Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shorter People More Prone to Heart Attatcks

Body size has a lot to do with longevity and the risk ofheart attack.

A study from the University of Tampre Finland found that men shorter than 5'6" and women shorter than 5 feet were 1.5 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease than taller people and had a 52 percent higher chance of dying prematurely from all causes.

The researchers speculate that smaller people have smaller arteries that are more easily clogged with plague. Their conclusion was based on a meta analysis of 52 studies. Shorter people should pay extra attention to modifiable risk factors of heart disease such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking and high-fat diets.

(European Heart Journal, 31:1802-1809, 2010)

Watermelon Lemonade

Serving: 6 ounces

6 cups 1-inchcubes seedless watermelon (from about a 5lbs melon)
1 bottle (10oz) 365 Everyday Value®
Organic Lemon Juice
6 cups water
¾ cup cane sugar
Crushed ice
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Working in batches as necessary, puree watermelon and lemon j
uice in blender until smooth; transfer to a large container. Add water and sugar; stir until dissolved. Pour over ice in tall glasses, garnish with mint and thin slices of watermelon, if desired and serve.

Nutrition per serving:
60 Calories (0g from fat)
0g total fat
0g saturated fat
0mg cholesterol
0mg sodium
15mg total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 13g sugar)
0g protein

Question of the Week:

Q: What is the difference between chin-ups and pulldowns?

A: Of course, there's the obvious: With chin-ups you pull your body weight upward and with pull-downs you pull a weight downwards. However, there is no immediate difference between the muscles worked; both moves hit your latisimus dorsi as well as your rhomboids, teres major and minor, biceps and core. There is a big difference in difficulty though, with pull-ups being more challenging. Since a pulldown station allows you to change the weight, you can adjust it to suit your ability level, which makes it ideal it ideal for beginners. With chin-ups, however, you're moving the weight of your own body, which requires a ton of body and grip strength to perform. To develop adequate pull-up strength, try using an assited pull-up machine at your local gym or utilize a Superband to alleviate some of your body weight.


"Pain is temporary, quiting last forever."

-Lance Armstrong

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Low Back Pain - Numerous Causes

Iliotibial Band Tightness

Illiotibial band tightness creates an increased risk of lateral knee injury during knee extension activities. Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS) is a cause of diffuse tenderness over the lateral knee. While weight bearing during knee flexion, the Tensor Fascia Latae contracts to assist the other hip abductors stabilize the pelvis from lateral movement and the Gluteus Maximus extends the hip for forward locomotion. Both the Tensor Fascia Latae and the Gluteus Maximus can place tension on the Iliotibial tract which produces repetitive friction on the lateral epicondyle. Furthermore, hip abductors weakness can exasperate this pull on the Iliotibial tract by allowing the hip to sag slightly when standing on a single leg, or during locomotion (Fredericson, et. al. 2000).

Ankle Dorsiflexion Inflexibility

Dorsiflexion flexibility is required during the lower phases of the squat and leg press, so Ankle Dorsiflexion inflexibility can make it difficult to perform squat and leg press exercises in full range of motion. If the range of motion of the ankle is limited, hip flexion may be exaggerated and knee flexion is often inhibited. To maintain normal range of motion in both the hip and knee, the heel may have a tendency to leave the floor or platform.

Hip Flexor Inflexibility

Increased risk of lower back injury during hip flexion and extension and overhead standing activities. During extension activities, the lower back can hyperextend more than usual if the hip cannot fully extend. During hip flexion activities, the Iliopsoas can hyperextend spine during hip flexor activities. Risk is compounded when hip flexor inflexibility is combined with abdominal weakness.

Abdominal Weakness

Increased risk of lower back injury can occur during hip flexion, extension, stabilization and back extension activities. Erector Spinae muscles can hyperextend lower back more than usual if abdominal muscles are weak. The abdominal muscles tilt the pelvis forward, improving the mechanical positioning of the Erector Spinae, specifically when the lumbar spine becomes straight. When abdominal strength/endurance is not adequate to counter the pull of the antagonist Erector Spinae under load, these low back muscles are put at a mechanical disadvantage (active insufficiency) further placing additional stresses on these very same lower back muscles. Iliopsoas can pull on the spine during hip flexor activities if the abdominal muscles are weak. Risk is compounded when abdominal weakness is combined with hip flexor inflexibility.

Erector Spinae Weakness

Increased risk of lower back injury occurs during lumbar spine extension or stabilization activities. Back extension exercises involving complete lumbar spine range of motion have demonstrated primarily excellent or good results for those with chronic lower back pain. Excellent or good results by diagnosis: 76% Mechanical / Strain, 72% Degenerative, 78% Disc Syndrome, 75% Spondylo. In contrast, McGill condemns the use of isolated lumbar spine exercise apparatuses and argues erector spinae endurance is more important than strength.

Low Back Debate

McGill condemns the use of isolated lumbar spine machines claiming the compressive forces of these devices can cause disc herniation based on a pig spine model. Nelson recommends the use of these devices and has successfully used these devices to treat chronic low back pain. See Erector Spinae Weakness. McGill suggests certain exercises and movements that flex the spine through the full range of motion be should be eliminated although he admits several thousands of cycles under a load to full range of motion are required to produce disk herniations. It can be argued that potential injury would be prevalent in this situation not due to full range of motion, but rather due to overtraining or lack of progressive adaptation. Nelson explains the avoidance of full range of motion during exercise is a short term solution which promotes deconditioning and consequently deterioration of the joint structures. Eric Serrano, MD, ( medical advisor) suggests these machines can be useful in the early stages of rehabilitation. Dr. Serrano prescribes more functional movements as the patient progresses, introducing transverse / multiple plane exercises in the later stages, particularly with athletes. Also see adaptation criteria and Dr. Nelson's audio interview.

McGill Stuart (2002), Low Back Disorders, pg 55.
Nelson, B.W., O'Reilly, E., Miller, M., Hogan, M. Wegner, J.A., Kelly, C., (1995). The clinical effects of intensive, specific exercise on chronic low back pain: a controlled study of 895 consecutive patients with 1-year follow up. Orthopedics, 18(10), 971-981.
Nelson, B.W. (1993). A rational approach to the treatment of low back pain. J Musculoskel Med, 10(5), 67-82.

Walking & Low Back Health

Walking may benefit low back health by imposing a rotational torque on the spine at an estimated 8° of rotation. The vertebral disk undergoes this torque along with a slight degree of compressive force from the upper body weight and contraction of the trunk muscles. The torque is impressed on the annular fibers of the intervertebral disks enhancing their rigidity.
Cailliet M (1996). Low back Pain. Soft Tissue Pain and Disability, FA Davis Company Philadelphia. 3; 153-155.

Super Smoothies!

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Natural peanut butter lends texture to this hearty breakfast drink.
· 1/2 cup fat-free milk
· 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
· 2 tbsp creamy natural unsalted peanut butter
· 1/4 very ripe banana
· 1 tbsp honey
· 4 ice cubes
Combine the milk, yogurt, peanut butter, banana, honey, and ice cubes in a blender.
Process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Calories 410
Total Fat 16 grams
Saturated Fat 2 grams
Cholesterol 5 milligrams
Sodium 289 milligrams
Total Carbohydrate 50 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Protein 19 grams

Banana Berry Protein Shake
· 1 cup of berries (any mix)
· 1/2 banana
· 1/2 soy milk (or any kind of milk)
· 1 scoop any kind of protein powder (or if you don't have protein power add 1 egg white)
· 3/4 cup yogurt (your choice what kind)
· 1 cup ice

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Calories 274
Total Fat 0 grams
Saturated Fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 4 milligrams
Sodium 170 milligrams
Total Carbohydrate 58 grams
Dietary Fiber 7 grams
Sugars 18 grams
Protein 11 grams

Heart Healthy Snack Ideas

Deeply Colored "5-9 A Day" Snacks

It's hard to get in the recommended 5-9 servings of heart healthy fruits and vegetables a day

unless you eat snacks. Here are some ideas...

  • Small box of raisins + low fat string cheese
  • Grapes, dried apricots or dates + toasted almonds
  • Apple or orange + low fat string cheese
  • Pear or banana + whole grain snack bar (look for 3 or more grams fiber)
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Applesauce + toasted almonds
  • Red, Orange, Yellow Bell Pepper plain or with light dip
  • Mixed Green Salad with light dressing
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Coleslaw with green and red cabbage
  • Mango (fresh or frozen)
  • Pineapple (fresh, canned in juice or frozen)
  • Baby (or big) carrots
  • Celery stuffed with peanut butter or light cream cheese and raisins
  • Figs
  • Cubed watermelon, cantaloupe or other orange melon
  • Sugar free raspberry jello with canned pineapple or pears added
  • Low-sodium V-8 juice


"Success is about having, excellence is about being. Success is about having money and fame, but excellence is being the best you can be."

~Mike Ditka~

"Every game is an opportunity to measure yourself against your own potential."

~Bud Wilkinson~

"There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between."

~Pat Riley~

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will."

~Vincent T. Lombardi~

"Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit."

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To Eat or Not to Eat Before Exercise

Although exercising on an empty stomach can give you a higher amount of fat burn, it also can cause your body to rely on your muscles for fuel. This in turn means you are losing muscle mass.

The body needs some amount of carbs in order to burn calories and fat more efficiently without looking to the muscles for the fuel it needs. How much you need to eat depends on the type of workout you have planned, the duration and the time of day. clock

For instance, if you are an early morning exerciser, then eating before working out can be a light meal (200 to 300 calories) of carbs and protein. Your foods for exercise do not have to be an elaborate meal. Just make it simple but be sure to include carbohydrates and protein.

Additionally, be sure to hydrate sufficiently as you have gone all night without water. Drink 2 glasses of water upon waking and then have your meal. Wait for about ½ to one hour before working out.

Another helpful tip to prevent stomach cramps is to make your meal liquid like a protein shake. Since you are only waiting less than hour for your workout this can help prevent stomach pains while exercising. Eating before exercise will provide your body with the needed fuel so you can workout longer and burn more calories.

If your workout is during the day or evening and after larger meals, you should wait longer before exercising. You should allow 3 to 4 hours after eating before exercise for big meals and 2 to 3 hours after smaller meals.

If you are planning a workout for less than an hour, you will want to choose carbs that can be easily digested like crackers, bagels and breads. Be sure to make these low fat choices.

However, if you are planning a workout for more thanbread an hour than you want to select carbohydrates that take longer to digest. Foods like bananas or yogurts are carbs that take longer to digest. Additionally, you want to be well hydrated before, during and after your workout, especially during for the longer exercise routines.

Muscle of the Week:

2 Moves that target your TRAPEZIUS


1. Stand up straight with your feet at shoulder width as you hold a barbell with both hands in front of you using a pronated grip (palms facing the thighs).

shrugs2. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can go as you breathe out and hold the contraction for a second. Tip: Refrain from trying to lift the barbell by using your biceps.
3. Slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in.
4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions


1. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with a pronated (palms forward) grip that is slightly less than shoulder width. The dumbbells should be resting on top of your thighs. Your arms should be extended with a slight bend at the elbows and your back should be straight. This will be your starting position.
2. Use your side shoulders to lift the dumbbells as you exhale. The dumbbells should be close to the body as you move it up and the elbows should drive the motion. Continue to lift them until they nearly touch your chin. Tip: Your elbows should drive the motion.dumbbell shrugs As you lift the dumbbells, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms.
3. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement.
4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Short Sleep Duration Linked to Obesity in Children and Young Adults

Inadequate sleep in an important risk factor for obesity. Aliterature review of 71 studies by Danish researchers concluded that short sleep duration was linked to obesity in children and young adults, but the evidence was less clear in older adults. Several studies compared energy balance in subjects who slept normally with others deprived of sleep. The sleep-deprived groups gained weight.

Sleep loss causes an increased release of the hormone ghrelin, which boost appetite and slows metabolic rate. The resulting fatigue makes it more difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Poor sleep habits could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. Many factors cause sleep deprivation, so it is difficult to make generalizations based on large population studies.

(Obesity Reviews, 12: 78-92, 2010)
Red Juices:

You may be leery of getting too many calories from juice, but don't be with ruby juices like tart cherry and pomegranate. Science supports their health-promoting prowess: The anthocyanins from tart cherries help speed up muscle recovery after strenuous activity; and pomegranate juice's polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress in the body and hardening of the arteries.

No worries about these red juices creating a belly bulge- a four ounce serving is only about 80 calories.

Question of the Week:

Q: How much cardio should I be doing?

A: The amounts of cardio you should be do depends on
your goals. Are you trying to loose weight, maintain it or just improve cadio-respiratory health? These are the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) general recommended guidelines: For weight loss, do 250 to 300 cardio minutes per week; for cardiovascular health, do cardio between 3 and 5 times a week for 20 to 60 minutes. You accumulate these cardio in 10-minute workout bouts or more on most days of the week. In terms of intensity, ACSM recommends using a somewhat hard intensity.

Len Kravitz


" Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

- Will Rogers