Thursday, February 28, 2013

Avoid the Chemicals and Make Your Own Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Did you know that you can make your own coconut oil toothpaste with just a few simple ingredients that you have in your kitchen?
Not only is coconut oil toothpaste effective, with it you can avoid all of the chemicals and toxic ingredients in commercial toothpaste and save money!
I started making my own toothpaste a little over a year ago after discovering a few  ingredients in a “natural” toothpaste that I wasn’t comfortable using.  This toothpaste is a great alternative and is very easy to make!

Ingredients to Watch Out for In Toothpaste

All commercial toothpaste contain harmful and toxic ingredients, such as; titanium dioxide, FD&C Blue Dye # 1 & 2, sodium lauryl sulfate, glycerin and sodium fluoride. These ingredients can also be found in toothpaste that is labeled “all natural”, particularly, glycerin and sodium fluoride are in nearly all toothpastes! These chemicals are not only harmful to your delicate tooth enamel, they also affect your overall health!

How Coconut Oil Toothpaste Works

Coconut oil is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal! Studies have shown that coconut oil destroys the bacteria that can cause tooth decay. The other primary ingredient in this toothpaste is baking soda. Baking soda is a very mild abrasive which aids in cleaning and whitening teeth, and restoring pH balance.

Homemade Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste Ingredients:

- 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
-2 tablespoons Baking Soda
-10 drops of Peppermint oil (optional)
*You can make a larger or smaller batch depending on how long you would like it to last and what size container you’re storing it in.


1. Mix baking soda and coconut oil in a small container, until it forms a paste like consistency
2. Add several drops of peppermint oil and mix (*peppermint is optional)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learn How to Take Probiotics

Did you know that how you take probiotics matters? This can change whether or not your absorbing the “friendly bacteria”.
Almost all containers state under “how to take probiotics” that it doesn’t matter if it’s with or without food. If you have tried to research this on the internet, it’s even more confusing as half of the sites says to take probiotics with food or else they won’t work, and the other half say to take them without food.
Yet, it does matter!  Studies have shown that in order to optimally benefit and ensure that the good bacteria makes it down into your intestines, timing of probiotics is key!

What are Probiotics?

If your not familiar with probiotics, probiotics are cultures of “good bacteria”.  Your gut contains a combination of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help ensure a good balance of intestinal flora.
When we use the word probiotic, most of the time it’s referring to a supplement. However, the term can also be used when talking about fermented foods, as they also contain good bacteria.

How to Take Probiotics

Many people know the benefits of adding probiotics, “friendly bacteria”, to their health regimen and take them either as a supplement or consume them in fermented foods that have active live cultures, such as yogurt, fermented pickles or fermented sauerkraut.
However,  how to take probiotics is often not considered, specifically what time of the day is it best to take them.

Ready to get rid of the myth that it doesn’t matter? Here’s the truth:

If you are taking a supplement, it is best to take it on an empty stomach when you wake up in the morning or before bed. When you first get up, take the probiotic, then get ready for the day preferably waiting at least 30 minutes before you eat breakfast.
You can also take the probiotic with food and still get pretty good absorption.. The reason this may decrease some absorption of a supplement probiotic is that the probiotic ends up spending more time in the stomach. Also, another reason to take them on an empty stomach is because before the journey to the intestines, the bacteria will have more difficulty surviving the harsh stomach acid during digestion, affecting their potency.
But, don’t take them after a meal! Probiotics that are taken after a meal have even more difficulty surviving stomach acid levels as this is when your stomach acid is at it’s highest. A study from last year found that when a probiotic supplement was taken after a meal, extremely low levels of bacteria survived.
A recent study in the Journal of Beneficial Microbes showed that probiotics are optimally absorbed when taken prior to a meal and were absorbed almost as well when taken with a meal containing fats.

How Else to Get Probotics

You don’t have to take probiotic supplements to ensure healthy intestinal flora, you can also make fermented foods! It is best to make them yourself and not rely on store bought fermented foods as they are often bastardized and  preserved in salt rather than in lactobacterial-salt.

Not Taking a Probiotic or Fermented Foods? Why You Should Start:

1. Improved digestion
2. Healthier gut
3. Improved absorption of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals
4. Reduction in cavities
5. Increased resistance to infection, reduces risk of flu and colds
6. Reduced risk of colon cancer
7. Beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, etc.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Best Sprint Program To Build Muscle & Lose Fat

Do a short but intense sprint interval program to build muscle and lose fat. Research shows that using decreasing distance protocol—400, 300, 200, 100 meters—will produce a significant anabolic response for optimal conditioning and body composition benefits.

Instead of doing the same sprint intervals for 20 to 25 minutes, mix up your training with advice from a recent study that shows that a few all-out sprints is all you need to build muscle and burn fat. This study compared the effect of doing four sprints in increasing distance order (100, 200, 300, 400 meters) or the reverse order on anabolic response in elite power athletes. Rest intervals were a total of 9 minutes in both protocols with 4 minutes rest following the 400, 3 minutes rest following the 300, and 2 minutes rest following the 200.

Results showed that the decreasing order produced the following results and the athletes rated the workout as easier:

•    Greater increase in growth hormone (GH) and blood lactate, indicating this protocol was more metabolically taxing and could lead to fat loss over time.
•    A significant testosterone response, suggesting the protocol was effective for muscle building and creating an anabolic environment.
•    A greater insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) response—a hormone that further enhances muscle adaptations—which is important because a previous study using longer intervals of 250 meters, but lower intensity didn’t elevate IGF-1.
•    Greater stimulation of the GH-IGF-1 axis, highlighting that more time spent training anaerobically will produce a greater metabolic effect and more body fat loss.

Perhaps most interesting, although the decreasing distance protocol produced greater physiological overload, the athletes found it easier—they rated it 11 on an RPE scale compared to 13 for the increasing distance order. The athletes reported that having to increase the running distance so that the hardest sprints of 300 and 400 meters were at the end of the workout was very difficult to tolerate.

This is important since the primary drawback to sprint training is the mental challenge of pushing through physical pain. The take away is that doing a descending sprint protocol provides you a big bang for your buck AND it won’t feel as hard: Training smart yields better results than just training hard.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Avoid Fructose & High-Glycemic Carbs Prior To Strength Training To Burn More Fat

 Avoid fructose and high-glycemic carbohydrates prior to strength training to burn more fat. Whether your goal is to gain muscle and build strength, or simply lose fat, you will achieve better results from eating protein, good fat, and low-glycemic foods prior to training. Here’s how it works.

The amino acids will help prevent muscle degradation during training; healthy fats will enhance gene signaling for an anabolic response; avoiding high-glycemic foods will allow the body to burn fat for energy rather than carbs. Meanwhile, you must avoid fructose, especially liquid forms such as high-fructose corn syrup found in energy and sports drinks, because research shows that fructose will inhibit fat burning and favor the use of carbs as your primary energy source. A similar effect occurs when you ingest high-glycemic carbs before training, but the effect is magnified when fructose is present.

For example, a recent study tested how the body uses different substrates, or forms of energy, during exercise depending on what is eaten beforehand. Researchers gave active young men either a low-glycemic meal, a low-glycemic meal with fructose, or a high-glycemic meal without fructose and then had them walk briskly for an hour.

Results showed that the low-glycemic fructose-free group burned primarily fat and fewer stored carbs during exercise. The high-glycemic and low-glycemic w/ fructose groups favored the use of stored carbs for energy, and burned little fat.

Overall, the results indicate that both the glycemic index and fructose content of a pre-exercise meal dictate what source the energy calls on for fuel. Therefore, when doing anaerobic-style training such as weight lifting, best results come from eating protein, smart fats, and possibly some green vegetables at last 45 minutes before your workout.

Endurance athletes will also benefit from avoiding fructose and carbs pre-exercise, assuming their muscle glycogen stores are full since this will preferably shift the body to use up fat, storing glycogen for use later in the workout for greater work capacity.

Take away the following points:
•    Avoid fructose and high-glycemic carbs pre-workout.
•    A small amount of fructose can be metabolized by the liver, and research suggests the amount the liver can handle is affected by whether you are overweight, insulin resistance, or have diabetes.
•    Assuming you are lean and insulin sensitive, research suggests the following use of fructose in is fine:
1) Small amounts of fructose from natural sources (vegetables and fruit), and
2) Refueling post-workout with carbs that include small natural fructose sources, either from veggies, fruit, fruit juice, or a high-quality carb powder that contains a small amount of fruit-derived fructose.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Herbs and Spices

Dill: Helps your Digestion. A teaspoon a day can reduce 80 percent of bloating in only three days. Its antibacterial oils not only kill any possible stomach bugs but also help in the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins.
Uses:  Feathery texture is sharp-tasting. Great on fish, in chicken and potato salads. Used in pickling.
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Tarragon: For Heart Health. One teaspoon daily lowered LDL cholesterol more than 40 percent while increasing good cholesterol nearly 30 percent. Tarragon contains a chemical called rutin, which boosts circulation and reduces plaque in the arteries.
Uses:  Flavor of anise, licorice, mint, hay, and pine. Try it in Bernaise sauce.
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Oregano: Bacteria Be Gone. Due to the high levels of antibacterial compounds and antioxidants, oregano is just as effective at killing E.Coli and staph bacteria as penicillin.
Uses:  Tastes Robust. Best in tomato dishes, usually of Mediterranean or Mexican origin.

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Bay Leaf: Natural Pain Reliever. Eliminates headaches and migraines. Bay leaf is rich in eugenol, a natural anesthetic that alleviates pain.
Uses:  Tastes woody. Perfect in soups, sauces, stews, and pot roasts.

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Rosemary: The Brain Booster and Fatigue Fighter. With just one sniff, the phytochemicals found in rosemary can rev up your mind by increasing production of beta waves. Carnosol, a nutrient unique to this herb, fights fatigue by flushing out energy-sapping toxins from the body.
Uses:  Smell rosemary sprigs to increase alertness in only five minutes. Intense pine flavor. Great on grilled meats; adds an interesting boost to chocolate desserts.
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Cayenne: Appetite Suppressant and Metabolism Booster. Capsaicin, found in cayenne, has thermogentic properties that increase your blood flow and metabolism. Individuals who only use cayenne infrequently also find it reduces hunger.
Uses:  Sweet heat. Works well with meats and cheeses.
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Cinnamon: Controls Glucose Levels. Cinnamon contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost levels of three key proteins responsible for insulin signaling, glucose transport, and inflammatory response. Sprinkle one half teaspoon on your food to slow carbohydrate absorption by 29 percent.
Uses: Sweet and Savory. This spice is found in almost all world cuisine. From stews to pies this spice doesn’t discriminate.
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Cardamom: Treats Indigestion. Chew one teaspoon of these seeds to soothe a sour belly. The aroma and therapeutic properties of cardamom are due to the volatile oil in its seed, which contains cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene, and terpineol.
Uses:  Pungent and sweet. This fragrant spice is used in rich curries and milk-based preparations, as well as in spice cakes and desserts.
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Sage: Memory Minder. Both the phytonutrients and volatile oils in sage maintain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports memory.
Uses:  Piney with eucalyptus notes. Lovely addition to stuffing and pork dishes.

And our favorite Rich Food spice is . . . Turmeric

This mildly woody spice is a key ingredient in many Indian, Persian, and Thai dishes. This “poor man’s” saffron is rich in benefits. The active ingredient, curcumin, is so powerful that it is commonly made into expensive nutraceutical capsules. According to Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, “Curcumin is a complete well-being tonic – it benefits every organ in the body… It shows promise of fighting nearly every disease.” Dr. Goel suggests that curcumin aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression.

Why not just cook up a cure in your kitchen tonight?

Curcumin Controls Blood Sugar: It switches on the liver genes that keep glucose levels in check. It improves the pancreas’s ability to make insulin and helps slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates after meals.
Curcumin Fights Cancer: It inhibits the genetic switches that allow for cancerous cell growth to occur.
Curcumin Speeds Up Metabolism: USDA research shows that is enhances cellular energy to speed metabolism.
Curcumin Clears Plaque: It removes amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s.

Making Cents

Let’s face it, organic spice jars are small and pricey, and it can take along time to use up some of these specialty ingredients. Your best bet is to buy your organic spices in the bulk section of your local health food or specialty spice store, where you can buy smaller amounts of the spices you need right away. This guarantees that your spices are fresh, loaded with flavor, and saves you money when a recipe only calls for a pinch. Buy your own glass jars online or wash out old spice jars and transfer contents from store baggies into convenient glass jars. Store them in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidative damage from light and oxygen.

Friday, February 22, 2013

For a healthy heart, stick to butter

You may have already changed your diet back to one containing high saturated fat from butter, meat, and coconut products, much to the dismay of your doctor and perhaps even your skeptical family members. The belief that omega-6 rich vegetable oils are the “heart healthy” choice is pervasive, despite limited and controversial evidence. It can be difficult to convince others that you’re not asking for a heart attack by eating saturated fat.

Now, thanks to research published last week in BMJ, an old study is shedding new light on the omega-6 fatty acids and heart health controversy. The Sydney Diet Heart Study was a randomized controlled trial conducted from 1966 to 1973, comprising 458 men aged 30-59 years with a recent coronary event, such as a heart attack. Patients were randomized to either a control diet (e.g. no change) or an intervention diet, where they were instructed to increase their omega-6 PUFA intake to 15% of calories and to reduce saturated fat intake to less than 10% calories. Participants were provided with liquid safflower oil and a safflower oil based margarine to be used instead of animal fats. (They were also given safflower oil in capsules to take as a supplement. Yikes!)

As expected, those in the treatment group had a significant lowering of total and LDL cholesterol concentrations, which the original investigators assumed would therefore lead to the prevention of cardiovascular death. However, when accounting for previously lost data, this new analysis found that the intervention group instructed to eat more linoleic acid (n-6 PUFAs) actually had a higher risk of all cause mortality, as well as a higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, than the group who received no dietary instructions.

Furthermore, an updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials included in the paper showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. In other words, replacing saturated fat with high omega-6 vegetable oils is likely to put you at a greater risk for heart attack, and it certainly won’t provide any health benefits. It’s important to note that previous analyses that suggested increasing PUFA intake reduces the risk of CVD included both omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA together; the analysis in this study analyzed the effects of omega-6 linoleic acid separately.

So why are Americans still eating diets that are so high in omega-6 vegetable oils, with almost 9% of all calories from linoleic acid alone? (PDF) Despite the many studies that show the dangers of a high omega-6 PUFA intake, the conventional medical system is still preaching outdated and inaccurate information. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that we all aim for at least 5 percent to 10 percent of calories from omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and to limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories, similar to the recommendations made in the Sydney Heart Diet study. (4)
They suggest we choose “heart healthy” oils and margarines such as canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils. This information is coming from the professional organization whose stated mission is “to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” But as we know by now, these guidelines are not going to protect anybody from a heart attack, and could likely put people at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. (5)

As more evidence surfaces about the dangers of high omega-6 PUFA consumption, it will be more difficult to defend the current AHA guidelines for fat consumption that are currently promoted by conventional health professionals. It seems the tide may be turning (slowly) when it comes to dietary fat recommendations, but it will be interesting to see how the American Heart Association responds to this new study. While we wait for the policy makers and medical organizations to battle it out, I’ll stick to eating butter!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Rules of Chocolate

Eating chocolate used to be cause for plaguing us all with guilt. Closet chocolate eaters, you can all come out now! Recent scientific research tells us that chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants called flavonols.
These anti-oxidants protect our arteries and prostate glands, reduce inflammation and increase sensations of well-being. The same flavonols are found in green tea and in certain types of berries.
The Rules of Chocolate
Of course, you should follow some rules when choosing the right chocolate for you. Here are rules to follow to make it ever more guilt free:
Rule 1: The darker the chocolate, the better it is. Look for a brand that stipulates at least 70% cocoa. Most people find 85% brands way too bitter to eat.
Rule 2: Read the entire label! Watch out for ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats. These ingredients will mitigate the health benefits of chocolate.
Rule 3: Keep the milk out of it! Drinking a whole glass of milk with your chocolate is enough to block absorption of all the anti-oxidants, studies have revealed. Stay away from milk chocolate products.
Rule 4: Keep the servings small. Stick to servings of about 15-30 grams at a time, one serving per day. .
The best places to buy chocolates are:
Chocolate Springs ( - You can get the chocolate nibs there.
Dagoba Organic Chocolate - Premium products including nibs.
Green and Black's Organic Chocolate - Organic fair trade chocolate products.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Master Runner

On July 21, 2012, Jeanne Daprano clocked 6:58:44 at the USATF Masters West Region Track & Field Championships in Pasadena, Calif., breaking the listed women's 75--79 mile record by 49 seconds.

Daprano  began adding to her world record collection after turning 75 last September when she ran a 1:20.59 400m and a 3:07.35 800m in October. Then, at the March USA Masters Indoor Championships, she set indoor world records at 400m (1:21.28), 800m (3:18.48) and the mile (7:13.51), while also setting an American record in the 200m (36.53)

Her training schedule calls for no more than 10 miles of running a week, including warm-up miles. "It's not something you'll find in any of the running books, but it works for me," Daprano says. "I'm running less than I was five years ago, but I am strengthening more."

Her regimen includes three parts -- core exercises, cross-training for endurance and interval running for speed. Core strengthening involves two one-on-one sessions a week with Atlanta fitness trainer David Buer and calls for an average 50 minutes of squat jumps, dead lifts, wall sits, planks, kettlebells, lunges, and other resistance and flexibility exercises. Daprano also does Pilates twice a week and various running routines in deep water with cuffs on the ankles and wrists. "I really believe these strengthening exercises have helped me avoid injuries over the past five years," she says, adding that it might also be the reason she lost only 10–11 seconds in the mile during the first half of her eighth decade of life.

Her two running workouts each week are on a track or on the grass at a soccer field and consist mostly of sprint intervals. After jogging a few warm-up laps, Daprano will do sets of sprints, usually between 25m and 75m with equal length recovery. She also mixes in longer intervals, such as six hard 300m repeats with about 5 minutes rest between each. A favorite workout is 3 times 1 mile, alternating sprinting 50m and jogging or walking 50m, with full recovery (about 5 minutes) between each mile.

 Beginning 17 days before running 6:58.44 mile
WEDNESDAY: 6 × 800m on rowing machine, 5 min. rest between each
THURSDAY: 3 × 1 mile on track (sprint 50m, walk 50m), about 5 min. rest between each mile
FRIDAY: one hour on stationary bike, one hour of Pilates
SATURDAY: core exercises, approximately 50 min.
SUNDAY: 3 × 1 mile on track (sprint 75m, walk 75m), 5 min. rest between each mile
MONDAY: 30 min. on stationary bike, 30 min. of Pilates
TUESDAY: core exercises
WEDNESDAY: 1600m on rowing machine, 30 min. of machine Pilates
THURSDAY: core exercises
FRIDAY: one hour on stationary bike
SATURDAY: one mile on track (sprint 30m, walk 10m)
SUNDAY: rest
MONDAY: core exercises
TUESDAY: 900m on track (sprint 40m, walk 10m)
WEDNESDAY: core exercises
THURSDAY: travel to Los Angeles, jog a few laps on track, walk and stretch
FRIDAY: rest
SATURDAY: 6:58.44 mile

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meet Kickstart: Mountain Dew’s breakfast soda

Hey bros, ever feel sluggish in the morning? Like maybe all of that Dorito taco-eating and late night Xbox 360-playing is catching up with you and harshing some of your get up and go?
Been there, dude. I have so, so been there.

But get ready to be totally stoked: PepsiCo is launching a new Mountain Dew drink that’s just for breakfast time! Kickstart is made with 5 percent “real fruit juice” and “the right amount of kick” which is, apparently, 92 milligrams for a 16-ounce can.

Why is Mountain Dew launching a breakfast beverage, you ask?
Simon Lowden, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s Americas beverages, says the idea came from consumer research that indicated Mountain Dew fans were looking for an alternative to traditional morning drinks like coffee, tea and juice. “They didn’t really see anything that fit their needs,” he told Fox News.

Kickstart will debut in two flavors “energizing orange citrus” and “energizing fruit punch” on February 25.

Monday, February 18, 2013

9 Things Every Athlete Should Have in Their Kitchen

  1. A crockpot. I put this first because this thing is SO important. Take a cheap cut of beef, pork or chicken and put it in the crockpot with a liquid (broth, salsa, italian salad dressing), set it for 8 hours, go to practice, and come home to shredded meat. If you’re on a budget or short on time, or both, this thing will save you so much work. My wife recommends a crockpot that has a high and low setting, and automatically turns to “warm” once the timer goes off. This will prevent burnt messes.
  2. A good blender. This is the one thing I would put a little bit of money into. I’m not saying you need the $400 mixers that people tout as amazing, but $50 to buy something that isn’t a piece of crap is a solid investment. I use my blender every single day, and sometimes twice a day. If you’re a protein shake fool, and you should be, you need a blender. Enough said.
  3. An egg pan. Eggs are cheap, good for you, and fast to make. While I recommend this pan, I’ve used the $3 version from Ikea and had great results.
  4. A grill pan. While some people might not think it’s a necessity, I would argue they’re wrong. I use this in the morning to make bacon, in the afternoon to grill up steaks, and sometimes for dinner to grill burgers, fish, or even veggies. The ridges on the pan help fat to drain off as food cooks, making things a bit leaner, and generally, better for you.
  5. Bamboo spoons. These things are awesome. I haven’t broken one yet, and that may be a record for me.
  6. Tongs. I use these to flip food, serve food, and pinch people. Just kidding on the pinching thing. Sorta.
  7. A big ol’ pot. Again, this doesn’t need to be fancy, but it’s good for when you make pasta, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, etc.
  8. Spices. I’ll go into this in more detail later, but you don’t need a spice rack. Kosher salt, a pepper grinder, some cajun seasoning, adobo seasoning, and seasoned salt is all you need to start.
  9. A good knife. My wife recommends this santoku knife, and she knows what she’s talking about. You don’t need to spend $100, or even $50 on one. Just get this and you don’t need much else.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013


 On the morning of June 1, 2011, Michael L. Sparling took the recommended dose of the workout booster Jack3d before doing a drill with his Army unit.

During the workout Sparling collapsed, and several hours later he died at a hospital of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
Sparling had purchased the Jack3d in a GNC store at Fort Bliss in El Paso. Despite a warning issued by the FDA in April 2012, the powder is still available in GNC stores across the country as well as online.

Now, Sparling's parents are suing GNC as well as USPlabs, the developer and marketer of Jack3d. The Sparlings are claiming that GNC and USPlabs misleadingly marketed Jack3d and did not warn consumers about its potential health risks.
A stimulant contained in Jack3d, dimethylamylamine (DMAA), has been linked to several deaths recently. In 2011, DMAA was identified in the toxicology reports of two soldiers’ deaths. It was also found in the body of Claire Squires, a British woman who died while running the London Marathon in 2012. Jack3d has since been banned in England.
Products containing DMAA, like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, are commonly marketed as workout boosters. But in its warning letter last April, the FDA noted that firms that produce these supplements have failed to demonstrate the safety of their key ingredient, DMAA.

At the time of the letter, a spokesman for GNC said the company disagreed with the FDA's conclusion and was "unaware of any scientific or medical evidence which calls the safety of DMAA into question."
The lack of DMAA regulation troubles many in the medical profession.
"[DMAA] is a pharmaceutical-grade product which is being directly introduced into the supplement marketplace with absolutely no regulatory oversight," Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the New York Times.
Last month New York State Sen. Jeffrey Klein called for DMAA to be banned from all sports nutritional supplements in the state. Klein labeled DMAA as "possibly the most dangerous, lethal and unregulated performance-enhancing drug on retail shelves today."

"The FDA is still taking a wait-and-see approach, still looking at it, still investigating it. I think we have to act now," Klein told reporters in January. "We're putting young people and people who are interested in sports, people getting sort of a quick fix at risk each and every day."
Klein's concern with the FDA's inaction is not unique to him. Steve Mister, the chief executive of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, told the New York Times that the FDA needed to be more clear about how it views DMAA.

"It is incumbent upon the F.D.A. to make a decision as to whether it is a legitimate and safe dietary ingredient,"Mister said.
This is far from the first time USPlabs has gone to court to defend or protect its product. In December, it reached a $2 million settlement with consumers in California court while also agreeing to make warning statements larger and easier to understand.
In October, USPlabs sued the owner of a supplements store in Reno, Nev., who described Jack3d as an "amphetaminelike compound" that “speeds up your heart rate” and could "possibly" cause death. The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Dallas, was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Better Pushups For Better Running


At the bottom of the pushup, your forearms should be close to vertical. This elbow-in approach promotes shoulder stability and range of motion in the joint. Photo: Vance Jacobs Photography
How you perform a pushup reveals a lot about how you run. 
While many don’t consider the pushup a technical exercise, we can apply the principles of basic athletic skills — moving with posture, load, and torque – in a way that elevates this exercise to something that can improve our running.
You’re probably wondering, “But how can good pressing mechanics improve my running?”
Pushups tell us a lot about how we run. It’s important to have good posture when performing the pushup in order for the shoulders to be strong and stable. A “soft” butt and belly destabilizes the pelvis, the low back arches, and our shoulders become unstable. Remember, you play how you practice. Runners who perform “soft” pushups with overextended posture also tend to run soft and overextended. This disconnection contributes to a whole host of problems, including low back pain, IT band pain, collapsed arches and a clipped running stride. Performing a better pushup addresses these issues.
RELATED: Better Squatting For Better Running
Pushups also reveal a lot about your arm swing. Specifically, an elbow-in pushup promotes shoulder stability and range of motion in the joint. This position and mobility transfers to a “north-south” arm swing with a good elbow drive. Doing pushups with the elbows flared out promoted an unstable and internally rotated shoulder position. This poor position surfaces as a stiff and inefficient “east-west” arm swing when you run, where the elbows drive across the body.
Let’s perform a simple exercise. Using your phone, or having a friend watch you, film yourself doing 5 pushups with good form. Is “good” form subjective and open to interpretation?
Let’s look at the pushup using the same skill-based approach we used for the squat.

1. Posture

As with the squat, it’s important to move with a strong and stable spine when performing the pushup. To anchor the spine, squeeze the legs and butt tight, and keep your rib cage pulled down. This tension locks the pelvis into a good neutral position for greater trunk stability.

2. Load

Initiate with the shoulder by tipping forward to load the shoulders. At the bottom of the pushup, your forearms should be close to vertical (see photo above) in the same way our shins remain close to vertical in the squat.

3. Torque

In the squat, it’s important to drive the knees outward in order to add tension and stabilize the hip. This cue works because driving the knees outward rotates the leg into the hip socket—akin to tightening a screw that’s a little loose. In the pushup, we apply this same type of torque by driving the elbows inward toward the rib cage. Keeping the elbows in screws our arm into the shoulder socket in a similar manner.
After practicing these skills, film yourself again for another set of 5 pushups and compare to the first video. Notice any changes? Did you keep your forearms vertical the entire time? Were you able to drop as deep? These changes are difficult to master, but they’re important because they better position the shoulders for good pressing mechanics.
The pushup is just like the squat in that we must move with posture, load, and torque. How we perform these seemingly simple movements reveals a lot about us as athletes — a peek behind our biomechanical curtain, so to speak.
The more connections you can make between how you move and how you run, the more relevant strength training becomes to your training plan. The more aware you are of your deficiencies, the more you can learn, tweak, and improve them, and the longer you commit to this approach, the faster, farther, and more frequently you can hit the road, track and trail.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eliminate Sneaky Trans Fat To Improve Your Quality of Life


Eliminate all man-made trans-fats from your diet for a healthier, leaner, happier life. A series of research studies show that trans-fats significantly compromise quality of life and happiness. They also cause brain deterioration, lead to poor cognition, and cause increased bodily pain. No kidding!

In addition, eating trans-fat has been linked with increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, being obese, getting Alzheimer’s, being seriously depressed, having high levels of inflammation, and cancer risk. You must consciously eliminate them NOW!

Trans-fats are the synthetic fats that are created when vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated. They are often present in margarine and shortening, and despite being eliminated from a lot of products, are still found in high levels in prepared foods. 

Trans-fats are banned in restaurants in California, and some cities in the East have followed suit. The FDA requires that foods be labeled if they contain trans-fat, however, there’s a loophole: If a food contains less than 0.5 g of trans-fats, it can say “trans-fat free” on the label, but you will still find partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients. A classic example is commercial peanut butter that contains a small amount of trans-fat to prevent separation.

A new study published in Nutrition Journal shows how bad trans-fat is. Researchers surveyed 8,430 people living in Spain regarding their diet, health, mood, cognitive ability, and other factors. Results showed that those who had higher amounts of trans-fats in their diets (about 2 grams a day) experienced the following poor health:
•    Significant bodily pain on a daily basis
•    Low vitality and poor social functioning
•    Emotional problems and poor cognition
•    An overall poor quality of life and lack of happiness

Researchers think that trans-fats affect the brain by causing inflammation in the body that interferes with chemical transmitter function. These unhealthy fats specifically appear to decrease levels of a hormone called BDNF that is necessary for brain cell survival, the ability to learn, and metabolic processes.

These results are alarming because the median intake of trans-fat in the Spanish population surveyed was 1 gram of trans-fat a day, which is much lower than the average consumption in the U.S. and Canada, both at 3 to 4 grams a day. In addition, there was evidence that since the Spanish population ate a typical Mediterranean diet, the high level of olive oil and other healthy fats may have had a protective effect.

This is not the first study to identify a link between poor quality of life and psychological issues linked with trans-fat intake. An American study found a ”robust” association between unhappiness and aggressive behaviors that was linked with trans-fat intake.

The following are some tips to help you avoid trans-fats from getting into your diet:
1)    The easiest way to avoid trans-fats is to only eat whole foods and never eat packaged foods.
2)    If you do eat packaged foods, read ALL ingredient labels. The words “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated” are used interchangeably. If a food label says, “fully hydrogenated oil,” then it will be trans-fat free but should still be avoided because the fat has still been synthetically altered.
3)    Though it’s unlikely the readership eats any of these foods, the following brands use large amounts of trans-fat in their products: White Castle, Long John Silver’s, Marie Callender’s, Pop Secret, Pillsbury, Jolly Time, Utz, Betty Crocker, Sara Lee, Safeway, and Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand. The full list can be found at the Center for Science in the Public Interest website ( )

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

All the Olympic Athletes Are Guzzling Beet Juice

Have you heard about beet juice? The blood-red elixir of the beet is apparently the hottest thing for Olympic athletes looking for a non-illegal performance boost. Soon the world will be caught up in beet juice fever. Too bad it tastes like "sweet dirt."
The humble beet—knobby underground dweller, garnisher of salad—is the fuel of elite international athletes in London. A blog post by Canadian cross-country skier Sheila Kealey reveals practically all of Team Canada's marathoners are on the stuff:
One race morning, I noticed my XC Ottawa teammates Karl and Megan drinking beet juice. I'd read some of the research, but now I was intrigued. Apparently they were tipped off by their friend Dylan Wykes. Dylan, along Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis will be representing Canada in the Olympic Marathon in London, and all of them seem to have incorporated beet juice into their nutrition plans.
U.S. Marathoner Ryan Hall also cites beet juice as a training aid.
Studies have shown that beets can have a performance-enhancing effect for endurance athletes. Last June a study showed that "cyclists who drank half a liter of beet juice for six days were 11 seconds faster over a 2.5-mile course and 45 seconds faster over a 10-mile course," according to Outside magazine. This is because beet juice is rich in nitrates, which help muscles use oxygen more efficiently, It's so potent it turned up in this article in Nature along with illegal performance enhancers like EPO. It can even help divers and musicians hold their breath longer.
I predict that after this Olympics, beet juice will become the new trendy cure-all beverage, now that coconut water has been shown to be just sugary water. Soon you will be able to buy four ounces of beet juice in an over-designed glass vial at Whole Foods for $5.50. They'll call it "BeetLife" or something. Nitrates will be the new electrolytes, and everyone will walk around with mouths stained red like they just gnawed on a deer carcass.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eating More Meals Does NOT Speed Up Your Metabolism
6meals Eating More Meals Does NOT Speed Up Your Metabolism

Why are you really being told to eat all these prepacked meals? Could it be a marketing ploy?

This is one of the biggest myths and misconceptions that I hear all the time in mainstream media and people trying to tell me how to eat healthy. Ask any trainer, nutritionist, doctor, diet guru…or whoever and they will probably all tell you the same thing “You need to eat small meals through out the day to keep your metabolism going”. Really? Is that how it works? Our metabolism accelerates based on meal to meal frequency during a day? I don’t think so. In fact, next time you hear someone say that just ask them to explain it in more detail and hear what they have to say then. In the meantime let’s go over what is happening and dispell this myth (as I have people who are overweight telling me that they need to eat 6x a day inorder to lose weight because some hollywood trainer wrote it in his latest book and that I am wrong….wow).
Eating 6x a day can help you lose weight…..BUT…….

Hey, I will be the first to admit it that eating 6x a day can work. Many people have proved it. But what people neglect to look at is WHY it works. It’s NOT because of some magical accelerated metabolic process associated with eating more often. Most people call this thermogenesis, where the body expels energy in the form of heat through what it has to do (such as the energy of digestion). But here’s the fun part, if you eat the same amount of food in 6 meals….or 3 meals….isn’t that the same amount of digestion? So how can there be any advantage due to thermogenesis? (getting a bit ahead here)

But let’s go back to the REAL reasons eating 6x a day works:

* People are recommended to eat more fibrous vegetables and protein to keep fuller
* Eating more often can help curb cravings and binge eating
* Smaller meals in right portions of carb/protein/fat can keep blood sugar/insulin stable and encourage more fat burning while in the “fed” state all day long
* At the end of the day people who get success are still in calorie deficit

So there you have it, eating 6x a day works only because it is calorie deficit at heart. So now one has to ask that if you can still eat the same amount of calories in 3 meals then wouldn’t you get the same results?

I can hear all the nutrionists and trainers around the world yelling at me at once “You’re wrong”…”You’re going to crash your metabolism”…and all the other things you hear so often. But honestly folks, where did this train of thought start? Could it be originally from the bodybuilding magazine and supplement industry (a billion dollar industry!!) that preys on the fear of going into a catabolic state and wasting away muscle….so you need to buy more protein powder, bars, etc. Or could it be from one of the many newer weight loss companies making billions selling prepared or portioned out foods/bars/shakes specifically for eating 5-6x a day? Could it be this is the greatest marketing sales pitch in the diet world today? I think so!
Where’s the Proof?

That’s what I would ask anyone touting the 6 meals a day mantra. Really, where is the proof that is the ONLY way to lose weight (as I already talked about it can work, but it’s not the only way)? Where is the proof that is speeds up your metabolic rate at all (which is the only reason people are being encouraged to eat 6x a day)? I already said that anyone can lose weight eating 6x a day but they can also lose weight applying the same calorie deficit to 3 meals a day. Personally when I tried to nibble from morning to night (when I was sold on this philosophy a long long time ago) I was hungry all day long! It made me miserable and starving all the time! There was no enjoyment….no wonder no one can stick with all those new diet books coming out preaching this concept. I mean, who wants to carry around 5-6 meals a day…who has time in their lives for eating eating eating? Are we living to eat, or shouldn’t we really be eating to live?

* There is no real truth to accelerated thermogenesis from increased meal frequency (with same calorie deficit load)
* There is no real truth of improved body composition with increased meal frequency (with same calorie deficit load)
* It’s still about the total calories for the day even with different insulin responses
* Hunger is the biggest issue with any dieting and eating more often is supposed to help combat that (but it depends on what people are eating whether that is true or not)
* People who eat more frequently may have lower insulin spikes for smaller fat burning throughout the day, but the smaller number of larger meals may have also more fat burning ability in the spaces between meals or fasting states….in the end it’s still the same amount of fat burned it seems…, the body is an amazing piece of work….and we are really just beginning to understand it better.

There are also some disadvantages (I mean besides making/storing/carrying around all the food and spending tons of money on supplements) to the eating 6x a day strategy including:

* Can increase cravings if your food choices are not all veggies/fruits/meats
* Does not help decrease insulin resistance (and may help increase it) if you are putting sugar in your body all day long from bars or other processed food choices
* It is very easily to overeat calorie wise at a snack or meal and not put yourself in calorie deficit mode (therefore you do not lose weight). This is especially important for women who need much less then men for a meal or snack.
* This is not a realistic ongoing lifestyle approach for people with real lives, working long hours and doing what we do today. (I mean if it works in the short term that’s one thing, but it has to be sustained to call it a true success. You can see many of those celebrities showing off how they lost all this weight doing some prepared meal plan….but do they keep it off? Many don’t.)

So if you are looking for optimal fat loss you could also add in some Intermittent Fasting (IF) and you get the additional benefits of:

* No decrease in metabolic rate (in fact there is a slight increase due to more SNS hormonal responses)
* Increased release of FFAs (free fatty acids) to burn when you are not eating (aka fasting state)
* Increased GH pulsing (which can preserve muscle and help release FFAs)
* No more worrying about food all day
* No more preparing/carrying around Tupperware containers
* No need for protein powders or shakes (if your goal is weight loss, for people wanting more muscle you still may need additional protein depending on how much you can eat in the feeding window)
* Increased mental clarity
* having a life outside of food and the gym

So there you have it. You can eat 6x a day, 3x a day, 10x a day…honestly that is your choice… appears that it won’t really matter when the calories are the same. When you add in some IF and keep your eating on a more planned routine, you will see better responses to insulin sensitivity and FFA oxidation. No wonder many people who try IF are finding easy results and more importantly a new freeing way of life. Still lots of questions and much more research to be discovered on all these topics….but there is a better way it seems (if we can stop listening to all the myths in mainstream media that is driven by an industry financially dependent on having us all eat more often

Farmer 2013 Super Bowl Commercial

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Cruise Control for Running

I have to admit, the idea of a "cruise control" for running sounded pretty silly to me when I first heard about it. But consider me a convert, in theory at least. If you haven't heard, there's a new app for iPhones called Cruise Control: Run. It does just what you'd expect: you enter in the pace you want to run at (e.g. 8:15 per mile), and it will enable you to stay at precisely that pace, as I described in my Globe and Mail column this week:
It controls your pace by subtly increasing or decreasing the speed of the music you’re listening to, while monitoring your speed with the built-in GPS and accelerometers in the iPhone, according to Max Donelan, a professor of biomechanics and neurophysiology who developed the technique with PhD candidate Mark Snaterse.
As long as you keep your footsteps in time with the beat of the music – a synchronization that happens almost automatically – you’ll speed up and slow down on cue, without even realizing it. With this technique, the app can keep you locked to within about 1 per cent of whatever goal pace you’ve programmed in, Donelan says.
The app also works in other modes -- e.g. in Free Run, you just run at whatever pace you want, and the app will make sure that your music synchs to your stride automatically. Or if you're into running at a specific cadence, you just plug in, say, 180 strides per minute, and your music will adjust to keep you at that cadence.

Speaking of cadence... the only reason that the cruise control app works is because we each have a unique relationship between preferred speed and cadence. If I ask you to run at a certain speed (by putting you on a treadmill, for example), you'll naturally settle into a preferred cadence for that speed. If I speed the treadmill up, you'll speed up by lengthening your stride and increasing your cadence. I asked Donelan if he'd ever encountered anyone who sped up exclusively by lengthening stride while keeping cadence constant, and he said no -- this is pretty much universal behavior. Decades of studies have shown this to be true, which is one of the reasons I don't believe that runners should aspire to run at a specific cadence like 180 steps per minute: the right cadence for your body depends on how fast you're running.
Anyway, the cruise control function does the same thing but in the opposite direction: it sets a cadence, and you respond by speeding up or slowing down. Of course, the relationship between speed and cadence may change as you get fatigued, or if you're on hilly or rough terrain. That's why the cruise control is a "live" app that constantly measures speed in real time. It doesn't just assume that cadence 182 corresponds to 6:45 miles or whatever.

So why am I such a fan of this app -- even though I don't even have an iPhone? It's because it comes from years of serious research at a top biomechanics lab (the Locomotion Lab at Simon Fraser University). The cruise control idea came from trying to answer a simple question: how does your body know what the "optimal" stride parameters are to minimize energy consumption at any given pace? Over the years, studies have found that humans are very good at picking a "natural" stride to minimize energy consumption. If you force them to run with shorter steps, or faster cadence, or higher bounce, or whatever tweak you can think of, they tend to burn more energy. (Note: this is for short-term changes only -- that doesn't mean that you can't develop a more efficient stride by making changes over the long term.)

So Donelan and his colleagues have been testing various hypotheses about how the body "knows" how to be efficient. They've built a system where they can control the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in their subjects' blood independent of how hard they're running, to see whether we adjust stride based on those metabolic markers. They're also building a virtual reality system that can distort the visual flow passing by (e.g. making it seem like the scenery is going past a little quicker than normal), to see if that can trick your body's effort-sensing mechanisms. In short, they're really thinking carefully about what it means to play around with parameters like stride length and cadence. The app is a cool spin-off, but I'm just as interested to see the results of these other experiments when they're published.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Blueberry, Banana, and Acai Berry Walk into a Bar …

 Ok, not a bar, a “granola bites” snack-pack for young children. This is not a joke, it’s a new product – MySuperSnack -  that promises a lot on the nutrition front. But does it also deliver?


Background: The grab-and-go toddler snack market is saturated with junk food for your precious little ones: fruit snacks with no fruit, puree pouches with little fiber and tons of sugar, cereal pouches, and crackers of all types.
These new soft granola bites provide a slightly better alternative to a lot of the products in this niche. However, with all the added vitamins and minerals, it’s hard to see what is naturally occurring in the product. Here is the ingredient list:
Whole grain oats, brown rice syrup, canola oil, date paste, banana puree, amaranth flour, oat bran, ground flax seeds, whey protein concentrate, freeze dried blueberries, vitamin & minerals (vitamin a palmitate, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), niacin, zinc oxide, reduced iron, pyridoxine hcl (vitamin b6), riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b1), folic acid, selenomethionine, cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12)), stabilizer blend (citrus fiber, xanthan gum, gum arabic), sea salt, organic acai powder, natural flavors, baking powder, baking soda, monk fruit.
 The pros: We like that the first ingredient is whole grain oats, love the ground flax, banana, amaranth flour and dried blueberries. All ingredients are non-GMO. The nutrition isn’t bad – 180 calories with not many from sugar (just 6 grams = 1.5 tsp). In fact, it has less than half the sugar than a banana and just as much fiber. But this could be attributed to the use of monk fruit instead of sugar. The packaging is BPA Free too.
The cons: The whey protein concentrate and acai powder are less impressive. The product is not minimally processed, and is packed with added vitamins and minerals instead of whole foods carrying those nutrients.
Our take: My Super Snack is a good standby choice for those days when the banana you packed in good faith is found mashed  to death on the car floor.  It comes in a BPA-free package, so no worrying about leaving it in a purse, stroller or car. They also taste pretty good – a bit like an oatmeal cookie.
What snacks are you willing to purchase for your little ones?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Inactive People Can Achieve Major Health and Fitness Gains in a Fraction of the Time

Instead of long stints in the gym and miles of running in the cold, the same results could be achieved in less than a third of the time, according to new research published February 1 in The Journal of Physiology.

The current recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UK Department of Health is that people of all ages should do three to five hours of endurance training per week to increase health and fitness and prevent chronic diseases and premature mortality. However, most people find it difficult to set aside this much time in their busy lives.

This study has taken existing research to a new level to prove that replacing endurance training with two types of interval training, High intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT), can make a massive difference to our health and aerobic fitness. In two articles in the 1 February issue of The Journal of Physiology, the researchers describe their recent discoveries that three sessions of SIT, taking just 90 min per week, are as effective as five sessions of traditional endurance exercise, taking five hours per week, in increasing whole body insulin sensitivity via two independent mechanisms.
LJMU researcher Matthew Cocks explains: 'One mechanism involves improved delivery of insulin and glucose to the skeletal muscle and the other involves improved burning of the fat stored in skeletal muscle fibres. Additionally, we found a reduced stiffness of large arteries which is important in reducing the risk of vascular disease.'

On the basis of these novel and earlier findings from other laboratories, Professor Wagenmakers expects that HIT and SIT will turn out to be unique alternative exercise modes suitable to prevent blood vessel disease, hypertension, diabetes and most of the other ageing and obesity related chronic diseases.
LJMU researcher Sam Shepherd describes: 'SIT involves four to six repeated 30 second 'all out' sprints on special laboratory bikes interspersed with 4.5 minutes of very low intensity cycling. Due to the very high workload of the sprints, this method is more suitable for young and healthy individuals. However, anyone of any age or level of fitness can follow one of the alternative HIT programmes which involve 15-60 second bursts of high intensity cycling interspersed with 2-4 minute intervals of low intensity cycling. HIT can be delivered on simple spinning bikes that are present in commercial gyms and are affordable for use at home or in the workplace.'

Lack of time is the number one reason that the majority of the adult population do not meet the current physical activity recommendations. SIT and HIT could solve this problem.
Sam Shepherd comments: 'A pilot study currently ongoing in the Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham has also shown that previously sedentary individuals in the age-range of 25-60 also find HIT on spinning bikes much more enjoyable and attractive than endurance training and it has a more positive effect on mood and feelings of well-being. This could imply that HIT is more suitable to achieve sustainable changes in exercise behaviour.'

HIT, therefore, seems to provide the ideal alternative to outdoor running, dangerous cycling trips and long boring endurance cycling sessions in health and fitness gyms. That is why the researchers believe that there will be a great future for HIT for obese and elderly individuals and potentially also for patients with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Does Exercise Intensity Affect Triglyceride Levels?

This graph shows levels of triglycerides in the blood before and in the six hours following a morning meal, after having done a workout the evening before.

There are three conditions:
(1) the open circles did no workout the evening before;
(2) the closed circles did a "moderate intensity" workout of cycling for 60 minutes at 50% of max aerobic capacity;
(3) the open diamonds (the lowest values) did a "high intensity" workout that consisted mostly of alternating 2:00 at 25% max and 2:00 at 90%. The duration -- about 40 to 45 minutes on average -- was chosen so that the subjects burned the same number of calories (~660) as they did during the moderate workout.
The data comes from a new study by researchers at the University of Texas, just published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, and it's the best evidence yet that exercise intensity (not just total energy burned) plays a role in your body's subsequent handling of fats. Triglycerides are the main form in which fat exists in your body, and high levels are linked with risk of heart disease. (The American Heart Association's threshold for "normal" levels is less than 150 mg/dL -- it's interesting to note that the volunteers remained below that threshold after having exercised, but exceeded it for several hours when they hadn't exercised the evening before. Note that these were the same six subjects in all three conditions, performing each test on separate occasions.)
As the researchers point out, modern life means that "most individuals spend the majority of their day in the postprandial state while physical activity is low." In other words, we sit around with full stomachs -- and that's true even for people who exercise regularly. So the ability to oxidize fat rapidly after meals is an important one -- and yet another reason to include some high-intensity exercise in your regimen.

Monday, February 4, 2013

London Marathon runner who died used supplement

LONDON (AP) — A London Marathon runner whose death inspired more than $1 million in donations took a dietary supplement that may have contributed to her heart failure, a coroner ruled Wednesday.
Claire Squires collapsed near Buckingham Palace last April near the end of the marathon. She was running to raise money for an organization that helps prevent suicides.

According to an inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court, the 30-year-old runner's water bottle included a scoop of the supplement Jack3D, which contains a stimulant called DMAA or dimethylamylamine.
DMAA is on the list of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but Jack3D was legally available to buy in Britain before being banned in August because of potential risks to public safety.
"DMAA ... on the balance of probabilities, in combination with extreme physical exertion, caused acute cardiac failure, which resulted in her death," coroner Philip Barlow said.
The substance was bought legally online. It is on the list of substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Marathon organizers are assessing changes to the advice given to recreational runners about the use of supplements.

"The substance is on the (WADA) banned list, but the only athletes to be tested would be elite athletes," London Marathon spokeswoman Nicola Okey told The Associated Press. "We just ask the rest of the runners to be medically fit. We don't make any other inquiries about what substances they are taking.
"We will be amending our medical advice following the inquest's verdict. We obviously give medical advice, but it hasn't mentioned before the use of supplements."

Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in August ruled that Jack3D must "be removed from the UK market amid concerns of potential risks to public safety," highlighting that people are suspected to have had shortness of breath and heart attacks after using it.
But Jack3D's manufacturer, Ultra-Premium Supplements, on Wednesday defended the safety of its product.

"USPlabs sympathizes with the family of Ms. Squires for their tragic loss," the Dallas-based company said in a statement emailed by London publicists. "We continue to stand by the safety of the dietary ingredient 1, 3 DMAA. The ingredient has been the subject of seven clinical trials supporting its safety when used as directed. These studies place 1,3 DMAA among the most studied dietary ingredients on the market."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Definition of Fatigue and How to Reduce

Fatigue is the inability to maintain the same level of mechanical output, more specifically, a reduced capacity to produce force. So fatigue really sets in immediately during exercise, as your ability to produce ground reaction force (GRF) is incapable of being replicated at the same, initially high level. So our goal should not be to eliminate fatigue, an impossible feat, but rather reduce it.

We have previously discussed the 3 major avenues to reduce fatigue in your sport (see Sparta Point 1/2/13)

  • Practice your sport, the more efficient your skills become, the less energy used
  • Rest more, as motivation and desire are the chief components of endurance, not physicality
  • Train explosively with less rest, density training (see Sparta Point 8/22/12)
As we plan in-season training programs for our players, as well as the athletes within the Colorado Rockies organization, we cannot just reduce fatigue without the negative consequences of density training (i.e. soreness) so must seek an alternative.

 Restore the Movement Pattern to Reduce Fatigue

The best way to restore functioning, whether through fatigue or injury, is movement (see Sparta Point 10/29/09). Because the benefit of movement is not just structure, the growth of muscles and connective tissue, but more importantly it is sequencing, or your movement signatureTM. Your ability to coordinate your movements can be drastically affected due to fatigue.

A 2013 January study out of the University of Lisbon examined the effects of fatigue from vertical jumping because of its universal application from reliance on the stretch shortening cycle (see Sparta Point 1/12/10). During fatigue, the authors found that the ankle and knee reduced their contribution, while the hip moments increased its participation.

This study agrees with our observations, and those of our partners that are using the force plate technology. For example, Kansas Basketball, has found RATE to be reduced during periods of heavy training or competition. These observations occur because the RATE of force is predominantly achieved by the ankle and knee joints.

How to Restore Fatigue

As mentioned above, restoring your the Movement Pattern is the best way to Reduce Fatigue. We suggest using the 1 leg squat and push press to help restore the movement signatureTM from fatigue, because of its primary effect on RATE