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“Just a Bite” of Chocolate May Be All You Need

6 Feb

A summary of a recent published study showed that a small bite of chocolate may be all you  need to satisfy that craving. Without fully reading the study, it is good to see that there is some science backing just how little we actually need for our in-the-moment craving.

I would be curious to see a follow-up study looking at the psychological effects (such as endorphin concentrations) of various doses of foods we crave.

To resolve or not to resolve, that is the question.

9 Jan

This time of year there is a lot of chatter about resolutions. Regardless of how you feel about new year’s resolutions, it never hurts to set goals and re-evaluate how all is working in your life. The key here in doing so is to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. In this digital age there are thankful a number of apps that can help you not only set goals but track them, incentivize them, and share them. I came across this list that might come in handy. I have tried a few but certainly not all. If you are using or decide to try any of them, please share your experience in the comments below.
ny resolution
Changing habits is almost always easier in theory than it is in practice. As a staff, we recently read The Power of Habit, which was enlightening. Based on what I learned from that and my previous successes and failures with new year’s resolutions, I’ll be trying Way of Life: The Ultimate Habit Maker and Breaker. Look forward to hearing what you choose.

Too Many Sick Bodies

18 Dec

Hello All,

Currently, I have 5 clients that are currently dealing or they have already been infected with the flu. So, because everybody seems to know the “usual prescription” of chicken soup, vitamin C, reduce stress, etc., I did some research and came up with this article from one of my favorite websites, the Vitamin D Council. Here is some advice for you and your family.

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/infections-and-autoimmunity/influenza/

Influenza Patient friendly summary

 Artistic rendition of influenza virus.

Influenza is a viral infection of the lungs. There are many symptoms:

  • fever
  • body aches and muscle pain
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • dry cough
  • runny nose
  • dry or sore throat

The lining around the lungs may become inflamed. This can lead to bacterial pneumonia.

Risk factors

Influenza is most common in winter, a time when:

  • Solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) doses are low.
  • The weather is cold. This prevents white blood cells from reaching the lining of the respiratory tract and fighting the virus.
  • The humidity is low. Dry air allows the virus to live longer outside of the body.

Sunlight exposure and influenza risk

 Influenza is more common in winter, when reduced sunlight causes vitamin D levels to fall.

Influenza rates peak in winter. There is less solar UVB light in winter, especially in areas farther from the equator. Thus, vitamin D levels are at their lowest.

Vitamin D and influenza

Vitamin D from sunlight or supplements reduces the risk of influenza.

Two randomized controlled trials found reduced incidence of influenza for those taking higher doses of vitamin D. A study involving African-American postmenopausal women in New York found a 60% reduced risk of colds and influenza for those taking 800 IU/d vitamin D3 and 90% reduced risk for those taking 2000 IU/d.

Another study in Japan, involving school children taking 1200 IU/d vitamin D3 vs. 200 IU/d, found a 67% reduction in Type A influenza, but no effect for Type B influenza. Type A influenza includes H1N1 varieties, which was the type involved in the 1918-19 pandemic influenza and the 2009 “swine flu” infections.

According to an observational study, vitamin D provides protection against influenza. This occurs when vitamin D levels in the blood are more than 38 ng/mL (95 nmol/L).

How vitamin D works

To enhance the body’s immune system, vitamin D:

  • Produces cathelicidin and defensins—These proteins have antiviral effects to combat viruses.
  • Reduces inflammation—As a result, body temperature does not rise as much, and the lining of the lungs is less disturbed. This makes it harder for bacteria to give rise to pneumonia.

Prevention

High levels of vitamin D may prevent or lower the risk of influenza. Vitamin D may also reduce symptoms of influenza and reduce the risk of developing pneumonia following influenza. Vaccines strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection. Therefore, combining high levels of vitamin D and anti-influenza vaccines provide the best protection.

Vitamin D

Based on several studies, raising vitamin D blood levels to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/l) may reduce the risk of influenza. For most people, this involves taking 1000–5000 international units (IU) (25–125 mcg)/day of vitamin D during the influenza season.

Treatment

On average, 2000-5000 IU/day vitamin D3 may provide protection against influenza. Vitamin D3, the true form of vitamin D, is produced in the skin. Larger doses of vitamin D taken for a short time strengthen the immune system. This allows the body to fight infection.

Need to know more? Read on with our detailed evidence summary on Influenza.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Pregnancy Risks

18 Dec

From the Vitamin D Council:

December 13, 2012 — John Cannell, MD
Professors Carole Wagner and Bruce Hollis and ten of their colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina recently conducted the largest randomized controlled trial to date using meaningful daily doses (2,000 vs. 4,000 IU) of vitamin D during pregnancy.

Wagner CL, McNeil R, Hamilton SA, Winkler J, Cook CR, Warner G, Bivens B, Davis DJ, Smith PG, Murphy M, Shary J, Hollis BW. A Randomized Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation in Two Community Health Center Networks in South Carolina. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Nov 3.

The ethics committee would not let them use a control group of 400 IU/day, as the committee felt this would endanger the women and their newborns. Sadly, most women in this country only take the 400 IU/day in their prenatal vitamin.

The researchers randomized 256 pregnant women, 160 of whom completed the study. They were separated into two groups, 2,000 or 4,000 IU per day, beginning at 3-4 months of pregnancy. They followed the 160 women through delivery and found the following:

  1. At the beginning of the study, pregnant African American women had a level of 18.5 ng/ml, while Whites had notably higher mean values of 29.5 ng/ml.
  2. Neither group had any side effects; in fact the blood calcium levels of the 4,000 IU group actually went down.
  3. At delivery, the average cord blood vitamin D level was 22 ng/ml in the 2,000 IU/day group and 27 ng/ml in the 4,000 IU/day group, still slightly less than cord levels of hunter gatherers.
  4. Overall, only 37% of the 2,000 IU group and 46% of the 4,000 IU group achieved vitamin D levels of 40 ng/ml by the end of their pregnancies. Furthermore, 40 ng/ml was the threshold level at which conversion of 25(OH)D to activated vitamin D finally flattened out during pregnancy. In other words, the more 25(OH)D the pregnant woman had, the higher the activated vitamin D level, until a 25(OH)D level of 40 ng/ml was reached, and activated vitamin D stopped increasing any more at higher levels.
  5. The 4,000 IU group participants had 2.40 times higher odds of having an infant in the 50th percentile of birth weight, compared to the 2,000 IU group. That is, the 4,000 IU group was more likely to have normal weight babies.
  6. Lower pre‐delivery 25(OH)D was significantly predictive of preterm delivery (p=0.001)
  7. Lower pre‐delivery 25(OH)D was associated with more infection (p=0.026).
  8. Overall, complications of pregnancy were less with the 4,000 IU/day group than with the 2,000 IU/day group, though not statistically significant.

In my opinion, this is once again great research that shows that pregnant women should have levels over 40 ng/ml, and I think it’s preferable to target levels between 50-60 ng/ml.

This is why the Council recommends 6,000 IU/day, to ensure these kinds of levels. We also recommend checking 25(OH)D levels periodically throughout pregnancy to make sure your 25(OH)D levels remain in the natural range, about 50-60 ng/ml. Some women may need more than 6,000 IU/day.

The “Fat Bet”

1 Nov

Image

Several weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were talking about a topic I hold close to my heart: bacon. She happened to say that she believed if you ate as much bacon as you wanted, you would gain weight. I asked why? She said because of all of the fat. I said, well I guess there is only one way to find out: eat nothing but bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Realizing that may be a little extreme and kill the love for bacon, we decided to include eggs – as much as she wanted for each meal – for one week and see if she gained or lost weight. We decided she could prepare the bacon and eggs how ever she wanted. I said she would lose weight after 5 days, she said she would gain after 5 days. What was on the line? Bragging rights. However, because I thought it might be fun to see how it might affect me, I decided to do it as well.

Turns out the bet was made on a Saturday night, we had agreed to start on the following Monday, and she had awaken with cold-like symptoms and so she dropped out immediately. However, I continued with the diet as planned.

Monday morning was a treat: 4 hardboiled eggs and 8 strips of bacon, solid grease adhering to each strip. By the end of that day, I ate approximately 8 eggs and 16 strips of bacon. In terms of exercise, I did a moderately intense workout during the day and played basketball that night in a league game. Tuesday and Wednesday, a little smaller breakfast and my typical Crossfit workout that day.

On Thursday, I was too busy at work, therefore I did not get in a workout. However, I did notice that Thursday morning, I was less hungry than usual – 2 hardboiled eggs and 3 strips of bacon. I noticed my hunger decreasing in the morning and more so throughout the day. On Thursday, I also used a ketostick to see if I was in ketosis, and I had a positive reading.

Friday was another Crossfit workout and another day of bacon and eggs – approximately 6-8 eggs at this point and 12 strips of bacon for the day.

After five days of the bacon and egg challenge, it was time for the moment of truth and see who the Bet Winner was. And the scale said…(drum roll please…) I was down 6 pounds!

Reflection:

This was a fun experience but it did have some positives and negatives:

Negatives:

* Prep time for the bacon while on-the-go so often. I ate mostly hardboiled eggs and oven-cooked bacon because it minimized the smell throughout the house.
* A salty taste in my mouth which required a lot of water to minimize it.
* By Saturday, I had some noticeable acetone breath. My girlfriend had a serious problem with this. Keep the Altoids close.

Positives:

* My energy level did not seem to decrease throughout the 5 days as I had expected from reading about the “keto crash” that sometimes happens to people that have to adapt to a low-carbohydrate diet.
* It was easy to figure out what I needed to eat: bacon or eggs. I enjoyed the simple structure of the diet.
* I lost 6 pounds in 5 days and felt slim and trim.

I realize that this was an experiment of n = 1, but I did like how I felt and I did enjoy the experience. I’m not 100% able to put my stamp of approval on this and call it “Healthy” for somebody to live on, but it may be at least a good kick start on getting onto the path of entering a ketogenic diet. I may do it again, but for a longer amount of time and more breath mints for both my benefit and those I may speak to…just for kicks and giggles. ;)

Optimize Your Health – An Intro To Wellness FX

9 Oct

At FIT, we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to optimize and strengthen the health of our FIT family. Today we are excited to announce that we are partnering with WellnessFX to bring you the opportunity to receive measurable data about your health along with tangible insights into how to optimize your well being through a set of comprehensive blood draws and nutrition consults.

WellnessFX is a web-based platform that gives you deep insights into the state of your health by combining advanced lab diagnostics and tracking along with phone consultations with certified health professionals. WellnessFX aggregates the underlying biomarkers of the primary detractors of wellness, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies.

 

After being tested, a telephone consultation is booked on your schedule with a practitioner who will provide you with recommendations to make measurable improvements in your health. No office visit required. With your secure online WellnessFX dashboard, you will track your progress towards reaching your health goals.

On Friday October 12th and Tuesday October 16th, we will be hosting a blood draw at FIT.  The staff at FIT will be getting tested on Friday and there are a few spots still open.  To check availability, please use the links below.  If you can’t make it to our blood draw, there are several convenient locations to get tested near FIT.

Step 1:  Click on the links below to sign up to get tested (you will be invoiced via FIT)

Step 2:  Get tested!  After signing up, you can choose a time online for Friday (10-12), Tuesday (10-16) or choose another location/day that is convenient for you.  Please be sure to fast 12 hours prior to getting tested

Step 3:  You will receive your tests and can then schedule your online consult with a practitioner and share your results with your trainer
For more information, you can read the summary overview , a more detailed description of the various packages or watch the video below on the baseline testing.

 

Please talk to your trainer if you have any questions or for more information on the benefits of getting tested.

We look forward to working with WellnessFX and continuing to help you on your journey towards consistently optimizing your health.

#FITphoto Week 1 Update

9 Oct

We’re off to a great start guys!  Keep up the great photos.  Here are the best from week one.

#FITphoto Reminder

30 Sep

Remember that our photo challenge begins tomorrow.  

First word: SWEAT

For a little inspiration, here is Scott’s interpretation of the word.

Image

#FITphoto Challenge

26 Sep

I am _____

A little bit ago, I challenged everyone to think about what picture came to mind for a particular word or phrase.  Now I want to more formally introduce the challenge.  This will be a 30-day challenge like no other we’ve done before!  There will be no restricting, limiting, ensuring you get enough!

All we are asking, is that for 30 days, you share your pictures with us.  This is a little experiment in using your creative muscles instead of just the muscles you’ve forged in the gym.  For each day of the month of October, there will be a new word or phrase; take one photo using that word/phrase as your inspiration (example, October 1st, take a picture of what “sweat” means to you).

Reflection

That’s the easy part.  We’ll give you a few ways to share the photo with the rest of your FIT family:

Post to the blog in the comments section of this post.

Add to the FIT facebook page

Email to your trainer, or to matt@focusedtrainers.com

We’ll be compiling the best pictures of the month and lining the hallway throughout November with our votes.

FIT Photo-a-Day Challenge

 

1: Sweat 17: Layered
2: Faith 18: In 5 Years
3: Gratitude 19: Center
4: Black & White 20: Pose
5: Reflection 21: Makes Me Smile
6: What’s for Dinner 22: I am _________
7: Focus 23: On the Run
8: Alma Mater 24: BHAG 

(Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

9: Powerful 25: Full
10: Curiosity 26: Set the Bar
11: Bright 27: Now Playing
12: Family 28: Serenity
13: In My Gym Bag 29: Cozy
14: Grace 30: Where I’m Going
15: Upside Down 31: Monster Mash
16: In My Shoes  

 

 

My experience as a Crossfit “athlete”

16 Sep

2 weeks ago, Jimmy, Danielle, Jenny Lewis, and myself competed in the 2012 edition of Moxie Madness, hosted by Crossfit Moxie in San Jose.  This was a 2-day even consisting of multiple timed workouts each day, similar to the format of the Crossfit Games, with each workout being scored separately.  The team with the fewest points across all of the workouts would be the winner.  The format was for 2 published workouts and a “floater” workout to be performed on Saturday, with an additional workout Sunday morning.  The top 10 teams from each division (Novice, Masters, Advanced) would compete in a final workout on Sunday to determine the winner…unfortunately Crossfit Los Altos didn’t get a chance to try this fifth workout.  But we DID get to try our hands at the following:

WORKOUT 1

For time (20 minute time cap)

12 Burpees 12 Front Squats (135lb/95lb)

12 Kettlebell Swings (32kg/24kg)

12 Box Jumps (30”/24”)

Suicide Sprints (~15/30/45′ each)

Team Crossfit Los Altos

Jenny and Danielle

WORKOUT 2

For Time:

25 yard prowler push for girl #1 @ 110lbs, guys run with them while holding 45lb plate

25 yards prowler push for girl #2, @ 110lbs, guy continue to run with them while holding 45lb plate

At the turn the guys will each put their 45lb plates on the prowler and take over.

25 yard prowler push for guy #1, @ 200lbs

25 yard prowler push for guy #2, @ 200lbs

Then…

300 double unders…. 2 guys, one guy working, switch as often as you want

75 Power Snatches @ 65lb ….2 girls, one girl working, switch as often as you want.

Cannot switch to next exercise until others are done! When guys have finished double unders and girls have finished power snatches they will switch exercises.

300 double unders…. 2 girls, one girl working, switch as often as you want

75 Power Snatches @ 95lb… 2 guys, one guy working, switch as often as you want

Then…

25 yard prowler push for guy #1 @ 200lbs

25 yards prowler push for guy #2, @ 200lbs

At the turn the guys will each remove their 45lb plates on the prowler and the girls will take over.

25 yard prowler push for girl #1, @ 110lbs, guy run with them while holding 45lb plate

25 yard prowler push for girl #2, @ 110lbs, guy run with them while holding 45lb plate

Danielle starting the prowler push

FLOATER WORKOUT

3000m team row

4 x 750m row, with a 5 yard sprint from the starting line to the rower.

SUNDAY WORKOUT (#4)

12min AMRAP for max reps

Hang Clean to Overhead anyway

x7 each RX @ 135lbs/85lbs

x5 each RX @ 165lbs/115lbs

MAX RX Alternating @ 205lbs/135lbs

To say that this was a lot of work to cover in 24 hours might be a bit of an understatement; even after the floater WOD – which we completed first – our legs and backs were a little tired and stiff.  Jimmy even felt a little twinge during the row, but powered through successfully for the rest of the weekend. The row did, though, act as a nice warm up for the other two workouts we would need to complete that day.  We were out on the field at Spartan Stadium – San Jose State’s football field – so it was incredibly hot and bright.  It’s quite a different experience working out in the middle of a turf field in the sun instead of indoors, with climate control, firm flooring, and no sun blaring down on you.  The nice thing about it was the crowd.  Having a couple hundred people cheering you on, music blaring, and a few dozen others competing all at the same time really gets the adrenaline going.  The weights seemed “heavy” during the warm ups, but once I heard “3-2-1 Go!” it was just time to start moving and race against the clock. We didn’t have the best scores, but that really wasn’t the point – we all worked hard and got out there to compete!  While Danielle is still actively competing in weightlifting, Jimmy plays basketball, and Jenny is an avid triathlete, this was my first time getting the competitive juices flowing in about 2 years (haven’t been able to get back into playing soccer).  It was great to feel the excitement and “in the zone” feeling of fighting for a win.  I don’t know about the rest of them, but it really instilled a desire to get back into competing – whether back at soccer, more Crossfit throwdowns, or possibly enter a weightlifting meet (as Rob keeps encouraging). We all workout for different reasons – lose body fat, increase muscle mass, stay “healthy”, relieve stress, and even to fulfill a sense of competition.  Whatever the reasons, it is a great feeling, as well as a wonderful exercise in motivation, to step out of one’s comfort zone and try something different (and maybe more difficult than you thought you were capable of).  What will your next physical challenge be?