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.


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.

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:

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.