is the first positive sign in a long time for pharmaceutical companies trying to develop medicines to treat the nation’s epidemic of obesity.

In recent months, the same advisory committee voted against approval of two other weight-loss drugs — Qnexa from Vivus and lorcaserin from Arena Pharmaceuticals — primarily because of safety issues. Both drugs subsequently were rejected by the F.D.A. itself.


Also, the drug Meridia, from Abbott Laboratories, was taken off the market in October after a study showed it might increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. That has left only one prescription drug, Roche’s little-used Xenical, which was approved in 1999, for long-term use in losing weight.

The F.D.A. is expected to decide whether to approve Contrave by Jan. 31. It usually, though not always, follows its committees’ advice.

Contrave would be the first marketed product for Orexigen, which was founded in 2002. Takeda Pharmaceutical, the largest Japanese drug company, will market Contrave in the United States, possibly with Orexigen.

With Contrave, the big issue was that the drug had only modest effectiveness while also causing a slight increase in blood pressure and pulse rate. That could conceivably raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes, though the trials conducted by Orexigen were too small and too short to determine that.

Both the F.D.A. and the company said that a larger trial to look specifically at risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems would be conducted. The advisory committee voted 11 to 8, with one abstention, that that study could be done after the drug was approved.

Requiring such a trial before approval “would kill the development” of the drug, said Dr. William R. Hiatt, a committee member who is a professor of cardiovascular research at the University of Colorado. Such a trial is expected to involve at least 10,000 patients and could take years.

But another cardiologist on the committee, Dr. Sanjay Kaul of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said the trial should be done first.

“We need to make sure that we get it right the first time,” Dr. Kaul said. He voted against approval of Contrave, though he said he might have backed it if the drug were more effective in helping people lose weight.

In four clinical trials involving a total of about 4,500 people, those who took Contrave lost an average of 4.2 percentage points of their weight more than those taking a placebo after one year. That fell short of the standard set by the F.D.A. that a drug should produce a weight loss at least 5 percentage points greater than placebo.

However, in most of the trials, Contrave did meet a second F.D.A. requirement that twice as many patients on the drug as on placebo lose at least 5 percent of their weight. Meeting only one of the two standards is enough for approval.

“I think they made it by the hair of their chinny chin chin,” said Melanie G. Coffin, the patient representative on the committee, who voted in favor of approval. “It’s sad to see that that is as far as they could go.”

Contrave is a combination of two existing drugs that, Orexigen says, work together to quell food cravings. One of them, bupropion, is an antidepressant also known by the brand name Wellbutrin that is also sold under the name Zyban to help people quit smoking. The other, naltrexone, is approved to treat alcohol and drug addiction.

Some panel members said that since those drugs had long been used, the safety risks were fairly well understood. One is that bupropion can cause seizures. Dr. Michael A. Rogawski, a neurologist on the committee, said that because of that risk, Contrave should be used only in special circumstances.

A subtext of the meeting was whether the F.D.A. was setting the bar too high for obesity drugs. Several groups that advocate for obese people, or treat them, testified in favor of approval of Contrave. But their arguments were not so much about the drug itself as about the need for more options and about the attitude of the F.D.A.

“This panel has voted against every obesity treatment that has come before it this year,” said Theodore K. Kyle of Pittsburgh, a former industry executive who is in several advocacy groups for the obese. “I ask you to take the disease seriously and take the benefits of treatment seriously.”

Last Friday, a different F.D.A. advisory panel recommended lowering the weight requirement for weight-loss surgery involving Allergan’s stomach-restricting Lap-Band device.

But regarding Contrave, three groups — Public Citizen, the National Research Center for Women and Families and the National Women’s Health Network — urged the panel to vote against approval, saying the risks were too great and its effectiveness in weight loss too small.

People who are obese have a higher risk of death and of various diseases, like diabetes. Some studies have shown that weight loss of even 5 to 10 percent can reduce those risks.

But a concern was that the increase in blood pressure and heart rate caused by Contrave might nullify any health benefits from the weight loss.

This is what happened with Abbott’s Meridia, which was approved in 1997 despite raising blood pressure and pulse rate in clinical trials. When a big cardiovascular study was finally conducted, it found an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Trading in Orexigen’s shares was halted all day. But the panel’s positive vote buoyed the stock of other obesity drug developers, in part because it suggested they would not have to do lengthy heart safety studies before approval.

Shares of Vivus rose nearly 11 percent to close at $7.80, then shot up 13 percent more to $8.82 after hours. Arena shares rose 2 percent to $1.41 in regular trading and then nearly 11 percent more to $1.56 after hours.

Not all Fruits are equal…

4 Dec

List of the best fruits, due to their high anti-oxidant value and low glycemic value, assuming they are locally grown (wild if possible) and organic.

  1. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
  2. cherries
  3. prunes
  4. apples
  5. peaches
  6. pears
  7. figs
  8. grapefruit
  9. kiwis
  10. apricots

Biomechanical Squatting Forces

3 Dec

Loren Chiu
Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory
Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
University of Southern California

“My Dr said squats are bad for your knees”

“Don’t squat below 90 degrees”

“Don’t let your knees go past your toes”

In general, as the angle of the shank [shin] moves away from vertical (into dorsiflexion), the moment arm of the vertical forces increases,increasing the net torque at the knee. Similarly, as the angle of the femur moves away from vertical, the moment arm of the vertical forces increases, increasing the net torque at the hip. Interestingly, an increase in extensor torque at the knee will decrease the required extensor torque at the hip, thus for motions requiring combined hip and knee extension, there is a trade-off, where one is relatively large and the other relatively less.

I disagree, however, that the movement of the shank away from vertical is dangerous and/or leads to patellofemoral injury. The incidence of long-term knee pain in retired weightlifter’s is no greater than that for the rest of the population (Granhed et al.). It seems common that when we talk about a joint, an increase in force or torque is assumed to correlate with an increased risk or danger. This is common among medical professionals, physical therapists, athletic trainers, etc. who are educated to prevent injury. Strength and conditioning coaches, on the other hand, are educated to enhance performance, thus an increased force or torque would be associated with greater strength (or the potential to develop greater strength).

Both views are correct to some extent, but an increased force or torque is only dangerous if it exceeds the compressive (bone, cartilage, menisci) or tensile (muscle, tendon, ligament) threshold of the tissues involved. Thus, we cannot assume that because the high-bar back squat, or front squat performed below parallel with the shank moving anteriorly
increases the net torque at the knee, that this will lead to injury.

In comparing weightlifters to powerlifters, we have to consider more than just the exercises (high vs. low bar squat, front squats, etc.), but also the volume, load and frequency of training. Anecdotally, the most common knee complaints in weightlifters are quadriceps or patellar tendinitis, which are overuse injuries. Powerlifters tend to squat no more than 2 days per week, whereas weightlifters will squat 3-4 days a
week (outside North America, up to 6 days a week), as well as perform full squat snatches and squat cleans, resulting in squatting motions performed 5-6 days per week. The volume tends to be higher, although the load is lower in weightlifters, but the combination of volume and frequency are more likely suspects for knee complaints in weightlifters than their choice of exercise.

“When discussing injury risk and dangers of exercises, a simple kinematic and kinetic analysis is not sufficient to tell the whole story. Truly, to be accurate, one must also look at the biomechanics of soft tissues and their adaptations to training stress. There is no evidence that when performed properly, high bar back squats or front squats, performed below parallel, with the shank moving anterior to the toes have an inherent capacity to cause injury, particularly when volume, load and frequency are appropriate for the level of the trainee.”  Loren Chiu

Eat this way…..

2 Dec

Before attempting to increase insulin sensitivity, try to focus first on normalizing your insulin ebb and flow by strictly following the suggestions below…..

For one week, eat only meats (of all kinds), lots of fibrous vegetables, and some citrus  fruits, berries, and nuts. Do not  worry about counting calories during this period. Just get your body  to readjust to utilizing carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits,  instead of fast carbohydrates from grain-based (processed) and root-based sources.
– Meats (better if not processed — real meats slow gastric emptying)
– Whole Eggs
– Lots of fibrous vegetables, a good variety
– Some citrus fruits
– Berries
– Nuts
Next week  focus on enhancing insulin sensitivity via short (18-24hour) , intermitent (1-2x/week) periods of not eating (IF). This will begin to help your body to rely on fat as an energy source rather than glucose.

Also,  remember: just like drug or alcohol rehabilitation, dietary rehabilitation requires conscious work and effort at the beginning. It  will slowly get better with the return of metabolic and hormonal health.


To be continued……

The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian

2 Dec

If you have 5 extra minutes and you care about your health, read this  article from the ny times magazine.  It gives us a glimpse into the “what if’s” in relation to training through out the lifespan.  Very interesting points made on keeping the intensity up, even into our 90’s…

If you only have 30 seconds, take a look at this video.

Random Keys to Healthy & FITness

1 Dec

Warming Up…

1 Dec

Why warm up?

“The purpose of a warm up is to familiarize the muscles with movement patterns, help prevent injuries and also increase; blood flow, heart rate,  internal muscular temperature, respiration rate & ease of joint movement (Baechle & Earle, 2000).”

Here at FIT we practice a GENERAL warm up, followed by a SPECIFIC & ACTIVE warm up that focuses on movement patterns and skill development.

FIT Member Spotlight June 2010

6 Jun

Randy Ditzler

Age: 45 years young

FIT Member since: July, 2008 – Happy 2-year Anniversary!

Goals upon starting at FIT:
1.    Travel for work and family with ease
2.    Strengthen low back following spinal fusion
3.    Improve muscular endurance and connective tissue dexterity
4.    Return to physical activities

Results upon dedication to workouts at FIT
1.    Just cleared by Doctors to resume activities such as golf and skiing (2011)
2.    Returned to ‘pain free’ business and personal travel
3.    Physically active 6 days/week
4.    Feels strong, healthy and happy every day

Likes: Hard, and focused work outs

Dislikes: Waiting between sets, negative people and back pain

Personal Records:
1.    Bench Press: 185×4
2.    Pull-Downs: 170×4
3.    11% Body fat
4.    More ‘ice’ time than the Sharks

Key’s to Randy’s success:
Trust, hard work & and a little bit of fear.  Randy has worked extremely hard at reaching his goals.  He knows his body well and can pick and choose when to push hard and when to taper back.  He has been through a very physically demanding rehab and has come out the other side healthier and happier.  The next phase in Randy’s recovery is choosing our next physical challenge… and “thanks to FIT for the support and help on the journey back.”   Randy Ditzler