Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Combining Strength and Endurance Training How much do they interfere with each other? 

This isn't breaking news, but I think it's interesting. While looking through somepresentations from last year's Pan Pacific Conference of Medicine and Science in Sport (for a story I'm working on), I stumbled across John Hawley's presentation, "Endurance and Strength Training: Are They Incompatible?" I've written about this topic before – in fact, the title of my book, "Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?", refers to this dilemma. But it remains an area of active research, and Hawley's presentation does a great job of bringing together some interesting recent findings.
The whole presentation is worth a look if you're interested in the topic, but I want to highlight three figures taken from a 2012 meta-analysis of 21 concurrent training studies by a team led by Jacob Wilson and his colleagues, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. (The figures are actually much easier to read in Hawley's presentation, but I'm showing the originals below.) They each compare various training options by showing the standardized effect sizes, giving a sense of which factors matter most.
(1) The first one is a general overview, showing the effect size of strength training alone, endurance training alone, or the two combined on various parameters (lower body hypertrophy, strength, power, VO2max, and body fat).
The results are pretty much what you'd expect – for muscles, combined training is better than no strength training but not as good as only strength training. The biggest surprise is that VO2max gains were essentially identical with and without strength training, suggesting that endurance athletes shouldn't worry about losing out on endurance gains if they add strength training. (Obviously this finding is specific to the protocols used in the studies analyzed, but it's still interesting.)
(2) The second graph shows that not all "endurance" training is the same. Running and cycling have quite different effects:
Wilson et al. offer some theories about why running seems to interfere with strength and muscle gains more than cycling. One is that the cycling motion is more similar to the movements used in strength training (and strength assessment); the other is that running, with its large component of eccentric muscle contraction, produces more muscle damage that interferes with muscle and strength gains. Hard to know which, if either, of these ideas is true, but the results are certainly interesting. Note also that running packs a larger punch in VO2max and body fat loss – perhaps the running protocols in the studies analyzed were simply harder?
(3) The third graph looks for (and finds) a dose-response relationship between the amount of endurance training and the decline in effect size for hypertrophy, strength, and power gains.
Again, not surprising, but interesting to see quantified. Hawley's presentation also outlines some other interesting avenues of research, like the prospect that sufficient protein can reduce the interference effect between the molecular signals stimulated by endurance and training training. As I said, it's worth a look!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The 6 Vegetables That Will Save Your Life

by By Timothy Grower

If there’s one food that no one — not your doctor, your nutritionist, or even your mother — will tell you to eat less of, it’s leafy greens. Calorie for calorie, chard, collards, kale, and other leafy greens may just be the most nutritious food you can eat. They’re packed with vitamins — A, B, K, and others — but also rich in essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Leafy greens contain phytochemicals, natural compounds that can help prevent hardening of the arteries and lower inflammation linked to heart disease. The greens’ synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals helps detox cells and expunge free radicals that damage DNA, both of which may inhibit cancer cells from forming and multiplying.
Greens are also your single best source of natural nitrates, which get converted by the body into nitric oxide, a gas that lowers blood pressure, promotes blood flow, and can even improve erections. You produce less nitric oxide as you age — levels can dip by half after age 40 — which means you need to eat even more nitrates to keep everything working properly, says University of Texas biochemist Nathan Bryan. As if that weren’t enough, greens have been shown to boost mental clarity, prevent depression, and reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. If you’re looking to stay lean, high-fiber greens help speed digestion and make you feel full, and they’re low in carbohydrates and calories, so you can practically eat as much of them as you want. At the very least, aim to consume three to five ounces of leafy greens a day, says Bryan. Here’s how to get your fill.
1. Swiss Chard
Why You Need It: This green is a top source of two important, lesser-known antioxidants: syringic acid and kaempferol. The former can help stabilize blood sugar by inhibiting ­enzymes that turn carbs into simple sugars, while the latter protects cells against cancer-causing toxins, lowers inflammation, and may also reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
How to Eat It: Save calories while boosting your antioxidant intake by using Swiss chard instead of tortillas to make burritos and wraps. Cut leaves from stems, and steam leaves briefly. When cool, fill with your favorite healthy burrito staples: brown rice, quinoa, grilled shrimp or chicken, black beans, goat cheese, chopped tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or other vegetables; beans, grains, or grilled meats. Or sauté chard stems in garlic and olive oil for several minutes; add leaves, pine nuts, and currants; and cook two to three more minutes before serving.
2. Arugula
Why You Need It: Arugula has one of the highest nitrate levels of any leafy green, helping to ­increase blood flow and therefore enhance performance. It’s also packed with flavonoids — antioxidants that fight heart disease and even some cancers. New research suggests it may also prevent ulcers.
How to Eat It: Arugula can be slightly bitter, so dress it in a salad with a fruity vinaigrette to counter the bite.
3. Collard Greens
Why You Need It: Of all leafy greens, collards are best at binding your stomach’s bile acids, which can help lower your cholesterol levels and even protect you from some cancers. Collards also contain a special class of phytochemicals that nourish the body’s natural detoxifying system.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Almond Butter Chocolate Freezer Bark


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Set Time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 cups

  • 1 bag (10oz) dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 heaping tablespoon smooth almond butter, warmed
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea saltDirections:
  • Lay a piece of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Pour the melted chocolate on the paper and, using a spatula, spread out until it’s about 1/4-1/8” thin. Drizzle the almond butter over the chocolate. Run a fork over the almond butter and chocolate to create the swirl pattern. Let it set in the freezer for one hour.
  • Remove the bark from the freezer and, using a large knife, roughly cut into 1” square pieces.
  • Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt (optional), seal in a jar or bag, and place in the freezer to enjoy when you like.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Creatine: Benefits Accumulate

As a SuppVersity reader you either take creatine or do at least know that it's the #1 proven ergogenic your money can buy! What I am pretty sure, though, is that you didn't know yet that creatine will not just make your muscles big, but also your liver clean... clean or rather free of fat.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been associated with obesity and decreased insulin sensitivity. A fatty liver is considered the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome ("Liver Enzymes the #1 Marker of Insulin Resistance!?" | learn more), if creatine would effectively protect the increase in liver fat, which is the hallmark of NAFLD, it could thus eventually make the transition from the fitness community into the mainstream.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Athletes have higher pain threshold than Average Joes

Athletes have higher pain threshold than Average Joes - Recent study shows that athletes on average have a higher pain tolerance than non-athletes, both in pre- and in post ice testing.

"Data also shows that a single bout of resistance exercise can increase pain tolerance in both non-athletes and athletes, but only the non-athletes saw a statistically significant change." |

Monday, September 15, 2014

Taking short walking breaks found to reverse negative effects of prolonged sitting

from   : Saurabh Thosar
Indiana University

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University study has found that three easy -- one could even say slow -- 5-minute walks can reverse harm caused to leg arteries during three hours of prolonged sitting.
Sitting for long periods of time, like many people do daily at their jobs, is associated with risk factors such as higher cholesterol levels and greater waist circumference that can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. When people sit, slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart. Blood can pool in the legs and affect the endothelial function of arteries, or the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow.
This study is the first experimental evidence of these effects, said Saurabh Thosar, a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, who led the study as a doctoral candidate at IU's School of Public Health-Bloomington.
"There is plenty of epidemiological evidence linking sitting time to various chronic diseases and linking breaking sitting time to beneficial cardiovascular effects, but there is very little experimental evidence," Thosar said. "We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function."
The researchers were able to demonstrate that during a three-hour period, the flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. The study participants who walked for 5 minutes each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same -- it did not drop throughout the three-hour period. Thosar says it is likely that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow accounts for this.
"American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day," he said. "The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment."
The study involved 11 non-obese, healthy men between the ages of 20-35 who participated in two randomized trials. In one trial they sat for three hours without moving their legs. Researchers used a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology to measure the functionality of the femoral artery at baseline and again at the one-, two- and three-hour mark.
In the second trial, the men sat during a three-hour period but also walked on a treadmill for 5 minutes at a speed of 2 mph at the 30-minute mark, 1.5-hour mark and 2.5-hour mark. Researchers measured the functionality of the femoral artery at the same intervals as in the other trial.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hill Sprints

Hill Sprints
We begin to lose skeletal muscle mass in our mid-20s. But it turns out this loss is mostly confined to our faster (speed and strength) muscle fibers, with our slow-twitch (endurance) fibers resistant to atrophy. Since faster fibers power our race stride, the result is reduced stride length and a slower pace. But faster muscle fiber loss is not a fait accompli. This is a case of use it or lose it. Unfortunately, most masters runners don’t “use it.” That’s because workouts like distance runs and tempo barely touch faster fibers. To recruit 100 percent of your available faster (and slower) muscle fibers—and to teach your nervous system to use them simultaneously and efficiently—you’re going to have to include sprint workouts. And no sprint workout is more effective than hill sprints.

The workout: Find a hill that’s steep, but not so steep that you can’t manage an approximation of your normal stride. Sprint uphill for 6-10 seconds at 95% effort, then walk slowly down the hill for recovery. Do 4-8 reps. Next, sprint downhill for 8-15 seconds at a controlled 85-90 percent effort, walking slowly up the hill for recovery. Do 4-6 reps.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stop Googling your health questions. Use these sites instead.

Welcome to Burden of Proof, a regular column in which Julia Belluz (a journalist) and Steven Hoffman (an academic) join forces to tackle the most pressing health issues of our time — especially bugs, drugs, and pseudoscience thugs — and uncover the best science behind them. Have suggestions or comments? Email Belluz and Hoffman or Tweet us @juliaoftoronto and @shoffmania. You can see previous columns here.  Read More at

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Japanese study finds: "Over 60% of diabetic subjects are not obese (BMI < 25)"


Not obese, but sick! The cardiometabolic markers were higher in diabetic subjects than in non-diabetic subjects in both obese and non-obese subjects. But hey, the real news is still that non-obese individuals comprise more than half of all persons with diabetes in population of 17,098 men and 17,199 women who participated in a voluntary health checkup program between 1998 and 2006 conducted in Japan.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C supplements dosed at ONLY 250mg of vitamin C has beneficial effect on the aerobic capacity of footballer children
Before and after 10 days of the use of ascorbic acid, the mean and standard deviation of the aerobic capacity of the experimental group were respectively 3.59± 0.38 and 4.23 ± 0.77 and of the control group were 3.7 ± 0.40 and 3.7± 0.53, respectively. Therefore, there was a significant relationship between the use of ascorbic acid and placebo in terms of aerobic capacity (p ≤ 0.5)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Warm Foot Baths


One of the joys of my work is being able to share information about little known healing options. My exuberance only increases when the remedies I write about are inexpensive, non-toxic and widely accessible. So today is a very happy day for me! The following is positive research on a humble, traditional remedy that could help me, you and many people we know.
Several studies presented in peer-reviewed, scientific journals reveal that warm foot baths (WFB) can be powerful medicine. For starters, they acutely reduce arterial stiffness and promote improved blood flow to the heart. These effects have been documented in healthy adults and in those with coronary artery disease. WFBs also improve the quality of life of cancer patients by decreasing sympathetic activity (stress) while providing natural pain relief. Additionally, one trial found that warm foot bathing reduces fatigue and insomnia in those undergoing chemotherapy. In short, WFBs benefit those with or without serious medical conditions. What’s more, these benefits can be applied quite easily. All that’s called for is to submerge your feet and lower legs in water for about 20 – 30 minutes. However, longer dunks may afford additional benefits, such as regulating skin temperature in seniors with compromised circulation. The water temperature used in most of the published research ranges from approximately 104°F – 109 °F. In comparison, a hot tub or jacuzzi typically maintains a water temperature of about 104°F. So, perhaps they should be renamed “hot body baths”? And, now if you’ll excuse me, my (hot) foot bath awaits!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Strength and Conditioning in the Aging Athlete

by: Judah Boulet

Enhancing Longevity and sustainability in training

  1. Sleep: First and foremost, you want to have more optimal hormone levels, recover faster, achieve optimal health, live longer, etc, you need to sleep uninterrupted for 7-8 hours.
  2. Focus on eating a Nutrient Dense Diet of non-processed foods. Perfect place to start is with a Paleo diet, and then use that as a template.
  3. Consumption of enough calories to sustain training levels along with consumption of enough individual macronutrients to sustain the type of training/exercise you are performing (This is an individualized thing based on type of training, fitness goals, etc)
  4. Adaptability! Listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, beat up, etc, take it easy. If you are feeling full of piss and vinegar, get after it. Be able to adapt your training program (individually or through a coach) from day to day based on how you are feeling. A potentially more accurate way to listen to your body with what is going on physiologically with you is through monitoring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). You need a heart rate monitor which can easily hook up to an app on your smartphone, such as Joel Jamison’s BioForce HRV or iThlete. If your HRV score is Red, and you have a killer session planned, adjustment of your training program for that day is needed. Utilization of a personal coach, whether remotely or in person, is extremely useful in this regard.
  5. Supplement wisely. This also is highly individualized based on training, goals, diet, etc.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why Do We Have Blood Types?

More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t really know what blood types are for. Do they really matter?
When my parents informed me that my blood type was A+, I felt a strange sense of pride. If A+ was the top grade in school, then surely A+ was also the most excellent of blood types—a biological mark of distinction.
It didn’t take long for me to recognize just how silly that feeling was and tamp it down. But I didn’t learn much more about what it really meant to have type A+ blood. By the time I was an adult, all I really knew was that if I should end up in a hospital in need of blood, the doctors there would need to make sure they transfused me with a suitable type.

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