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Tailoring Nutrition to Help Fight Parkinson’s Disease

Good nutritional practices are the groundwork for a healthy and productive life. People with Parkinson’s and their Care Partners have extra challenges to face as they navigate life with this progressive disease that causes tremors, slowness of movement, muscle stiffness and impaired balance. For people with Parkinson’s, healthy eating is another strategy to fight the effects of Parkinson’s.

Like all of us, people with Parkinson’s should strive to eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. Fats – especially healthy unsaturated fats – are also used for energy. Protein contributes to cell growth, repair and maintenance. It is also important to get necessary vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables to truly feel your best. Drinking water throughout the day keeps us from becoming dehydrated and helps the entire body to function optimally.

Because People with Parkinson’s already have a progressive disease to manage – it is important to try to keep other chronic diseases at bay. Vitamin E and C are antioxidants that combat free radicals (compounds that injure healthy cells) in the body. It is important that people with Parkinson’s eat plenty of antioxidant containing foods such as blueberries and spinach.

People with Parkinson’s are at a greater risk for osteoporosis and falls – which is why adequate amounts of Vitamin D and Calcium are essential to keep bones strong. The body can create its own Vitamin D from 15 minutes a day of sunlight exposure – or it can be found in foods such as salmon, pork and eggs. Vitamin D is essential for helping calcium be absorbed in the body – calcium being the primary component of bones. Good sources of calcium include yogurt, cheese, kale and spinach.

Protein serves many vital functions in the body, and it is important for People with Parkinson’s to get adequate amounts. Protein rich foods can diminish the effects of some Parkinson’s medications when they are taken together, so taking medications an hour prior to eating can help them to work most efficiently.

Fiber is the bulky, indigestible part of plants that passes through the digestive tract. Fiber absorbs water in the body and helps with regularity. People with Parkinson’s have higher instances of constipation – so eating high fiber foods such as bran cereals, whole wheat bread, beans and broccoli can help relieve this condition.

Sometimes diseases of the eye can occur in People with Parkinson’s. Beta-Carotene is a type of Vitamin A that helps maintain retina function and is found in carrots and sweet potatoes. Leafy green vegetables and egg yolks contain lutein and antioxidants that may lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Finally, People with Parkinson’s should always be sure to drink enough water. Adequate water consumption helps relieve constipation, prevents dehydration, aids in vitamin absorption in the body, and rids the body of waste.

Always consult your physician if you notice any undesired weight loss, and before you make any changes to your regular eating habits.


Carisa Campanella, BA, AS, is an ACE Health Coach and ACSM Personal Trainer. She is the Program Manager at the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s. Neuro Challenge provides ongoing monthly support groups and educational programs, individualized care advising and community resource referrals to help empower people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

A man having question

Sports Nutrition Myths: Busted!

Keeping up with the latest science-based sports nutrition recommendations is a challenge. We are constantly bombarded with media messages touting the next miracle sports food or supplement that will enhance athletic performance, promote fat loss, build muscle, and help you be a super-athlete. At this year’s Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (www.acsm.org), a sports nutrition myth-busters session sponsored by the global network of Professionals In Nutrition for Exercise and Sport (www.PINESNutrition.org) featured experts who resolved confusion with science-based research.

MYTH: Protein supplements build bigger muscles.

Protein needs for a 150-pound (68 kg) athlete average about 110 to 150 grams of protein per day. (More precisely, 0.7 to 1.0 g pro/lb. body weight/day; 1.6 to 2.2 g pro/kg./day) Hungry athletes can easily consume this amount from standard meals. Yet, many athletes believe they need extra protein. They consume protein shakes and bars in addition to protein-laden meals. They are unlikely to see any additional benefits from this higher-than-needed protein intake. Resistance exercise is a far more potent way to increase muscle size and strength than any protein supplement.

MYTH: Eating just before bedtime makes an athlete fat. 

While it is true the body responds differently to the same meal eaten at 9:00 a.m., 5:00 pm, or 1:00 a.m., an athlete will not “get fat” by eating at night. The main problem with nighttime eating relates to the ease of over-eating while lounging around and watching TV. When your brain is tired from having made endless decisions all day, you can easily decide to eat more food than required.

That said, bedtime carbohydrates to refuel depleted muscles and bedtime protein to build and repair muscles can optimize recovery after a day of hard training or competing. For bodybuilders and others who want to optimize muscle growth, eating about 40 grams of protein before bed provides an extended flow of amino acids needed to build muscle. (This bedtime snack has not been linked with fat gain). Cottage cheese, anyone?

MYTH: A gluten-free diet cures athletes’ gut problems.

If you have celiac disease (as verified by blood tests), your gut will indeed feel better if you avoid wheat and other gluten-containing foods. However, very few gut issues for non-celiac athletes are related to gluten. FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) are often the culprit. These are types of hard-for-some-people-to-digest carbohydrates found in commonly eaten foods such as wheat, apples, onion, garlic, and milk. For example, the di-saccharide lactose (a kind of sugar found in milk) creates gut turmoil in people who are lactose intolerant. The poorly digested and absorbed lactose creates gas, bloat and diarrhea.

For certain athletes, a low FODMAP diet two or three days before a competition or long training session can help curb intestinal distress. If you live in fear of undesired pit stops, a consultation with your sports dietitian to learn more about a short-term FODMAP reduction diet is worth considering.

MYTH: Athletes should avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effect

With caffeinated beverages, the diuretic effect might be 1.2 ml. excess fluid lost per mg. of caffeine. That means, if you were to drink a small mug  (7 oz./200 ml.) of coffee that contains 125 milligrams of caffeine, you might lose about 150 ml. water through excess urine loss. But you’d still have 50 ml. fluid to hydrate your body—and likely more if you drink coffee regularly. Athletes who regularly consume caffeine habituate and experience less of a diuretic effect. In general, most caffeinated beverages contribute to a positive fluid balance; avoiding them on the basis of their caffeine content is not justified.

MYTH: Athletes should be wary of creatine because it is bad for kidneys.

Creatine is sometimes used by athletes who want to bulk up. It allows muscles to recover faster from, let’s say, lifting weights, so the athlete can do more reps and gain strength. A review of 21 studies that assessed kidney function with creatine doses ranging from 2 to 30 grams a day for up to five and a half years indicates creatine is safe for young healthy athletes as well as for elderly people. Even the most recent studies using sophisticated methods to assess renal function support creatine supplements as being well tolerated and not related to kidney dysfunction.

Reading a nutrition label on food packaging with magnifying glass

MYTH: The vegan diet fails to support optimal performance in athletes.

Without a doubt, vegan athletes can —and do—excel in sport. Just Google vegan athletes; you’ll find an impressive list that includes Olympians and professional athletes from many sports (including football, basketball, tennis, rowing, snowboarding, running, soccer, plus more.)

The key to consuming an effective vegan sports diet is to include adequate leucine, the essential amino acid that triggers muscles to grow. The richest sources of leucine are found in animal foods, such as eggs, dairy, fish, and meats. If you swap animal proteins for plant proteins, you reduce your leucine intake by about 50%. For athletes, consuming 2.5 grams of leucine every 3 to 4 hours during the day optimizes muscular development. This means vegan athletes need to eat adequate nuts, soy foods, lentils, beans and other plant proteins regularly at every meal and snack.

Most athletes can consume adequate leucine, but some don’t because they skip meals and fail to plan a balanced vegan menu. Vegan athletes who are restricting food intake to lose undesired body fat need to be particularly vigilant to consume an effective sports diet. Plan ahead!


Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). The newest 6th edition of her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook is being released in July 2019. For information about readymade handouts and PowerPoint presentations, visit www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

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The Still Life

I am not referring to the still life of the 17th century, a tradition that originated with Dutch painters and spread throughout Europe, where often there was a religious dimension.[1] I am also not referring to still in the sense that Don Henley encapsulates in his 1994 song, “Learn to Be Still.”  Nor am I insinuating an exploration of the archaic use of still that suggests sedentariness. Quite the opposite, although closely connected to the latter.

It’s 5 a.m. I am seated in a plush black leather chair situated in the corner of a soft-red lighted area of our home designed as a small bistro. The Baja-blue ceramic tea pot is on the stove and I am reading the New York Times. A headline captures my immediate attention: “Lifeguards for Life (Or as Long as Possible).”[2] In a 1,122 word story covering lifeguards who are greater than 60 years of age, the word “still” was used 5 times. That is, every 224th word of the story is “still.” My feelings of calm and delight suddenly mix with this internal emblazoned visceral change that underwent chemical synthesis and became a substance fueling the writing this article. I am perplexed at the use of the word still when describing people who are greater than 60 and the daily activities in which they may be involved.

Although well intentioned, selection of the word still is a curious linguistic choice.  This particular article did a beautiful representation of using two-polar opposite definitions of this word: one suggesting change and the other stagnation. On the one hand “still” suggests the possibility of change. A growing or morphing into a larger state than at present. For example, there was reference in the article to the late 1950s when “surfing was still in its infancy on the East Coast.” Now, in 2017, from Kennsington Cove off the coast of Nova Scotia to South Beach, Florida, one can surf up and down the East coast and find plenty of other surfers amidst the waves. Thus, in this case, still implies growth.

Then there’s another use of still when referring to an unchanging situation. The vernacular appeal of using still as a compliment is readily apparent. As in describing Mr. Labert, “One of the oldest active lifeguards – the kind who still dash into the surf to rescue swimmers.” However, his livelihood or successes, as he ages, are redefined in terms of stagnation. Continuing to do the same activities. Use of still in this sense implies accomplishment sans change. Other elderly lifeguards are “still ocean-certified” and “still kept watch.” Still can be likened to a lexiconic hologram: it appears one way from one direction, change your position (or age) and your perspective changes, or the image changes. Faced with a continuum of age from congratulations to offense to oppressive to objectification, our language lends itself to prescribing a limiting condition: “the tyranny of still.”[3]

Some of us will reach, or have reached, an age where marks of success shift from change to stagnation. We could call this the still life. I still live alone. I still drive. I still eat by myself. I still bathroom by myself. While these are not necessarily accomplishments or accolades to be proclaimed at achieving in one’s thirties or forties or fifties, there is that pivotal age when some of the smallest tasks become trophy winning moments. These triumphs are often treated as moments to be captured on camera and lived and relived, with bystanders singing praises such as, “Yay. You are still using a fork.” A comment actually made to a hundred-year-old woman, to which she responded, “Dignity doesn’t age.”

Embedded in these still comments, intended to be compliments, are platitudes served on silver platters. Sure, they appear nice and clean and friendly, yet under the shiny shellacked surface is a sharp jab. What are we saying when we say someone is still capable of completing activities of daily living? Perhaps a round of applause that they are seemingly independent. Why then is inter dependence not congratulated?  As a species is there truly anyone who is fully independent? We all rely on someone to some extent. Taking a look across the life span, we can see a continual push to be independent. If we say, “She’s 47 and she still lives alone,” then this begs questions of “What’s wrong with her?” or simply, “Why?” However, the script and responses are very different if we say, “She’s 97 and she still lives alone.” Often, the question then becomes, “Oh, what is she doing right?” With an implied, “If I take similar measures then I too will live to be that age and be active.”

Perhaps there are more connections between the still life of the 17th century and use of the word still as we age, than is apparent on the surface. Just as with some Dutch painters in the 1600s conveying religious messages, some research suggests we become more religious as we age. Perhaps the use of still is a way of separating the worlds, between the doers and not-doings. If we are still doing something, then we are not dead. If we are still doing, then we are relevant. A good many people desire to be relevant and alive. And one can be both, without adding still into the game. Still relevant and still alive. No. Relevant and alive.


Adrienne Ione is a cognitive behavioral therapist and personal trainer who integrates these fields in support of people thriving across the lifespan. As a pro-aging advocate, she specializes in the self-compassion of dementia.

Website: yes2aging.com
Guided Meditations: insighttimer.com/adrienneIone
Facebook: silverliningsintegrativehealth

References

[1] Vincent Pomarède and Erich Lessing (Nov. 2011) The Louvre: All the Paintings.

[2] Corey Kilgannon. (July 16, 2017). “Lifeguards for Life (Or as Long as Possible).” New York Times.

[3] Bill Thomas (2015). Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life.

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The Pharmacologics of Exercise: Yes, Exercise Is Medicine!

It’s been said: “If all the benefits of exercise could be placed in a single pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.” Scientific evidence continues to mount supporting the numerous medicinal benefits of exercise. In fact, there’s hardly a disease that I can think of that exercise won’t help in one way or another, be it prevention, treatment, or even cure in some instances.

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Prenatal Exercise: Training for the Main Event

Say good-bye to the myth of the “delicate” condition and hello to pregnancy in the 21st Century!

Current research continues to show that women can safely exercise and maintain their fitness level during the perinatal period.  The mom who laces up her sneakers instead of heading to the couch will be rewarded with a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

Pregnant woman doing yoga with a personal trainerPregnancy is a time of excitement, uncertainties, fears, and many profound physical and emotional changes. This “season in life” affords mom a wonderful opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Starting an exercise program during pregnancy is a great way to begin and continue this healthier lifestyle for herself and subsequently for her child.  With obesity on the rise in the US, it is important for everyone to increase their current level of physical activity.  This is especially important for pregnant women as the results of obesity and excessive weight gain have been shown to be detrimental to both mom and baby long term.

A Historical Perspective on Prenatal Exercise Guidelines

Moms today are inundated with information regarding pregnancy and exercise. Unfortunately, a great deal of this information is outdated.   It is important for women to have a working knowledge of the most current guidelines so that they can make intelligent choices regarding their exercise programs. For many years, pregnant women were advised to “take it easy” during pregnancy.  Mom was advised to rest and gain weight in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy.  In the 1950’s women were “allowed” to walk a mile a day for exercise and this mile was preferably “broken up” into smaller segments. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) issued the first formal guidelines for perinatal exercise in 1985 (1).  These guidelines were highly restrictive as they were not based on extensive research and were designed for the majority of pregnant women without regard to pre-pregnancy fitness levels. Four of the original guidelines are highlighted below:

  • Mom should exercise at a heart rate <140 bpm.
  • Strenuous exercise should not exceed 15 minutes
  • Maternal core temperature should not exceed 38 degrees C
  • No supine exercise after the first trimester

A great deal of research involving both sedentary and trained subjects was published

after the release of the 1985 guidelines. This prompted ACOG to publish a revision of the original guidelines in 1994 which lifted specific limitations for prenatal exercise (2).  ACOG said, “There are no data in humans to indicate that pregnant women should limit   exercise intensity and lower target heart rate because of adverse effects.”   In this revision, there was no mention of the 140 bpm maximal heart rate or an exercise limit of fifteen minutes. Women were advised to use the “talk test” and “perceived exertion” as ways to measure exercise intensity. We were making progress!    Although the 1994 guidelines were a refreshing change in the right direction for ACOG, they still did not address the pregnant athlete. In 2002, ACOG published “Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: ACOG Committee Opinion 267” (3). In this publication, which was reaffirmed in 2009, ACOG recognized that “in the absence of contraindications, pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular, moderate intensity physical activity to continue to derive health benefits during their pregnancy as they did prior to pregnancy.” This revision focused more on the athlete as well and was the first formal recommendation by an American physician group to include prenatal exercise. The major points of the 2002 update include:

  • Previously sedentary women and those with any medical or obstetrical problems should obtain medical clearance before embarking on an exercise program; NO PRENATAL CLEARANCE, NO EXERCISE, NO EXCEPTION.
  • Thirty minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, or on most days of the week is recommended. This brought the exercise guideline for pregnancy more in line with the ACSM guidelines for the general population.
  • Competitive and recreational athletes with routine pregnancies can remain active, “listen to their bodies” and modify their exercise routines if medical necessity arises.
  • Physically active women with a history of or risk for preterm labor or fetal growth restriction should reduce their activity in the second and third trimesters.

In 2006, the “ACSM Roundtable Consensus Statement: Impact of Physical Activity During Pregnancy and Postpartum on Chronic Disease Risk” was published (4). This report, based on an analysis of the most current research by a panel of scientific and clinical experts, supported the safety and long term benefits of prenatal and postpartum exercise for both mom and baby. Some of the benefits highlighted in this report and other studies show that exercise:

  • Reduces the risk of preeclampsia (a condition marked by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and marked fluid retention in the mom which can lead to serious maternal and fetal complications).
  • Treats or prevents gestational diabetes, the diabetes of pregnancy. For some women exercise alone may stabilize blood sugar. Moms with gestational diabetes are more prone to Type II diabetes later in life.
  • Helps manage or alleviate pregnancy related musculoskeletal issues. Exercise may help with low back pain, urinary incontinence, abdominal muscle and joint and muscle issues.
  • Links breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss. Weight loss can occur with moderate exercise and caloric restriction without affecting the quantity and quality of breast milk or infant growth.
  • Positively impacts mood and mental health. Exercise is a “mood elevator.”  It reduces stress, fatigue, anxiety and improves self-image.
  • Baby’s health and development: The panel advised that beginning or continuing a prenatal exercise program had both short and long term positive effects.

Beautiful pregnant woman thinking of her babyThe most recent guidelines for prenatal exercise were included in the 2008 US Dept. of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines (5).  Women who are not currently active should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity per week.  This translates to 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, very similar to the ACOG guideline.  They recommend that those women who are currently active may continue their normal routine providing there is an open line of communication with their healthcare providers

The latest research continues to showcase the benefits of prenatal exercise. A 2013 review of the international evidence reinforced the fact that women who engage in prenatal exercise have a decreased risk of developing gestational diabetes and other hypertensive disorders during their pregnancies.  They are also less likely to deliver big babies (> 9 pounds).  Other studies suggest that babies born to active moms are lighter and leaner at 1 and 5 years of age (6). Additional research has supported these findings and has extended the benefits to older children (8-10 year olds) (7).  This is quite significant considering the fact that childhood obesity is on the rise. We now have exciting evidence that the in utero environment of exercising mothers may provide long term effects for their offspring with regards to bodyweight and body fat.  Prenatal exercise may also boost babies’ brain activity.  Canadian research has shown that babies of exercising moms had greater brain activity 8 – 12 days after they were born, as evidenced by an increased ability to process repeated sounds (8).  This was the first study to link prenatal exercise with babies’ brain development.

In 2015, ACOG released two new publications, “Obesity in Pregnancy,” Bulletin Number 156 (9) and “Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period,” Committee Opinion Number 650 (10).   Both publications emphasize the need for regular exercise to prevent or combat excess weight gain and /or obesity in the perinatal population.   Greater than half of the women of childbearing age in the US are overweight or obese. Obesity in pregnancy is associated with significant risks for both mother and baby.  Bulletin 156 authors wrote, “Optimal control of obesity begins before conception.  Weight loss before pregnancy, achieved by surgical or nonsurgical methods, has been shown to the most effective intervention to  improve other health problems.”  The updated Bulletin 156 recommendations include:

  • Behavioral interventions that utilize both diet and exercise can improve postpartum weight loss better than exercise alone
  • BMI should be calculated at the first prenatal visit and used to counsel women on diet and exercise utilizing the Institute of Medicine Guidelines for prenatal weight gain
  • Small preconception weight losses in obese patients can improve pregnancy outcome
  • Losing weight between pregnancies in obese patients may decrease the risk for a large-for-gestational-age baby in a subsequent pregnancy

Pregnant women doing squatting exercise.Pregnancy is an ideal time for maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle. Recommendations from ACOG Committee Opinion Number 650, “Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period” include:

  • Physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.
  • A thorough clinical evaluation should be conducted before recommending an exercise program to ensure that a patient does not have a medical reason to avoid exercise.
  • Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • OB-GYN’s and other obstetric care providers should carefully evaluate women with medical or obstetric complications before making recommendations on physical activity participation during pregnancy. Although frequently prescribed, bed rest is only rarely indicated and, in most cases, allowing ambulation should be considered.
  • Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being.
  • 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day, on most or all days, is recommended.
  • Exercise intensity should be monitored by RPE and the “talk test.” Suggested RPE is 13-14 on a 6-20 scale.
  • Women are encouraged to stay well hydrated, avoid long periods of lying supine and cease exercise if they have any warning signs (see below).
  • Women who were sedentary before pregnancy should gradually progress their exercise programming
  • Women who were regular exercisers prior to pregnancy and who have uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies should be able to engage in high-intensity exercise programs, such as jogging and aerobics, with no adverse effects. High-intensity or prolonged exercise in excess of 45 minutes can lead to hypoglycemia; therefore, adequate caloric intake before exercise, or limiting the exercise session, is essential to minimize any risk.\Contact sports, activities with a high risk of falling, scuba diving, sky diving and “hot yoga” are not recommended

Warning Signs and Symptoms to Discontinue Exercise (11)

If a woman experiences any of the following, she should cease exercise and contact her health care provider as soon as possible:

  • Vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage
  • Shortness of breath prior to exertion
  • Pelvic pressure or cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache or any vision problem
  • Pain of any kind
  • Uterine contractions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Preterm labor
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Chest pain
  • Temperature extremes (hot or cold; clammy)
  • Nausea / Vomiting

As a result of almost 30 years of research showing the benefits of prenatal exercise, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of motivated personal trainers who are certified to work with this very special population.  No two pregnancies are the same and no two prenatal fitness programs should be the same.  Trainers certified in perinatal fitness and wellness possess the knowledge and skills to design and implement individualized programs to help mom prepare for the “marathon of labor” and the “tasks of mothering” after the baby is born.

Join Sheila for her upcoming webinar:

 


Sheila Watkins is a perinatal fitness specialist with over 25 years of experience training 2500+ pregnant and new moms, and educating hundreds of fitness instructors, health professionals, and childbirth educators on the rapidly changing field of perinatal fitness. She is the creator of Healthy Moms® Fitness Programs to provide safe and effective group exercise classes and personal training for new and expectant moms, as well as education and training in the field of perinatal exercise for fitness professionals, childbirth educators and other health professionals.

References

  1. ACOG. The ACOG Guidelines for Exercise During Pregnancy and Postpartum; Home Exercise Programs, 1985.
  2. ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. ACOG Technical Bulletin, No.189, February 1994.
  3. ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, ACOG Committee Opinion, No. 267, Washington, DC: ACOG, January 2002 (reaffirmed in 2009).
  4. Pivarnik, J. et al. American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable Consensus Statement, June 2006.
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/pregnancy.html
  6. Mudd LM, Owe KM, Mottola MF, Pivarnik JM. Health benefits of physical activity during pregnancy: an International Perspective Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb;45(2):268-77.
  7. Pivarnik. J. and Kuffel, E. ACSM Sports Medicine Bulletin; Active Voice: More Maternal Physical Activity May Lead to Leaner Pre-Adolescent Children; June 20, 2010.
  8. http://www.nouvelles.umontreal.ca/udem-news/news/2013-exercise-during-pregnancy-gives-newborn-brain-development-a-head-start.html
  9. ACOG. Obesity in Pregnancy. ACOG Practice Bulletin, No.156, December, 2015.
  10. ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, ACOG Committee Opinion, No. 650, December 2015
  11. Watkins, Sheila S. “Healthy Moms@ Perinatal Fitness Instructor Training Manual.” 2013.
lightbulb thought

Don’t Practice Positive Thinking… Practice POWER THINKING

In his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker talks about positive thinking vs. power thinking.

Positive thinking is our default when we want to improve an area of our lives. We journal, recite affirmations, and work to build our positive thoughts. What Eker points out is that positive thinking implies that we accept our own thoughts as truth.

Instead, he suggests focusing on power thinking, which is an extension of positive thinking in that you are working to build your belief, but instead, you acknowledge that things only have meaning because we give them meaning.

You can attach a particular meaning to anything but that doesn’t mean it’s real.

For example, just because you’ve fallen off the wagon in your fitness and nutrition dozens of times doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of success.

Secondly, just because you’ve missed a few workouts last week doesn’t mean that your entire plan to lose weight has been destroyed.

But that’s the meaning most people give it right? In other words, we tend to be ultra hard on ourselves which ends up being sabotaging.

I bring this concept up in the hopes that the next time a situation arises where you feel “less than” or defeated that you stop and ask yourself “what meaning am I giving to this situation?”

By understanding this, you then have the power to change the meaning you assign for the better and propel yourself to new levels of commitment and success.

In conclusion, don’t practice positive thinking. Practice POWER THINKING!


Originally printed on Move Well Fitness blog. Reprinted with permission.

Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD. With almost two decades in the industry, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including those with health challenges like diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, lower back pain, pulmonary issues, and pregnancy. Maurice is also a fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy and NASM.  

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Weight Loss Myths

Like Cicero coining the phrase “Ipse dixit” (“He, himself, said it”) in reference to the mathematician Pythagoras, we tend to appeal to the pronouncements of the master (in our society, celebrities and the media) rather than to reason or evidence. After all, if Jillian Michaels from TV’s The Biggest Loser or any other celebrity trainer says it’s so, it must be so, right? This has led to the proliferation of many myths in the weight-loss and fitness industry. Why do we think or claim we know things that we actually do not know? There are so many passionate people in the weight-loss and fitness industry, which is great, but oftentimes that passion gets in the way of science. And that can be dangerous. Do you know your weight-loss facts from fiction?

Myth: You have to exercise in your fat-burning zone to burn fat and lose weight.

People often assume that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat. Cardio equipment manufacturers contribute to this assumption by posting a “fat-burning” workout option on their front panels, which influences people to choose that option because, after all, people want to burn fat. During exercise at a very low intensity, such as walking, fat does account for most of the energy you use. At a moderate intensity, such as running at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, fat accounts for only about half of the energy you use. While you use both fat and carbohydrate for energy during exercise, these two fuels provide that energy on a sliding scale—as you increase your intensity, the contribution from fat decreases while the contribution from carbohydrate increases. While you use only a minimal amount of fat at higher intensities, the number of calories you use per minute and the total number of calories you expend are much greater than when you exercise at a lower intensity, so the amount of fat you use is also greater. Research has shown that the highest rate of fat use occurs when you exercise at a hard aerobic intensity (Achten et al. 2002; Astorino, 2000; Knechtle et al. 2004). What matters is the rate of energy expenditure rather than simply the percentage of energy expenditure derived from fat. Since you use only carbohydrate when you exercise at a high intensity, does that mean that if you run fast, you won’t get rid of that flabby belly? Of course not.

Despite what most people think, you don’t have to use fat when you exercise to lose fat from your waistline. The little amount of fat that you use in combination with carbohydrate during moderate-intensity exercise is in the form of intramuscular triglycerides—tiny droplets of fat within your muscles. Adipose fat (the fat on your waistline and thighs) is burned during the hours before and after your workouts while you’re sitting at your desk. For fat and weight loss, what matters most is the difference between the number of calories you expend and the number of calories you consume. So don’t worry about exercising in your fat-burning zone, because there’s no such thing.

Myth: Working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach burns more fat. 

Muscles will indeed use more fat if you exercise when your blood glucose is low, as it can be first thing in the morning after an overnight fast. But burning more fat during your workout doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose more weight. Exercising when fasted before breakfast doesn’t reduce the total number of calories you consume throughout the day, and doesn’t allow you to cheat the laws of caloric balance; at the end of the day, you still have to have a caloric deficit to lose fat.

When you exercise first thing in the morning before breakfast, your muscles don’t just rely on fat immediately. When exercising at a low or moderate intensity, they’ll use some fat, just like they would when you exercise at any other time of the day. But they’ll also use whatever carbohydrate is available from blood glucose and stored glycogen because carbohydrate is the muscles’ preferred fuel. When you run out of glucose, your muscles will then start to rely more heavily on fat. But exercising on an empty stomach with low blood glucose decreases the intensity at which you can exercise, which results in a lower-quality workout and less total calories burned. For weight loss, it really doesn’t matter if the calories you burn when you exercise come from fat or carbohydrate; how many total calories you burn is what matters.

Myth: Resistance training increases resting metabolic rate.

Perhaps the biggest myth in the fitness industry is the issue of resistance training increasing resting metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass, which leads to greater weight loss. Although it is true that resting metabolic rate is influenced by the amount of muscle you have, you would have to add a lot of muscle to significantly impact your resting metabolic rate. It’s not like you can add 10 pounds of muscle (which is very difficult to do unless you train like a bodybuilder for many months) and all of a sudden your resting metabolic rate is double what it was before. There’s about a 10-calorie increase in metabolic rate for every pound of muscle. So, if your resting metabolic rate is 1,500 calories per day, you would need to add 15 pounds of muscle mass to increase it by 10 percent. Resistance training can make you look better because of the effect it has on your muscles, but it won’t really impact your resting metabolic rate much. As you lose weight, your resting metabolic rate actually decreases, even when you maintain muscle mass by resistance training. Exercise can prevent the decline in resting metabolic rate as you lose weight, but it certainly does not increase as you lose weight.

Humans’ resting metabolic rate—the amount of energy you need to stay alive—is pretty stable, having been set by millions of years of evolution. Lifting dumbbells in a gym or doing burpees in the park is not going to change that. Some studies have shown an increase in resting metabolic rate following many weeks or months of exercise, but the magnitude of change is relatively small (about 30 to 142 calories per day) compared to what is needed for weight loss (Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; Poehlman & Danforth 1991). And some of these studies have been done on seniors, who are more likely to show increases in resting metabolic rate due to the attenuating effect of exercise on age-associated losses in muscle mass. It’s much easier to impact muscle mass and thus resting metabolic rate in an older person than in a younger person.

Myth: Intense workouts contribute to weight loss by burning more calories after the workout is over.

Ever since the fitness industry found research showing that people burn calories after they work out while they recover from their workout, a whole new argument was born. Exercise stopped being about the exercise and became about what came after. “Do this workout,” trainers and gurus say, “because you’ll burn four times as many calories for up to 48 hours afterward.”

After some workouts, specifically those that are intense or long, you continue to use oxygen and burn calories because you must recover from the workout, and recovery is an aerobic, oxygen-using process. This increased oxygen consumption following the workout is called the EPOC (Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption).

Many studies have documented the EPOC and compared it and its associated post-workout calorie burn between exercise of different intensities and durations (Laforgia et al. 1997; Treuth et al. 1996; Tucker et al. 2016). However, the post-workout calorie burn caused by the EPOC is a highly overexaggerated issue among fitness trainers. The increase in metabolism is transient, perhaps lasting a few hours, depending on how intense the workout was. The unbridled optimism regarding the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded. Studies have shown that the EPOC comprises only 6 to 15 percent of the net total oxygen cost of the exercise, and only when the exercise is very intense (Laforgia et al. 2006). Since unfit individuals recover more slowly than fit individuals, the EPOC will be higher in unfit individuals. However, most unfit individuals simply can’t handle the intensity of exercise that is required to induce a high or prolonged EPOC.

The calories you burn when you exercise have a greater effect on your body weight than the calories you burn afterward. It is the workout itself that creates the demand for change.

Myth: Nutrition (diet) is more important than exercise for losing weight and looking good.

I hear a lot in the fitness industry about the importance of clean eating. Indeed, most fitness professionals quote that physical appearance is 80 percent due to nutrition and 20 percent due to your workouts. I don’t know where those numbers come from, but those percentages are unknowable.

If we are to assign a relative importance to each, it’s presumptuous to think that the specific foods we eat are more important to our health, fitness, and cosmetics than are genetics and training. People like to claim that abs are made in the kitchen, but the truth is that muscles are made by training them. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my sculpted legs and ass from eating kale salads; I got them from running 6 days per week for 33 years.

This is not to say that a person’s diet doesn’t matter. Of course it does. But to place such a large emphasis on diet over exercise misses an important point—cutting calories and eating a more nutritious diet does not make you fitter. Although your nutrition is undoubtedly important, it doesn’t give your muscles a stimulus to adapt. Only exercise can do that and thus give you all of the fitness and health benefits. The sculpted legs of runners and upper bodies of fitness magazine models didn’t get that way just by eating fruits and vegetables.

Truth is, you need both diet and exercise. Diet gets your weight off, especially initially, and exercise keeps it off. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories each day. To maintain weight, you must exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Research has shown that body weight and body mass index are directly proportional to the amount of exercise people do (Williams & Satariano 2005; Williams & Thompson 2006).

If we take two people, and one eats perfectly clean with a nutrient-dense diet and no processed foods but doesn’t exercise much, and the other exercises a lot but has a mediocre diet with the occasional Twinkie or chocolate chip cookie, who is going to look better and be fitter? I hope you said the latter. Truth is, exercise and genetics exert a greater influence on how you look (and on your physical performance) than your diet does.

Join Dr. Karp for his upcoming webinar on this topic:


Jason Karp is the creator of the REVO2LUTION RUNNING certification, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, and recipient of the 2014 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. A PhD in exercise physiology, he has more than 200 publications, mentors fitness professionals, and speaks around the world. His sixth book, “The Inner Runner”, is available in bookstores and Amazon. Visit his website, Run-Fit.com

Article reprinted with permission from Jason Karp. Originally published on Personal Training on the Net (PTontheNet.com). 

 

References

Achten, J., Gleeson, M., and Jeukendrup, A.E. 2002. Determination of the exercise intensity that elicits maximal fat oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 34(1), 92-97.

Astorino, T.A. 2000. Is the ventilatory threshold coincident with maximal fat oxidation during submaximal exercise in women? Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 40(3), 209-216.

Dolezal, B.A. and Potteiger, J.A. 1998. Concurrent resistance and endurance training influence basal metabolic rate in nondieting individuals. Journal of Applied Physiology. 85(2), 695-700.

Knechtle, B., Müller, G., Willmann, F., Kotteck, K., Eser, P., and Knecht, H. 2004. Fat oxidation in men and women endurance athletes in running and cycling. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 25(1), 38-44.

Laforgia, J., Withers, R.T., Shipp, N.J., and Gore, C.J. 1997. Comparison of energy expenditure elevations after submaximal and supramaximal running. Journal of Applied Physiology. 82(2), 661-666.

LaForgia, J., Withers, R.T., and Gore, C.J. 2006. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Sciences. 24(12), 1247-1264.

Poehlman, E.T. and Danforth, E. 1991. Endurance training increases metabolic rate and norepinephrine appearance rate in older individuals. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. 261: E233-E239.

Treuth, M.S., Hunter, G.R., and Williams, M. 1996. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 28(9), 1138-1143.

Tucker W.J., Angadi, S.S., and Gaesser, G.A. 2016. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption after high-intensity and sprint interval exercise, and continuous steady-state exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(11), 3090-3097.

Williams, P.T. and Satariano, W.A. 2005. Relationships of age and weekly running distance to BMI and circumferences in 41,582 physically active women. Obesity Research. 13(8), 1370-1380.

Williams, P.T. and Thompson, P.D. 2006. Dose-dependent effects of training and detraining on weight in 6406 runners during 7.4 years. Obesity. 14(11), 1975-1984.

Jerk Spiced Turkey Burger

The Naturopathic Chef: Jerk Spiced Turkey Burgers with Peach Salsa

Dry rubs are my “thing!” I love the deep flavor and crispy crust that dried herbs and spices impart. Dry rubs are any combination of dried herbs, spices, sugar, and salt that you like. Jerk celebrates the flavors of the Carribean and is generally very spicy, with the use of the native Carribean chili, the scotch bonnet. I used cayenne and a mild chili powder blend here, but if you can find dried scotch bonnet, you’ll truely transport your guests to Jamaica. Hang on to your extra rub, chef’s! This recipe makes enough for two to three recipes.

Dry Rub

  • 3 tsp dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tsps each, allspice, thyme, ground ginger, granulated garlic,
  • 1 1/2 tsps each, chili powder blend (or Scotch Bonnet), salt
  • 1 tsp each, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Measure everything into a small mixing bowl, or jar. Mix all dry herbs and spices together using a whisk, or put a lid on your jar and shake it! (a little Zumba music, please!) Be sure to label and date the jar.

Turkey Burgers

  • 1 1/4 lb ground Turkey
  • 2 Tbls Tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbls Jerk rub
  • extra Jerk rub to season burgers while cooking

Mix all ingredients together. Please don’t over-handle the meat, this makes a tough burger. Form four patties. Put a dimple in the center of each pattie. Sprinkle with a little extra rub on both sides, and grill over medium-high heat, four minutes each side. Rest 3-5 minutes before service.

Tasty tip: Turkey Burgers have a reputation for being dry. This is due to the leanness of the meat, naturally. Slice Oranges into 1/4” slices. Make a “bed” for your burgers, and grill on the moist fruit slices. Finish directly on the grill to create that irresistible Jerk rub crust.

Peach Salsa

This bright fruit salsa will compliment many of your family favorites. Serving fruit with meat is an age old practice, as the enzymes in the fruit help break down animal proteins. The classic pork with pineapple is a great example of this principle. I like the cool peach flavor, against the very spicy jerk seasoning. The hot off the grill spicy turkey burger served on tender butter lettuce, and topped with the cool peach salsa…now that’s a summer burger!

  • 3 Peaches, peeled, and small dice
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, small dice
  • 1 small Jalepeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 Tbls Purple Onion, minced
  • 2 Tbls Cilantro, remove stems, chop fine
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 tsps Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Gently toss all prepped ingredients, and chill until service.

Turkey Burger Phyto Facts

Turkey is packed with minerals, especially Selenium and Zinc. As we’ve talked about before, Selenium is at the top of the cancer-fighting list. It is also considered a longevity nutrient, as it slows the aging clock. Zinc acts as a catalyst in our bodies: every time we eat foods high in Zinc, our bodies produce a very powerful antioxidant called Super Oxide Dismutase. This is why Zinc has a reputation for building immune system response. It’s really the S.O.D. we create, after ingesting Zinc.

Skinless Turkey is one of the best ways to prevent pancreatic cancer, providing the Turkey has been raised organically, and is pasture fed. This amazing protein source helps us burn body fat, and induces deeper sleep.

Turkey also has a very favorable ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. We always want higher Omega-3; Omega-6 is healthy, but too much, and it can cause malignant tumor growth.

All of the spices and herbs used contain medicine too. After all, the medicines we’re familiar with every day came from herbs. Cinnamon and Allspice are Mother Nature’s antibiotics, they stabilize blood sugar, and lower blood pressure. Chilis open the arteries and are anti-inflammatory. Thyme brings a woman’s menses down, and eases hormonal discomforts. Black pepper cleanses the liver. As you can see, all of nature’s gifts have health benefits when used properly.

Another nutrient is in the tomato paste. This is one of the most concentrated forms of Lycopene because tomato paste is cooked down to such a strong concentration. Two tablespoons of organic tomato paste per day is a great preventative measure against prostate cancer. Please be mindful of the acid. We don’t want to create an imbalance in our digestive tract.

Peach Salsa Phyto Facts

Yellow peaches contain Beta-Carotene which the body uses to make vitamin A. This kind of vitamin A is skin repair, reduction in sun damage, cancer prevention, and an immune booster. The honey is nature’s moisture magnet: these two together are some of the best skincare we can eat! The bell pepper also contains those valuable carotenoids, high in vitamin A and C, they help us repair tissue damage, and move fresh oxygen out to the cells efficiently.  Cilantro contains Apiginin, this offers protection against Ovarian cancer, as well as being high in Chlorophyll. The green in plants refreshes the bodily systems, repairs damaged cells, and assists in the carrying of oxygen. This is effective Delicious Medicine to eat, if you felt a summer cold coming on.


Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com