Monday, October 29, 2007

It's time for...Cyber-Client Results!

People have been working out, eating right and achieving great results. Here are some updates from people who've been following the program:

Wendy- Finished another marathon with great time and a wonderful attitude. Amazingly, she finished the race with a blister and a leg cramp, but that was it! If she recovers fast enough, she wants to run another 5 weeks. WOW!

Robin- Despite having a few non-workout related injuries, she's still been able to lose 10 pounds and keep it off because she's been great about following her nutrition plan!

Cheri- Continues to buy new clothes because all of her others are getting way too big. Nice!

Ellen- After only a few weeks on the plan, she's lost about 6 pounds and has been shopping for new clothes as well. She's excited about feeling great in her new clothes for an upcoming vacation. I'm excited for her too!

These are great results!! I'm so happy for all of them and I'm excited to see what else they can achieve!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trick or Treat? What you need to know about artificial sweeteners

The holidays are just around the corner and before you know it, your house will be full of sugary treats. The average American eats approximately 170 pounds of sugar a year or 20 teaspoons a day and considering what the average American looks like, it shows! Is there a way to enjoy our favorite desserts while still keeping our waistlines in check? Artificial sweeteners can help make our indulgences a little lighter but they aren't a guiltless delight.

They go by several names, including sugar substitute, non-nutritive sweetener, very low calorie sweetener, or alternative sweetener. But one thing is common. They all taste similar to sugar with little to no calories or glycemic response. Each substitute is also sweeter than sugar, meaning that a little goes a long way.

Currently the FDA has approved five types of sugar substitutes for use in the United States:

Saccharin is the oldest artificial sweetener, developed in 1879. It is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar. After being suspected of causing bladder cancer in rats in 1972, many studies were done which ultimately disproved any link to cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, "Human epidemiology studies (studies of patterns, causes, and control of diseases in groups of people) have shown no consistent evidence that saccharin is associated with bladder cancer incidence." Saccharin has been considered safe for human consumption since 2002 and is marketed under the brand names SweetN' Low, Sweet Twin and Necta Sweet.

Aspartame was approved by the FDA in 1981. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Its chemical compound breaks down into a substance known as phenylalanine. This can pose a danger for people who have Phenylketonuria, (PKU) but overall, aspartame is considered safe for the general public. Equal and Nutrasweet are the brand names for aspartame.

Acesulfame-K was approved in 1988 as a "tabletop sweetener" and in 2003 as a general purpose sweetener. It is not metabolized by the body, which means that no calories are absorbed when eaten. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is marketed under the brand names, Sweet One and Sunett. It is frequently blended with other artificial sweeteners.

Sucralose comes from sugar, but it is 600 times sweeter. It isn't absorbed by the body, so it does not add calories to foods. In 1999, it was approved as a general purpose sweetener. It can also be used in home baking to reduce calories in homemade foods. The brand name for sucralose is Splenda.

Neotame is a cousin to aspartame, and is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. It was approved in 2002 as a general purpose sweetener. Although it is related to aspartame, it doesn't carry the same warning about phenylalanine, because a minimal amount of phenylalanine is produced during digestion. Neotame is not marketed under any brand names yet.

There are a few reasons why someone would consider using a sugar substitute:
  • Dental Hygiene — sugar substitutes are tooth friendly, as they are not fermented by the microflora of the dental plaque.
  • Diabetes mellitus — people with diabetes have difficulty regulating their blood sugar levels. By limiting their sugar intake with artificial sweeteners, they can enjoy a varied diet while closely controlling their sugar intake. Also, some sugar substitutes do release energy, but are metabolized more slowly, allowing blood sugar levels to remain more stable over time.
  • Reactive hypoglycemia — individuals with reactive hypoglycemia will produce an excess of insulin after quickly absorbing glucose into the bloodstream. This causes their blood glucose levels to fall below the amount needed for proper body and brain function. As a result, like diabetics, they must avoid intake of high glycemic foods like white bread, and often choose artificial sweeteners as an alternative.

While artificial sweeteners may reduce the calories in our favorite foods, they do not make them calorie-free. Many people consider artificial sweeteners an essential component to a weight loss program. These sugary treats may be a bit lite with sugar substitutes, but it's portion control that will keep you in your skinny jeans this holiday season.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

To ice or not to ice, that is the question. What you need to know about treating sports injuries.

While one of the aspects of working out using an integrated training program is to reduce the risk of injury, it does not completely eliminate that risk. Let's face it. You're bound to come across a soft tissue injury like a sprain, strain, tear or bruise at some point in your training. Once you've been injured, what do you do next? What is the best way to recover from a sports injury?

There is a plethora of information out there from reliable sources like your Doctor to old wives tales from your know-it-all neighbor down the street. It can be confusing to hear one person recommend ice while another will suggest using heat. So what is an injured athlete to do? Here's a run down of what to do if you've been benched because of an injury.

There are two types of injuries, actue and chronic. Acute injuries are those you have incurred within the last 48 hours. These are your typical sprains, strains, pulls and bruises. Acute injuries tend to have a lot of swelling when the tissue is damaged and possibly bleeds internally. Chronic injuries are those nagging aches and pains that you've been dealing with for weeks if not years. This include arthritis and overuse injuries like carpel tunnel, tendonitis and shin splints, just to name a few.

For Acute Injuries:
First and foremost, stop. Whatever you're doing; running, playing tennis, lifting weights, just stop. By continuing the activity trying to "work through the pain" you will only make it worse. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away and it certainly won't just heal on it's own. "No pain, no gain" is not a mantra to live by and is truly a fitness myth. When soft tissue is damaged it swells. The swelling causes pain and a decrease in motion which limits the use of the muscles. Continuing the activity after incurring the injury will increase the swelling and the pain, causing more damage and a longer recovery time.

Next is R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Resting the injury will give your body the appropriate time it needs to heal, without re-injury causing the acute injury to become a chronic injury. Using ice will help to reduce the initial swelling which will help to reduce the pain. Never use heat on an acute injury, as heat will induce swelling and inflammation, not reduce it. Compression by using tape or a wrap will help to keep swelling to a minimum and offer additional structural support to the injured body part. Finally, elevating the injury keeping it above heart level will continue to reduce swelling as well.

A few days of using R.I.C.E should help your body heal and ready to start training again. You'll want to take it easy and start with corrective exercise and stabilization training (phase 1 and 2) in the NASM OPT Model, no matter what stage of training you were in when you were injured.

For Chronic Injuries:
Chronic injuries tend to have a lot of built up scar tissue that immobilizes the joint and decreases the contraction of the muscle, which combined, decreases function and performance. By using heat prior to the activity, it will help to relax and loosen the tissues and increase blood flow to the area. Using ice afterward will help reduce the pain and swelling, just like an acute injury.

By following the guidelines in corrective exercise and stabilization training when you begin working out, you can "re-train" your body to work efficiently, minimizing the flare up of a chronic injury.

Here is a quick guide on what to do and when:

Ice or Heat?

Ice Heat
When To Use Use ice after an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, or after activities that irritate a chronic injury, such as shinsplints. Use heat before activities that irritate chronic injuries such as muscle strains. Heat can help loosen tissues and relax injured areas.
How To Do It Read through the information on how to ice an injury. There are several ways to ice an injury. Heating pads or hot wet towels are both excellent methods. Place a washcloth under hot tap water and then apply to the injured area.
For How Long Apply ice treatments for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Too much ice can do harm, even cause frostbite; more ice application does not mean more relief. It is not necessary to apply a heat treatment for more than about 20 minutes at a time. Never apply heat while sleeping.

The information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have incurred a sports injury, please see your Doctor for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.