Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gas Prices: something to think about

From Wired Blog. com:

By Dave Demerjian

Even at its highest, the price of gas in America hasn't come close to European prices. Governments there have made taxes the keystone of their campaign to cut consumption, promote alternative transportation and go green. It's time for the United States to do the same.

Gas prices have been rising in Europe for more than a decade, and much of the increase comes from tax hikes that now account for 40 to 50 percent of the cost to fill up. The Netherlands and Britain have nearly doubled their gas taxes, to $4.04 and $3.82 a gallon respectively, since the early 1990s. Compare that to America, where Uncle Sam tacks a paltry 18.4 cents onto every gallon of gas.

Eighteen cents? Put down that extra flat screen and smell the fumes: We can afford the tax hike.

The high gas prices we paid for fuel this summer could be a more effective remedy for our fuel-related environmental and geo-political problems than digging in our national parks. In addition to reminding us that, in cities at least, we can walk to the store, it encourages the development of new, fuel-saving technology.

We've already shown we can live with gas at $4 a gallon (less than half what some European countries saw during the price spikes last summer) without inviting the apocalypse. That pretty much shoots down the argument that people won't stand for higher gas prices. And, as Time magazine notes, an increase in the gas tax could be offset by a cut in the payroll tax, which has a far greater impact on our pocketbooks, anyway.

European governments embraced gas taxes to cut consumption. It's working there, and it would work here.

Europeans sucked down about 3.2 million gallons barrels of gasoline per day (thanks for pointing out the error, David) in 1992. That figure has dropped to 2.51 million today, the Boston Globe reports. Rising fuel prices also have prompted Europeans to embrace ever-smaller cars: Last year's top sellers were the Peugeot 207, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa.

Compare that to the United States, where our thirst for gas only grows. We burned through 8.43 million barrels per day in the early 1990s but use 10.84 million today. That's bad news for a country that purportedly wants to cut its dependence on foreign oil, which is why there's a growing chorus calling for an increase in a federal gas tax that has barely budged in 15 years. In addition to feeding our addiction to petroleum, keeping the tax ridiculously low has decimated the federal fund that would finance road and bridge construction if it weren't nearly broke.

Not surprisingly, plenty of people oppose a bump in the tax. The National Center for Policy Analysis calls that tax "perhaps the single worst influence on the development of rational transportation policies in the United States," and suggests it be repealed. The Cato Institute is even more direct, giving its policy paper the no-nonsense title, "Don't Increase Federal Gasoline Taxes — Abolish Them."

But the bottom line is cheap gas hurts us more than it helps us. It keeps us shackled to inefficient cars, undermines efforts to address global climate change, and discourages the development of alternative transportation technologies. As if that weren't enough, it transfers ever larger amounts of money to governments unfriendly to our interests.

With oil prices at a four-year low, now is the time to act. We must increase the gas tax to cut consumption, generate revenue to repair roads, finance mass transit and and put us on a path toward true energy independence.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Do It....




Nike's slogan "Just Do It" is a pretty darn good one to live by, especially when your goals are to improve your body, health and mind.


For example, have you ever planned to go to the gym to workout after work, but then after a long day at the grind, all you want to do is go home, eat and sit in front of the T.V.? And, if you did this, you'd probably eat more food than you really needed out of sheer boredom and stress? Then, all your body composition goals would be thrown out the window


Tonight, I had one of these feelings, and almost bailed out on a workout that I really had no reason to not get in. It was a very cold day and was getting dark by the time I got out of work. The temps were in the teens (yes, it was cold...) and, for some reason I was feeling really tired (actually, Aunt Flo and TOM were the culprits). So, the whole time I was driving to the gym, I was trying make excuses for not going. Then, when I finally got there, I sat in the parking lot for awhile and read my email on my Blackberry (aka, Crackberry). Then, it started to get cold in the car, so I figured I'd at least go in to do a short workout, but no more.
When I got in there, and got warmed up, a new surge of energy hit me. I ended up staying for an hour an 20 minutes and worked myself so hard that I had a hard time walking when I left. I started with front squats and did four sets of 10-12 with 115lbs supersetted with front planks. Then, I moved onto front reverse lunges in the squat rack, with 95lbs for four sets of 6 each leg. Next, was weighted step ups supersetted with weighted v-sits. Finally, I hit leg press with four plates each side supersetted with decline dragonflags and crunches. My legs were killing me, but in a good way. And, to think, I didn't even want to go to the gym tonight, but ended up having a totally great workout! Who would've thunk, eh? :)
So, like Nike says: Just Do It.
Don't let your mind trick you into giving up. You really do have the strength and the energy to get your workouts in. There are No Excuses when you have a goal in mind. The key is to stick to your goals and not let anything get in your way.
Now; stop sitting there and get moving! Enjoy your workout!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Story of Stuff

Did you ever wonder how that ipod you love so dearly got to be how it is in your hand?

Also, do you ever wonder why today we're bombarded with more commercials telling us to buy more stuff than we really need?

Then, did you ever wonder where this stuff goes once you throw it away?

If so (and I hope you do), you really have to watch this amazing video my colleague sent me about "The Story of Stuff"

It'll really make you think twice before you decide to trash your year-old ipod for the newest, latest model.

It's all about sustainabiliy, a green economy and keeping our earth healthy. We only have one Earth, and we have to love it more than we do now.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Talking on the Fitcast with Kevin, Jen and JFass


I hope you all had a great Turkey weekend!


We had the festivities at my house this year, which was both cool and a bit stressful. You see, I'm a compulsive cleaner (yes, I love Mr Clean) and I couldn't let people come over until my whole house was spotless. The good thing about OCCD is that you get a great workout at the same time!
The other cool thing about having the meal at my house is that I got to somewhat "overview" what food was put on the table. Yes, we had the traditional bread n butter stuffing mix, but instead of a high-calorie sweet potato casserole that my sister was going to make, I baked Delecata Squash rings with thyme and olive oil and bit of sea salt and saved our wastelines and our hearts. I also made a low-sugar, low-carb apple crisp for dessert, which was yuuummmmyyyy. :) My family still reached for the regular pumpkin pie, but at least I had something else to treat myself with.
How was everyone else's dinners? I hope you were able to enjoy it as much as I.
This past weekend also involved an interview I did with Kevin, Jen Heath and Jonathan Fass on the Fitcast.
I this episode we spoke about training, diets for women, and low carbing. Jonathan also chimed in with his brainiac knowledge of muscular imbalances.... if you've ever wondered why you have love handles, but your body fat is low, you might just want to listen to what Jonathan had to say.
Check out the episode HERE. And, while you're there, have a listen to some of the other episodes. The one with the creator of Bigger, Faster, Stronger, (the movie about steriods in America) with Chris Bell is especially cool.
Have a great week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Expert Profile article is up!


Wow. What a month.


Currently, I'm in the second portion of my dietetic internship. This rotation is the food service rotation and I'm working in a public school system. It's very interesting to be here and see what goes on in our school cafeterias. Most of it is good, but some of the political stuff (like lack of funding for good food) is a bit harsh. The director I work with tried very hard to change the minds of students and teachers that school lunch is not unhealthy, but years of talk about "unhealthy cafeteria food" is hard to change over night. So, I'm here helping with this process, and let me tell you.... middle school kids are the hardest to convince. I swear, last week when I visited a few of the middle school classes to talk about what they thought of school lunch, I left feeling extremely stressed out. I almost felt like I needed to smoke a cigarette or something (but, of course, I don't smoke....). Those kids are demanding. I really have respect for teachers and the lunch ladies that work with them every day.


Anyhow...


The title of this post is to let you all know that today, I'm featured in an article on the site, Precision Nutrition, for an "expert profile". The article outlines what I eat and do for exercise each day. Now, when this article was written, I hadn't started my dietetic internship, so things were a bit different, but the food choices are really about the same.


Click here to check out the article, and to see some super cute pics of my "canis lupus familiaris" (aka, my doggie friends that I walk everyday :) )


Note: if you can't access the article for any reason, let me know and I'll post the whole thing here.
Oh, and just for the heck of it, I posted another wedding pic since I'm finally getting all those organized in albums after many busy months.


Happy Turkey Week!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't believe those High Fructose Corn Syrup commericals


It's all a conspiracy.


Our society is really trying to make us fat and unhealthy so drug companies can get richer and richer.


The food we have available is all tainted with sugar (seriously, it's in EVERYTHING) and we're served SUPER sizes like it's normal to eat like a behemoth!


Then, we pave everything in sight and place it several miles apart so you have no other means of transportation but sitting on your a** in a car! (You could bike, but those cars would try to hit you!).


Check out this feedback about our "governments" new stance on high fructose corn syrup. Apparently it comes from corn, so it's not bad for you.....


Give me a break. The most poisonous food in the world is a natural mushroom. Maybe we should dine on those tonight too, eh?


Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. To fill you in: I just finished the first rotation of my dietetic internship (community portion) and it was a TON of work, but an extremely amazing experience. My last day was halloween and I dressed up as a German Bar Maid. It was so much fun and I totally miss being there.

Now, I'm on to my next rotation (food service) at a school system. I get to work with kids K-12 and do things food service related (whatever that is... ) :) This one goes until the first week of February and then I move on to my clinical rotation until the end of June 2009.

I still need to write my disseration and am managing a family and business. What am I thinking? So many balls in the air, so few hands. :)


I'll blog again before the weekend. I promise.


Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Become a FitCast Insider


The FitCast Insider, home to audio interviews to some of North America's most experienced and respected Fitness Professionals is offering Season One at a reduced rate! Get inside the action and sign up now for $30 off the regular price (that's a whole tank of gas now!!!)!
The interviews are with experts such as Alwyn Cssgrove, John Berardi, Jim Labadie, Mike Boyle and your's truely. Get tips and learn facts you don't read about online or in magazines.
For just $69, and less than $5 per interview, you can get tons of great information in the convenience of a MP3 format. You can play them in your car on the way to work (Instead of listening to the crappy radio show hosts talk about something totally annoying), or while you walk your dog.
The discount lasts until the end of this month, so you have just 19 days to get in on the action. Enjoy this great deal while it lasts!
Click here for the deal: The Fitcast Insider Discount
Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eat Like It's Your Job

My good friend, Marie Spano, MS, RD has written a great article on Figure Athlete. Check it out; it's quite enlightening:

Eat Like It's Your Job

You'll be plesently surprised to know that you're probably not eating enough.

Comment about "No More Waifs"

It seems that I'm not the only one peeved about Tracy A's approach to training women.

Check out the comments by CF readers below the original post. Then, check out what other bloggers and forums have to say:

No More Pink Dumbells

The Female Network

WeddingBells

InStyle

DailySpark

Finally, go lift something that weighs only 3lbs and see how unchallenging that feels.

3lbs??? hahahahahah

Monday, October 6, 2008

No more Waifs!


According to celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, women should not lift weights more than 3lbs.


Are you kidding me? What does she think? That if a woman did lift more weight than this she'd suddenly become enormous? Seriously... this woman needs a head exam (after I drop a 30lb weight on it). Grrr!!! She makes me so mad! Does she think we all want to look like the woman I posted above? Give me a break.


If a woman is only supposed to lift 3lbs and no more, how the heck can she carry a grocery bag? Or support her child? Or take out the trash (some of those bags are darn heavy!).


Oh wait, celebrities don't lift any of those things. They have slaves do it for them. ARghghghgh


Anyhow, Tony G, my good friend, has posted more on this and I strongly suggest you check it. (Plus, Tony blogs way more than I do, and is fricken hilarious. But, do come back for my weekly posts, as that's something I can stick to (so much going on right now that my blogging spare time is non-existant).


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eating is more about you, it's about the world.


When most of us begin to diet or be more aware of our food intake, our purpose is to improve ourselves.
However, few of us change our diets to make them more friendly to our earth.
Why is that? Why is our way of thinking all about "me"? And not about "us" or "the world"?
The nice thing however, is that we can eat for both. We can achieve our body composition goals while still bettering our planet.
And, eating "Green" as it should be termed, does not have to mean being a vegetarian or only paying for high-priced speciality foods.
You can make foods choices that are friendly to our environment that are easy, but that will also help you change your body composition for the better.
For example:
When choosing fruits and vegetables - become a Localvore. Choose those that are found in your immediate area and that vary with the seasons. Buy from local farmers, support Farmer's markets, read the label on the fruits and vegetables in your grocery store and try to buy those that come from no farther than a 150 mile radius. The benefit of farm-fresh products, is that they are usually less preserved, fresher, and then organic. This equates to better taste as well!
When choosing meat, poulty, and eggs - again, buy those that come from local farms or that support animal-friendly farm practices such as free-range animals and no hormone useage. For example, the goat yogurt that I eat comes from a very animal-friendly farm.
REDWOOD HILL FARM & CREAMERY, based in California makes the goat products that I choose to eat. I recently emailed them to tell them how much I love their products and this is what they had to say:
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! They are the best compliments that we can get! We are so happy to know that our products have met your expectations. It warms our heart when we get comments like yours. Lets us know we are on the right track:)

We have over 300 goats and they all have different names because they all have different personalities. They are amazing members if our family thatwe treat with love and respect and we can taste it in the yogurts, cheeses and kefir.
Yes, you read that right: this farm loves their goats so much that they've named them and call them family! They respect their goats, and the goats respect them back.
When choosing animal foods, like goat dairy, it's best to find companies and farms like Redwood Hill who really care. This translates to less animal cruelty in our world to produce foods that we love and benefit from.
When choosing all other foods - remember that you're looking out for the sustainability of our world. You're avoiding overpackaging, which contributes to waste, you're saying no to chemicals and additives, and you're not supporting cruelty to animals. Buy purchasing earth-friendly, organic, farm-raised, and natural foods, you're helping your waistline while preserving the world for our future population.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

For the love of yogurt.


It's been years since I've been able to eat yogurt, or any cow's milk products for that matter, but just recently I've discovered something that makes this possible again.

My intolerance to cow's dairy started as a child (about 10 years old). My father used to force me to drink my milk for breakfast, but I always whined and complained that it make me feel terrible and hurt my stomach. But, he wanted my bones to grow strong and figured milk was the answer.

When I was old enough to choose my own morning beverage, it definitely wasn't cow's milk. Basically, I haven't drank cow's milk since I became a teen and I'm MUCH happier and less bloated.

I did, however, still enjoy cottage cheese and yogurt. One of my favorite high-protein combinations was cottage cheese with vanilla whey protein powder and slivered almonds. Another I enjoyed was plain yogurt with ground flax seeds and vanilla whey protein powder. But... as of about 6 years ago, my body just stopped being tolerant to all dairy, no matter what form it was in. And, the issue wasn't just lactose, because I tried all the Lactaid and low-lactaid products you could imagine (i.e. mozzarella) and it did no good. I really suspect the issue is the casein milk protein because if I eat anything with that in it, I get a ragging headache and intense bloating. Not fun. Whey protein is only a problem if it's not highly purified and contains added digestive enzymes. The brand I use and recommend to my cow's milk sensitive clients is Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Isolate. It tastes great and doesn't come with the gas and bloat that other brands of whey can sometimes cause.

Some people feel that adult on-set allergies are not really due to our body becoming intolerant to a food, but to the fact that our food supply is completely overprocessed and contains more preservatives than it can handle. I tend to agree. For example, my issues with dairy became worse when I moved to the US, versus only somewhat terrible when I lived in Canada (who has different milk processing methods).

In any matter, I don't have to worry about cow's milk any more (or miss yogurt). I've now discovered the wonder of goat milk . Through this wonderful little animal, I can now enjoy goat cheese on my salads and omletes, and goat yogurt for a mid-day snack (with nuts and nutritional yeast :) ).

If your body really has an issue with cow's milk, I encourage you to give Goat's Milk products a try. They really taste good and give you the chance to love dairy again without the discomfort.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Don't sit to exercise! or, Seated machines should be banned!

(Warning, this blog post contains my rant of the week.)

Picture this: Your day begins as you swing your legs out of bed, hit the shower and make breakfast. You then, walk outside to your car to drive your regular 20 to 30 minute commute to work. Once at work, you walk about 2 minutes to get in the door of your office and sit yourself down at your desk to begin your work day.

For the next 4 hours, you sit with little movement other than to fill up your coffee mug and visit the bathroom. During lunch, you either get up to get your meal from the lunch room and eat it seated at the lunch tables or your desk. Then, you continue to sit for the next 4 to 5 hours until your work day is over.

Once your day is done, you get back in your car, and drive yourself to the gym. After changing into your workout clothes, you walk to the cardio equipment and sit down on one of the bikes to peddle your heart rate up for about 10 minutes. You then head to the weight machines and sit down to perform seated hamstring curls, seated shoulder press, seated ab crunches, seated lat pulldowns and whatever other seated machine you can figure out how to use.

After this vigorous workout, you change and drive yourself home. At home, you quickly throw together a meal for dinner and then eat it either sitting in front of your T.V. or your computer. Besides taking a shower, you continue in this seated position until it's time to lay yourself down to bed.
___________________________________________________

Notice anything repetative in this usual day? Well, what I was trying to point out was that this "demonstrative" person sits for more hours a day than they actually move their body in an upright position. And, what's even more frustrating, is that this is how 80% of our population lives their lives everyday!

We've got to stop this seated madness! Sitting all day long (even at the gym!) is one of the main reasons people struggle with thier body weight and have increased skeletal-muscular issues! But, it doesn't have to be like this!!

Yes, I understand that many of us can't change the fact that we have a desk job, where the majority of our working time is spent sitting. But, we don't have to exasperate this problem by mimicking the rest of our day in this same position!

To start: STEP AWAY FROM THE SEATED EXERCISE MACHINES!!!! If I had it my way, those things would be completely banned from any exercise facility. You DON'T need to sit to exercise your hamstrings, shoulders, chest, etc. All of these same movements that you see locked into a machine can be performed in a supine, prone or standing position with dumbbells, bars, bands and balls! For example, if you're doing the lat pulldown exercise, why not stand while performing the motion? This way you activate your glutes, abs, and legs to keep you from being pulled up and you have to work harder to pull the weight down since your knees aren't locked under a knee-pad. Trust me, I do this everytime I lift and wouldn't sit down if you paid me to do so.... If you feel uncomfortable doing any of these exercise, enlist the help of a reputable certified personal trainer or learn from the many excellent books and websites on the topic.

Next: Increase upright activity in your daily routine as much as possible. For example, if you can't ride a bike to work, or even walk, start your day a bit earlier with exercise around your house or neighborhood. Even something as simple as starting your morning with a 15 minute walk is better than no exercise at all!

Then, at lunch, skip your eating time and replace it with a walk around the block. If you don't have a block to walk around, then walk the stairs for 15 minutes (your building has those, I promise).

After your evening workout, spend less time sitting. Yes, you should sit to spend time with your family at the dinner table, but afterwards, spend it doing things that can require you to stand, like sweeping the house, doing laundry, folding laundry, pulling weeds from your flower bed, etc. Anything but spending more time seated is the most ideal situation.
_______________________________________________________

I've become very passionate about this anti-sitting crusade because for my dietetic internship I have to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. So, during my day, I get up as much as possible to fill up my stainless steel water bottle, tea mug or visit the bathroom. I also take a walking break to cruise the block before lunch, at lunch and before my day is done. In the mornings, I start my day earlier so that I can either get to the gym (no seated exercises), do a bootcamp class at the track, run stadiums at the track, or do exercises in my bedroom. After work, I workout again, doing either a workout at the gym, track, or at the local yoga studio (the pilates V-pose is one of my challenges to master!).

Overall, I've learned that even with an 8-hour desk job, your life does not have to be completely seated. There are so many things you can do to get away from this detrimental lifestyle; it only takes a few modifications, but you can do it and you'll feel better (and look better) because of it.

Now go forth and be upright like nature intended you to be!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nutrition Thoughts in No Particular Order


In the last few days, I've had several phone consults with new clients. When I first start with a client, I usually try to connect via voice rather than just email so that they can completely communicate their wants, needs, experiences and goals. I feel that this is lost in the email process.
Through these conversations, I've been exposed to some common beliefs and trends among women with respect to eating and exercising for their ideal body composition (not a competiton body though, as that doesn't exist in real life anyhow unless that's all you dedicate your life to; and, if you have a family or a full-time job, that's mostly not the case). So, rather than go into excessive detail about these ideas, I'm going to list a few of them in bullet-point like my good friend Tony Gentilcore does in his blogs for the Boston Herald. Mine may not be as facetious, but I'll do my best to be somewhat as entertaining:
(Oh, and I threw in a random wedding pic because... well... I can)
1) To get the body I want, I can never eat bread again.
True and False.
Yes, white flour products are pretty much useless foods and don't need to be eaten by anyone. But, if you're really a bread-lover and you enjoy your toast in the mornings, why not reach for bread made without flour? If you've never heard of sprouted grain breads, you have to give them a try. They're much tastier than white flour or whole grain flour, and contain more protein, more vitamins and more fiber than any flour-based bread you'll find on the market.
To make these breads, the whole grains are soaked until the turn into a paste-like consistency. They then are risen and baked just like bread. The result is the whole grain without any fake vitamins or minerals to make them nutritious again.
My favorite ones are Food for Life's Ezekial 4:9 bread in Sesame and Cinnamon Raisin flavors. They're just amazing!

You'll find these products in the freezer section of the bread aisle or in the Natural Health Food section. They have to be kept frozen or refrigerated because they lack the preservatives that other breads contain. Check them out today! Whole grains are good for you and can be part of an ideal body composition diet.
2) Is it really important to eat vegetables to lose weight? What should I eat?
Yes! Most definitely.
Vegetables are low-calorie foods that can be used to fill you up during/after a meal without putting you over the caloric edge. They also are necessary for balancing out the acid-base balance in your body, which is important both for ideal health and maintenance of lean muscle tissue.
It may seem like a dauting task to eat vegetables, but they are many ways to get them into your normal eating routine:
a) Add low-calorie vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, greens, peppers, and squash to any meal or snack. Even baby carrots with hummus can be a great treat.
b) Make one of your meals a salad, with proteins and a variety of vegetables of choice (don't forget to add heart-healthy olive oil dressing).
c) Create your own soups or stews with baby red potatoes or yams, carrots, celery, parsley, and onions.
d) When eating out, substitute pasta with steamed vegetables and/or a salad.
e) Drink vegetable juice like V8 or other similar products with any meal or as part of your daily snacks in conjuction with a protein source. If you prefer low-sodium products, those are available too.
f) Remember that frozen vegetables are still vegetables and can be used to help you create a quick stir-fry or add more veggies to any meal you're eating (my favorite is green peas...).
g) Make your morning eggs with spinach, cilantro and parsley. Yum!
Those are just a few ideas. Work with what you have available to you in your area and try to by local produce as much as possible. For example, in my area, squash, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers are being sold at road-side farm stands. I pick some new ones up each day and cook/eat them with every meal.
3) To lose weight, I have to eat protein with every feeding/meal.
Yes and no.
When women think protein, they often think of protein-dominant foods like chicken, fish, egg whites, and whey (or soy). Then, to incorporate that with their morning or mid-day snack seems like an undesirable task. I mean, do you really want to eat chicken 24/7?
Eating protein-containing foods is important because it helps to increase the amount of energy expended during eating (called the thermic effect of food), and promotes more satiety than eating meals or snacks without.
Thus, I do agree that it is very useful to eat a complete protein sources (originating from animal products) at your main three meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. But, when you eat meals between these three (i.e. snacks), you don't necessarily have to eat a high-protein containing pure animal-based protein source. Foods like beans (hummus, dips, whole beans, etc), yogurt, cheese and nuts can be a great choice between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. They do supply your body with some of the same components as high-protein animal proteins (amino acids), and they also add things like fiber and good fats that you don't get otherwise.
So, don't lose your mind that you're not eating fish at your morning snack. You can enjoy yogurt with almonds, or red-bell peppers with olive-oil based hummus and still fill statisfied while reaching a healthy and lean body composition.
I'll continue later this week with more tips and ideas. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or ideas in this area, I'd love to read about them.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who says muscles on women aren't attractive?


To your left is a picture of my best-girl and best workout partner at my wedding a few weeks back.

She and I have been training together for more than two years and it was our love of weight-lifting that brought us together. We were always the only women in the weight room, navigating around grunting men who thought they were the kings of the room. But... as you can see by this picture, they had to give respect for the weight-lifting queens since were definitely NOT lifting anything pink or less than 5lbs.

My girl and I challenge each other every day we train. We love to see how much weight we can lift and always work the hardest we can work. The only day we play around is on "Social Saturday Mornings" when we get in some good laughs while talking with our fellow gym -lovers, male and female alike.

One of our favorite movements, and one of the reasons we have great arm development is due to an exercise called Renegade Rows: in this move you set your body into an elevated plank/pushup position holding two dumbells in your hands on the floor. One rep is counted when you complete one pushup and then one row of each arm while maintaining a rigid body in a plank/pushup position. To see an example of this, check out this great youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyHls4EKqxU (this gal has great arms too! we just add the pushup movement into this exercise which she doesn't demonstrate) As the exercise model points out in the video, this movement is also great for abdominal stability and strength; no crunches required!

Ladies, you won't get big or bulkly doing a movement like this (do we look big or bulky?). You also won't be able to get arms like we have by doing simple (and ineffective) bicep curl exercises with small pink dumbbells. Lift hard and lift heavy to really shape and define your body - muscles are sexy and will keep you healthy and fit for the rest of your life.

For more ideas of how to lift hard and heavy, check out either The New Rules of Lifting for Women, or the Women's Health Perfect Body Diet! Both include great exercise routines and very detailed pictures so that you will perform the movements correctly.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wedded Bliss

I have a really good excuse for not posting for over a month: I got married!

On August 2nd, I married the love of my life: Justin.

Justin and I met on http://www.match.com/ in 2005. After being together for a year and a half, I knew he was "the one" and proposed to him on Christmas day, 2007. (yes, I bought him an engagement ring too!)

We got married in Huntington, VT near Burlington. Ninty-five of our closest friends and family were there to witness our love for each other.

The whole day was great, but it took a lot of planning and preparation. That's why I've been MIA for so long.

Also, during the time from July 2 to the 19th, I wrapped up the last experiments for my PhD dissertation. So, now all I have to do is run the stats on the data, interpret the results and write my entire dissertation. I plan to accomplish this by January 2009.

In the meantime, after our wedding, Justin and I went to Canada for a second reception and just got home this past Monday.

Then... a day later (Wednesday), I started my dietetic internship through UMassAmherst and am now on my road to my RD status by next June.

So... I've got a lot going on, but I will be back to blogging right away. Just a few last things to tie up with the wedding (mostly bills and thank you cards) and I can get into the thick of my dissertation (the writing) and complete my RD internship.

I hope everyone has had a great summer as well and is looking to a fantastic fall.

Thanks for reading my blog!



Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Eric and Cass at Cressey Performance




The seminar that Eric Cressey and I gave this past Sunday at Cressey Performance was excellent. My talk was 3 and a half hours long, and Eric wrapped it up for the last hour. The crowd learned so much and we got requests to do another again in the near future. Here is a picture of us from the event. We were so co-ordinated!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Advanced Fat Loss Methods for the Body of Your Dreams

Recently, I just posted about my easy tips to get your own "babely" body (thank you Jaya for that term ;) ) . To some people, this may seem to simple and they may want a more defined prescription for reaching their own body goals.

So, here a three advanced tips that I use to help me get where I want when things start getting serious:

#1) Have a plan for what you will eat each day.

Your plan can be as precise as knowing every meal down to the exact amount and type of food, or it can be a little more flexible by just giving goals for calories and macronutrients. Or, it can be a combination of both.

Some people like to have their meals exactly laid out for them for the entire day, where others like to have more choice and freedom to just choose foods that fit into a pre-determined mold. Either way will work, it just depends on what you want.

Your meals will be a division of your total daily intake - and will depend on your total amount of activity for the day, your type of activity and your access to foods. For example, you wouldn't want to plan a meal of scrambled eggs and spinach if you aren't anywhere near a stove -- or eggs for that matter. That's just common sense.

If you don't have the tools to determine these breakdowns for yourself (i.e. a nutrition program to help you make all the calculations), you can always follow a plan from a reputable source (book, nutritionist, credible website, etc), or hire someone. People hire me to create plans for them based on their own personal goals and needs, as I've been doing this for sometime now and have a good track record. Then, I do this for myself as well.

#2) Have a plan for what you will do for exercise each day.

Like nutrition, this can be as precise as exact exercises, sets and reps, or can be as general as a focus on certain muscle groups or functional movements.

I'm someone who likes having a specific plan, so, I either write these out myself or contract someone I trust to make it for me. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut doing the same things for my exercise plan, so I find it good to go to someone outside of my realm and obtain a new training prescription. Right now I'm working side-by-side Jonathan Fass of Accelerated Strength and am absolutely loving my programming.

You too can either write your own programs, hire a one-on-one personal trainer (check them out before you work with them full-time though as I've seen some HORRIFIC personal trainers in my gym and have no idea how they haven't completely injured someone already), or contract someone to make programs for you online. There are a lot of great trainers on the Internet now, but there are also some not-so-good ones, so make sure you do your homework on them thoroughly before you buy into a long term plan.

#3) Always make sure you plan time for yourself and your family and friends. This helps to keep your life in balance and can guarantee happiness.

Although working out and eating to a fine-tune can be considered doing things for yourself, you also need to take time to slow down and smell the roses (literally). This is all part of the de-stressing I spoke about last time. You need to keep your life in harmony by doing things you love, especially alongside those you love.

Nothing is worse than a cranky, irritable dieter. It's not healthy to be like that for you or for people around you. So, taking a day (or few days) off from training and dieting to enable relaxation and reduce stressors can be the best thing your body could ever ask for. Some people also refer to this as a deloading week which is very important to prevent over-reaching and over-training which can have long-term negative effects on your health and life.

So, enjoy your body recomposition goals and learn to take a break every once in a while. It will not only keep you happy and healthy, but will do the same for those around you that you love.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Three easy tips to get the body you want today

As some of you know, I'm getting married August 2nd, and for others that don't know, I'm on a quest to look the best I can in my dress.

Yes, it was a rough year last year with my books, dissertation project and lots of stress, and I put on some body fat that I'm not too happy with. I'm just like anyone else: if I slack on my eating and exercise, body fat likes to jump on my hips, thighs and lower belly. I'm not one of those lucky people that can eat anything and be lean; I really do work hard to have a lower than average body fat % and a high level of quality muscle mass.

But, as I said, things went downhill last year and now I'm getting back on track after completing my dissertation project in March and finalizing some other writing & projects that I had to accomplish.

And, as everyone knows, it can be easy to put on body fat, but takes twice the time to take it off.

Despite some hurdles, I'm making great progess and expect to meet my Aug 2nd goal. I've dropped significant pounds off the scale and am decreasing the circumference of my fat-storage depots consistently. I'm also comfortably wearing clothes (pants and shorts) that were too tight just a few months ago and feeling better about my body every day.

Although it's not easy sometimes to get where you want when your body is off-track for some time, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to really make a difference in the way that you look. Now, they might sound too easy, but they really do work (believe me, I'm living proof):

#1) Write down what you eat right after you eat it.
This doesn't mean that you have to write down the calories or macros (but you should know the volume and weight of the food), because you intuitively know in your head what's too much, what's not good and how much is enough to fuel your system.

Your body is also a smart machine: it can regulate food intake VERY well as long as you're conscious about what you're putting in your mouth. Some people call this mindfull eating, and there's even research done to show that you can consume significantly more food than you need when you aren't paying attention.

Finally, your energy needs change each day due to differences in activity levels that we all experience from work and planned exercise. So, you don't necessarily have to stick to a defined calorie level day-in and day-out, just know what's going in so you can regulate how to balance it out.

By tracking what goes in your mouth, you can also stop your body from telling you you're hungry when you just ate a short time ago. When you get a sense of hunger but seen that you've just ate an hour ago, you know your body is just trying to set you off track. Drink fluids and wait it out for the next hour at least before you dive into more food.

#2) Move your body for 30 minutes everyday.

Even though there's such thing as the 10-minute workout or the 6-minute fat-blasting routine, your body has to be in motion AT LEAST for 30 minutes EACH AND EVERY DAY.

There is absolutely no reason at all that you can't move around for 30 minutes by either cleaning or shopping or walking your pets (or around a few blocks at lunch) and also doing your 10-minute workout. If you're sedentary and sit all day with as minimal movement as possible (which is the case for many people who commute to work, then sit at a computer all day and then come home to zone out on the T.V. all night) you might as well put out a welcome mat for body fat gain and muscle mass loss.

Your body was meant to move (if it wasn't we'd been born without arms and legs) and it likes to do it.

It doesn't matter what you do, just get off your butt and move. Don't get analysis paralysis worrying about what you should do - just get out there and do it. Your body will thank you.

#3) Get the stress out of your life.

No matter if you workout all day and keep your diet as perfect as possible, if you're overworked and stressed out, your body will not let you lose fat. That's just evolution: in times of stress your body goes into storage-mode and inhibits all fat and energy loss. It conserves everything you have so that you can fight off the stressful event/emotion.

So, if you're in a stressful place, find a way to get out or make it less of an impact in your life. Stay away from negative people who will only bring you down and into more stress. Find a way to minimize your workload. Take time to sit down and think about all the good you have in your life so the stress doesn't seem so bad. Or, enlist the help of someone that can help you become stress-free.

Do whatever it takes, but realize that stress will not only stop your fat-loss goals, but will decrease your healthy life span and make your world seem like a horrible place. You can do it and there is solution- just make an effort to make it happen.

_______________________

Now, I'm off to get my workout in for the day and doing something I love: mountain biking for a few hours with my friends. I get to enjoy the beauty of the summer and get leaner at the same time. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bunny Cancer? Is BPA to blame?

This weekend, I posted about my avoidance of plastic bottles due to their toxic chemical content, known as bisphenol A (BPA) and other potentially detrimental chemicals that are harming our health.

BPA mimics estrogen in the body and has been linked developmental delays in children, ADD, cancer and more.

What's even more sickening, is that I've just learned that in a study funded by the Environmental Health Fund, it was found that almost every baby bottle leached BPA into its contents! This may be one of the reasons there is increased prevalence of ADD in our children! This is horrible and totally not acceptable.

Something else got me thinking with respect to dangerous plastics: The other week, my friend had to take her bunny to the vet because it was urinating blood and not eating at all. The vet found that her bunny had an extremely large tumor on her uterus, and said that this was very common in bunnies.

Now, if you think about it for a second, you'd seriously ponder if plastic chemicals had anything to do with this? Almost every bunny drinks its water out of a plastic drinking bottle that's attached to its cage. These bottles are also used in hamsters, gerbils and other caged pets. In fact, my own puppy drank out of this for the first few months of his life (while he was crate trained), until I put a prompt stop to that!

How the heck would a bunny contract cancer anyhow? They don't use chemicals on their bodies (creams, sprays, etc). They don't eat foods with preservatives (the last time I checked, bunny food wasn't loaded with nitrites or other preserving chemicals). Bunnies don't eat food from a microwave, and they aren't (usually) exposed to car fumes or cigarette smoke. So.... you really start thinking: are these common tumors in bunnies a result of drinking out of plastic bottles their whole lives?

If it is, I'm going to be glad now that I've banned plastic bottles from my house. I won't buy anything in a plastic bottle now, and if I go hiking, I'll take my new Kleen Kanteen bottle that is totally plastic free.

On one hand, we're very lucky that our society has given us so many items that make our lives easier, but on other, it's also introduced many things that have threatened our health: trans fatty acids, microwaves, BPA, and many other chemicals and toxins that we only wish we never knew of.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Seminar Announcement June 29th at Cressey Performance

Exciting news for females looking to hear cutting edge information on weight-loss, health and training!

On Sunday June 29th, I'll be speaking with Eric Cressey at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA about 21st Century Nutrition and Exercise for Women.

My talk will cover:
  • beginner and advanced body recomposition tactics for women of all training levels
  • nutrition modifications for women of various body types and body compositions
  • dispelling diet and training myths that you find in your favorite magazines
  • nutrient timing for women with and without exercise
  • and much more

Eric will then speak on:

  • Common musculoskeletal injuries in females and how to prevent them
  • Prioritizing different training strategies to build a strong, functional body that also looks great
  • Latest research with respect to resistance and cardiovascular training

To learn more about this seminar, please visit here

It goes from 12:30 to 5pm with a lot of time for Q&A from both Eric and I.

The cost is only $49.00, with an additional $10 fee for on-site registration.

Let me know if you'll be there as I'd love to meet you!

See you soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

American Dietetic Association Position Statement about bottled water

Recently, I've stopped using my Nalgene water bottle and limit my use of plastic bottles because of the new information regarding toxins that are leaching into the fluid (water, iced tea, etc) contained in plastic bottles, called BPA. As much as possible I'm only using glass or metal bottles (reusing my Diet Snapple glass bottles, and have purchased the following metal bottle from Kleen Kanteen: http://www.kleankanteen.com/)

The American Dietetic Association also has recently released their position stand regarding plastic bottles. The information they present is very interesting and the bottom line is that bottled water is not and healthier than tap water, and may in fact, be less healthy because of BPA:



Date of Release: May 2008

Claim of Topic:
Is bottled water a better choice than tap waterDiscussion of Topic: Bottled water sales have soared in recent years, as people increasingly choose bottled water in place of calorie-laden beverages. Drinking sufficient water is certainly to be encouraged, but what type of water is better?

The following are factors to consider:

Environment. Because of the oil it takes to produce and transport the plastic bottles and the waste those bottles leave behind, bottled water is being criticized for its environmental impact. Several actions have been taken or proposed: Some restaurants and work places have banned bottled water, deposit laws were proposed to help boost recycling rates and manufacturers have introduced thinner bottles to reduce the amount of plastic. Some companies are even introducing aluminum and paper containers for water. Individuals also are buying bulk containers or water filters for tap water.

Safety. Another timely issue is the potential risk from a chemical in some plastics called bisphenol A or BPA, which was sparked by a draft report from the US National Toxicity Program. The report says there is “some concern” for infants and children and calls for more research. The American Chemistry Council, manufacturers of plastic products, has launched efforts to reinforce the safety of BPA in low doses. Tap water had its own scare recently with the report that pharmaceuticals were found in municipal water supplies. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that bottled water is not safer or healthier than most tap water. Both are equally regulated — EPA regulates tap water while bottled water is regulated by FDA.

Cost. One factor to consider when assessing the difference between tap and bottled water is the expense. A New York Times reporter calculated that eight glasses of New York City tap water would cost about 49 cents per year. Bottled water would be 2,900 times as much or $1,400 per year.

Taste. The taste of tap water may differ in various parts of the country. Some people simply prefer the taste of bottled water, or they find themselves drinking more water if they can choose flavored bottled waters. Increasing the appeal of water can encourage greater consumption — a health benefit as long as the flavored waters are not hidden sources of added sugar. Also, lemon or other flavorings can be added to tap water to enhance its acceptability.
Fluoride. Most bottled waters are not fluoridated like tap water, which is a particular concern for children and teenagers.

Bottom Line: Bottled and tap water are equally safe with similar regulatory oversight. Unless fortified, bottled water offers no significant nutritional advantage and the excessive use may have a negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, the increased availability of bottled water has helped encourage greater consumption of water, typically at the expense of sugary beverages, which is a positive trade-off.

Resources/References:
Natural Resources Defense Council, Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?http://www.nrdc.org/.Accessed May 1, 2008.
Corporate Accountability International, “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign.http://www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org/.Accessed May 1, 2008.
US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. National Toxicology Program. Draft Brief on Bisphenol A.ntp.niehs.nih.gov.Accessed May 1, 2008.
American Chemistry Council. Facts on Plastic.http://www.factsonplastic.com/.Accessed May 1, 2008.
A Battle Between the Bottle and the Faucet. New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/.Posted July 15, 2007. Accessed May 1, 2008.
International Bottled Water Association,http://www.bottledwater.org/.

Written by Janet Helm, MS, RD, Executive Vice President, Director of Food and Nutrition, Weber Shandwick, Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Some Doctors can and DO prescribe low carb diets for people with Type 2 Diabetes

Rather than putting a band-aid (so to speak) over the wound that we know as Type 2 Diabetes, by prescribing more and more medications which is now shown to lead to more complications and even death, doctors are treating it with diet.

People with Type 2 Diabetes can not process carbohydrates, so rather than tell them to eat carbs but just use more diabetic medicine, doctors such as Mary Vernon and Eric Westman are teaching them about carbohydrate-restriction. By reducing carbohydrates, people with Type 2 Diabetes can better control their own blood sugar levels and prevent complications associated with poor blood glucose control.

To learn more about the application of carbohydrate restriction in real life, please see this excellent news clip from Voice of America: Some US Doctors Recommend Unusual Diet to Treat Diabetics

Ignoring the use of low carb diets to help people better control their Type 2 Diabetes has to stop. This diet is very useful for this disease and is shown over and over again in recent research (including that from my own lab) to be safe.

It may not be for everyone, but it has it's use.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Come join me in Vegas for the ISSN Annual Conference

On Saturday, I'll be flying to Vegas for the 5th Annual International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference and Expo.

The focus of the conference is to present information about sports nutrition and supplement strategies to improve sport performance and health. I've gone every year since the very beginning to the ISSN conferences, and I can honestly say that it is hands-down the BEST (and most fun) place to get real-world information about sports nutrition and supplements.

The ISSN was founded by Dr Jose Antonio and Dr Doug Kalman in conjuction with several other important sports nutrition scientists such as Susan Kleiner, Rick Kreider, Jeff Stout, Mike Greenwood and John Ivy (the Nutrient Timing author), because there was a need for an organization that would disseminate the truth behind nutrition and sport, and make it fun at the same time.

The goal was accomplished with flying colors and the ISSN is now the top sports nutrition society in the world.

The conference begins this Sunday June 8th and continues until Tuesday June 10th.

To learn more about the ISSN and the conference, please visit the website: http://www.theissn.org/. And if you support its goals and mission, you should consider becoming a member.

Also, if you're going to be attending the conference, please let me know as I'll be there the whole time and would love to meet you.

If you won't be there, I'll take notes and provide a summary next week.

After this conference I swear I'm not travelling again until my wedding in August. I've been on too many planes already this year!



Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Future of Fitness

This Friday, I drove over to Rhode Island for the Perform Better Functional Training Summit. At this "hands-on seminar" top fitness and nutrition trainers and coaches told us their secrets to becoming a better trainer and a better athlete. Speakers such as Diane Vive, Lee Burton, Rachel Cosgrove, Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle, Anthony Diluglio and Thomas Plummer demonstrated and told us exactely how to get our clients and our businesses to be the best they could be.

Overall, the take-home message for me was that the future of weight-training is going to be a lot different than it is today.

We all know that weight-lifting is the best way to get the body you want without ruining your knees from hours of running or putting on a not-so-comfortable bathing suit to swim laps in a pool.

However, weight-lifting is so much more than the days of the great Arnold where bicep curls were done to impress the ladies. i.e. the saying "curls for the girls".....

Today, you can combine FUNCTIONAL weight-lifting movements into sets or supersets that will work not only increase your strength, but also increase the definition of your muscles (called "toning to some" and improve the functionality of your entire body (your cardiovascular system, along with your balance and agility). This prevents injury while making you look better than you ever did before. And that's what we all really want from exercise.

For women specifically though, weight-training comes with a sense of the unknown and the idea that it will make her big and bulky. Also, the one-on-one training of the past was boring, in addition to unconvincing that it would make a women's body look sexier and skinnier (A women can't understand that the same bench press that made her male trainer huge is going to make her skinnier.... ). These reasons explain WHY women constantly flock to aerobics classes and spin group fitness classes INSTEAD of signing up with a personal trainer. Women more so than men (even though it does apply to the male population too), enjoy working out with others and prefer not to be the center of attention. They want to get a good workout with others who are also sweating and breathing hard. That idea is much more attractive to them than being under the scruteny of a clip-board drill sargent.

So, for the future, you're going to see alot more small and large group weight-lifting sessions. Effective, functional-trained personal trainers are going to instruct groups of 3 to 10 men and women (more than 10 doesn't work when there are kettlebells or med balls flying around...) in smaller faclities using non-fixed, functional equipements such as sleds, ropes, dumbbells, ladders, cones and boxes. Women and men are going to use enough resistance to build muscle and become strong, but they'll do it with exercises that improve their everyday movement ability. They'll be less body-building and more sport-specific exercises so we can actually do something with our bodies, instead of just being muscular and big. The exercises will be strung together in sets rather than just being performed alone so the heart gets just as much of a workout as all the other big muscle groups and you increase your fat-burning potential.

In both my books, Women's Health Perfect Body Diet and The New Rules of Lifting for Women, the workout plans are strung together in sets and supersets so you get this increased fat-burning effect. The exercises are also more challenging than other typical weight-lifting plans because they involve using balance and core stability to activate more muscles and create more metabolic demand. Also, you can take these sets/supersets and do them with a friend or two so that you're working in a group and enjoying the burn with someone else. For example you'd do exercise A1 while your friend would do exercise A2. When you were done your reps for time or for prescribed number, you'd switch to the next in that set and keep going until the whole set/superset is done, and then go on to the next set of exercises. In this manner you'd challenge each other to lift more or push for another rep and you'd have more fun than working out alone. You'd still be doing so much more work than any aerobics class or Bodybar class you've ever been in and you'd be getting all the benefits that weight-lifting will give you.

Finally, like I said, the future of weight lifting will involve using more kettlebells, more med-balls, more rope climbs, more punching bags, more agility ladders, more box jumps, more functional body weight exercises like t-pushups, and one-arm chinups, and more movements that require less equipment and more challenges. This means that your home gym can consist of a few easy-to-get pieces of equipement or can be as simple as heading over to the local playground. You'll get rid of your bench press and replace it with it with something that requires less space, but gives you more bang for you buck.

Speaking of kettlebells, since this is now one of my favorite pieces of equipment (and I'm heading off right now to do an hour workout with these), check out this video from the new kettlebell superstar, Anthony Diluglio and tell me you don't think this isn't the coolest way to get lean and functional: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ8qWKsIVDA

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If you own New Rules of Lifting for Women, you need this!

My good friend Maggie Wang recently sent me something she's prepared for all those following the New Rules of Lifting for Women workout and diet plan.

What's she's created is an excel spreadsheet that contains all the calculations to determine your ideal caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown based on your current stats. It also gives a complete breakdown of the entire workout program so you can keep track of your accomplishments right at your computer!

Maggie is a computer wiz and really knows how to make anything complex VERY simple. To access these sheets, you'll need a copy of the book because the material is password protected.

Once you've downloaded and used them, please let me or Maggie know how it's working for you.

To get the sheets, check out here

Thanks Maggie!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where and how to get the best Omega-3s for your body - My Report from ISSFAL 2008

I finally made it back to CT at midnight Friday and had a lot of catching up to do in my lab. I was actually in the lab until 9pm on Saturday night working on an experiment that I really need to get done soon for my PhD. Being at the lipids conference in KC for the past week though was very inspiring and made me excited about science again – that’s why I’m being a lab nerd this week as much as I can. Science is COOL!


Anyhow, no one wants here about science, they want to hear about FISH OIL!

The bottom line that I learned from this conference is that the fats in fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA) are something that EVERYONE should be taking. If you’re not taking some form of fish oil though (liquid, capsules, pharmaceutical grade, whole salmon), you’re really hurting your body. Fish oil fats are useful for almost every ailment and can prevent (and even reverse) many common diseases. During this week and weekend, I’ll get into some specific studies I learned about regarding fish fats, but for now, I’ll tell you about WHICH TYPE/BRAND of fish oil you should be using to get the most benefits without added chemicals.

First off, as I said before, not all fish oil brands are created equal. The cheaper brands are more than likely to contain leftover chemicals in them or be treated improperly in manufacturing.

Most fish oils are extracted from fish in a process known as molecular distillation. Most of the time, this process requires that the fish fats be raised to very high temperatures (200C) several times, which increases the risk of destroying the fats and/or creating oxidative products. Also, this process does not always remove the harsh chemicals that can be associated with fish fats, and therefore some are left in the final product you buy off the shelf.

You’ve got to remember, when research facilities do investigations with fish fats, they also only obtain the highest quality products that are extremely pure and much more concentrated than what you usually buy off the shelf. You should be able to buy these same quality products, and now you finally can.

I’ve learned about two companies that are highly reputable and provide extremely pure and very concentrated fish oil products that you can buy either online or in a store. More concentrated means less capsules have to be ingested. Also, these companies provide fish-free omega-3 products that are derived from the source that fish obtain their omega-3s from: algae. Some are also derived from yeast, which is another report I’ll tell later this week for those that know there is a concern with over-fishing due to the popularity of fish oil products.

The first brand you will look for is an oil brand called PUREMAX. Puremax is created by an European company (Europe always has great product lines) called Croda, but which also has a division here in the US. When you shop for fish oil, you want to look for the PUREMAX label on brands of fish oil to be sure that your fish oil is pure and concentrated in the omega-3s that you want and need. Puremax has a unique purification and distillation process that minimizes impurities, selectively concentrates EPA and/or DHA (depending on which one you want more), and is GMP manufactured. To learn more about Puremax and order samples and product, go to: Croda Health Care USA.

Then, the next company that has a unique and patented way to manufacture fish oil WITHOUT using molecular distillation, avoiding any high temperatures is Minami Nutrition. In this European-based company, also available here in the US, you will get concentrated, toxin-free fish oil that is created from an exclusive EFP supercritical carbon dioxide (instead of hexane) distillation process that extracts the EPA and DHA from fish at low temperatures (35C) avoiding oxidation or rancidity. Minami Nutrition is also backed by a reputable team of scientists who use these exact products in their research projects and site Minami as their source. Minami has a wide range of products that have varying amounts of EPA and DHA at very high doses, depending on your target goal (i.e. depression, cardiovascular, brain development (babies)). They even have vegan products for those who are vegan or are allergic to fish.
To learn more about Minami and how they produce exceptionally high quality products, please visit their site at: Minami Nutrition

I’ll post more about fish fats, specific diseases, and how we’re becoming more skilled at producing omega-3s that do not come from fish to be more friendly to our water-loving counterparts. For now, I’m back in the lab all day tomorrow, with the goal of PhD in site!

If anyone goes out to buy either of these recommended products, let me know what you think. I love them both!

Friday, May 23, 2008

There's no place like home - stranded in Kansas

This past week I've been in Kansas City for the ISSFAL international conference. ISSFAL stands for "International Society of the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids" and is one of the top organizations for determining the health effects of fatty acids (dietary fat) on every tissue of the body.

This conference was amazing and I'll be blogging on the summary once I get back home. For now though, I've been waiting for the past 24 hours for a flight to get me back as the tornados in Colorado really messed up everyone's flight plans.

One thing I'd like to tell you all now is that fish oil fats are pretty much the best thing that a human can take to prevent disease and keep mental health in line. It can prevent heart attacks, reverse depression and treat ADHD. So, if you're not taking your fish oil and eating ocean raised salmon, you're really doing your body a disjustice.

From this conference I also learned that the quality of fish oil REALLY does matter and was introduced to a few companies and products that have the purest fish oil on the market; instead of using chemicals and heat to extract the fish fat, these companies use carbon dioxide. I'll reveal those companies to you this weekend. Yes, Costco brand fish oil may be cheap, but when you're taking a lot of it, you really want to get a brand that actually doesn't cost much more but is lower in toxic chemicals... and I'm not talking about mercury here.

Until then, I'm clicking my heels together 3 times and hoping my next flight actually gets me home. No more airports for me. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

VPX Zero Impact Bars - Correction

A few weeks ago I posted that VPX Zero Impact Bars were my absolute favorite meal replacement bar.

I love them because they don't contain any alcohol sugars known to upset the GI tract (i.e. maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol) and their low-glycemic carbohydrates (meaning that they don't impact blood sugar or insulin levels as much as simple carbs) come from all natural sources like oats, pumpkin and sweet potato.

Although their total caloric value (about 440 cals) seems a bit high, you would get full from eating half a bar. So, you would only consume about 220 cals for your one serving.

These bars taste VERY good and don't make me want to run to the bathroom after eating them.

THANK YOU VPX.

Anyhow, after I posted about these bars a few weeks ago, someone pointed out that the Vitamin Shoppe website lists that the bars DO contain maltitol in their ingredient list. I was very confused by this, so I contacted the company and they told me that this is INCORRECT and NONE of their bars have any maltitol in them AT ALL. Vitamin Shoppe is mistaken and needs to correct their information.

I still love Vitamin Shoppe and do most of my shopping there, but this information about VPX bars is wrong. Check out the labels and you'll see what I mean.

So, keep enjoying the bars just like I do :) (the VPX Redline Princess is also one of the best tasting energy drinks I've ever tried)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NSCA Elections and Bylaw Changes - Please vote YES for the bylaw changes

Dear Friends,

Right now the NSCA is holding a vote to determine the fate of its future. It's proposing to change the state of its organization by altering its current bylaws to prevent theivery, lies and injustice as much as it can.

To explain: the NSCA has a division called the Certification Commission, that, over the past 20 years has been operating as its own identity; it spends the NSCA money, without telling the NSCA what for, and then takes no responsibility for its own actions if it makes mistakes - it just sends the blame to the NSCA. This situation is causing a lot of distress among loyal and honest members of the NSCA and it's the NSCA's hope, that this can be changed so community can be restored. To learn more about why you should vote YES for the NSCA bylaw changes, please read the below information from Joel Cramer, PhD and current chair of the Research Committee - take it from someone who is in the "know" and deals with this right now.

http://friendsofnsca.blogspot.com/2008/05/truth-about-nsca-bylaw-changes-vote-yes.html

Please keep in mind that the points made my Joel are not "his" opinions alone, they are supported by others that have worked or currently work with the NSCA.


Please do what is right to protect the NSCA and the CSCS and CPT certifications by voting YES to the bylaw changes:

http://www.nsca-lift.org/elections/default.asp

Thursday, May 1, 2008

FitnessRx June 2008 Issue: A Skinny Bitch is not what women really want

CONGRATULATIONS FITNESSRX!!!! Thank you for publishing one of the best issues of your magazine that I've read in a long time.

For those of you who have NO idea what I'm talking about, please head to your local newstands and pick up the June 2008 issue of FitnessRX for Women.

In this issue, the contributing writers along with the editorial staff go in depth about why being SKINNY (or working to be "SKINNY") is not a healthy or sensible choice for 99% of the women on this planet.

This issue was developed in response to the popular diet book that is clouding the rational thoughts of women everywhere: "Skinny Bitch" released Jan 2006 by Running Press. The premise behind this book is that all people are gluttons and fat-pigs (directly stated in the book) and to get skinny, you need to eat like a vegan (no animal products AT ALL).

In the feature article of FitnessRx June 2008, Dr Susan Kleiner, an expert in sports nutrition and weight loss, and author of The Good Mood Diet and Power Eating, gives her thoughts and critique of this so-called diet masterpiece. To quote her writing in the article titled, "Skinny Bitch: Is it Hip to be a Vegan?" (which I love):

In the world of diet and nutrition, while sensationalism may be what sells fast, it's science that gives you the results that last. It's too bad that Skinny Bitch, one of the latest fat books that promotes a vegan diet bases the recommendation on recycled diet fad myths and plain old bastardization of nuggets of true research data. ....
In terms of this book, I really tried to look past the nasty, repulsive language that must be aimed at women with very low self-esteem. Ignoring the message that you are a fat pig until you get skinny, and then you can be a skinny bitch; I tried to see if there was some sound advice to be gleaned from the book. At first, I thought there might be. The authors promote a vegan lifestyle, are clear that smoking and drinking are bad for you and want everyone to exercise. But when digestion is described as meat rotting in your intestines and that fruit should always be eaten alone or it won't be digested, the creative writing started to get to me. To top it off, the only "experts" quoted in the book are the authors' gurus, Harvey and Marilyn Diamond- the king and queen of farcical nutrition mythology.

Kleiner then goes on to not bash the book, but to show what benefits one can have by eating less meat (not NO meat), which in her opinion, promotes increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Again, to quote:

The problem is not really that meat is so bad for you, but that grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are so good for you! If you always make meat and animal products the center of your diet, you just don't have enough room left to eat all the fabulous plant foods necessary to promote health and ward off disease.

Susan is a brilliant woman and her whole article is of great importance to read.

Later in the issue of the magazine, follows such articles as "Is Skinny Healthy?" by Dan Gwartney, MD and "Why She's no Skinny Bitch: How Kim Kardashian Trains to Keep Her Curves".

You'll also notice that the cover boasts a beautiful model (Kim K) that has great hips and arms that actually look like they've got some meat on them rather than being sticks thinner than tooth picks.

Now, I'm not sure if I had ANYTHING to do with it, as last year I came down hard on FitnessRx for promoting ultra-skinny cover models, in my post, "Model, Role Model, Role Those Models in Blood. Get some flesh to stick so they look like us." But, whether or not I did, I'm glad to see real-world women with curves and healthy body fat being the role models that women look at when they pick up their favorite magazine.

THANK YOU AGAIN FITNESSRX

Monday, April 28, 2008

Green tea may help your body recover quicker from weight training

I thought this was very interesting. From Nutraingredients.com. Another reason why drinking your daily green tea can help your recovery from hard workouts:

By Stephen Daniells

15-Apr-2008 - Antioxidant-rich green tea may counter the effects of resistance exercise by reducing the detrimental effects of oxidative stress, suggests a small trial from Brazil.

While the thought of athletes knocking back a cup of green tea after a workout may seem strange, it may signal a possibility for antioxidant-rich green tea extracts to be formulated in sports drinks, and supported by science like the new study from the May issue of the journal Nutrition.

Researchers from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, and the Center of Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Sports of Santa Catarina State University studied the effects of daily green tea consumption for seven days in athletes undertaking resistance training, which can increase the production of free radicals beyond the tissues' antioxidant defense capacity, and causing oxidative stress.

"This study suggests that green tea intake may offer a protective effect against oxidative damaged induced by resistance exercise."

Study details

Panza and co-workers recruited 14 healthy men aged between 19 and 30 to consume either water or green tea three times per day for seven days. The average polyphenol content of the tea was 771.0 micrograms per mL, while the average intake of green tea polyphenols was calculated to be 4.6 micrograms per day.

After seven days of consuming the beverages, the volunteers were required to perform a bench press exercise (four sets, 10 to 4 repetitions). The researchers analysed blood samples and calculated the total antioxidant capacity according to the ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) assay, and levels of reduced glutathione and lipid hydroperoxide.

According to the results, consumption of green tea was associated with a 64 per cent reduction in the levels of lipid hydroperoxide after exercise, while blood levels of polyphenols were approximately 27 per cent high before and after exercise. Moreover, post-exercise levels of glutathione, a protein that is important in protecting the body from oxidative (free radical) damage, were approximately 37 per cent higher in the green tea group.

"There is evidence that supplementation with antioxidants may decrease the oxidation of blood GSH after exercise," stated the researchers. "Furthermore, our findings demonstrate that dietary strategies, such as daily GT intake, may also benefit the glutathione system of athletes by elevating blood GSH levels before and after effort."

Consumption of green tea also provided pre-exercise benefits, with the pre-exercise FRAP value about 21 per cent higher compared with the control group."

Consumption of green tea, a beverage rich in polyphenols, may offer protection against the oxidative damage caused by exercise, and dietary guidance for sports participants should be emphasised," concluded the researchers.

Panza and co-workers also noted that future studies should elucidate the time course and recovery periods associated with green tea consumption, while other studies "should corroborate our findings using other polyphenol-rich foods and beverages, thus widening the dietary strategies applied to training."

Source: Nutrition (Elsevier)May 2008, Volume 24, Issue 5, Pages 433-442"Consumption of green tea favorably affects oxidative stress markers in weight-trained men"Authors: V.S. Pereira Panza, E. Wazlawik, G.R. Schutz, L. Comin, K.C. Hecht, E.L. da Silva

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mr Protein.com, a new place to get your supplements at a great price!

I'm one of those people who LOVE their supplements (mostly protein and vitamins), and I've just discovered a new place to get inexpensive whey protein in addition to a many other great items all online. The site is Mr Protein and is based on the West Coast. Here's the information from their site:

Welcome to MrProtein.Com! The West Coast's Premier online retailer where you'll find quality, selection and always the lowest prices as well as the fastest West Coast service.

Look no further because if it's not on the site now, we can get it. Its that simple. With our own warehouse we can access just about any supplement you need, regardless if you see it or not. This is YOUR home, your place for info on the hottest new Bodybuilding and Nutritional Supplements on the market as well as info on how to live that California Bodybuilding lifestyle anywhere in the United States.

Don't play the shipping game; MrProtein.Com guarantees the lowest prices on the web and is committed to customer service, getting your products to you quickly and always FREE SHIPPING!

So, if you're a supplement fan like me and know the benefit of shopping online, I highly recommend Mr Protein to meet your needs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review of Perfect Body Diet in Toronto Star (Canada)

A friend of mine, Vivian, recently tipped me off to an excellent review of Women's Health Perfect Body Diet in the Toronto Star newspaper, a printing out of Canada (my home country). The review was very positive and if you'd like to read it, please go here.

Thanks to Vivian, here's the take away at the end:

EXPERT VERDICT: "This is a well-rounded, nutritionally sound diet plan that is definitely geared to women, especially those who have some nutrition and fitness knowledge. Since the diet is lower in calories and lower in carbohydrates, most people will lose weight."

OUR VERDICT: Best for those who are familiar with the nutrition and fitness world and who have less than 25 pounds to lose. This will take some dedication to fruits and veggies and requires regular dates with the treadmill!

To get your own copy of PBD, you can visit your local bookstore, go online, OR, my mother in Canada told me it's also at Costco! :)

Then, to get your own supply of the purest, most convienient glucomannan, to help you stay full and stick with your diet plan, visit www.yourperfectmannan.com.

Thanks Vivian!

Monday, April 21, 2008

GREAT NEWS! Life Update

Back in January, I went through the semi-stressful process of applying for a dietetic internship. This including writing a 2-page essay about why I want to be a dietitian, collecting references from 4 major advisors, filling out a form explaining my strengths and weaknesses, tallying my GPA from undergraduate (and I've been in school now for 11 years....) with a new calculation, and giving all my past dietetic work experiences.

This information was submitted February 15th of this year and today I just found out the results. I was PLACED at UMass Amherst to do my dietetic internship!!! This was fabulous news as the placements are very limited and VERY competitive. Many students I competed against didn't get a placement and now have to figure out what they're going to do with their Bachelor education. I feel that I was easily placed because I've done MANY years of school, have 5+ years of dietetic work experience and have worked in dietetic research for 6 years now. I've known that I've wanted to be a dietitian for many years now (since my undergraduate dietetic days), and have in turn collected as much experience to make my application for this day very strong -- and it paid off :)

So, starting the week after my wedding in Mid-August (yes, I'm getting married August 2nd... another stressor to add to the stress pile I've got on my plate), I'll start my internship rotation for the next 11 months. It's all free-labor (no payment at all), but it will give me the experience necessary to be qualified as a Registered Dietitian.

Another interesting thing going on with me (other than planning a wedding and doing and PhD and counselling clients and trying to work on another book and taking care of a fiance and three dogs... [you get the picture]) is that I'm taking my "Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist" (CSCS) examination this Sunday April 27th. I've JUST started studying for this yesterday and I've got 26 chapters of a textbook to get through, two videos of exercise techniques and two practice examinations. I paid money to take this exam so I do hope I pass the first time around. After 11 years of school I've gotten pretty good at studying, so I should possibly pass, but if I don't I know I'll just have to put more effort in considering that some people study for months for this...[I'll let you know how I do next week].

One last thing: one person commented last week on the Zero Impact Protein Bars and said that according to the Vitamin Shoppe website, they do have maltitol in them. However, the bar that I've got in my hand right now does not have maltitol in it (which is actually just a harmless sugar, unless you have too much of it), so I'll check with the company and find out why there is this discrepancy. Thanks!

Wish me luck on my CSCS exam! I'm getting nervous!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interview by Mike Robertson

While I was travelling this weekend, I completed an interview for Mike Robertson, CSCS of Robertson Training Systems.

To read the interview and learn more about Mike Robertson, click HERE.

Happy Humpday :) !