Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twas the night before P90xmas

Had to post this - from the beachbody forums ... St HortonClaus - I love it! :)


Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Gym
Not a spin bike was moving, not even a rim

The plates were all racked on the plate trees with care,
In hopes that St. HortonClaus soon would be there

The wishers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of ripped abs danced in their heads

And Jim in his lifting belt and Karen in new gym shoes
Were just settled down for an iron-filled snooze

When out on the floor there arose such a clatter,
Jim sprang from the Couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the weight room he flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and made a great crash.

The light on the top of the new-polished floor
Gave the lustre of mid-day to equipment galore,

When, what to his wondering eyes should be fell
But a chin up bar, and eight pairs of dumbells

With a little old lifter so muscled and raw
He knew in a moment it must be St. HortonClaus.

He was dressed all in under armour, from his head to his feet,
and his clothes were all sweaty from intense muscle heat.

Tons of equipment he carried in his sack,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

More rapid than eagles his dumbells they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now five, now ten, through sixties for this mob
and made sure we were able to PICK THE RIGHT WEIGHT FOR THE JOB

His eyes--how they twinkled! The weights he could carry!
The nutrition plan he gave us with limited dairy

Your workouts aren't working, your proteins to low
P90X … now that's the way to go.
He clinched both his fists shouting this is not an illusion
To get ripped in 90 days takes MUSCLE CONFUSION,

12 intense routines ,, that;s what it takes,
While controlling your eating with good protein shakes

He was muscley and fit despite pushing 50,
and I smiled when I saw him, thinking man is this nifty.

He said just Press Play and vow to not quit
with P90x you j u s t h a v e t o BRING IT!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Skier workout, week 1

I've come up with a workout I think should help in skiing.

It's based on some Beachbody workouts in a circuit of blocks of two weeks. I will probably modify this for a longer period at some point, more like 10 weeks ideally with different phases but for now I will try this for the next 3-4, before my Utah trip and see how things go.

Week 1

Day 1
Shoulders/arms and Ab ripper. Shoulders and arms are upper body that you need for traversing and maintaining balance and body stability.

Day 2
Power 90 Plyo/Legs - this is the core of the leg and body workout for skiing itself. It's kind of a combination between Legs/Back-X (leg portion) and Plyo-X.

Day 3
Core Synergistics - this focuses on the core muscle group, very important for powder and steep skiing.

Day 4 Plyo-X/Cardio-X - this one will be kind of play it by ear. I think two plyo's may be too much for some weeks.

Day 5
Yoga-X: need to do this for muscle stretching and overall fitness

Day 6 Leg/core workout - this is my own combo of leg and core exercises.


3 circuits of next 3
a Bosu squats w dumbbells
b Bosu single leg hops
c overhand wide grip pullups

3 circuits of next 3
d squat toe raise
e Dumbell press overhead/lunge
f reverse grip chinup

Break - 1 min

3 sets of next two
g leg press/toe raise
h close grip pullups

i speed squats (15) left, then right, 10 more jumping
j alternating pullups

k - Cooldown and stretch!

Day 7 rest

Week 2 next entry ...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The new girdle craze? How about a solid core

You've probably seen the ads by now. "Look thinner instantly! No Diets, lose 2 dress sizes" or for men "get rid of embarrassing bulges and create that solid look to your midsection and chest".

What they are selling is basically what my grandmother used to call a girdle. They call it something else these days because that's such an outdated term. It seems like a great idea.

But what people are after, which does look healthier is a more solid core, the band of muscles from thighs to chest, including your abs, back and chest. Core muscles are very important in stabilizing your body and forming a foundation for building the rest of your musculature. Shoulders, legs, arms all need the core to be stable and solid to work hard and effectively. Your posture, which also affects your breathing starts with strong midsection.

A solid, lean core is a good indicator of risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack also. We've all heard of visceral or belly fat. That fat (which you generally can't spot reduce) is a major health indicator. Insurance companies and health professionals look at the ratio between belly and hip size, and many tout it as more important than the oft quoted BMI or body mass index. The reason is that BMI doesn't take into account muscle vs fat so heavier people with a lot of muscle might appear obese compared with a lighter person who has little muscle. This is misleading. OTOH, if your waist is too big it indicates increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A WHR of 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men have been shown to correlate strongly with general health and fertility. Women within the 0.7 range have optimal levels of estrogen and are less susceptible to major diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and ovarian cancers.[3] Men with WHRs around 0.9, similarly, have been shown to be more healthy and fertile with less prostate cancer and testicular cancer

There are some good exercises for core strength in P90x Core Synergystics. For example, a lot of push-up exercises and stabilizing or balance exercises help with core strength. For instance, balance pushups, where you reach up with one arm then under does this. Core/Syn has dozens of these and it's intense! Traditional squats and deadlifts also focus on these areas. Skiing-specific exercises including many plyometric and balance exercises also help the core.

Another one I use for skiing is press/lunge. In this exercise you stand with your feet together, press two dumbbells overhead of a moderately heavy weight and then do a lunge forward on one leg (or backward) and then back up. Repeat 10 times for each leg. This will get your abs, legs, shoulders and arms.

But the point is, you want to look healthy in your middle and it's important to your health too - don't buy a girdle - you need to work on your core!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A daily commitment, the most important prayer

Last Sunday at my church (before Thanksgiving, but just as relevant now) our pastor was on vacation and the pastor Emeritus, pastor Bob ran the service. He's retired and generally does things a bit slower. But I find his sermons are very meaningful and actually look forward to the message (not to take anything away from our normal guy - he has some great one-liner jokes now and then ;).

But the lesson, it actually derived from the children's lesson, which they get before going to Sunday school class started with a question. What was the most important prayer Jesus taught? Some clever people said the Lord's Prayer, which is a pretty good answer. But Pastor Bob argued it was his prayer of thanks.

The prayer of thanks was so important because Jesus prayed it every day before the sun came up and every evening before bedtime. He thanked God for all the things in prayer for the day to come and the day gone by. Twice a day, every day.

Bear with me, but I think our daily exercise affirmation has a similar effect. If you rise in the morning and spend some time thanking your body (and/or God if you believe in it) for your health, and preserving your temple, it becomes a central positive force in your wellness. Your mind, your immune system, your blood, your muscles, your endocrin (hormonal) systems - they all improve! It's very different working out once or even twice a day from 3 or 4 times a week. It becomes a part of life and a driving force for preventative health, in mind and body, in a similar way to the daily affirmation of thanks did for Jesus in spirituality.

Anyway, I thought that lesson kind of spoke to me in a special way so I thought I'd share it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fast food link to Alzeimers?

Wow - potentially powerful discovery with respect to Alzheimer's - this Swedish study bears watching.

Apparently mice who were fed fast food got conditions which can lead to Alzheimer's.

While the most advanced drugs have focused on removing clumps of beta amyloid protein that forms plaques in the brain, researchers are also now looking at therapies to address the toxic tangles caused by an abnormal build-up of the protein tau.

In her research, Akterin focused on a gene variant called apoE4, found in 15 to 20 percent of people and which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's. The gene is involved in the transport of cholesterol.

She studied mice genetically engineered to mimic the effect of the variant gene in humans, and which were fed a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol for nine months -- meals representing the nutritional content of fast food.

Those clever Swedes, always looking out for human issues ....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nice numbers

Got my yearly physical and one area I was very curious about was blood lipid (cholesterol) numbers. I've always been interested, not because I have tremendously high numbers but because I do have some family members who had cardiovascular disease in the past.

After doing P90x (exercise and nutrition) and taking the test in October, I received the results in the mail.

Total cholesterol: 135
Triglycerides: (<150 is good): 56 [!)
HDL (>40 good): 47
ratio total cholesterol/HDL (<4.5): 2.9
LDL (<160): 77

Compare this with some of my other numbers from past (worst was 2001/2002):

Total: 202
triglycerides: 116
HDL: 43
ratio: 4.7
LDL: 136

Total: 191
HDL: 38
ratio: 5.0
LDL: 102

Thanks to Tony and Beachbody, I'm at much less risk for cardiovascular disease!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roosta bars

Cross posted from beachbody forums - it's a homemade protein bar! I tried this one and it came out pretty good! I might add some sweetner like a tbsp or two of agave syrup or something. My next step is to make my own protein whey by adding cocoa to pure whey - something good like Ghiradelli or something.

It comes out thick - check out the picture:

18 scoops Optimum double rich chocolate whey powder
3/4 cup skippy natural PB
1.5 cups quaker dry oats
3 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp flax seeds
3 cups nestle carnation dry milk
1 cup chopped almonds
1.5 cups of water

Mix altogether until evenly blended. Spread out onto about a 14x11 cookie sheet (will need something to be sure it doesn't stick - I used wax paper with some oat flour). Flatten to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into even pieces and put in ziplock bags - store them in fridge until snacktime. - my last batch made 22 - the larger you cut them = the larger the serving!!!

The total calories are 5458, protein 604g, carbs 332g, fat 203g.

If you make 22 bars here is the breakdown:

1 Bar = 248 calories, 27g protein (53%), 15g carbs (29%), 9g fat (18%).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Indian black bean burrito recipe

Saw this and had to share it - sounds great. I found that funny spice also at my local grocer.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Bird opens tomorrow

One of the earlier openings in recent years ...

They've had over 35 inches of sweet Ootah pow in the past few days. Nice - hopefully a sign of great things again (like last year). Got to get my sticks waxed (and bought/sold - got a little dealing to do hopefully to tweak my quiver ;).


2008-11-05 — Snowbird Announces 2nd Earliest Opening Ever


SNOWBIRD, UTAH – Continuing the tradition of offering the longest ski season in Utah, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort will open Friday, Nov. 7. This year’s opening marks the second earliest start to a season in the resort’s 38-year history.

“This storm and the subsequent lake effect have provided a timely blanket of snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon,” said Snowbird President Bob Bonar. “Skiing early season powder is a great way to kick off the season.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cranberries benefits

There has been recent work at my alma mater WPI by Terri Camesano showing cranberries have several beneficial roles in disrupting E coli bacteria (which are harmful in the human digestive system).

a group of tannins (called proanthocyanidins) found primarily in cranberries affect E. coli in three devastating ways, all of which prevent the bacteria from adhering to cells in the body, a necessary first step in all infections:

* They change the shape of the bacteria from rods to spheres.
* They alter their cell membranes.
* They make it difficult for bacteria to make contact with cells, or from latching on to them should they get close enough.

So drink your juice and eat your cranberries this Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The beginning of the binge

For me in the past, in terms of fitness and wellness, and for many people, Halloween starts what I call the "holiday binge season". It's insidious and starts when we're kids. You go out, do your rounds and get several pounds of candy. If you're good like I was, you hit all the hot spots and travel far and wide and end up with maybe 5 pounds or more!

This starts a month long sugar orgy in preparation for ... the next big eating event, Thanksgiving!

Ahh ... Thanksgiving. It just so happens it's around my birthday so it's a day I always cherished. For good reason too - lots of family around. But also for the food of course! So I had a birthday cake coming, to top off the last of the Halloween candy. Then sometimes that very day, there was a built in feast of feasts - the binge eaters holiday, Thanksgiving! Turkey, gravy, butter, rolls, stuffing. Oh yea there are vegetables too but got to have the sugary cranberry sauce. And at our house, after the extra pan of stuffing was mostly gone and I dipped a few rolls (white usually, if I was feeling "healthy" I'd use a wheat roll) with butter into the gravy boat. In fact it was more like a harbor, with flotillas of boats and dingys all swimming with a luxurious pool of brown gold gathered around plates which were more like docks. My grandfather made the turkey, stuffed it with spices, oysters, gizzards (didn't know what they were until later ;) and rich brown gravy. Made from bacon and butter basted turkey drippings! In case the bird was dry we didn't want to run out of the rich creamy liquid so he made extra.

An hour or so after the hour long dinner and a nap on the couch watching football were the pies and coffee. Apple, chocolate cream, and my aunt from Alabama's favorite to make - pecan. Pecan was one of my favorite, topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream or the tasty substitute loaded with hydrogenated oil Cool Whip. Another aunt prefers the fake cream and makes pies out of it. Pecan though - how many eggs, at least a dozen and all that corn syrup - wow. Well there are a few nuts in there but they get drowned in bad stuff.

Don't forget around 5 we'd have sandwiches and then leftover cranberry, stuffing and gravy on rolls. Maybe some white mashed potato with gravy and butter.

Then, only a few weeks and a left over meal of turkey or two later - Christmas season! That all starts with Christmas Eve. In our Scandinavian family, this was a great night of meeting 75 or 100 family and friends culminating with presents but starting with many strong drinks of Glog (a highly alcoholic beverage something like mulled wine on steroids) and a pot luck family smorgasbord. The pickled herring (Swedes call sill) and salmon were de-emphasized over time in favor of newer American favorites like lasagna, meatballs (Swedish and Italian), chicken wings and hot dogs in a bourbon sauce. The next day, a full on sitdown meal of roast beef and ham or turkey or both followed by more presents and lounging around with a dehydration headache!

Of course only a week away was New Years Eve, where I learned the alcohol binge side of things ....

So I guess ... the point of all this ... besides being pathetically accurate ;), is that it's no wonder we gain weight this time of year. It's a bad cycle.

I'm not here like Tony (wish I could be like him but I'm too empathetic I think) to tell you to give up everything and live a monastic life of no fat no alcohol no fun.

But I'm just making the point to cut yourself, your liver and your heart a break this holiday. Take just one piece of pie. Have a glass of water. Ditch the gravy and butter and maybe even white rolls. Your moderation in celebration is more relaxing and less taxing. Enjoy family, slow down, appreciate your health and all the gains you've made in fitness.

Take a walk on Thanksgiving or run a turkey trot. Take a break from the buffet table and sing a few Christmas carols. Rediscover some of those healthy ethnic foods like fish. Enjoy your time, don't binge it!

We're here a short time - let's make the best of it! Enjoy your food, enjoy your time and you'll be much happier longer!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Workout 6 days a week

One of the things I learned from P90X and chatting with Tony Horton is to get results, to get lasting weight loss, obvious body changes, fat loss and muscle development, you need need need to workout every day.

Or at least if not every day, 6 days a week. Not 3, not 4. He mentions it all the time. He has a saying "working out 3 or 4 days a week is like throwing yourself down the stairs - you get sore and that's about it!".

Some of the principles you need to be aware of is recovery, variation and periodization. It can be complicated because there are a lot of aspects to being fit and you can't work the same way each day.

One basic tenet is that to burn enough calories to get body changes, you'll need to incorporate resistance training into your schedule. I mean weights, bands or something to push back or pull you down, add to gravity whatever you want to do to make something take most or all of your effort for a handful of number of repetitions.

There are two basic moves to go along with two basic muscle movements - flexing and extending. These are opposing muscle groups - bicep and tricep, quad and hamstring, ab and lumbar, they are all over the body. You can train these separately, or in an intelligent way together in supersets. Or you can hammer them together and vary opposing muscle groups by alternating days.

A good rule of thumb for reps seems to be 8-10 for more bulk, 12-15 for leaner muscle mass. I think, without doing the physiological proof, this hits the majority of folks. You can do more and gain huge size (and probably get injured) or do less and build stamina, which leads me to my next aspect.

Another aspect is cardiovascular absolute capacity and related but not the same, stamina or endurance.

You build stamina with lower intensity longer duration activity. I did it when I trained for the marathon. Paul Galloway, who wrote the highly popular How to Run a Marathon talks about the base level aerobic training, 75% of your work for training for a marathon, which is low level mid distance runs. LSD - long slow distance. Related, are long runs, which you increase very gradually over time to great distances. We all have a "wall" of lactic acid threshold, where your body just can't run anymore because you kind of cramp up and can hardly move. It used to be thought this was at around 20 miles for everyone, but as Galloway points out, your own wall is equal to your longest run (usually within some number of weeks time period).

But my point is, you can build this up with lesser activity.

You build cardio capacity in several ways, but mostly by taxing yourself via weights and circuit training or by doing some activity like running or kickboxing near your anabolic threshold. This means very vigorous exercise. When I refer to cardio capacity I am mainly referring to your heart and lungs and circulatory system. Don't forget your circulation - it's been shown that blood vessels are actually grown when you increase your cardiovascular capacity with vigorous exercise. Once you create them you have that for the rest of your life.

So another aspect and one that most programs gloss over - flexibility. Yoga, stretching when warm and proper form and range of motion while exercising build this up. This is an area of greater need as we age and is related to freedom of movement and balance also. And of course AVOIDING that bane of the athlete's existence, INJURY!

More subtle but very important is explosive vs endurance muscular strength. Jumping is different from slow jogging or walking. All of us have different mixes of these muscle fibers - fast and slow - but we can train them all and need to particularly for sports. Ironically, resistance training doesn't always equate to explosive strength. There is something also called "static" strength which happens when you build lean muscle tissue. You also have to hit the muscles with quick movement or you won't necessarily get that kind of capability. One interesting aspect - intervals or quick bursts of very high activity (interspersed with periods of rest) not only helps with explosive muscle capability it also taxes and thus helps develop absolute cardio capacity. You will get stronger and have a better cardio "motor" by doing interval type training.

Another principle that's vital for results is overload. You need to constantly challenge your central nervous system to adapt to ever changing and increasing loads or plateaus occur. Steve Edwards of Beachbody writes a lot about periodization, or the concept of different periods of time of emphasis for a particular fitness building activity.

Finally, you need to rest. Every now and then and at the end of a particular phase or period, a recovery period is essential or you will burn out. That is, if you are bringing appropriate intensity in the other times. I'll blog about that issue some time - most folks just aren't bringing it enough!

So how do you put this all together? In my opinion the BEST program I've found is P90x. It addresses all of these aspects, and the periods of training involved over 3 months, a good length of time to judge its effectiveness. Thousands have seen results with it. It's flexible, there's a LOT of thought that went into designing it and adapting it for various levels and a superb motivator and trainer Tony Horton, who constantly addresses form, motivation and intensity needed to maximize your results.

Once you've transformed yourself using it there are many options available for customizing your own programs but I always come back to some mix of Tony's programs. I'm sold and I think if you try them you will be too - they are the best on the market out there and you can do them without getting in your car and going anywhere (personally I commute enough every day!).

The basic truth though is, no matter what you do enjoy it enough to do it 6 days a week, intense resistance days for total body muscle groups, cardio, flexibility, muscle group periodization of course paired with good nutrition and you'll be well on your way to a healthier fitter lifestyle!

In a later column I'll post up my skiing workout, which I'm planning to get ready for ski season. It'll be 6 days a week and contain resistance, cardio, flexibility and stamina aspects. I'll be doing this once I complete my round of P90X in early December.

If you have any questions about any of this (I just scratched the surface) or want to learn more visit my web page at beachbody here....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Loveland's open

They're waaaaaay up there near the Continental Divide ... got a nice report today - they are open!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PGP exposes DNA sequences of 10 volunteers

Pretty interesting. Maybe some day we can all get screened for this stuff. I have the feeling it'll be a while, but I'm sure it will happen for my kid's lifetime.

Here's a link to one doctor's information with some hereditary risks he carries.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Healthy kids

Some good ideas on healthy snacks from beachbody



12 ways to raise healthier kids - includes walking at least partially to school!

Walk to school (or at least some of the way). This alone could make one of the biggest differences in activity levels. A generation ago, most self-respecting parents would laugh at their child's suggestion to drive them to school. Nowadays, lines of SUVs stretch out for blocks around campuses filled with kids burning nary a calorie whilst waiting to be dropped on the front step of the school. In some neighborhoods, this lost time is enough to fill most of the child's exercise requirement.

Lack of busing can shoulder some of the blame but the primary reason is fear. The world has gotten scary, or so we think, and parents drive their kids to keep them safe. In reality, the damage done from lack of activity is putting them at far more risk. According to former Department of Justice statistician Callie Rennison, our fears are mainly based on sensationalism in the media, which seem to promote every child abduction to the top of the headlines. "99.9 percent of child abduction cases are family related," she states. "Statistically, our kids are much safer in public than they've ever been."

Numbers aside, most parents will likely balk at the idea of making their kids the lab rats in some "walking to school" experiment. But, at least, you can drop them off close to school. The last part of the commute, the part while you're waiting in line, is a place where your kids could be moving in what is probably one of the safest situations imaginable—a line of cars filled with highly-protective parents.


Also, note that pediatricians recommend more activity for toddler age children than older - at least 60 mins of play and 60 minutes of planned activities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Commuter bicycle act

One positive thing that came out of the bailout was the Bicycle Commuter Act.

You can now deduct $20/month for biking to work! The text of the law is here.

(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term `qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement' means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment.

`(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term `applicable annual limitation' means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.

`(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term `qualified bicycle commuting month' means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--

`(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee's residence and place of employment, and

`(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).'.

(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting `(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)' after `qualified transportation fringe'.

(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

Also, the President is planning to open the National Parks to mountain biking. Under the new rule, which is proposed before Nov 15 so it can be enacted before Bush leaves office, park superintendents will have the latitude to open areas for mountain biking much more quickly than the current process, which requires formal public notice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Feeling fatigue? Workout regularly

It turns out fatigue doesn't always improve with rest. In fact moderate exercise may heal your sluggish mitochondria which are part of the issue with fatigue problems.


This also includes a physiological response to cancer - deemed cancer fatigue. Moderate exercise appears to help with this.

Of course, infection and other disease may require rest, particularly at the outset, with this caveat:

Doug Wallace, who directs the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics at the University of California, Irvine, notes that while bed rest is important at the beginning an infection, after that "it can be bad because you literally down-regulate muscle function, and with that, the number and efficiency of mitochondria also go down."

So at some point, moderate exercise will help you get better. Anecdotally, I've noticed this when training for marathons. If I feel I'm getting sick, it can be a two edged sword. It might make me bonk worse. And there's nothing worse than that kind of bonk - you're out of it and can even get sicker! But on the other side, it seems to make me get better sooner. I've noticed even when training with P90X, I didn't get sick much, and when I did (ironically on an off week) I got better quicker. Probably the old moderate exercise revving up my immune system response again!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New fitness guideline recommendations from Uncle Sam


These include people with chronic medical conditions

"The new guidelines are a tremendous example of how policymakers can
help create a culture of wellness in America that focuses on prevention
first," Moore said. "These new Guidelines are easy to understand and
provide a very practical tool for helping Americans build exercise into
their daily lives. Communicating the new Guidelines will be a top priority
for IHRSA as we work to motivate more Americans to exercise for healthier

IHRSA also is making Americans aware of specialty health club programs
designed to support people with chronic medical conditions, such as
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer, as well as other
programs designed for children, older Americans, women, and other

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Speaking of yoga - ski season yoga

Interesting post about the utility of yoga for skiing with a few examples.

Us doing P90X probably already appreciate the value of yoga for all the reasons mentioned and more. It's like a miracle exercise that makes a lot of stuff better. But it's good to see it gaining acceptance as a ski season prep also.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yoga class helps Alzheimer's patients

Inspiring story here of how yoga can help the lives of people with Alzheimer's.

Whether they meditate alone or in a yoga class, patients will reap benefits, said Dr. Paula Raia, director of patient care and family support at the Alzheimer's Association's local chapter. As Alzheimer's and dementia ravage the brain, sufferers can become agitated and prone to anxiety. Gradually they experience a loss of memory, intellect, and social skills. Their grip on reality progressively slips away.

The relaxation, breathing and even remembering poses seems to really help these patients.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking and frustrating. It takes so long to put yourself together," said Courtney, her house keys attached to a wristband key chain so she won't lose them.

"I may put something down and not remember where I put it. Sometimes I can't get the right word out of my mouth. I will mix up letters."

Courtney said yoga has given her some solace. "It keeps you in touch with your body," she said during stretches. "It's a refreshing thing."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Killer Stress

Here's a hearty endorsement of the National Geographic special on stress. They examine with a pre-eminent neuro-biologist the real physical dangers stress causes on the body down to the chromosome level.

Here's a quiz from National geographic site, and a pointer to the very informative site at Stanford about the documentary.

In a quick laymen's synopsis: stress has real measurable effects on multiple systems in the body including immune function, brain, diabetes, cardiovascular system even a protective layer on the chromosomes called telomeres. So your genes will ultimately unravel themselves if these telomeres decay. Well they decay faster (essentially all your body's cells age faster) under stress!

In other examples, obesity is not only exacerbated by stress, it may be a root cause. There are even lifetime effects of stress in utero - you come away realizing that unresolved and untreated stress is very dangerous, particularly over time to the body.

This was all backed up by studies they did on baboons with brain scans, examining various systems, even looking increased viseral fat (the worst kind, that causes heart attacks). It was all tracked back to stress.

On the positive side, when social interactions and stress reduction took place, the effects to telomeres and other systems in the body were reversed! So there is hope for positive measures.

Some of the conclusions: we need to value and promote a society that considers stress reduction as a major goal because it makes people flourish.

I was babysitting for my wife last night and didn't get to workout until relatively late. But I thought - what better night for Yoga-X. And for sure, although I ended near 11, I showered and slept like a baby last night!

So exercise and use your relaxation techniques - your whole being (body and mind) will experience reduced stress and aging because of it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Red wine may prevent radiation damage

Apparently oncologists have discovered that a certain type of the miracle compound risveratrol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol properties, can also protect against radiation.

Tests in mice showed that resveratrol, when altered using a compound called acetyl, could prevent some of the damage caused by radiation, the researchers told the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Boston.


Yet another reason to enjoy this miracle elixir regularly (in moderation of course!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Advanced Bosu demo

Check out Lisa's Colorado Mountain Fitness posts - some great skiing-related tips.

This guy's doing ridiculous balance exercises. Seems like some of this stuff's training for the circus or something ;).

Bosu and Plyo (like Power 90 master plyo/legs) are two integral pieces of a skier workout. The balance and cardio capacity that result will have you ripping the slopes (and steep powder trails) in no time!

Running destroys knees? Not really!

It turns out worries of osteoarthritis in your knees as you age due to running is overblown - in fact there are many benefits from it according to this article.

"The persistent myth about exercise - and running, in particular - is that it increases joint problems, arthritis, and will ultimately destroy joints and lead to disability," said William J. Evans, an exercise physiologist and chair of nutritional longevity at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Not only is this "not true," he said, but the opposite is true: "There is decreased disability after decades of running."

So get out there and exercise - 5 times a week, break a sweat and get younger!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heart rate zone charts

It's a common question - the answer depends on your goals for the exercise you are doing. Are you trying to burn fat? Increase your cardio capacity? Intervals? I'll address those in a future entry, but I thought it would be good to have some charts for reference that you can kind of glance at quickly.

Here are a few for reference I found:

This one has suggested activities with specific age ranges

Here's a popular one for 10 second counts and ages:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

K2 Blog link

Check out this report - good stuff.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Colorado snow

Nice pic from vail the other day - ski season isn't far off!

Another from Colorado

I'm planning to do a Wachusett GPS with another few folks - you're free to join just shoot me a note and we'll work something out (presuming you have Paypal ;). We usually do the Bronze pass for $199, you get nights, all weekdays and lots of discounts at other hills. You even get 1/2 price Alta (Utah) lift tickets!

Hey all!

This is my personal fitness blog, postings about health, fitness, beachbody coaching and the like.

Welcome and feel free to say hi!