Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Swine Flu

The is a lot of commotion about the threat of the swine flu.  Influenza has many different strains that attack humans each year.  This past year there was about 3 million cases of influenza in the United States.  Many people died from complications.  Yet there was no panademic fear driven by the media.  There must be nothing else to talk about in the news so the swine flu gets all the attention.  Here is the probability of getting the swine flu.  Let's say 1000 folks get the flu there is a probability of 1 person dying from complications.  Most of the time those that have a poor functioning immune system are at risk. The elderly are more at risk of dying from the average flu because of their age and low immune properties.  People who have poor immune systems due to eating poorly, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking are at greater risk of getting the flu.   Here are some things to do to boost immunity.  Take a multi-vitamin, keep the stomach acid high, take olive leaf, use digestive enzymes, take a table spoon of apple cider once a day.  Virus' can't survive in an acidic environment.  Also, wash your hands frequently throughout the day.  Eat your vegetables!  Get plenty of rest. Lastly, reduce stress.  Be smart and avoid contaminated areas.  The swine flu is just another form of influenza and should be treated as such.  Don't stay locked up in your house wearing a blue mask just yet.  The best way to avoid getting the flu is to turn off your television set.  

Tags:  fitness, exercise, weight lifting, swine flu, television, vitamins, immunity, vegetables, bodybuilding

Sunday, April 12, 2009

1000 Different Programs

There are thousands of different exercise programs out there that are designed to help you achieve your fitness goals.  The problem with so many different types of exercise programs is that they are not for everyone. When starting an exercise program it is important to know exactly what you want to achieve.  Are you looking to become a POWER LIFTER, BODYBUILDER, ATHLETE, FUNCTIONAL TRAINING BUFF, GENERAL FITNESS ENTHUSIAST, or are you trying to REHAB  a particular injury?

POWER LIFTERS are all about lifting as much weight as possible.  They focus on three main core lifts; bench press, deadlift, and squat.  A power lifter's routine is based on developing power and strength. The workouts are often strenuous at times and could result in injury for those not accustomed to working with such loads.  The power lifter is not concerned with having a look of a body builder, where proper symmetry and muscle definition and size are the main appeal, they are concerned with getting big and lifting heavy, heavy weight.

The look of a power lifter never appealed to me. The big bulky look with no symmetry and displaced muscle size (especially in the buttocks, traps, distended abdomin, and anterior delts) is of no interest to me. I am strong enough and don't have to prove to my ego that I can lift a thousand pounds.  Power lifting is a young man's sport. When you get older the joints just can't handle the stress of the heavy loads.

BODYBUILDERS are all about lifting for developing a good looking physique with proper symmetry and balance between muscular size and definition.  Body building is a difficult sport because of the discipline that is required.  Every muscle has to be worked and shaped specifically to provide a certain look.  Bodybuilding is not for everyone.  Certain limitations and genetics play a part in the career of a bodybuilder.  Those that have poor genetics will not be able to develop the right type of symmetry needed to have an outstanding looking physique. Anyone can power lift and weight train but to bodybuild is totally different. Diet and training have to work synergistically to create a desired outcome.

FUNCTIONAL TRAINING BUFFS are all about training multi-joint, multi-plane movements in a proprioceptive rich environment. Functional training is the buzz word these days in gyms.  People are balancing on one leg, standing on therapy balls, doing off balance exercise. This form of training is exciting and new, however, it is just another form of exercise.  Functional training is not the end all be all to training.  Functional training is great for general fitness. Functional training can offer many different exercises to challenge all aspects of human movement, and central nervous system stimulation.  Functional training programs are not designed to build mass and size and definition. The main objective of functional training is to teach and secure natural human movement patterns through the use of multi-plane exercises.

GENERAL  FITNESS ENTHUSIAST are those that just want to exercise to boost immunity, reduce the aging effect, improve body composition and reduce risk factors.  General fitness programs are geared to keep a person in overall good condition.  Muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardio-respiratory fitness, flexibility and body composition are all balanced.  General fitness is what most people want. The general fitness programs that are written usually take a little from many different styles of training.  Power lifting, bodybuilding, and functional training exercises are incorporated into a general fitness program to provide the right amount of stimulation to achieve results.  However, most of the time the weight loads and exercises are not as difficult to achieve as pure power lifting and bodybuilding.  If you are not into  lifting heavy, heavy weight like the power lifter and are not having a muscle bound body such as a bodybuilder then a proper general fitness program is your best bet.

REHABILITATION programs are designed to fix a certain dysfunction.  Most rehab programs are only designed to work on one specific area. Once that area is fixed then the patient is able to perform other forms of training. If you have a dysfunction or injury it is advised that you fix this problem first before starting into other forms of training. 

Daryl Conant, M.Ed


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reducing Risk Factors

When I developed the Fitness Nut House™ eleven years ago my mission was to help educate people on the benefits of regular exercise.   I wanted to have a place where people could learn how to exercise and eat correctly to achieve their goals.  Most importantly I wanted to educate people on the importance of reducing risk factors. Risk factors are related to the way  a person lives their life in accordance to their health. Stress, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke  are the risks a person can develop if they live a non-preventative lifestyle.  Sedentary people who do not exercise are at risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, early onset of disease.  Junk food eaters, smokers, alcoholics are at risk of  developing cardiovascular problems and/or disease.  Not to say that everyone who doesn't exercise or eat right will develop disease or illness, however, they are at a greater risk than those that do exercise and eat right.  

Exercise is a great way to boost the immune systems response to stress and strengthen the systems of the body. Here are some of the wonderful benefits of exercise:

* Increase strength and durability of the arterial walls
* Increased oxygen saturation / hemoglobin
* Increased myoglobin levels
* Improved digestion and nutrient exchange
* Endorphin and enkephalin release (natural pain relievers)
* Improved function and increased size of anaerobic and aerobic enzymes
* Better sugar metabolism / more burning from muscle less stored as fat
* Better fat metabolism
* Central Nervous System control: Improved Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous System Tone
* Reduced blood pressure 
* Increased good cholesterol / reduction in bad cholesterol
* Greater productivity
* Enhanced neural synapse and motor unit sensitivity
* Hypertrophy of muscle tissue
* Bone building: Greater calcium uptake possibly reducing onset of osteoporosis.
* Improved lymphatic function
* Cleansing effect of metabolic wastes
* Cleansing effect of free radical development
* Reduced aging effect:  Enhancing Eustress, decreasing distress sympathetic response
* Increase libido (sex drive)
* Greater protein metabolism
* Improved sanity and psychological well-being
* Improved appearance 
* Increased flexibility
* Increased strength
* Increased endurance
* Improved body composition (fat to muscle ratio), BMI

There are a lot of great benefits of exercise that can help reduce risk factors as we age.   Exercise should be included in everyone's daily routine.  Many people exercise only for vanity purposes and often do not realize all the other great benefits that they are achieving when they exercise.   The Fitness Nut House™ was developed to help people of all ages to  achieve greater fitness and to reduce risk factors. It goes beyond just looking good.

tags:  immune system, fitness, exercise, muscle, strength, cardiovascular, risk factors, fat, fat loss, nervous system, benefits of exercise, health, bone building, body building

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why You Can't Lose Weight

Getting on a scale is a waste of time.  I feel that scales should be used only for medical purposes to measure drastic fluctuations in body weight during times of illness.  Scales do not tell us anything about how the body is operating, or  burning fat.  Being overly concerned with how much you weigh is ridiculous.   It is not how much you weigh that counts  it is how much muscle you can activate and utilize to help burn off excess fat.  There is a known factor that contributes to how our body maintains a certain weight through out our lifetime.   This factor is called the set point.  The set point is how much muscle, fat, bone, water a person will have in adulthood.   On average most people will remain within 5 to 10 pounds of their set point through out life.   If a person remains healthy and avoids consuming junk food they will remain within their set point.  However, if a person lives an unhealthy lifestyle and consumes too much junk food they are at risk of altering their set point.  Once the set point is tampered with then the physiological systems of the body are compromised.  The immune system and muscular system are no longer able to regulate the physiological parameters of the set point.  

Here are some factors that are a result of a tampered set point.

*  Hormone imbalances:  The anabolic hormones (testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, growth hormone, insulin) are out of balance causing insufficient muscle metabolism.  Fat storage is increased.   Hunger hormones (Leptin, Ghrelin, Pyy-36)  are out of balance resulting in fat gain.

*  Lack of Vital Nutrients:  The body becomes malnourished.  The result is catabolism and increase production of free radicals.  Fat gain is prevalent. The body is in constant need of Vital nutrients; protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, water every couple of hours throughout the day.  Failure to supply proper vital nutrients will ultimately result in improper fat gain and possibly disease. 

*  Build up of toxins in the liver.  I get in arguments with doctors over the idea of toxic build up in the liver.  We are taught that the liver cleanses itself daily and that we do not need to clean it out.  I totally disagree with this way of thinking.  I believe that most of the problems associated with a persons health is associated to toxic build up in the liver.   The preservatives and the chemicals that are in foods are not supposed to be digested in  the human body and therefore the liver can't break these compounds down.  They store up in the liver, much like dust collecting in a screen of a vent.    If there is a build up of toxins in the liver then the regular enzymatic processes cannot function properly causing imbalance in the body.  Result fat gain and potential disease.  

*  Build up of pollutants and toxins in the colon.   This is another area that I argue with doctors about.  I was taught that, like the liver, the intestines do not need to be cleaned out.  That they clean themselves out everyday.  Again I disagree! I feel that the colon must be cleaned out in order to function properly and to allow proper digestion of vital nutrients.  I have witnessed many people who have lost an average of 7-10 inches off their waist just from doing a colon cleanse.  The material that comes out of the system when performing a colon cleanse is shocking.   I don't care what the medical profession says about holistic methods, I feel that they are crucial for maintaining a healthy body.  

*  Not digesting food properly.  People who inhale their food are doing more harm than good. When food is entered into the mouth it is a foreign substance.  The mouth must break it down to prepare it to enter the stomach.  It does this by mixing enzymes from the saliva into the food to help develop recognition within our internal chemistry.  Well chewed up food goes into the stomach and is broken down further with digestive enzymes.  From the stomach the food goes into the intestines and is broken down even further.  When the food compound is broken down completely it is then easily permeable into the blood stream via the liver.   When a person inhales their food they bypass the recognition phase of the mouth. When food is not broken down in the mouth it goes into the stomach and has too much air in it and is not easily recognized by the body causing the digestive system be compromised.  The food is partially digested and this can result in a malnourished state.  Chew your food until it is almost in liquid form in the mouth before swallowing.  

There are many factors that can disrupt the body's set point.  Rather than getting bogged down on how much you weigh it is important to put your focus on living a healthy life and to measure body composition (fat/muscle ratio).  A healthy body fat percentage for women is 22-28%.  and for men 4-22% is healthy.  If you are in the healthy percentage ranges and your body weight is what it is then that is what your set point is.   Trying to force your body into an ambiguous number is pointless and dangerous.  You will only be setting yourself up for failure and frustration.  Throw your scale away.  

Tags: scale, fitness, weight loss, fat, muscle, health, liver, set point, toxins, hormones, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How Do You Want To Look

The physical fitness culture began to emerge back in the 1940's.  Venice Beach California was the birth place of the physical culture.  Muscle beach was the place to find fantastic looking physiques.  The focus on developing adonis-like bodies was the main theme.  Steve Reeves propelled the idea of building the body with weights into a new dimension.  Go online and google Steve Reeves and you will see one of the best symmetrically built bodies of all time.  He had great proportions and was a classic example of how the human body should look like.  There are many great body builders of that era that helped instill in our consciousness what a healthy body looks like.   As the years passed the physical culture exploded.   The idea of having a great looking physique has been the cornerstone of both men and women for decades.   Having a good looking body enhances self esteem, self confidence, and sexuality.  Let's face it everyone feels better when they look good.  Now my question to you is how do you want to look like?

I enjoy bodybuilding because I like the effects I get from isolating each muscle.  I like the idea of having good symmetry and developing the muscles to be defined and balanced.   The human body, in my opinion, should look like a Greek Mythological God.  All the muscles should show and be presented in a balanced way.  The shoulders should be built with a sweeping over hang off the arms. The chest should be well defined and chiseled, with a distinct separation from the abdominals.  The back should be wider  up top and taper down into a smaller segment.  This is known as the V-Taper.  The V-Taper is what gives the physique an athletic look.  The abdominals need to be well defined. The rectus abdominus, serratus interior, external obliques should all be showing in a relaxed state.  The abdominals should be tapered in to match the V-Taper of the back.  The abdominals should remain small at the hip connection. The Quadriceps/Hamstrings  need to be muscular and defined with a sweeping effect starting from the hip/abdominal connection proceeding down to the knee.  The calves need to match the proportional sweep of the upper part of the legs.  The calves should have a diamond shape to them.  The arms should be well balanced. The triceps and biceps need to be well defined and proportionate to each other.  The forearms should resemble a bowling pin.   

Not many people really care about how symmetrical their body is.  Most of the people I deal with on a daily basis only care about one thing-- WEIGHT LOSS!  Anyone can lose weight, but not everyone can look great.  

To have a great looking physique of adonis-like proportions takes a great deal of discipline and proper training methodology.  You will never develop a great looking, symmetrical physique from doing BEACH BOOTCAMPS, FUNCTIONAL TRAINING, AEROBIC TRAINING, KETTLEBELL TRAINING, CYCLING, RUNNING MARATHONS.   Those programs are good for developing non-specific strength, endurance and neurological adaptation patterns, and perhaps "weight loss".  But the only way to really have a great looking physique that makes other men jealous and women take notice  is to perform the correct sequence of isolated exercises for each muscle. And to have someone who knows how to work the weaknesses of your physique to create the illusion of having perfect symmetry.  Everyone notices a great looking physique no matter if they are male of female.  There is just something that makes people covet that specific look.  A well built body personifies health, sexuality and vitality.   

The bottom line is how do you want to look.  Do you want to look  middle aged with a beer gut? Do you want to look sickly skinny with no muscle development?  Do you want to look thick and bloated?  Do you want to look just average?  Do you want to look like a yuppie just trying to lose a little weight?  Do you want a non-tapered back?  Do you want a big abdomin and big chest like a bull frog?  or do want to have good symmetry and look the way the human body should look?  I prefer the last choice.