Sunday, February 18, 2024

Using Eccentric Exercise to Build Fast-Twitch Muscle Safely!

 


As we age we age, we progressively lose muscle mass each year, and specifically we lose fast-twitch muscle fiber.   Fast-twitch Muscle fibers are key for strength and function.  Once this process (known as sarcopenia) progresses beyond a certain point people are no longer able to perform common activities of daily living like getting up and down from chairs, walking up and down stairs, etc.

We can use eccentric-dominant strength training to target fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Studies on Eccentric Training

A study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared the effects of an eccentric-dominant resistance training protocol with a traditional training program in older individuals who had an average age of 68. Resistance Training was done twice a week for 16 weeks. 

The traditional training group did sets of 10 reps at 75 percent of the 1RM (1 Repetition Maximum – meaning 75% of the weight they could lift 1 time).

The eccentric dominant training group did sets of  10 repetitions using a weight that was 50 percent of the 1RM.  They performed the concentric/lifting portion of the lift with both arms/legs.  Then they did the lowering/eccentric phase slowly with one arm or leg.  This allowed them to lower double the weight they lifted up.  The lowering phase is the eccentric phase of an exercise.

Strength and Fall Prevention Benefits of Eccentric Training

The eccentric-dominant group had greater increases in strength at higher movement speeds, indicating greater fast-twitch muscle development. The traditional training group gained strength as well but only at slower movement speeds.  This is important for avoiding falls because you must be able to produce force quickly to prevent falls such as when you are recovering from a stumble or trip.

Additionally, eccentric training is proven to increase hypertrophy (muscle growth), making it an ideal antidote for age-related muscle loss.

Eccentric dominant training is also proven to be better for improving performance on “functional” tests that may be applicable to everyday life such as the speed at which one can walk six meters. The eccentric-enhanced group improved significantly more than the traditional group in this area! 

Research has proven that strength training is critical for older people because without it, there will be a rapid and pronounced functional loss of muscle size, strength, and functional movement ability.

Of interest - the eccentric training group's rating of their perceived exertion during the eccentric exercise was lower than those doing traditional resistance training - meaning it felt easier to them! This is good news for older individuals, anyone who is new to exercise, or anyone bored with their workout. 

The reACT Trainer is the ideal tool for doing eccentric training safely.  It is an eccentric dominant exercise and simultaneously improves balance, timing, coordination and increases fast-twitch muscle fibers!

 

 


Saturday, February 10, 2024

Arnica - The Best Kept Secret for Sports Injuries!

 


Sooner or later we all experience a traumatic physical injury from a fall; contact during sports; from a dental procedure or surgery; or twisting or straining joints or muscles.   While over the counter pain relievers like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen reduce pain they come with a list of potentially serious side effects.  

Fortunately, there is an excellent homeopathic remedy that can safely be used by anyone and brings with it zero drug interactions!  That remedy is made from the herb Arnica Montana or Arnica for short.    It is also known as Leopard’s Bane, Mountain Tobacco or Wolf’s Bane.   In addition to its pain-relieving properties, Arnica also reduces inflammation from traumatic injury.  

In fact, it is so successful in reducing inflammation, bruising and swelling from traumatic injury that it is routinely prescribed by plastic surgeons because excess post-surgery inflammation and swelling can negatively affect the results of these surgeries.

Arnica is a flowing perennial plant related to the Daisy and Sunflower – so those with allergies to either of these flowers should avoid using the actual herb.

Homeopathic Arnica is derived from the herb but like all homeopathic remedies is NOT the same as an herbal remedy.  To produce homeopathic Arnica the herb is harvested, chopped up and placed in a container with alcohol and left for approximately one month.   Then the particulate matter is strained out so that the alcohol is left which acts as a solvent and is full of all the plant chemicals from Arnica.

This liquid is known as “Mother Tincture”.  Next, they take one drop of this liquid and mix it with either 9 drops or 99 drops of alcohol and the mixture is shaken through a particular process known as succession.     The dilution is now either 1 part per 10 or 1 part per 100.     This process is repeated again using the diluted mixture – one drop mixed with either 10 drops or 100 drops.     The liquid is then poured onto small pellets of lactose.  Depending on how many times this process is repeated determines a homeopathic remedy’s “potency” and there are several potency scales used in homeopathy:

Decimal potencies which come marked as 3X, 6X, 100X, etc.  Centesimal potencies which come marked as 3C, 9C, 12C, 30C, or 1M(1,000 dilutions) and 10M (10,000 dilutions)  

So How Do Homeopathic Remedies Produce Effects Since They are so Diluted?

The key to understanding how homeopathic remedies work is understanding the process of hormesis.  Hormesis refers to a biphasic dose response to a chemical whereby an extremely low dose can cause stimulation and beneficial effect on a biological system and a higher dose can cause an inhibitory or toxic effect.   Put another way hormesis refers to the fact that a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) can result from exposure to low doses of an agent that is other toxic at higher doses.   
 

There are many examples of hormesis including physical stress from lifting weights – provide enough load and stress and not too much and the body gets stronger – try to lift too much weight or do too much weight lifting too soon and injury results.

In the case of many beneficial plant chemicals – these phytochemicals are actually known toxins which at high doses produce negative or toxic effects but at low doses stimulate a positive adaptive response by the body.

So -  dose is VERY important!

How do you use Arnica for injuries?

Homeopathic Remedies are produced in strict compliance with pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Processes in FDA inspected facilities.   They usually come in small tubes full of pellets of lactose with a twist top that allows you to select 3 – 5 pellets.  You simply place them under your tongue and allow them to dissolve.  Dosage instructions are included on the tubes and a tube of homeopathic Arnica is very inexpensive - $6 - $9 for many doses worth!

To treat any traumatic injury, take 3 – 5 pellets and repeat as often as every 15 minutes until you feel improvement.   There is no possibility of overdose or poisoning.  The best potency for most injuries is 30C but any potency you find will work.  For really serious injuries look for 200C potency.      

Once you experience how effective this remedy can be you will want to have it with you all the time!

Topical Arnica

Arnica can also be used topically and comes in the form of gels, creams, liquids.  This form of Arnica is herbal meaning that it DOES contain significant quantities of plant chemicals from Arnica, and it is proven to be highly effective for traumatic injury.   It should NOT be used on any broken skin, and no form of herbal Arnica should every be taken internally!

You can use both topical Arnica and homeopathic Arnica in cases like sprains, strains and impact injuries without broken skin.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Reverse Lunge with Wood Chop Exercise

 

Everyone knows that lunges are a great lower body exercise targeting glutes, hamstrings and quads.  However, if you have not tried the reverse lunge with a wood chop – you are in for a real treat!  By adding a strong rotational component, you dramatically increase glute and core activation.    It also adds a whole new level of stability and balance challenge.

You can start by using a broomstick and graduate to using something heavier including a dumbbell or barbell or any other weighted bar.

Start with feet together facing forward with hands spread apart and holding the object on both ends with hands at shoulder level and arms extended.

Then as you step back into the lunge with one leg rotate the hand down and to the opposite side of the leg stepping back – pausing briefly at the bottom with upper body rotated to the side – then return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.

Start of with sets of 10 – repetitions done 3 times and progress from there in terms on increased weight and/or sets.

To get a good picture of how to do this effective exercise check out this video:  https://matrixlearningcenter.com/exercise-library/reverse-lunge-with-wood-chop/

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Is Salt Good or Bad?


Salt has been accused of being one of the main causes of high blood pressure – but is that really true?  The reality is that several other causes often play a much bigger role including a high sugar diet, processed food diet and your sodium to potassium ratio.

In fact, salt deficiency is fairly prevalent and can cause a range of problems including muscle fatigue, spasms, cramps and heart palpitations.

Keep in mind that in the 1600’s the typical person was eating up to 100 grams of salt per day coming from salty fish and meats.   Today people get 10 grams of salt per day or less, but at the same time we have much higher rates of high blood pressure.

There are groups of people who do need to have a lower salt intake and monitor their intake accordingly.  In addition, you should always follow your health care professional’s advice regarding diet and supplementation!

Salt and Blood Pressure

The key reason everyone associates salt with high blood pressure is the “DASH” study aka Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension which showed that low salt intake resulted in dramatic improvements in blood pressure.  However, this diet was not only low in salt it was also very low in processed foods and sugar and high in potassium.

In addition, a researcher named Lewis Dahl conducted population analysis showing that increased salt intake was associated with deaths from heart disease.  However, his “research” was seriously flawed because he selected populations who fit his theory and neglected to include those that did not!   When you include all the populations the salt association with heart disease disappears.

In the 1988 study researchers examined salt intake and disease in 52 populations including four primitive cultures that consumed virtually no salt.   When they eliminated the four primitive cultures and focused on the 48 civilized populations they actually found a reduction of blood pressure as salt intake was increased!   The four primitive cultures are completely different in that they have huge intakes of potassium and magnesium, do not drink alcohol, do not consume sugar, and have a very high activity level so comparing them to modern civilizations is a big error!

Can Low Salt Intake Cause Problems?

Although lowering salt intake may lower blood pressure in some it also tends to worsen your total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein ratio in some people, which is strong predictor of heart disease along with increasing triglycerides and insulin. The end result can be that your heart disease risk increases even though your blood pressure is lower.    

Salt deficiency can increase insulin resistance because one of the ways the body preserves salt when intake is low is by raising insulin levels which helps the kidneys retain more salt.  Insulin resistance equals diabetes and increased fat storage!

Low Carb Intake and Salt

Another important factor relating to salt intake and health is that your body treats salt very differently if you are eating a diet that is low in sugar and starch.    When non-fiber carbohydrate intake is low, insulin is low and as a result the kidneys excrete MUCH higher levels of sodium (salt).   The primary reason people switching to these types of diets experience “flu” like symptoms is low sodium levels.    By simply dramatically increasing salt intake the symptoms immediately disappear.  

People who switch to a true low carbohydrate diet lose an additional 1 – 2 grams of sodium (salt) per day and because of lower glucose levels they absorb less sodium as well.  The bottom line is that it is important to up your salt intake if you are eating a diet that is really low in sugar/starch!

Salt intake and Bone Health

Salt intake also strongly influences magnesium and calcium levels.   If you do not get enough salt your body pulls sodium from your bones along with calcium and magnesium to keep your sodium level normal!   So low salt intake can impact bone health.

Caffeine and coffee along with alcohol greatly increase salt excretion so if you drink either there is another reason to maintain adequate salt intake!

What does your body do with excess Salt?

The body is designed to precisely regulate sodium levels because salt is essential for the function of all your cells.  When given a chance the body regulates salt levels very precisely, UNLESS you are in one of the key groups mentioned below.

It you eat a diet of unprocessed whole foods high in fruits and vegetables you will get VERY little salt unless you add other salty foods or add salt to your foods.

Your body also tells you how much salt you need by regulating your craving for salt so pay attention to it!   Heavy sweating and exercise along with caffeine and alcohol intake all increase salt depletion.

What Kinds of Salt?

When adding salt to food it is best to use natural, unprocessed salt.   Be careful with Sea Salts because they do NOT contain iodine which is a very common mineral deficiency which can cause or exacerbate low thyroid issues.   Himalayan Salt and Redmond Real Salt are the best types of salt available and both contain iodine as does regular table salt.

People Who Should Avoid High Salt Intake

Salt sensitive groups include people with:

Certain Endocrine Disorders

High Aldosterone Levels causing salt retention problems

Cushing’s Syndrome

Elevated cortisol levels

Liddle Syndrome which affects 1 in 1 million people causing salt retention

Problems that Cause High Sodium Excretion (meaning you have to be careful to make sure you get ENOUGH Salt!)

Lower sugar and starch intake – under 100 grams per day of starch/sugar.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis

Bariatric Surgery

Kidney Disease – salt and potassium intake must be precise in all those with kidney disease and you must follow the advice of a health care professional!

Sleep Apnea

Hypothyroidism – thyroid hormones help us reabsorb salt

Adrenal deficiency

Celiac Disease

Heavy Exercise and Sweating – for competitive endurance athletes – preloading with 1 gram of sodium along with other electrolytes can dramatically improve exercise capacity because it boosts blood volume!

Fasting

Sodium/Potassium Balance

You should consume about five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium. If you're eating mostly processed foods and few fresh vegetables, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be the opposite.   The key is a heavy intake of fruits and vegetables along with nuts.


Saturday, January 20, 2024

How to Help Prevent Winter Viral Infections

 


It is cold and flu time again along with another round of Covid circulating.  Dry, cold air winter air promotes the spread of viruses.  People are also spending time cooped up inside and this creates a fertile environment for the spread of viral illness.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect you and your family:

Using a humidifier - Increased humidity lowers the survival of viruses in the air –and improves your response to viral infection.   Remember to add a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus to help prevent any mold growth.

Wash your hands – yes, this simple step can prevent many infections!   We contract viruses through our mouth, eyes, and nose, and the most common transmissions occur when we touch our unwashed hands to one or more of these areas.  Frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to avoid viral infection.    Always have alcohol sanitizer in your car and on your person and use whenever you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet – with adequate protein and high in fruits and vegetables – at least ½ of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (about 80 grams for the average man and 65 grams for an average woman).      

Stay Hydrated – particularly during plane travel.  Dehydration lowers immunity and during dry winter months dehydration is common.

Vitamin C and Zinc – while there are many nutrients that support optimal immune function two that are critical are vitamin C and Zinc.   Vitamin C can be obtained by a diet high in fruits and vegetables.   Zinc is high in red meat, but also extremely high in oysters and pumpkin seeds.  Supplementation is also an option.   Either liposomal or buffered C with bioflavonoids are the most effective types of supplement for C.  For zinc choose a high-quality chelated zinc supplement like zinc glycinate, picolinate, or acetate.   For Zinc 30 mg per day is plenty and should be taken with food while for C 500 – 1,000 mg is more than enough on a daily basis.   

During onset of sickness the body can tolerate much higher doses of C and this is beneficial in shortening the duration of viral illness.

Elderberry Extract – elderberry extract is a potent anti-viral compound and proven to help prevent and treat viral infections.  High quality elderberry inhibits the early stages of viral infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.

Sambucol brand elderberry extract is a research proven safe elderberry extract with no known contraindications.  Sambucol is available in liquid form or gummies from Amazon, vitamin stores and pharmacies everywhere.  It is best to keep Sambucol on hand and begin taking it immediately as soon as you feel any symptoms.  

QuercetinQuercetin inhibits a virus’s ability to infect other cells (viruses literally infect your cells then take control of them and make them produce more virus!)

Quercetin also inhibits replication of already infected cells and boost intracellular zinc which is key to unleash the full power of zinc for viruses.

Quercetin Supplements

Like many polyphenols – quercetin has very poor bioavailability meaning it is hard to get enough where it needs to go to produce its many benefits.   The great news is that there are research proven delivery systems that dramatically improve quercetin bioavailability.    Look for “Quercetin Phytosome” which is quercetin bound to phytosomes. Quercetin Phytosome is a game changers when it comes to quercetin absorption and effectiveness. Some great products include:

Quercetin Phytosome by Thorne – recommended dosage for effects – 600mg per day – 2 – 3 capsules

Quercetin LipoMicel Matrix by Natural Factors – 500mg per day – 2 - 3 capsules per day

Dr. Mercola Quercetin and Pterostilbene Advanced – 2 - 3 capsules per day

As with all supplements speak to your physician first and those taking any medication should search for drug nutrient interactions with Quercetin before supplementing.   For example, quercetin may amplify the effects of blood thinning medication so people on this type of medication should NOT take quercetin at all with speaking to their physician.


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Non-Exercise Activity is VERY important for Weight Loss!

 


Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body, but formal exercise is not the whole story!   This becomes particularly important as we age because many experience injuries that limit their ability to exercise for long periods of time on a consistent basis.

So how can we boost our daily calorie burn without exercising to avoid weight gain and stay healthy?   As it turns out non-exercise movement – aka – non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is as important as formal exercise.   This scientific term refers to all movement – not just exercise and it all counts!

NEAT includes all movement including but not limited to:

Taking groceries from your car into your house

Going up and down stairs in your home during the normal course of the day

Taking your dog for a walk

Standing up and stretching during the course of the day.

Research shows that formal exercise does not necessarily compensate for many hours of inactivity, and that people who have higher levels of NEAT can often be leaner than exercisers who spend of the rest of their day sitting on a couch!

How Can You Increase NEAT?

It is actually very simple to increase your NEAT and make a big difference in your waistline in the process!  Here are some examples:

1.    Redesign your day around movement – Look around your home or office and see where you spend most of your time,   Then consider what you are doing in terms of movement.  Target opportunities to move more WITHOUT exercising such as:

a.    Taking a flight of stairs instead of an elevator

b.    Parking your car at the far end of the parking lot and walking back and forth to go to and from.

c.    Track your steps using a phone or tracker and look at your totals 4 times a day and take “movement breaks” to increase your step count.

2.    Prioritize doing household chores that involve movement

a.    Vacuuming

b.    Doing laundry – particularly if you have to go up and down stairs to access washer and dryer then put away clothing!

c.    Dusting

d.    Taking out the trash

e.    Gardening

f.      Walking to and from your mailbox

3.    Become a fidgeter!

a.    Consciously move more – even when sitting – tap your feet as you listen to music

b.    Stretch in your chair

c.    Stand several times each hour

d.    Consider setting an hourly alarm and moving around walking around your home or office.

e.    Take calls on your cell phone while walking around your home or office.

f.      Do a set of 10 air squats after all meals

Believe it or not the science is very clear – you can make a big difference in your waistline and your health by consciously moving more throughout your day WITHOUT exercise.    Even better do both!


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Allulose: Get the Benefits of GLP-1 Drugs with Lower Cost and Less Side Effects!


You heard that right – there is a natural sugar replacement supplement that produces many of the benefits of the new and popular weight loss drugs called GLP-1 Agonist Medications such as Semaglutide, Liraglutide, Trulicity, etc. 

These medications work by mimicking the actions of a hormone called Glucagon-like Peptide 1.   When blood sugar levels start to rise after someone eats, these drugs stimulate the body to produce more insulin while also increasing insulin sensitivity.   This helps lower blood sugar levels.   It also helps lower appetite making it easier to not overeat!

While these medications are effective there are plenty of potential side effects.  These include a significantly higher risk of pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis (when stomach takes too long to empty its contents and accompanied by nausea and vomiting).   There is also an increased risk of Thyroid Cancer.

Allulose – Sugar Replacement Extraordinaire!

The great news is that the naturally occurring sugar replacement Allulose has been shown to produce the same type of benefits as these drugs with a much lower risk of side effects.

Allulose is a monosaccharide – a simple sugar – so it tastes like sugar!  However it only has 1/10th the calories of sugar and does not raise blood sugar levels.   In fact, it can actually lower blood sugar.  It is found in small quantities in raisins, figs, maple syrup, jackfruit, caramel sauce and wheat. 

Allulose is about 70% as sweet as sucrose (table sugar).   Like the GLP-1 drugs allulose increases insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.  This has big health benefits including increased fat oxidation and reduced appetite in addition to lowering blood sugar levels. 

Animal studies have confirmed that its primary mechanism of action is to increase the release of GLP-1 from gut cells.   It does not cause hypoglycemia unlike many diabetic drugs.  Technically speaking the GLP-1 release activates vagal nerve signaling which reduces appetite in a similar fashion to GLP-1 Agonist Drugs.

Side effects of heavy doses of allulose include bloating and diarrhea, but this is easily prevented by using lower doses of allulose and consuming it with other foods or beverages containing calories.   Recommended dosage is .4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms). 

How to use Allulose

 Allulose is available as a powder and in syrups and nutrition bars.   You can add it to hot and cold beverages;  can be used in baked goods; and browns just like regular sugar when heated in recipes.     One of the best brands is RXsugar products which can be found on Amazon or at https://www.rxsugar.com .  


Sunday, December 31, 2023

How to Make Your Resolution Come True this Year!

 


Clue:  If you want to make your resolution come true -- willpower alone won't get you there!

Achieving goals is best approached as if you are trying to overcome an addiction.  In fact, that is exactly what you are doing. We all have addictions.

"Willpower is for people who are still uncertain about what they want to do."  -- Helia

If willpower is required – there is clearly some type of internal conflict. You want to lose weight, but you also want that beer.

When willpower is required there are two causes:

  • You don't know what you want, and you therefore have internal conflict.
  • You are not committed to a goal/change and created the conditions that facilitate your commitment.

What do you really want?

If reaching your goal requires willpower, you haven't figured out what you want. Because once you really make a decision, the internal debate is over.

So, are you serious about this? Until you decide, you'll be required to use willpower, and will continue making minimal progress.

Are you committed?

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

·        Making it public

·        Setting a timeline consisting of small measurable goals that lead to the overall goal

·        Creating several forms of feedback and accountability

·        Removing everything in your environment that opposes your commitment.

Once you truly commit - it's as though you've already succeeded. All doubt and disbelief are gone.

Commitment involves building your life around your goals. Your internal resolve, naked to an undefended and opposing environment, is not commitment.

Create conditions that make success inevitable

You will fail to achieve your goals if you don't change your environment.

An alcoholic who really wants to quit drinking needs to not hang around bars and people drinking, but this analogy applies to all goals!

So consciously create an environment that facilitate your commitments. Actually, if you're really committed to a goal, this is exactly what you'll do.

This is how personal growth occurs. We adapt to our environment. Thus, personal growth involves deliberately choosing or creating environments that helps mold us into the person we want to become.

Summary

Bill Walsh said, "If your why is strong enough you will figure out how!"

If you're required to use willpower:

·        You haven't made up your mind.

·        Your desire (your "why") for your goals isn't strong enough.

·        You haven't fully committed to what you're going to do.

·        Your environment is not in alignment with your goals. You haven't created an environment that facilitates reaching your goals.