Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

Danny M. O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D Strength coach

Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

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Health tips

Explosivelyfit focuses on the development of superior strength with the intent to help all drug free athletes reach their true strength potential. You will get stronger and more powerful using these strength training methods and tips.

Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens

Are you feeling fatigued and irritable?

Avoid Breakfast Mistakes-WINForum

Building your own limited space workout room

Burning off the calories and keeping healthy

Cycling Improves Parkinson's

Do you need a knee replacement? Is it right for you?

Does eating at night make you fat?

Drinking cola leaches the magnesium from your body

Drink your water at the right time to maximize its effectiveness to your body

Eating less. Ten tricks of the trade to help you lose and then keep off excess body weight

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

Excess sodium where you would least expect it

Four tips for eating after exercise

Gaining weight as we age

Getting flexible and staying there

Getting rid of your belly pouch

Getting more fiber in your diet

Help cut your risk of diabetes

Is it possible to stop the arthritis in your knee from progressing?

Is your heart on top of your training?

Killing the pain of exercise – does it kill the gains too?

Lower your blood pressure

Make your workouts more productive

May is national physical fitness and sports month

Measuring your waist circumference

More benefits of exercise

Physical activity guidelines and the benefits of walking

Protect your memory by staying at a healthy weight

Re-energizing your energy

Save money, eat better and weigh less

Six common sense strategies to help with your allergies

Set a goal if you want to lose weight, get stronger, or run farther

Setting yourself up for success with your exercise plans

Snacking and TV

Stretching strength and flexibility training

Strong bones reduce injury risk

Tired of doing the same old same routine?

The best time to eat to lose weight

The facts about fats

The health benefits of water to your brain

The limited the definition of physically fit

Warning signs of a stroke

Weight and mortality, obesity as a disease

You should know this prior to exercise for a healthier heart


Gaining weight as we age

Oftentimes people say they weigh the same now as they did in high school or college. However, they don't look the same. Somehow, the weight they now weigh and the way it looks on their body is entirely different from their youth. In many cases, weight gain is common in this population but it does not have to be inevitable.

At present, full understanding of why aging causes a downward shift in muscle mass and a corresponding increase in body fat takes place is not understood. But we do know that it happens and in most cases, it is not a good thing.

The addition of excessive pounds lessens the quality of life, increases the chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, along with having a negative influence on the joints, which can lead to osteoarthritis. Most of these are preventable and there are ways of preventing an unhealthy increase of body fat.

The biggest reasons for weight gain in older citizens are the same as that of the younger population: a lack of exercise and too many calories. The emphasis here is on too many calories. You will never, and I repeat never train enough to overcome a poor diet loaded with excessive calories.

Activity burns calories and keeps your body ready for everyday activities. These activities do not include sitting on the recliner hour after hour watching television or looking a computer screen. They involve being physically active.

Strength training helps keep your muscles strong and vibrant. Lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat, therefor the lower the muscle mass the fewer calories burned per day. And the fewer calories burned, the greater the potential to add extra fat weight.

Fat is neither strong nor vibrant. It just sits there and does nothing in the way of contributing to a healthier you.

Following a healthy diet of smaller portions of food and drink and getting a minimum of one hundred and fifty minutes of exercise per week will help control this weight gain.

Set a goal if you want to lose weight, get stronger, or run farther.

If you are one of the many who is always wanting to lose ten pounds, run faster or get stronger then deciding on how many pounds or how fast or how much more you want to lift is the ticket to success. Once you have decided then write them down in specific terms.

Saying you want to lose ten pounds forever and ever is not the way to lose those ten pounds you've been bitching about for the last ten years is it? In the recent October, issue of the Journal of Consumer Research a series of studies reported that those who set ranges were more likely to stick to their plans when compared to others who did not set ranges. By ranges is meant that saying you will lose ten pounds is not as productive as setting a range of losing 2-4 pounds by the end of this week. Setting a single number is not as effective as an array of numbers that include the one you really want to arrive at in the end.

These range goals improved the individuals motivation to succeed and at the same time brought more engagement or buy in to the process than did the ones who used a single goal.

Probably the reason for the successes of those using the ranges was the built in flexibility. There is some leeway to this method, which seems to fit more people than the hard single number goal. On the one hand, you have the hard lower number for weight loss or the high number for strength gains and on the other hand, you have the easier to attain numbers.

Snacking and TV

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina, determined that the more involved you are in a TV show or game, the more you snack. They tested the snacking behavior of 120 men and women, all between the ages of 18 and 35, while they were watching various TV programs or playing different video games.

The results, subsequently published in the international Journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, determined that the primary key to increased snacking was a greater absorption in the game or program. Looking over the data, the researchers found that watching or playing a game continuously had a direct effect on the participants snacking behavior.

While watching a continuous show or playing a game, the snacking increased when compared to watching 90 seconds of a show or playing only 90 seconds of the game.

The researchers concluded, “Narrative appears to be a particularly strong distractor,” thus leading to mindless eating.

If you find yourself in this situation more times than not throughout the week, perhaps a healthier change in routine would be in order.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults need to exercise at least two hours and 30 minutes with moderate aerobic activity each week and participate in muscle strengthening activities two or more days during that same week.

The strength training sessions should concentrate on the major muscle groups such as the shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, abdominals, and legs.

Even though you may be exercising 150 minutes a week, this does not give you the excuse to indiscriminately eat everything in the house while watching TV or playing a game. Bad dietary decisions will consistently override physical activity and lead to increased fat accumulations.


You should know this prior to exercise for a healthier heart

Increasing your walking speed and building your endurance can be incremental and spaced over several ten-minute periods each day. Interval walking means you begin with a warm up walk, then speed up to a fast pace for either time or distance and then slow down to a normal pace again. Do this the entire time of the walk. Your heart rate rises and then returns to an elevated rate the rest of the time even after you have slowed down.

When the temperature is high, and/or the humidity is too, exercising in it can be dangerous to those with existing heart problems or other health issues.

  • If you are out in the heat and/or humidity make certain you keep an ample amount of water in your body.
  • It may be best if you avoid the heat and/or humidity during the hottest parts of the day by beginning earlier or later on, especially if you do your exercising in the fresh open air.

If you have any doubts about exercising or starting a different program, discuss these plans with your doctor.

Read more in the next issue of the Explosivelyfit Strength Training News by using the easy sign up button above.

Is it possible to stop the arthritis in your knee from progressing?

There is more and more scientific research identifying actions that can help prevent the progression of arthritis in the knees. The one main recommendation that holds steady throughout all the studies is to reduce the weight your knees are carrying by losing excess body fat. This means maintaining an ideal weight or perhaps even a little less to ease the stress on your knees. The other common thread, when it comes to protecting your knees, is to avoid activities that create stress on them and running is a prime culprit when it comes to damaging the knees.

Since exercise is an important activity that helps improve and maintain the quality of life and perhaps even prolong it is important to know which exercises are going to be the most beneficial when it comes to protecting your knees. The basic assumption here is you have to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint, specifically the quadriceps, your hamstrings, and even your calves.

Exercise strengthens each of these muscles helps keep the knee more stable, keeps the joint lubricated, and helps to absorb some of the stress your knee encounters with each step.
Recently, a Harvard study presented at the annual American College of Rheumatology, found that drinking pop, could be associated with knee problems in men. According to Dr. Bing Lu, an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School, “based on our analysis, consumption of more than 5 diet soft drinks per week is related to significant osteoarthritis progression in men.”

Osteoarthritis damages the joint cartilage.

Knee osteoarthritis is a deterioration of the cartilage in the knee. Cartilage is a smooth tissue at the tips of the bones that prevent the bones from rubbing on one another. Without this cartilage, the bones would rub together. Such a condition causes a person to have pain, sometimes excruciating pain, each time they moved the joint.

As mentioned previously, a common factor in many instances of knee osteoarthritis cases, the fact is the person is overweight, not just a little, but a lot. Couple this up with the excessive number of sugar, junk filled soft drinks consumed by the average American and you have a situation just made for poor health and in this instance it is poor knee health.

The scientists are not exactly certain why these drinks were associated with making the osteoarthritis progress faster but they did have some thoughts on it.

Phosphoric acid interferes with the absorption of calcium, which leads to imbalances that can further exacerbate loss of calcium. Most of the soft drinks on the market today contain phosphoric acid. A second possibility is those who are drinking this much pop are probably neglecting to drink healthier or to eat healthier. According to Dr. Lu, “soft drink consumption may be associated with decreased intakes of protein, milk and dairy products, fruit, and a variety of vitamins and nutrients.

Drink your water at the right time to maximize its effectiveness to your body

  • Drinking two glasses of water as soon as you wake up helps to activate your internal organs.
  • Drinking one glass of water close to 30 minutes before a meal helps your digestive system.
  • To help lower your blood pressure, drink one glass of water before taking a bath or shower.
  • To potentially avoid a stroke or heart attack drink one glass of water before going to bed

Adapted from rawforbeauty.com

Re-energizing your energy

After the long winter it may seem as though your energy levels have struck a new low. If that is case, here are several ideas to help you reenergize yourself.

Start out by reducing your stress. It can be stress caused by overwork or taking on too many projects at one time. Or it could be the stress of working a hard physical job. But it can be a combination of both mental and physical activity causing a loss of energy.

One of the most highly recommended methods of increasing energy levels is through exercise. Even though this may be counterintuitive, it still works. This is especially true if your energy is draining away with a multitude of mental activities.

There is an old axiom in the physical fitness world that goes along the lines of this; if you work at a physically demanding job, reduce the stress by exercising your mental capacities. The opposite of working a hard physical job is a difficult mental job. And the way to reduce the stress from this job is with intense physical activity.

Not only does exercise relieve the stress of daily life, it increases your body’s fuel making efficiency, which means that your muscles are producing more mitochondria[1]  in the muscle cells. This means you have more energy to burn.

The act of exercising helps to create more tiny blood vessels, capillaries that carry oxygen to your cells. Intense exercise also causes you to breathe heavier which increases your heart rate and circulates more oxygen now available to the creation of more mitochondria in the muscle tissues.

Exercise also helps release moderate amounts of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These two hormones, in large amounts, are the stress hormones that cause the energy depleting fight or flight response.

Exercise can also reduce fatigue in those who have a chronic autoimmune condition or fatigue brought on by cancer or the treatment of cancer. A small analysis of 36 studies relating to fatigue and chronic autoimmune conditions discovered that exercising aerobically 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week for three months produce these results.

Those people who had multiple sclerosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis had significant reductions in fatigue. A similar review of the research into fatigue found that people over 65 years with cancer who exercised were able to ease their cancer related fatigue symptoms.

Do you need a knee replacement? Is it right for you?

Total knee replacement (TKA) surgeries, in the United States, have increased more than 100% over the past twenty years. This surgery has been a Godsend to many older Americans and has allowed them to remain more active and independent than in the past before these surgeries were available.

Research, and experience, has positively proven that a knee replacement greatly enhances the ability to move around independently without pain. Pain, being the operative word.
When these surgeries first started, they were seen as a last resort for those who were unable to tolerate the pain any longer and spent the majority of the time sitting in a chair because they were unable to move without excruciating pain in the knee joint.

It is estimated there are approximately 600,000 knee replacements done each year in the United States. With the increased average age of our citizens, here in the States, there will be even more of these surgeries performed in the future. Right now, the trend is for those who are eligible for Medicare to have the surgery.

The research is also showing that older Americans stand a greater likelihood of suffering from other medical conditions, such as obesity, directly leading to joint replacement. The obesity epidemic is causing more of the shock absorbing cartilage located at each end of the bones in the joint to wear away. Inevitably, this leads to bone on bone contact within the joint.

Once the bones start grinding against each other, symptoms of swelling, stiffness, and joint pain appear with regularity. These symptoms, in their extreme, can preclude sleeping or even walking around, which makes the surgery even more attractive.

Because these artificial joints have improved so much over the years, many people are opting to have their joints replaced, oftentimes without much pre-thought as to the consequences. Make no doubt about it; there are consequences to having an artificial joint. One that immediately comes to mind is not being able squat heavy due to the mechanical stresses on the replacement joint or being able to safely skip rope due to the pounding on the artificial joint.

In the September 2012 issue of Health Affairs, a recently published study found that providing potential recipients of the TKA detailed information concerning the joint replacement procedure, possible complications, expected outcomes, including potential lifestyle changes found that 38% of these people decided to make another choice rather than undergo the total knee replacement procedure.

In some cases, working with a physical therapist, and/or a strength and conditioning specialist and/or a sports medical doctor may provide an alternative solution to the problem rather than having the replacement.

The remedies offered include strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius muscles, the muscles that surround the knee joint. By making these muscles stronger, there is more control over the movement of the bones within the joint, thereby decreasing the amount of bone on bone movement. Additionally, the use of pain medication such as acetaminophen and some of the mild to potent anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve pain.

Continuing with the alternatives to a total knee replacement an overweight or obese person may find some pain relief by losing weight. Excess weight, overloading already damaged joints, will exacerbate the problem and cause the joints to wear out even faster. The loss of weight may be a difficult task; however, consultation with a registered nutritionist in conjunction with working with a certified trainer will go a long ways to decreasing the fat levels of an overweight person.
Changing the level of your activity and avoiding things that cause pain to your joints is also an option.

According to the literature, there are no modifying medical treatments presently available that will slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Once osteoarthritis has progressed to a certain stage, it becomes more difficult to prevent the joint pain from interfering in your life. At a certain point, a person in this position is going to begin seriously considering having their joints replaced.

Depending on your age and the severity of the pain and limitations placed upon your lifestyle, this may be the ideal option. However, since these joints are man-made materials they will wear out. Most are projected to last between twenty and twenty-five years, of course this depends on the demands placed on them.

If you do get a new knee, take a look at this book available on Amazon:

How to regain your range of motion after a total knee replacement-A firsthand account

about getting your full range of motion back afterwards. As you can see the majority of the reviews people have posted about it are excellent.

Excess sodium where you would least expect it.

A Canadian study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that patients ordering their meals at the hospital ended up with an average of 3,033 milligrams of sodium each day. That is 1,000 milligrams more than the recommended daily amount of 2,300 mg for a healthy adult.

Even that is too much in most cases. According to the CDC, our bodies need only 180-500 mg per day to function normally with an adequate amount per day of 1,500 mgs being more suitable for most adults. This means the food checked in the Canadian study was 1,533 mgs greater in sodium than necessary for a healthy adult. It gets worse.

Those who choose food from the diabetic menu got 3,600 mg of sodium each day, an amount that exceeds the recommended 1,500 milligrams by 2,100 mgs.

Choose your food wisely if you land in the hospital.

Save money, eat better and weigh less

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer research Center in Seattle recently studied 123 overweight or obese postmenopausal females. The results of the study published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes listed four strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. The most important one was keeping a food journal.

Maintaining a daily food and drink journal showed a strong correlation to greater weight loss for those in the study. The women in the study who did keep one lost approximately six pounds more over the year than those who did not keep a journal.

They also found that those who ate dinner, the noon meal, at home or brown bagged at work not only saved money but lost weight as well. Eating at home and creating your own daily brownbag dinner's gives you control over the amount of sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates that you are putting into your body. The simple fact of preparing your own meal raises your awareness of what you are eating and encouraging you to make a more nutritious meal.

Another strategy that successful women used to lose and then keep the weight off was by not skipping meals. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, skipping a meal makes you hungry and less able to make good food decisions when it finally comes time to eat. The majority of the women who reported consistently skipping meals lost nearly 8 pounds less they year than the women who did not skip meals. That is nearly a pound a month of weight they could have lost had they not skip those meals.

The women in the group who ate their dinner in a restaurant at least once a week averaged five fewer pounds when compared to those who did not eat out.

"These findings suggest that a greater focus on dietary self-monitoring, home prepared meals, and consuming meals at regular intervals may improve twelve-month weight loss among postmenopausal women enrolled in a dietary weight loss intervention."

It appears that if you are serious about losing your weight you will want to include these tips in your strategy.

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

The earlier a disease is detected, the better off you may be. If you begin treatment soon after finding the problem the treatment is more effective in the early stages and the greater, the likelihood is that you will avoid any complications from the disease.

There are many opinions from various medical organizations recommending different health screenings at different frequencies in your life to consider. Your personal health history, as well as that of your close relatives, will have an influence on your decision to have these tests.

Don't waste your money on useless tests; consult with your doctor to find out the ones that may benefit you the most. The following recommendations are generally those providing the greatest information for continued monitoring of your health.

Blood pressure readings measure the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of high blood pressure advises getting this done at least every two years for anyone past the age of eighteen.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation counsels getting a bone mineral density test (BMT) at least one time for men over seventy years of age. A BMT is an Osteoporosis test that screens for brittle, weak bones leading causes of fractures in the elderly and those with osteoporosis.

Colon cancer screening tests for colon cancer or precancerous polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends the following schedule for these tests:

• At age fifty men should have tests for polyps and cancer with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Colonoscopy every ten years
• Double contrast barium enema every five years or CT a colonography which is a virtual colonoscopy, every five years.
• Tests with the principle goal of finding cancer include:
o a yearly fecal occult blood test or a
o yearly fecal immunochemical test
• Diabetes screening tests. These check if you have high blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association these should be done every three years once you are past forty five years of age.
• The American Optometric Association advises regular eye exams along these lines:
o Ages 18-60 every two years
o Beyond age 61 every year
• Determining the fasting lipoprotein profile every five years, beginning at age twenty plus is the goal of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. This checks the cholesterol levels in your body, which is one measure of your hearts health.
• The American Cancer Society recommends prostate screening for possible signs of prostate cancer starting at age 50. However, before jumping into the tests discuss the benefits and potential false readings with your doctor. For certain, African American's and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be getting tested on a regular basis at an earlier date in their lives.

None of these tests are painful and there is no excuse not to be getting them on a regular basis.

Weight and mortality, obesity as a disease

by Glenn Cardwell, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist

Obesity epidemic or obesity polemic?

Earlier this year, a well-respected academic, Kathy Flegal, from the US National Center for Health Statistics, published a study that distilled all the research on overweight and mortality. It captured the research of 97 studies on almost 3 million people and 270,000 deaths so it gave a pretty good indication of the effect of excess body fat and your chance of early death.
So, being overweight will slice years off your life, right? No. And that wasn't the answer most were expecting, nor was it the answer you want if you spend your life trying to scare people into losing weight.

If you are officially overweight, as measured by BMI 25-29.9, then you have a lower mortality rate than if you are lean, was the conclusion of the analysis. It's only once you get into the official obesity level (BMI > 30) do you start to shorten your life. Not the impression you normally get, is it?

Forget respect, just get angry

The results did not please another very well-respected academic, Walter Willet from the Harvard School of Public Health. "This study is a pile of rubbish, and no-one should waste their time reading it" he said in an interview. He seemed to think it was giving the wrong impression and those carrying a few extra kilos may not see any reason to lose weight.

He felt that the public message would get confused, doctors wouldn't encourage the mildly chubby to change their ways, and that the food industry at large could justifiably use the data to their advantage. In turn, the biostatisticians, turned the heat on Willet, stating that the conclusion was plausible. An editorial in the famous science journal Nature stated that public health authorities should stop trying to simplify messages if the message wasn't simple. We've made that mistake before with the "Eat less fat" campaign 20 years ago.

Extra fat may not be a problem

This wasn't the first study to show that being overweight doesn't cause a health calamity. It is thought that carrying a little extra weight helps older people especially to survive intermittent medical problems and surgery that effects appetite. Put simply, if you have extra fat it becomes reserve energy for when you are sick and not eating. I have previously written that being overweight doesn't mean that you are unhealthy. You might be one of the healthiest, fittest and best looking people in your town.

Is obesity a disease?

Personally, on a completely non-scientific level, I find it difficult to reason that if I now choose not to exercise, eat pizza daily, and spend 25 hours a week watching cook-offs and sing-offs on telly that I have now contracted a disease. It seems to me that I have just made a stupid decision, and stupid decision-making doesn't usually respond to medical intervention.

On 17 June the American Medical Association said that obesity is not a disease, partly because it is hard to diagnose. A public health problem maybe, but not a disease. If it is defined as a disease, then people might just assume that it is totally out of their control and they are going to wait for a medical solution.

Is obesity an epidemic?

Then it got political, and after strong lobbying, two days later the AMA decided that obesity was a disease. Not only that, it was an "epidemic".

My Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines an epidemic as an "infectious disease or condition that attacks many people at the same time in the same geographical area". It isn't infectious, and its onset has been gradual over 60 years. Does it fit the definition of an epidemic? Words like epidemic are used (much like the word "toxic") to scare people, including politicians, so people take notice and provide research funds.

Who to blame for the disease?

As you would expect, there was a big debate after the AMA came out with their final decision. Who can you blame for this disease? Will the disease be covered by medical insurance? If I get the disease, can I blame family members for giving it to me? Or anyone selling French Fries? Most diseases are cured by time, medication or surgery. Although surgery can help some with obesity, most are "incurable".

My brain can't classify obesity as a disease and neither can David Katz from the Yale Prevention Research Centre. On the other hand, being classified as a disease may just stimulate some government action. As long as it isn't another silly public weight loss campaign.

Not my fault; it's my doctor's fault

In Australia, an obese bloke recently successfully sued his doctor because he didn't "treat" his obesity with surgery. His claim was then overturned on appeal.

I'm sure there is more to this case than we know, but will this tactic become popular? Should we determine what/who caused someone's excess body fat and then what/who is responsible for its disappearance? Once that is established, let's engage a lawyer.

What does it all mean?

It seems to me that we continue to cast the public as a victim, and when you accept your position as a victim, then you can give up hope and begin to rely on outside agencies for a solution. Ignore the fact that these agencies don't have a solution for obesity.

Only a fool will suggest that there is a solution. Sadly, there are many fools who proclaim they have a simple solution, from bans to taxes to plain bullying. It is widely accepted that any diminution in a population's body size will require a combination of environmental change, food industry change, encouragement to be active from birth, health education and self-responsibility. It is that last part that no-one wants to mention, yet it may be the most effective.

But when was the last time you heard someone say: "Yes, it is my fault; I accept total responsibility?”

Glenn Cardwell
Accredited Practising Dietitian
Accredited Nutritionist

Have your say

Stories that have appeared in my newsletter are also kept on my blog.
Glenn Cardwell
Accredited Practising Dietitian
Accredited Nutritionist

Is your heart on top of your training?

Do you know if you and your heart are training at a sufficient level to make progress by encouraging the heart muscle to get stronger? If not then the next time you train try counting your heart beats and find out where you stand. This is a quick way of finding out if you are on track to achieving higher levels of fitness.

To begin the test make sure you have the right equipment on hand. You will need a clock with a sweep hand, or a digital one with an internal stop watch or better yet an actual stop watch. As soon as you are finished exercising take your pulse, but not on the carotid artery on your neck because that slows down the pulse. Take in on your wrist.

Don’t wait even two to five seconds to take your pulse reading or the results will be misleading. Remember this figure and then take your pulse again in exactly one minute-not a minute and two seconds but precisely one minute. If for example you decide to count right after your exercise is done and do so for one full minute then the second minute would begin immediately with no interruptions between the two.

The next step is to subtract the second reading from the first and then divide the answer by 10. The result is compared to the following chart to determine your level of cardio-over all physical fitness.

If your calculations come up less than the number 2 then you are in poor shape and need to work out a bit more and a bit harder by upping your cardiovascular workouts. Raise the target heart rate percentages up into the 70% HR for your age and gender.

Numbers between 2-3 indicate a fair fitness position but it definitely could be improved with higher workout intensities.

Good readings start to appear between 3-4 and get even better at ranges of 4-6. Superior fitness is indicated when the numbers are above 6.

If you are already in superior shape then the dividend number changes. In this instance take your pulse immediately after exercising as before and then again at the thirty second mark. Now rather than dividing by 10 you will divide by 5 to arrive at the answer.

If you are concerned about overtraining take your pulse three mornings in a row as soon as you wake up. If by chance you are entering the overtraining phase of things your pulse may be up higher than normal. Some of the literature suggests these higher pulse rates can be as much as ten beats more per minute than normal. If this is the case then it’s time to lower your level of training until your body has a chance to recover. Otherwise you are headed for a plateau or worse yet and injury.

Four tips for eating after exercise

"Athletes who give no thought to their nutrition game plan for a full day of activity can cheat themselves of the ability to perform well throughout the day."
-- Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD

Make It A Combo Meal

The goal of the post-game/workout meal is to re-fuel the body with carbs and give the muscles protein that they need to repair.

• Athletes do not need to worry about the exact ratio of carbohydrate to protein so much as making sure to get both nutrients.
• It is a common misconception that more protein will yield bigger muscles. Athletes typically get enough protein in their diet without thinking about taking in extra.
• Chocolate milk, chicken and veggie stir fry over rice, eggs and toast with milk and fruit are great examples of "combo" snacks.

Time It Right: 30-2 Rule

30 minutes - 2 hours. The muscles will start to rebuild as soon as they are fed something so athletes should eat a snack within the first 30-45 minutes of completing a workout and consume a meal in the hour and a half following that (2 hours after finishing the workout).

* The exception: if the athlete is going to eat a meal in the first 30-45 minutes, there is no need for the snack.

Back-to-Back Events and Tournament Days
The goal is for athletes to take in fuel to help them both recover and re-energize

Hydration and carbohydrates are necessary for performing in back-to-back events. Some athletes prefer carbohydrate beverages like Gatorade or other sports drinks that go down easy. Pair the sports drink with a handful of pretzels, crackers, or bites of a sports bar or sandwich.

Ideas On How To Feed Athletes

A-LIST of foods:

Whether coaches, athletes, or parents are selecting the food for game day, here are some good go-to foods that can be bought in both grocery stores and bulk food stores.

• Bagels
• Cereal
• Pretzels
• Raisins
• Bananas
• Juices
• Gatorade
• Yogurt
• Chocolate Milk

Travel buffet

Coaches can pre-select an appropriate restaurant and work with them to decide on a buffet menu of performance-boosting foods that are still economical and tasty. Try:

• Minestrone soup
• Crackers
• Spaghetti with tomato sauce
• Meatballs on the side
• Green beans
• Fresh whole-grain rolls
• Low-fat milk or chocolate milk
• Juice
• Frozen yogurt

Pack it in a gym bag

Each athlete is different so it can be to the student's advantage to pack things he or she performs the best on even when there are scheduled stops. Have them choose shelf-stable options or whole fruits that travel well and do not need refrigeration. Athletes can pack a Ziploc bag with emergency food for their gym bag or backpack just in case.

Adapted from: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 4th edition

About Us

The science-based contents of the Washington Interschollstic Nutrition Forum (WINForum) Site and Nutrition Navigator, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. WINForum clinics are accredited by the WIAA for coaches credit hours, and promote a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low fat or fat free dairy.

info@winforum.org | WINForum.org

Killing the pain of exercise – does it kill the gains too?

In a study conducted at Ball State University years ago, researchers found that lifters who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen disrupted the benefits of lifting weights. The manufacturer of Tylenol funded this study.

After the results of this study came in the researchers discussed amongst themselves the ill effects of both of these drugs on muscle protein synthesis. This is especially true, according to the study, when a person is trying to build up muscle mass.

Because the original study was only a one-day study, it was decided to extend it out with a greater population. This population was a mature group of 36 men and women 60 to 78 years in age. This group exercised for three full months. It is unknown exactly how many times a week they exercised or what the exercises consisted of but the results were outstandingly remarkable.

According to lead researcher, Todd Trappe, "those lifting weights and taking recommended doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen increased both their strength and muscle mass 25 to 50% beyond that of placebo group which lifted weights and took look-alike but inactive pills."

The question that immediately arose after these results were examined was whether or not you should be adding these drugs your exercise program. The quick answer from Trappe was no.

As he explained " the amount of the benefit that you get when you do resistance exercise without the drugs is so substantial that is not worth risking their potential side effects such as gastric bleeding."

What about the trainees who are already taking these drugs? Todd explained it this way" you don't need to worry that they're interfering with any resistance exercise are doing."

Now from my reading of the literature and perhaps this is just true for the younger trainees, most of it states that taking a pain reducing substance tends to lower the synthesizing ability of the protein after exercise. More study obviously needs to be conducted in this area. However, for the older generation it appears that taking these substances will help you maintain and improve your strength and muscle mass.

If these results were true then, is there reason to doubt they would be true today? In my gym, the recommendation is to readjust the lifting schedule rather than revert to these types of pain management aides.

Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

A survey of 3 million Americans, conducted by the RAND Corporation in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and subsequently published online in the International Journal Of Obesity found that more than 6.6% of adult Americans are now 100 or more pounds overweight! This is an increase of almost 4% (3.9%) from the year 2000.

The cost of healthcare is more than doubling with the epidemic of severe obesity in our nation. Obesity increases the frequency cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and other chronic and mostly preventable diseases.

When will this stop?

The health benefits of water to your brain

If you want to do something to help your brain the most, drink water. Since the brain is 80% water, dehydration leads to increases in the stress hormones, which in turn interfere with cognitive abilities. When referring to liquids that hydrate the body, we are excluding coffee or alcohol.

According to Medical Dr. Daniel G. Amen and Tana Amen, RN., you should be drinking half your weight in water ounces every day. For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds should be drinking 100 ounces of hydrating liquids over the course of their waking day. Naturally, you should be drinking more water when the day is warm and humid or if you are working outside or exercising and losing water to perspiration.

Keep hydrated for peak mental and physical performance.

More benefits of exercise

Exercise has been cited as being beneficial for avoiding, lessening, and mitigating a vast array of diseases in the past. Now, new research is confirming even more of these exercise related benefits for those who choose to follow this path to better health.

According to a recent report from Duke University, working out directly affects your heart. You may reduce your risk of developing heart disease up to 25% by doing 750 minutes of high intense minutes each week. By doing 300 minutes of intense exercise you lower your risk of heart disease by 20% and exercising 150 minutes per week lowers the risk by 14%.

Despite scientific research and the medical expert's advising exercise to manage the pain of arthritis, up to 90% of those with arthritis fail to meet even the standards of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Of this 90%, nearly half get no exercise at all. They are inactive.

Boost your memory with movement.

Aerobic exercise pushes the rate of circulation up and this helps to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood into your brain. A study of almost 300 older people found that of those who walked at least 72 blocks, about 4 miles and 880.0 yards, each week had more gray matter in their brain than those who did not walk or exercise each week. Those who were walking each day cut their risk in half of developing memory problems.

Achieve a calmer state of mind with exercise

Regular aerobic exercise tends to reduce an individual's level of stress hormones, and decreases the amount of fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure when under duress. Some of the recommended ways of aerobically exercising are walking, running, swimming, biking, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up and within the target range for up to 20-30 minutes a day.

Equally effective is resistance circuit training. This method involves doing a series of exercises without stopping for 3-6 times around a circuit-thus the name circuit training. It is most effective with the large muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back. As an example, when doing an intense lower body circuit, the series could look like this: do each exercise for 1 minute. Do this 3-6 times, if you are able.

• Skip rope
• Squats
• Skip rope
• Calve raises
• Skip rope
• Dead lifts
• Skip rope

Obviously, before beginning any of these exercise suggestions consult with your doctor.

Physical activity guidelines and the benefits of walking

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends at least two and a half hours of strength training per week working muscle groups such as the shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, legs, and abdominal muscles. And two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity spread throughout the week. Exercise time is decreased if the intensity is higher. In this case, DHHS recommends one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, again spread throughout the week.

You will note there are no weekend warrior (meaning someone who tries to get all of their exercise time in on one day) recommendations here. Those who try to cram it all in on one-day or over two days frequently end up injured.

If you are not able to set aside 30 minutes each day, then do your exercises in 10-minute bursts over the course of the day.

Participating in a daily regimen of physical activity not only enhances your heart, lungs, and circulatory systems it also eases the pain of arthritis.

This may sound counterintuitive to the arthritis sufferer but the physical act of moving the joints keeps the synovial fluid, (the transparent, viscid fluid secreted by the synovial membrane and found in joint cavities, bursae, and tendon sheaths) of the joints equally spread throughout them.

Walking can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight, which is important because numerous studies have found a link between obesity and cancer of the colon, esophagus, kidneys, the breast in postmenopausal women, and the uterus.

Physical activity can also reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system and boost the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol and can even help manage or prevent high blood pressure. As a side note, losing weight also has the tendency to lower your blood pressure numbers.

Fighting depression can be a lifelong task but scientists find that physical activity can be a useful addition to pharmacology and therapy for treating depression. If you are depressed, see someone and get help. Physical activity helps ease the stress of the day, helps cut back on anxiety, helps you sleep better, and boosts your spirits for facing the day.

Walking, as well as other physical activity can help prevent the risk of type II diabetes. Additionally physical activity may also make it possible to decrease the amount of insulin or other types of medications you may be taking to control your diabetes. It goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway, see your Dr. before altering your medication.

Osteoporosis is a scary term for those with a diagnosis. Walking puts a load on the bones, which in turn causes them, become stronger which in the long-term may well prevent fractures. Physical activity combined with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D may help prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis.


There are many good reasons to exercise and probably 100 times that many excuses for not exercising. The decision is up to you as to whether not you take advantage of the opportunities to exercise and thereby improve your health or simply sit around and complain about it.

Tired of doing the same old same routine?

One of the nice things about being fit and healthy is the ability to do what you want to do when it comes to choosing a physical activity. Those who have included physical activity in their daily life have found that it has increased their breathing and heart rate during the exercise period thereby improving the health of their lungs, heart, and circulatory system. The combination of these three working together has increased their stamina for doing daily activities.

Not only does physical activity increase your ability to do daily activities easier it also helps improve your balance and coordination. And being able to move about without the fear of falling is one of the many results of being physically active.

However, if you have found yourself frequently missing a workout now more than in the past, perhaps it is time to take a break.

Taking a break does not mean ceasing all physical activity. It may mean changing up your exercise program in a dramatically different fashion. For example, if you are a hard-core runner and are experiencing ankle, knee, or hip problems you need a break from the constant pounding on your joints. One of the ways to maintain your cardio fitness and at the same time give a joint to break is by riding a bicycle or some other cardio piece of equipment. On the other hand, if you do not want to go to the gym then start walking.

Walking, as has been mentioned numerous times in the media, is an excellent way to increase your physical health. It is also much kinder to your joints than running. Walking, as can be expected, strengthens your leg muscles as well as improving your balance especially if you consistently walk over uneven terrain.

According to the Mayo Clinic "the more you walk, the better your balance will be, and the more practice you get at catching yourself when you trip or quickly change directions." These are two good reasons to walk, particularly if you are older.

The limited the definition of physically fit

The term physically fit has many different definitions. To some it means being able to walk or run long distances, to others it may mean being physically strong, while other definitions include being flexible, coordinated, and agile.

For those who tend to lean towards doing aerobic activities, the term fitness implies cardiovascular fitness. This means how effectively your heart and lungs are supplying oxygen to your muscles and internal organs.

Even for a hard-core lifter, being physically fit should include being somewhat aerobically capable and by that I mean being able to go through a heavy workout and not having to be supported by your partners when you walk from the bench to the squat rack. The more aerobically fit you are the longer you going to be able to exercise without becoming so winded you have to stop.

One of the biggest benefits of being aerobically fit is it reduces your risk of major diseases of the heart such as stroke and other myocardial problems. It also enhances your ability to take in and use oxygen by making a stronger, more elastic pair of lungs.

Evaluation of the cardiovascular fitness of an individual is most often performed on a treadmill, with monitors measuring the heart function both during and after the treadmill exercise test portion is over.

There are numerous self-tests one can use to determine their aerobic physical fitness. One of the easiest is to see how fast you can walk a mile without getting winded. You should be able to do this in no more than about 18 minutes if you are a moderately fit woman between 30 or 40 years of age. For the men this test should take about 17 and a half minutes.

For those of you who are older than 40 years of age, you are allowed an extra 30 seconds for each additional decade of life.

Whatever your situation may be there is no substitute for exercise in helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The facts about fats

All fats contain 9 calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates with 4 calories per gram. The current recommendations for daily consumption of fat are between 25 and 35% of the day's calories. In most cases, sticking around the lower number will be healthier in the long term.

Monounsaturated fats characteristically stay at liquid at room temperature but tend toward becoming more solid as the temperature drops. Vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, olive oil, peanut, sesame are primary sources of monounsaturated fats that are good for you. Other sources come from avocados, nuts, and seeds. Bear in mind however, that many snack forms of nuts and seeds contain large doses of salt, sodium and non-healthy fats when processed and put into the little easy to eat bags.

Polyunsaturated fats stay liquid both at room temperature and when chilled. Some of the foods that are high in this healthy fat are corn, safflower, and soybean oils. Fish, are another excellent source of this oil and some of the tastiest are herring, mackerel, salmon and trout. If you are a vegetarian then your choices may include various nuts and sunflower seeds.

Eating a high protein breakfast helps control your appetite

Research scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia, led by Dr. Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology department studied the impact on the appetite for the remainder of the day after eating a high protein breakfast. The results, recently published in the April 2013 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, came to an informative conclusion of importance to those struggling with their weight control issues.

Participants in the high protein group ate 350 breakfast calories made up of eggs and lean beef. Also included in these daily meal selections were burritos, egg-based waffles with apples sauce topping, and a sausage patty from beef. They noted that plain Greek yogurt and low fat cottage cheese were good sources of high protein.

The control group didn't eat as well as the high protein group. These individuals obtained their 350 breakfast calories from boxed ready to eat cereal and although not stated in the brief report, presumably with milk on top.

The high protein group stated they had an increased awareness of being full with less food cravings during the rest of the day than did those who ate cereal.

Getting rid of your belly pouch

Stop doing crunches, leg raises, and sit ups!

There are several reasons to stop doing these exercises. The first and most important is they put an undue amount of stress on your lower back. According to Dr. Stuart McGill, world renown low back specialist, "sit ups (both straight leg and bent-knee are characterized by higher psoas activation, with consequent high low back compressive forces that exceed NIOSH (1) occupational standards." The second reason for not doing crunches and sit ups is they lengthen the transverse abdominus muscles at the same time they are strengthening the rectus abdominus muscle.

This is what causes your lower abs to pouch outward. Not a pretty sight.

Another thought for you to consider is this: doing crunches or sit ups, especially if you are holding onto your head, as so many poorly informed trainers ill advise, may cause your head to be pushed out of alignment with our spine and create undue tension in your shoulders. Both can cause damage to your spine, your health and create a lasting level of pain that is unnecessarily caused by doing these exercises.

There is a better way to tighten up your abs and one that is easy on your back while at the same time produces results. This is the curl up, not to be confused with the notorious aforementioned crunch.

The curl up

  • Lay on the floor looking up at the ceiling and place your hands under the small of your back - do not flatten your back to the floor because this places an unnecessary stress on the lower back.
  • Bend one leg to about ninety degrees and leave the second leg in a relaxed position straight out on the floor - this helps to keep the lumbar spine from actually flattening against the floor.
  • Keep your head and neck rigid. DO NOT bend them up as you move upward.
  • Focus on the ceiling as you raise your upper body upward.
  • Lift the head and shoulders a short distance off the floor.
  • Rotate only at the thoracic region and NOT at the neck and head.
  • The chin should NOT be jutting up or down during any part of this movement.
  • Hold the up position for a count of five to ten and then lower back down for one repetition.

(1) The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Six common sense strategies to help with your allergies

Suggestion # 1. On windy days, the pollen is everywhere, so stay indoors as much as possible. This is especially important between the hours of 0500 and 1000 hours. During this time, the air is thoroughly saturated with pollen just waiting to get to you.

Suggestion # 2. At the end of the day take a quick shower and get the pollen off you. Wash your clothes or put them in a sealed hamper to be washed later in the week.

Suggestion # 3. After washing your clothing or bedding, don't hang it outside to dry. It may smell nicer but it is absorbing the pollen like a wick in a lantern.

Suggestion # 4. When vacuuming and you should do this quite frequently, maybe even as much as once a day, change your bag or filters often. Don't let your hard work be for naught with a filled up vacuum cleaner bag that is regurgitating the pollen back into your living space.

Suggestion # 5. During the summer, if you happen to use your air conditioner, make it a habit of changing the filters so the pollen isn't simply being moved from room to room in your home. The same goes in the winter - change the filters frequently.

Suggestion # 6. Keep your pets clean. Give them a bath more frequently than during the non allergy season. Brush them more often and use a mask when doing so.

If these suggestions are not effective, then see your doctor and get tested to find out what is causing these allergic reactions.

Getting more fiber in your diet

Dietary fiber is fiber that your body is unable to absorb or digest, it passes reasonably intact through your intestinal track and out of your body. Most fiber is either soluble meaning that it dissolves in water or insoluble meaning that it does not dissolve.

Fiber that dissolves in water forms a material substance that is gel like in appearance. This fiber helps to lower your blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is found in apples, barley, beans, carrots, citrus fruits, oats, peas, and psyllium (1).

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is important to you because it increases the bulk of your stool and then helps move the food and drink through the digestive system in an orderly fashion. Common insoluble fibers include beans and vegetables, cauliflower and green beans as prime examples, wheat bran, whole-wheat flour, and the potato.

If you are looking for a food that contains a combination of both insoluble and soluble fiber then look no further than oatmeal and beans – not necessarily mixed together.

(1) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601104.html Psyllium, a bulk-forming laxative, is used to treat constipation. It absorbs liquid in the intestines, swells, and forms a bulky stool, which is easy to pass.

How to get more fiber without resorting to eating stuff that tastes like cardboard

Since we know that fiber is good for us it is now a matter of finding what we like to eat to get it. Most of us do not get the recommended twenty grams of fiber per day because we are not aware that it is necessary or we don't like the foods that contain ample amounts of this healthy substance in our diet. After all, who wants to eat awful tasting stuff every day? The good news is you can actually get the fiber in your diet without eating tasteless stuff.

For instance, an avocado has 12 grams of fiber and with the good fat to go along with a great taste too. This is 33% more fiber than found in a cup of shredded wheat. However, avocados aren't the only good tasting high fiber foods available. Others include apples at 3 grams each, blackberries, and raspberries with 8 grams and mangoes with 4 grams.

If you want to branch out then pick up some artichokes and or acorn squash with 6 grams per serving, black beans at 8 grams, or sweet potatoes with 5 grams of great taste.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

This is your month to change the way you live by doing something good for your mind and body every single day.

If you don't have a gym to go to, then start walking, do a series of squats onto one of your kitchen chairs-the tall bar stools in the kitchen don't count, skip rope, ride a bike with your kids, walk in the woods, pick up your yard, do push ups, lunges, get in a few curl ups, lift some rocks, cut up tree trunks if you have cut down any trees or tree branches, be physical during some part of each day.

Raise your heartbeat and keep it within your target heart range for twenty to forty minutes most days of the week with your physical exercises. This helps you do more with your time because it allows your heart and circulatory systems to keep the nutrients and oxygen flowing throughout your body.

Mind your mental health by reducing the stress in your life. Make things simple and not more over complicated than they need to be.

Rest more often and practice getting good sleep at night. Nap if you have the time and most of us do have the time, we just aren't using it wisely.

Eat nutritious food to fuel your body in the most effective manner. Cut back on your salt and sugar consumption; get your weight under control and lose those unnecessary pounds that are dragging you down by watching what you put into your mouth each day.

Keep track of your progress with a daily diary. You will be surprised how much more you'll accomplish if you keep track of it. For some reason, doing so spurs you onward to doing more.

Does eating at night make you fat?

For quite some time now, dieters have been told to avoid eating after six o'clock at night. For example, individuals who follow Atkins, South Beach and Weight Watchers weight reduction plans have been advised to limit their food intake at night. This is not a new belief.

Generation after generation has been led to believe that when they eat their food just before a period of inactivity i.e. before going to bed, that these calories are going be stored as fat rather than burned up as energy. This appears to be unsubstantiated by hard research (1).

Researchers tracked the eating habits and body weights of 70,400 US men and women for ten years. They found that the percentage of the daily calories, eaten after 5:00 PM, caused no changes in their weight.

Obesity expert, Albert Stunkard, of the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, Philadelphia, stated, "I know of no credible evidence that the time of day has any impact on the storage of fat."

This is not mean to imply that you can sit down and eat anything you want to eat just before you go to bed. Those extra calories that you eat when you are tired, bored or stressed from the grind of the daily activity will accumulate as a fat roll in your body. Normally the times this happens is at nighttime and you can expect those extra calories to show up on your waistline.

Engaging in twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity each day will not only make you more physically fit but will also help you control your weight by helping to use up those excess calories that you eat.

As a result of the studies, the answer to the question of is eating later at night less healthy than during the daytime would be no.

(1) Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab.Disord.21: 407,1997

Strong bones reduce injury risk

Poor Bone Health Likely Caused Severe Leg Fracture

Louisville's Kevin Ware sustained a terrible leg fracture during the 2013 NCAA Tournament that went viral. The unusual break serves as a reminder about the value of good nutrition to build muscle and stronger bones.

Tim Hewett, director of sports medicine research at Ohio State University, speculated that Ware's diet could have been deficient in vitamin D and calcium leading to more porous bones. "Watching the video tape over and over, I would not expect this type of fracture to occur. I suspect he had some risk factors that created some sort of bone deficit," he said.

New York Times health writer, Katherine Streeter, reports in a separate article, "the one indisputable fact is that the safest and probably the most effective source of calcium for strong bones and overall health is diet, not supplements." Milk consumption has declined over time and largely supplanted by sugared soft drinks that are now under fire as major contributors to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Dairy foods and drinks are the country's richest dietary sources of calcium.

Intensity Increases Risk of Torn ACLs and Other Major Injuries

Orthopedic surgeons say youth sports are more intense today, with players often picking just one sport to specialize in. These athletes often play and train in sports year-round with school teams, recreation leagues, travel leagues, and summer camps. Along with the typical sprains and strains are a lot of overuse injuries that cause stress fractures, tendinitis, and cartilage damage.

Bone Mass Develops Before the Age of 20

"Ninety percent of bone mass develops before age 20 and the rest by age 30," says Tamara Swett, clinical nutritionist at The Regional Center for Health at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. "What you build up [in youth] then is most important because after that we can't build more bone mass. After 30, calcium is important just to maintain the bone strength."

Calcium to Strengthen, Prevent, and Repair

Students, athletes or not, should consume at least 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day. Unfortunately, national data indicate that most teens don't get enough calcium, leaving them at risk for fractures.

"We've gotten away from the idea of milk with every meal," says Lynda Mezansky, clinical nutrition specialist at The Tully Health Center in Stamford, Connecticut. "Teenagers are trying to keep their weight down, or they don't like the taste of milk. They often stop eating breakfast, so even in families where they like yogurt with fresh fruit and granola as kids, when they get older they're exposed to a whole new level of tastes, and they change," Mezansky says.

What Foods Have Calcium & Vitamin D?

• Milk, yogurt, and cheese
• Kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage
• Fish with soft bones that you eat (canned sardines and salmon)
• Some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice milks, and tofu*
*To find out whether these foods are fortified with calcium, check the product labels.

Vitamin D
• Sunshine (10-15 minutes without sunscreen)
• Milk, yogurt, cheese, egg yolks
• Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines)
• Some breakfast cereals

About Us

The science-based contents of the Washington Interschollstic Nutrition Forum (WINForum) Site and Nutrition Navigator, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. WINForum clinics are accredited by the WIAA for coaches credit hours, and promote a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low fat or fat free dairy.

Burning off the calories and keeping healthy

Physical activity burns calories. The optimum method of controlling your weight is a combination of good nutrition (see a registered dietitian), and exercise. The question now is what kind of exercise is the most efficient and longest lasting in its effects.

Many people use aerobics too successfully to help control their weight and improve their physical fitness while others use strength training to achieve similar goals.

In each case, physical activity speeds up your metabolism for a few hours afterwards. Of course, how much this materializes depends a great deal on the intensity and duration of the activity. Nonetheless, it happens and at a higher rate than if, you did nothing at all.

The best way to keep this higher rate of calorie burning is to strength train. The reason: strength training increases your lean muscle to fat ratio. The higher this ratio is the more your body burns the calories because muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue.

Strive to strength train 2-4 times a week for a minimum of thirty to fifty minutes at a time. Do your large muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders, legs, and back for 3-5 sets of 8 to twelve repetitions for each exercise. On the off days from strength training, do your aerobic training for fifteen to forty minutes per session.

No matter which method you choose, consult with your doctor beforehand, keep the intensity up, and stick with it.

Setting yourself up for success with your exercise plans

A beginning exercise program should be fun and easy to follow. It should not be a complicated affair filled with complex and hard to follow directions or intricate movements. Just keep it simple, follow it each day, and have fun. The more complicated you make it the harder it will be to stay up with it.

Set your goals as precisely as possible. For example, telling yourself you want to be stronger may sound good but it is too general. Do you want to be able to do one push up or one hundred? It makes a difference doesn't it?

Be specific about each of your goals by knowing exactly where you want to go with your exercise dreams. Decide how you want to exercise, how much you want to exercise, how long you have to reach your goals (both immediate and long range), and how much time you will dedicate to each training session. Without knowing each of these and writing them down it is unlikely that you will actually get there.

Start out slowly and don't overdo it the first time. It is easy to be over enthusiastic when beginning but this same enthusiasm can lead to being extremely sore the next day. This is something that catches unwary trainees by surprise. Good coaches nip this in the bud by not piling on exercises. Remember, if you are a coach, that it is easy to make someone sore.

You will have to decide whether you need a workout partner. Some people do well with one and others do well on their own. It all depends on your need to be with someone when you exercise.

If you find the right partner, each of you can exceed your expectations in the gym with the mutual support and encouragement you provide to one another. However, if you hook up with a lackard, one who does not show up on time, doesn't push, or is too social then your training will suffer. You have to decide what is best for you.

Whatever you do, it has to be a fun experience otherwise, you won't keep it up.

The best time to eat to lose weight

Losing weight on a diet appears to work best when you eat most of your food early in the day. Six people, participating in a small study, ate 2000 calories for breakfast. This was their entire days' worth of calories and lost an average of 2.2 pounds in one week.

After the first week passed, this same group of six then ate all of their days' allotment of 2000 calories at suppertime. At the end of the week, four out of the six had gained weight. The other two had lost only a relatively small amount.

In this study by Frank Helberg, PhD, University of Minnesota and cited in The Health Letter, it was thought that calories eaten earlier in the day had a better likelihood of being converted to energy rather than the stored as fat.

Getting flexible and staying there

If you are over 40 years old, you have no doubt started to experience a certain amount of inflexibility. Inflexibility begins to creep up starting at about age 40. This happens because the tissues surrounding your joints start to get a little bit thicker and your muscles start becoming less elastic.

Taking a few steps each day to counter this impending inflexibility issue can make a big difference in the ease with which you move your body. Flexibility makes life easier by improving your balance and posture while at the same time helping to reduce the muscle tension around the joints.

During this age of sitting and looking at the computer or TV, your body is adapting by lengthening the muscles of your back and shortening the muscles in your abdominal region. Consequently, many people are now walking hunched over with lower back pain.

An easy stretch to help alleviate these two problems is to stand with your back in front of a counter top and gently tipping backward into an extended position. You want to make sure that your feet are not going to slip out from in front of you while you are tipping backwards against the countertop.

Another good stretch for your lower back, often used while sitting at your desk, is to put one leg over the other at the knee. For example, if your right leg is over your left leg, you are going to be moving your upper body in a twisting motion to the right. You are going to feel a stretching sensation in your lower left back. Intensify this stretch by tipping forward to the right as you are twisting to the right.

Lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because its effects are rarely felt until the disease has progressed to a dangerous level.

Here is a list of four things that you can do to potentially lower your blood pressure.

If you weigh too much, lose weight.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Can you see the fat hanging off your stomach and sides? Can you pinch more of an inch on your sides? If so, you need to lose weight. Can you see your toes? If not, you need to lose weight. Is your body mass index in the obese range? If so, lose weight.

With a 10% reduction in your weight, you will notice reductions in your blood pressure numbers.

Start becoming more physically active.

If your prime source of entertainment is watching TV, working on the computer, or socializing at the local tavern then it is time to get off your butt and get moving. Being physically active goes hand-in-hand with losing weight and they each complement one another.

Reduce eating foods that are high in salt and sodium.

Began with an inventory of the foods in your house. Look at the labels. Are they high in sodium? Do you have stacks of potato chips in the cupboards? Is there bacon and sausage in your refrigerator?

You can reduce the salt you eat by cooking your own food and not adding salt when you eat at the table. Canned vegetables, according to their labels, contain an overly high amount of sodium. You can eliminate much of this by rinsing the vegetables before you cook them. This removes much of the salty juices that contribute to the high salt content of the food.

Cut back on the alcohol you drink.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and generally, when you are drinking, you are with friends socializing and eating crap food. More than likely the food you eat during these times contains a lot of fat and salt.

If you already have high blood pressure and are taking medications, do not stop these medications until you talk with your doctor.

Warning signs of a stroke

Warning signs often precede a stroke and if these signs are recognized soon enough serious damage may be avoided. Quick reactions to the signs may even help to prevent or reduce the strokes damage.

  • Any sudden weakness or numbness in the arm, face, or leg that may last a few seconds or even minutes.
  • A sudden momentary dimness or loss of vision principally in one eye.
  • Double vision that comes on suddenly and is only temporary.
  • Impaired speech or loss of speech that is temporary because of difficulty in moving the tongue or jaw.
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness of the temporary nature.
  • Headaches or a change in headache patterns that are unexpected.

Reference: Dr. Edward Cooper, University of Pennsylvania, professor of medicine, chairman of the stroke Council the American Heart Association.

Drinking cola leaches the magnesium from your body.

Many popular soft drinks that contain cola (1), an extract of the cola nuts, can deplete the magnesium from your body. Too much depletion of magnesium may be a precursor to developing high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease.

Research has shown that cola contains phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is attracted to, and binds with magnesium. During the excretion process, the phosphoric acid, which now contains magnesium, is eliminated from the body.

(1) /ˈkōlə/
1. A brown carbonated drink that is flavored with an extract of cola nuts, or with a similar flavoring.
2. A small evergreen African tree (genus Cola, family Sterculiaceae) that is cultivated in the tropics for its seeds (cola nuts).

Are you feeling fatigued and irritable?

A study conducted in 2009 with an unknown number of college athletes determined that even a mild amount of dehydration after their team practices finished up put them into a negative mood. Obviously, after their team practice was over one could assume that they were fatigued. Most teams now are weighing their athletes before and after practice, especially in high humidity warm areas to help prevent dehydration the unhealthy consequences of such a state.

The take-home message from this study is to keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids, the principal one being water. This water does not have to come from plastic a bottle and it does not have to have some fancy name. It simply needs to be good drinkable water, like that coming from your faucet.

Cycling Improves Parkinson's

What do actor Michael J. Fox, evangelist Billy Graham, former US Attorney General Janet Reno and boxer Muhammad Ali have in common?

Answer: Parkinson's disease, a chronic degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that kills off or impairs the brain cells responsible for the body's ability to move.

You've probably recognized Parkinson's patients by their shaking hands and awkward gait. Sadly, as the disease progresses, patients also develop behavioral and cognitive problems, including dementia.

It's not just older folks who are affected. Though the disease usually strikes after age 50, it can begin sooner—Michael J. Fox was just 30 when he was diagnosed.

There is no cure for Parkinson's…and though a new type of brain surgery technique is promising, it is invasive and not without risk.

Enough with the bad news. Here's some good news—a commonplace activity that is actually fun and safe can improve brain function and mobility in Parkinson's patients. The secret is to go fast.


The revelation comes from a new study that focused on the effects of using stationary exercise bikes. For eight weeks the participants, all of whom were in the middle stages of Parkinson's, rode stationary bikes three times weekly for 40 minutes per session. One group pedaled at their preferred pedaling rate while making sure they were still in their target heart rate zone. The other group rode stationary cycles with motors and control systems to monitor pedaling rate—and with the assistance of the motors, they pedaled approximately 30% faster than their preferred rate. In effect, this assistance from a motor "forced" riders to move their legs faster than their disease would normally allow.

At the start of the study, after the eight-week exercise sessions and again four weeks later, all participants underwent brain-imaging tests called functional connectivity MRIs. These scans assessed changes in blood oxygen levels in different parts of their brains, which allowed researchers to look at the connections among the various brain regions involved in Parkinson's.

What the researchers found: After eight weeks of cycling, patients whose motorized cycles had helped them pedal faster showed greater strengthening of connections in brain areas tied to motor function than patients who had pedaled only as fast as they could without assistance…and these positive effects were still evident four weeks after the exercise sessions ended. The results weren't tied to increased aerobic fitness, the researchers reported. What mattered most was how fast the participants had moved their legs—because this seemed to train the brain to allow better movement.

Interestingly, the types of brain changes brought about by the faster pedaling were similar to those that result from deep brain stimulation, an effective but invasive (not to mention expensive) therapy for Parkinson's in which a device is surgically implanted in the brain to deliver electrical stimulation to brain areas that control movement and block the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremors. In comparison, fast pedaling offers a very attractive, risk-free, low-cost alternative.

What about improvement in actual symptoms? This study and an earlier non-MRI study by the same researchers found that patients in the "forced" exercise group did indeed show improvements in motor function—including in the upper body, even though the lower body was doing the work. (Fun fact: The inspiration for the study arose when one of the researchers partnered with a female Parkinson's patient on a long-distance tandem bike ride. The researcher could pedal faster than the patient, which forced her to pedal faster as well—and afterward they noticed improvement in her motor skills!)

More research is needed to determine how long the effects might last and whether other exercise activities, such as rowing, would have similar benefits. The Cleveland Clinic is partnering with an exercise company to develop a motor-driven cycle to replicate the effects of the research.

In the meantime, Parkinson's patients who want to try this therapy themselves should first get the go-ahead from their doctors. Then patients are encouraged to exercise on a stationary cycle at as fast a rate as they can, turning down the resistance and ramping up their pedaling speed. Alternative: They can get a tandem bicycle, go out on a beautiful day and ask a fit friend to set a brisk pace while cycling with them.

Source: Michael D. Phillips, MD, section head of imaging sciences and vice chairman of research and academic affairs, Imaging Institute, Cleveland Clinic. His study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

My thanks to Rickey Dale Crain for this article.

Eating less. Ten tricks of the trade to help you lose and then keep off excess body weight.

The name of your activity can have an effect on how much you eat especially dessert. In a small study, people going on a "scenic walk" ate more dessert than after going on an identical walk labeled an "exercise walk."

People who eat from a larger container generally eat more than people who eat from a smaller container. In a small observational study, it was found that people eating from a large bucket of stale popcorn ate 34% more than those eating from a smaller bucket of stale popcorn did.

Cafeterias who gave highly descriptive names to their food saw a 27% rise in sales when compared to the same food with a more common name. For instance, velvety smooth, pure white vanilla ice cream would sell more than vanilla ice cream.

You will eat more the same candy if the candy comes in different colors.

Leaving the serving dish on the table rather than leaving it on the stove or the countertop leads to more calories consumed. Men participating in a small study ate 29% more and women 10% more when the dish was left remained on the table.

Setting next to someone who is eating fast leads to those around this person also eating faster and consuming more calories. Years back, my mother-in-law said that she did not want to set across from me when we ate because she felt she was at the races. Looking back on those days, she was right.

Keeping track of how much you ate leads to less food going into your stomach. A study showed that people ate a lesser amount of chicken wings when they could see the bones of the wings they had already eaten setting in front of them.

What you are eating off of matters. People eating off a Wedgwood China plate reported the food tasted better than when the same food was served on a napkin or paper plate. I wonder how the food would have tasted if it was being eaten off the Wedgwood China plate with a plastic fork?

People eating at Subway underestimated the calories in their meals more so than the calories they thought they were getting in their McDonald's meals.

Labels make a difference. People ate more M&Ms or trail mix if it was labeled "low-fat" that if the label did not say "low-fat."

Reference: Brian Wansink

Measuring your waist circumference

To properly measure, your waist circumference, begin with a non-stretchable tape measure. Wrap it around your bare stomach so the tape measure is 1 inch below your lowest rib while standing up straight and not sucking in your stomach.

The next step is to relax and then exhale. When you finish exhaling, take the measurement.

Men, if your waist is over 40 inches and women, if yours is 35 inches or greater a red flag should be raised because in both cases the girth is excessive.

Help cut your risk of diabetes

A study by Harvard and subsequently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that drinking sweetened beverages, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, increased the risks of developing type 2 diabetes in both men and women. To those who drink these beverages, coffee or tea may be better choices.

Coffee and tea both reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In each case, the study reported, it did not matter if these were caffeinated or decaffeinated.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. JoAnn Manson said, "Coffee and tea contain several healthful compounds that lower insulin resistance and help our bodies use glucose more efficiently for fuel." Dr. JoAnn Manson is the chief of preventive medicine at the Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women's hospital.

Make your workouts more productive

You only cheat yourself by not working hard or even worse, missing a session.

Read the rest here.

Building your own limited space workout room

The primary advantage of owning your own gym is you can exercise anytime you want to and you don’t have to wait for equipment to free up from the knotheads jawboning to their partner.
If you are looking to maintain your physical fitness or improve a little bit, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment. Furthermore, you don’t need a lot of space to have a nice gym set up.

Read more.


Avoid Breakfast Mistakes-WINForum 

You likely know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your athletes need fuel to perform in the classroom and in their sport. Encourage your athletes to eat breakfast but to avoid commons mistakes .

Read more.

Stretching Strength and flexibility training

Stretching and strength training go hand in hand. Start your workout with a general full body warm up then move to a dynamic upper, mid or lower torso stretch and end up with your movement specific stretch.

If you are unsure of how to make the most of your stretching exercises here is a handy twenty nine page booklet to look at and learn from. Stretching tips was written by my Australian stretching guide cohort, Brad Walker.

Stretching a the end of your strength training session helps prepare your body for the next one.

Click on Stretching tips and it will load up in an Adobe PDF.

Keep training smart and strong, Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D




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