Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You don't have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

While my posts here are about nutrition and fitness, this health related post contains some important information that could really change someone's life. I have a family history that involves different forms of cancer (colon and skin) and I've also worked in a cancer clinic. I've seen more cancer than I care to remember.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can be a proactive way to curb the potential growth of cancer in oneself. However, prevention only takes you so far. Early detection is another key. Whymommy at Toddler Planet has been recently diagnosed with Inflammatory breast cancer. In her fight, she wrote this very informative post on IBC to help educate women across the world and inspire them to take action. She writes:

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I would walk 500 miles, And I would walk 500 more. Pedometers and walking 10,000 steps per day

Walking is easy. Almost everyone can do it. The problem is that most people don't. As technology advances, society becomes more sedentary and daily walking, or motion in general decreases. When activity decreases, weight increases. It's science and part of The Law of Thermodynamics; calories in versus calories out. By walking 10,000 steps a day anyone can easily fight the battle of the bulge. And win.

The word mile derives from the Latin word for thousand, because it was the distance the average Roman soldier covered while walking 1,000 paces. A pace is two steps, one with each foot, so for the average person 2,000 steps is a mile. That makes 10,000 steps about 5 miles for most people.

The Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research has conducted research on how much exercise we need for optimum health and fitness for over four decades. They find that 10,000 steps a day is enough beyond what the average sedentary person takes to meet the surgeon general's recommendation of 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity. A person who walks 10,000 steps a day will burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories per week.

In the January 2004 issue of Sports Medicine, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke classifies people taking less than 5000 steps a day as sedentary. Taking 5,000 to 7,500 steps a day is typical for people with no sports activities and is classified as low active. Taking 7,500 to 10,000 steps a day requires some walking, either on the job or in an exercise program, and is considered somewhat active. Dr. Tudor-Locke classifies those taking more than 10,000 steps a day as active.

Steps Per Day
Activity Level
5,000 - 7,499
low active
7,500 - 9,999
somewhat active
highly active

Now you know how many steps to take, it's just a matter of counting them. There are many gadgets out there to help you out. Pedometers are fairly inexpensive and you can find them in almost any sports equipment store. My personal favorites are the shoe pedometer and the Nike Sports Kit.

You can increase the amount of steps you take very simply. You can always park at the end of the paring lot, take the stairs rather than the escalator or even taking an after dinner stroll in the neighborhood. The first thing to keep in mind is to keep moving. You can't fail.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Birds of a Feather Flock Together or Misery Loves Company. How your friends are getting you fat

This is the latest and greatest in health and fitness related news. Your friends are getting you fat and obesity is "socially contagious". I agree 100%.

Those who have gone out to dinner with friends and tried to make good nutritional choices have all experienced the peer pressure at the restaurant table. "What are you eating? Can't you just order straight from the menu without all of those changes"? It's a lot easier to cave in and eat to your hearts content (or discontent, really). It can be an uncomfortable situation when others comment on your eating habits and most people try to avoid uncomfortable situations at all costs.

Not only does this happen at the table, but with activities as well. An obese friend is less likely to want to go for an after dinner stroll in the neighborhood, a bike ride in the park or even tag along to the gym. The activity levels between fit and obese friends may be drastically different, thus leading the duo (or trio) to find more sedentary forms of entertainment.

The study was published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute on Aging. The researchers found a person's chances of becoming obese went up 57% if a friend did, 40% if a sibling did and 37% if a spouse did. In the closest friendships, the risk almost tripled. On average, the researchers calculated, when an obese person gained 17 pounds, the corresponding friend put on an extra 5 pounds.

Researchers think it's more than just people with similar eating and exercise habits hanging out together. Instead, it may be that having relatives and friends who become obese changes one's idea of what is an acceptable weight. Obesity experts not involved in the research said the results back up what they have suspected all along - that people look toward one another for what is an acceptable weight. "If you're just a little bit heavy and everyone around you is quite heavier, you will feel good when you look in a mirror," said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center.

That finding may support efforts to provide nutrition education in the workplace, where many people find their friends. There is also value in targeting interventions at the person in a family in charge of food buying and preparation. The bottom line is that no one can do it alone. It takes the support of friends and family, the entire social network, in order to be successful in leading a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Awesome Abs! Try this on for size

It's a hot topic in the gym and in the world of fitness. Awesome Abs, Washboard Stomach, Six Pack, whatever you want to call it, everyone wants it. People will obsessively train their abs in order to achieve this result. Knowing that nutrition and genetics play a huge role in the end result, variety in training plays another.

There are a million different exercises for core training. From basic floor crunches to ball crunches to creative exercises that incorporate balance and stability training. There's no lack of ab routines, that's for sure. However, people often get stuck in a rut repeating the same ab exercises week after week. This is one way to not only kill your motivation and excitement about working out, but it's also a good way to kill any progress in achieving that nice waistline. Variety truly is the spice of life and the trick to Integrated Training.

If you've been bored with your basic crunch, try this exercise out: Prone Iso-Abs.
This is a great basic exercise that can take your dull core routine to the next level. It makes you burn, sweat and even shake! Once you get stronger and this becomes too easy, there are a handful of ways to progress this exercise to increase the challenge.

This is one of my favorite ab exercises that I swear by and it has the tendency to make my clients swear. After some time with this, a good nutrition plan and a well designed workout routine, you'll swear this works too!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Time Wasting Machine - Standing Calf Raises

Here is another time wasting machine for everyone to avoid. The standing calf raise. This is yet another machine that gyms have in the weight room just because potential members specifically look for it. Any trainer worth their dollar won't even go near it, let alone put a client on it.

First, the calf raise machine is designed to train the calf group in a concentric manner and to strengthen the action of plantar flexion. This machine has been a common piece of equipment for years. Yet, if we examine the true action of the calf group in gait and function, the calf group actually decelerates dorsiflexion, stabilizes the ankle, indirectly helps to stabilize the hip and assists to accelerate plantar flexion.

he posterior tibialis, soleus, and gastrocnemius, all work synergistically to decelerate dorsiflexion. None of these muscles work independently of each other. When looking at muscle function, all muscles have a tri-phasic action, deceleration (eccentric), stabilization and then acceleration (concentric). To be effective, all muscles need to eccentrically load first, then concentrically unload. Selectorized machines work primarily by concentric muscle action and in one plane of motion. This is detrimental to people who run as this will shorten the muscle group and is opposite of what they require, which is a strong ability to eccentrically control the action of the tibia, ankle and foot. Additionally, these machines also work in a single plane of motion.

When examining different types of muscle fibers in the lower leg, it's been shown that the muscles on the shin are approximately 73% slow twitch (stabilizing muscles) while part of the calf has approximately 49% fast twitch (force and power producing muscles). Because of the different muscle types and various functions, it makes sense to train using an integrated progressive program that encompasses all aspects of training: flexibility, stabilization, balance, strength and power. If all of these components are addressed, the calf muscles will function at an optimum level of performance, the risk of injury is decreased and results will be quick to happen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not a gerbil in a wheel. Calculating cardio alternatives

Cardio is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, but it tends to be very challenging when it come to finding the motivation to do it. By incorporating a variety of exercises and activities into your routine, you can help prevent the boredom that comes with doing the same thing each day. Different activities utilize various combinations of muscle groups and intensity levels, therefore burning different amounts of calories per session.

The table below runs down (on average) the number of calories that various exercises burn, which depend on both the activity itself, and the weight and sex of the participant. Try some of the ideas below to spice up your workout routine and keep it interesting.

30-Minute Workout Female 140
Female 165

Female 190

Male 170 lbs.
Male 190 lbs. Male 210 lbs.
Moderate Walking 94
116 138 111 128 145
Brisk Walking 115 141 166 136 156 176
Jogging 6.7 mph 419 499 578 505 568 632
Running 8.5 mph 545 648 750 659 740 821
Racquetball 250 300 350 300 340 379
In-line skating 461 548 636 556 626 695
Swimming 250 300 350 300 340 379
Weightlifting 81 101 121 96 111 126
Stationary Biking 250 300 350 300 340 379
Circuit training 292 349 407 352 397 442
Jumping rope 376 449 521 300 511 568
Stationary Rowing 250 300 350 300
340 379
292 349 407 352 397 442
with clubs)
145 176 206 172 196 221
250 300 350 300 340 379
Basketball 208 250 292 249 282 315
(low impact)
167 200 235 198 225 252

Monday, July 9, 2007

Take one down, pass it around. Enjoying alcohol while dieting

You've had a great summer vacation and enjoyed fabulous 4th of July celebrations. There were picnics in the park, back yard barbecues, and alcohol. Your intentions of healthy eating have gone down the tubes. But! All is not lost. Here's the scoop on alcohol.

Information about alcohol is often asked possibly by clients wondering what they can “get away with.” Ideally, abstinence from alcohol is the best solution, but it's not always a realistic solution. More often than not, when someone is told that they "can't" or "shouldn't" eat or drink something, chances are that they will anyway. So, we work with it. Balance is the key here.

If you look at the caloric profile of the macronurtients carbohydrate, protein and fat , each provides a specific amount of energy measured in calories. Basic laws of thermodynamics say that if one’s intake of calories is greater than their expenditure, the excess calories will be stored in the form of body fat.










7 cal/oz

For example, one 12-ounce beer yields 84 cal (12 x 7), depending on the type of lager. On a typical drinking binge, several alcoholic drinks can be consumed, leading to excessive calories consumed for that day. That number alone doesn’t appear too alarming, but multiply that by the number of drinks consumed in one day, one weekend, or one vacation, and you begin to see how alcohol consumption might increase the storage of body fat.

Here is a list of drinks and their caloric totals. You can use this guide to find some of your favorites to make a good choice next time you decide to indulge in a few drinks. This information may even surprise and motivate you to cut out alcohol completely.

Serving Size
Red wine
5 oz.
White wine
5 oz. 100
5 oz. 130
Light beer
12 oz. 100
Regular beer
12 oz. 140
Dark beer
12 oz. 170
3 oz. 165
3 oz. 205
Long Island iced tea
8 oz. 400
Gin & Tonic
8 oz. 175
Rum & Soda
8 oz. 180
8 oz. 200
Whiskey Sour
4 oz. 200

Keeping moderation in mind, other ways to decrease the impact of alcohol is by keeping hydrated. Drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink consumed, you'll be less likely to overindulge.

While drinking and healthy nutrition do not go hand in hand, you can still practice balance and moderation. It's still possible to enjoy life, indulge occasionally and still reach your desired fitness goal.