November 26, 2009

Dig in with Georgie Fear, RD, PhD student, geek & Cook book Author

It's been a pleasure in the past to present geeks - phd students, researchers - who also find a path towards fitness. Georgie Fear of is a rather exceptional example of the blend.

Georgie is an RD, a registered dietician (think food doctor, more on this below), a fitness coach, a published researcher, PhD student, and now, Cook Book Author of the new COOK BOOK Dig In

Georgie has just released this awesome cookbook (in both ebook and paper) that is perfect for geeks who both want to eat healthily and tastily, but who don't have time to put together gourmet feasts. In Dig In, while many recipes are from scratch in the traditional sense of whole fresh ingredients, one of the things i enjoy about her recipes is that Georgie is unafraid of using intriguing foods that come in time saving tins, glass jars and plastic containers that still scream "tasty & healthy."

Both are possible.

We'll talk more about Dig In in a moment, but first, allow me to present an interview i've done with Georgie about her geek academic choices, and where health and fitness comes into that picture.

Continue reading "Dig in with Georgie Fear, RD, PhD student, geek & Cook book Author" »

October 28, 2009

10 Tips to Destress in 3 parts: move, breath, sleep

In honour of National Stress Awareness Week in the UK starting Wed Nov. 4, here's a few geek friendly de-stressing tips that can be summarized as: move, breath, sleep - do each well, and we set up the physio-chemical, neuro -kinesio conditions to de stress.

(image: what stress does to the body)

Continue reading "10 Tips to Destress in 3 parts: move, breath, sleep" »

July 16, 2009

Why contact lenses rather than glasses: eyeball Range of Motion and related eye care

A lot of geeks wear glasses.

If you wear glasses, you may want to think about moving over to contact lenses.


The muscles of the eye, focal length, and long term condition. Here's a few tips on how/why to think about each of these issues.

Continue reading "Why contact lenses rather than glasses: eyeball Range of Motion and related eye care" »

July 14, 2009

mc's Change-One-Thing-Only Sure Fire Diet

Pretty much all of us know that to lose FAT (not just weight) we have to eat less.
Being able to eat less though - well that's habits.
And a lot about good habits is making it safe for us to change our current behaviours. Change to our nervous system, especially around something as primal and survival based as food is pretty challenging.

Food is crtical to our survival; we're pretty wired to prepare for scarcity.
A lot of the best diet practices today focus therefore on habits rather than calories first, and making it safe for us to change from survival habits to aware habits.

Here's a guarantee that if you don't change anything else but make one change in the following categories, you will lose weight, consistently. The biggie will then be your persistence with this single change.

Continue reading "mc's Change-One-Thing-Only Sure Fire Diet" »

May 28, 2009

The Complete 1 Move, Once a Day, One Week Workout

If you have been toying with the idea of working out but don't know how to get started - here's a simple plan.

For one week, do one push up, once a day.

That's it.

If you can't do a full push up from the ground, no worries, do one from your knees.

If that's too much for you today, that's ok, too. Lean stand arms length away from a wall, and do a push up against the wall.

Again, that's it: one push up, once a day, one week.
WHen you finish week one, and have clocked one pushup a day, and only one, for one whole week, and want an idea for week two, shout.
Good Luck!
(Thanks to zhealth's (what's zhealth?) Eric Cobb for this Week 1 workout plan)

April 14, 2009

Getting Rid of Goal Crap & Clutter: Sedona Method

IAMGEEKFIT is usually about physical health and well-being. This entry is about getting right/fit mentally to get at that physical well being - and mental well being. It's about how to make sure when you set a goal, there's no insidious crap floating up around it, unseen, to sabotage your process. The clean up approach is called  "the sedona method."

Based on very preliminary (about a month of )study, there seems to be a really good approach to help not just set goals, but get rid of the crap around goals (eg, fear that might come up around a goal; trepidation; arrogance - whatever - all sorts of stuff).

We don't hear folks talk about that part of the goal process much. In fact i hadn't really thought about the "stuff" around a goal - having previously just focused on whether a goal was SMART (specific, measureable, etc) But what about whether the goal is really YOUR goal? Or if it is (like getting your phd before 2014), then is there stuff up around it that is making achieving it harder than it should be?

I've written a preliminary review of this approach to decluttering around goals over at begin2dig. Suffice it to say that getting a dead simple process to help clear out and let go of stuff around goals, and indeed just to be more open to other possibilities for health, wealth and relationship well being is a Really Good Thing.

If that sounds interesting, you can get a free CD/DVD and mp3 that actually lays out the whole process that's covered in the 20 CD (!) course . You may well find that you get enough from the CD and web site that you don't need anything else, but i'd encourage you to check out the cd freebie, poke around the articles on the site, and investigate what surfacing and sweeping out one's *stuff" might do for you. Let me know what you find.

December 22, 2008

Fitness Geek Gifts


If you know someone who is getting into fitness right now, or is way into it already, and you're looking for stocking stuffers or larger, consider this list of suggestions over at begin2dig. If any of you want to do training in the new year, or online, shout.

Also, remember: if you feel a cold coming on, hit the Chillated Zinc. Maybe stock up now to be ready - it's not in every pharmacy.

And for just general health stay hydrated and up the vitamin D. Apparently just about all of us are Vit D deficient.

Best of the season to you!


December 2, 2008

Sit up Straight - or don't. What's good posture, anyway?

So sit bolt up in that straight back chair and get ready for some difficult listening
- Laurie Anderson, Home of the Brave

Many of us have been told to "sit up straight" for the sake of our backs - and perhaps as children - to encourage proper bone growth.

Many of us have seen little wheelie chairs that induce a kind of kneeling that are supposed to be good for posture. Or have thought sitting on therapy balls a good way to encourage muscle action to support those low back vertebrae (they're not. i've gotten rid of mine).

Continue reading "Sit up Straight - or don't. What's good posture, anyway?" »

November 23, 2008

Rest Time as Key to Training Success

If you're doing resistance training - either with weights, bands or bodyweight (like pullups or push ups) - the rest time you take between sets of repetitions is just as critical as the weight and reps that you choose, and will have a significant impact on your success. Indeed, number of reps in a set, the weight of a set, the total number of sets, and the amount of rest taken between these sets are all related in terms of the kind of strength one's trying to develop.

I used to get impatient waiting around after a set - someone saying "you have to wait 30-90secs" just irritated me, and i'd just go when i felt ready. It's good to trust yourself, but it's also good to learn WHY that wait - and just that wait (waiting too long can also be an issue) is critical for the type of strength you're developing.

What kinds of strength are there, you may ask? Generally, there are several phases

Continue reading "Rest Time as Key to Training Success" »

November 18, 2008

Knowledge Work leads to Excess Eating? The Geek Nightmare

Ok, now there's another reason for geeks to need to move it move it. A new study has just shown that after reading, folks tend to reach more for the munchies, even when there's no increase in appetite or anything else.

Here it is:

Glycemic instability and spontaneous energy intake: association with knowledge-based work.

Chaput JP, Drapeau V, Poirier P, Teasdale N, Tremblay A.
Division of Kinesiology (PEPS), Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, G1K 7P4.

OBJECTIVE: To further document the impact of knowledge-based work (KBW) on spontaneous energy intake and glucose homeostasis. METHODS: We used a within-subjects experimental design, in which each participant was engaged in each of the three 45-minute conditions followed by an ad libitum buffet, 1) resting in a sitting position; 2) reading a document and writing a summary; or 3) performing a battery of computerized tests. Fourteen female students (mean age: 22.8 +/- 2.3 years, mean body mass index: 22.4 +/- 2.5 kg/m(2)) were recruited to participate. Plasma glucose, insulin, and cortisol levels at seven time-points, and appetite sensation markers were measured at each experimental condition. RESULTS: The mean ad libitum energy intake after the reading-writing and the automated test-battery conditions exceeded that measured after rest by 848 kJ and 1057 kJ, respectively (p < .05). No specific dietary preference was detected, as reflected by the comparable percent of energy from each macronutrient in the three conditions. No significant difference in appetite sensation markers was observed among the three conditions. Mean cortisol level over 45 minutes in the two KBW conditions was significantly higher (p < .05) compared with the control condition. Finally, a significant increase in variations in plasma glucose and insulin levels was observed as compared with the control condition (p < .01). CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that KBW acutely induces an increase in spontaneous energy intake, and promotes an increased fluctuation in plasma glucose and insulin levels. This study contributes to the documentation of a new risk factor for a positive energy balance, with the potential to lead to overweight in the long-term.

So remember to push that snack beyond arm's reach when at the computer and do take the stairs at least DOWN to up your NEPAs, since we're working at a disadvantage already. Every little helps, eh?

November 12, 2008

When you work out, stand up! or lie down - just don't sit

Just a quickie note for folks who work out at the gym and tend to head for the machines rather than free weights when doing resistance training.

Skip the machines, find a qualified trainer and learn how to use free weights, and when you use those free weights, don't sit down; stand up or get prone.

There are a few reasons for this free weight advice:

  • issues around sitting,
  • proprioception,
  • range of motion
  • compound and closed kinetic chain movements

Continue reading "When you work out, stand up! or lie down - just don't sit" »

September 10, 2008

Kick Your Shoes Off, Free your Feet, tell your nervous system you care

There's been a LOT of work in the past 4-5 years about new research in foot ware and care. Guess what? feet work. All by themselves.

Guess what else? shoes stop feet from working. That's a pretty global condemnation but it's true: with a handful of exceptions, modern shoes are based on 200 year old technology (the lasts of shoe design), and for the most part are way way way too restrictive to let our feet do their thing.

It's not just four inch heels or wing tips that are the problem: it's also flip flops and horror of horrors those gorgeous high tech trainers with designs to "correct" supination or too much pronation or heel strike or whatever. And just when you realize that that's as bad as putting the foot into a cast, we find that flip flops and Birkenstocks sandles are equally horrific for other reasons: toes have to claw onto the sandle to keep them on. Despite claims that such "foot muscle work" is good for you, it really isn't. The body doesn't keep our feet in flexion (toes curled) with every step we take when we walk barefoot. That means just about every shoe in my closet is for the chop.

Why? Our feet are one of the most jointed parts of our body (after the skull and the hands) and yet daily, what do we do? Lace up shoes to restrict those bones from doing what they were designed to do to support us: MOVE.

THere's a fantastic piece in the New York Magazine from earlier this year that describes most of the latest research and why shoes suck. Recommended reading.

One benefit of freeing the feet this article doesn't touch on is the relation of squished feet to the nervous system. We don't talk about the nervous system much, it's just sorta there, right? But here's the thing: the nervous system, as described by Eric Cobb, is hard wired to check only very few things. One of these, demonstrated in the startle reflex, is not fight or flight, but the very binary Threat or No Threat. "We're geared to optimize for survival, not performance," according to Cobb. Most of the nerves in our bodies designed to detect how we're moving in space are at the joints. Guess what happens in terms of that Threat/No Threat thing if our joints are squished and so not sending happy "we're free and moving" signals back to the rest of the system? Is that going to be interpretted as a Threat or a No Threat?

Continue reading "Kick Your Shoes Off, Free your Feet, tell your nervous system you care" »

August 27, 2008

Suleiman Al-Sabah: Yet Another Fit Researchin' Geek

One of the challenges of IAMGEEKFITters is figuring out how to combine good eating and physical activity with the more time consuming, cerebral demands of like in academia, where the main physical requirement is to work in front of a computer screen. So are there models of folks who are in similar situations who have, however, found a path to working on getting healthy

A few months ago IAMGEEKFIT profiled PhD student Mike T. Nelson to see what motivates him to get out of the lab, and go pick up stuff and put it down, many times, all within the demands of courses, classes, exams and numerous other pay-the-rent obligations.


Today, i'm pleased to be able to introduce another person in the Research space, Suleiman Al-Sabah. Besides already holding a PhD and working as a fulltime researcher at Reading, Al has serious chops in karate and is also an RKC kettlebell instructor. The following presents an interview with Al, covering his research, his background in wellness, and how he keeps motivated to go move his body rather than spend more time at the microsope.

Read on for the interview

Continue reading "Suleiman Al-Sabah: Yet Another Fit Researchin' Geek" »

August 1, 2008

Pity the Poor Carbohydrate: it's the New Fat

It seems that carbohydrates are about to replace fat as the New Bad nutrient.

This may not seem like news for people who over the past decade+ have been chucking out everything of the hamburger but the pattie and the cheese. But of late on training sites and nutrition fora alike, the Cut Down Your Carbs message has been coming out loud but not clear - not clearly rationalized in any case - at all.

The Old Line was we get fat because we eat, well, Fat. Turns our we now know that's not the case. So what's our response? Let's find an equally simple paradigm to replace the old one. The New Line seems to be we get fat cuz we eat carbs. What makes us think that what i'll call the Anti Anti Fat Backlash of vilifying carbs as the New Fat is any more correct? Most over simplications are not. Has the Fat Fiasco taught us nothing? Well, it's taught us a whole bunch of names of different categories of Fat that we rarely celebrated before.

So, just as we're getting more sophisticated about fats - polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated (all about hydrogen, by the by as to whether or not a fat is saturated), and of course the newly dreaded and california and new york banned transfats - we may need to get a wee more sophisticated about carbs, too.

So let me start by asking this simple question (good to know the Enemy, eh?): what is a carb?

If you've just mentioned anything that would be recognized as a whole food like spinach, or a food product like whole wheat bread or a Krispy Kream Donut, or a lima bean, you'd only be partially right, and therein lies the Big Problem with the New Fat.

Let's look at why.

Continue reading "Pity the Poor Carbohydrate: it's the New Fat" »

July 15, 2008

What does "eating less" to lose weight really mean (and why does it take so long)

There's a basic principle in nutrition that to lose weight, the calories going into the system have to be less than what the system requires to function. The goal here is to trigger that fat you want to melt off to start getting used to fill the deficit for energy requirements.

It's actually a tricky balance, as anyone on a diet will tell you. Eat *too* little for your energy needs, and your system thinks it's starving, heads into what's known as starvation mode, and just stalls out, preferring to burn your muscle than your fat. Eat only a little less than "maintenance," and well, weight loss seems to move in dribs. That expected loss of "1 pound a week" just doesn't happen.

So what's the correct place to be, calorically, for kick starting weight loss?

Before i dive into that, a few caveats: healthy weight loss is not *just* about reducing calories. It's about eating the right kind of mix of foods for you at the right times that your system can make optimal use of that fuel. Think about it: those Skinny Bastards out there can eat anything and still stay lean. On the other extreme, some folks seem to just look at a pizza and gain weight. This doesn't mean pizza is evil; it just means that some folks run hotter and faster in their energy systems than others. It's because of these differences in metabolism that i encourage folks to check out precision nutrition for eating habits that take these differences into account.
To that end, precision nutrition does not start with calorie counting; it starts with habits of eating, and getting eating habits cleaned up.

For most people, that's all it takes for the desired effects to kick in. But sometimes it's useful to do a reality check on our practice, to see, especially if we've been dieting, if we're actually eating *too little* or if, in what we're eating, we're getting appropriate vitamins and minerals (micro nutrients).

So with that caveat in mind, let's take a look at some of the ways appropriate caloric deficit can be calculated.

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July 3, 2008

Consider the Context as well as the Source: Caffeine, Carbs and Recovery

A day ago, new research was reported that said "Post-exercise Caffeine Helps Muscles Refuel" - from ScienceDaily (July 2, 2008)

Here's a summary of the findings:

Glucose and insulin levels higher with caffeine ingestion

The researchers found the following:

* one hour after exercise, muscle glycogen levels had replenished to the same extent whether or not the athlete had the drink containing carbohydrate and caffeine or carbohydrate only

* four hours after exercise, the drink containing caffeine resulted in 66% higher glycogen levels compared to the carbohydrate-only drink

* throughout the four-hour recovery period, the caffeinated drink resulted in higher levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin

* several signaling proteins believed to play a role in glucose transport into the muscle were elevated to a greater extent after the athletes ingested the carbohydrate-plus-caffeine drink, compared to the carbohydrate-only drink

Dr. Hawley said it is not yet clear how caffeine aids in facilitating glucose uptake from the blood into the muscles. However, the higher circulating blood glucose and plasma insulin levels were likely to be a factor. In addition, caffeine may increase the activity of several signaling enzymes, including the calcium-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase B (also called Akt), which have roles in muscle glucose uptake during and after exercise.

Now, as we've talked about before, workouts - heavy resistance, intense intervals, loooong (90min+ ) runs, deplete that fuel, the muscle glycogen, from the muscles. So getting that fuel back into the muscles effectively is a good an important thing. Insulin is a hormone that plays an important role in this work. So caffeine sounds like it could be a Good Thing.

Well, there are issues: the study used a big dose of caffeine and researchers say their next step is to check out smaller increments:

However, because caffeine can have potentially negative effects, such as disturbing sleep or causing jitteriness, the next step is to determine whether smaller doses could accomplish the same goal.
Hawley pointed out that the responses to caffeine ingestion vary widely between individuals. Indeed, while several of the athletes in the study said they had a difficult time sleeping the night after the trial in which they ingested caffeine (8 mg per kilogram of body weight, the equivalent of drinking 5-6 cups of strong coffee), several others fell asleep during the recovery period and reported no adverse effects.

The nutrition/recovery guru Dr. John Berardi posted this article on the Precision Nutrition Forum yesterday, so i asked him, given the above research, what should one be recommending to their athletes? and this is where context comes in. Here's JMB's reply:

Carbs + protein increase glycogen recovery by about 40% over 6 hours (vs carbs alone). So I'd say that the high dose caffeine isn't necessary. Just do carbs+protein.

Hence context: while one thing sounds like it's really great (despite the side effects), there may well be other strategies that are near as effective, based on good nutrition, without the side effects. A similar kind of issue has come up with different types of creatine: take this type rather than that because it digests faster (and costs more). Sounds good, right? but actually one takes creatine AFTER a workout for the NEXT workout, so rapid digestion really doesn't matter. As the ING commercials in Canada used to say "so save your money."

And if you want good recovery after an intense workout, take a protein/carb mix. For workouts in the gym that's usually 2:1(carbs/protein) (ref); for long endurance work that's usually 4:1 (ref).

May 28, 2008

The Bum as the Path to Svelt-ness & a Fast Metabolism (Part 1)

It's actually quite simple:

want to lose weight? work your bum

want to get strong? work your bum

want to become a more powerful athlete? work your bum

leap tall buildings in a single bound? work your bum.

buutt.jpgWhy this focus on the posterior? The bum, and this may be a surprise, is the biggest muscle in the body. It's called gluteus MAXIMUS for a reason. There are a bunch of other bits in the bum, collectively referred to as "the glutes" - the gluteus medius and minimus are there too. Suffice it to say, that this is the biggest muscle group in the body, and thus can produce tremendous power. You may remember the definition of power from your early physics classes as work/time We won't go into the nice points here, but suffice it to say it's about moving an object with some omf over a given distance in a given time. For our purposes, strong butt means higher likelihood of generating more power.

The butt is not only strong just by itself, but it's also well connected with some other powerful muscle groups: the hamstrings (back of the legs) and the quads (front of the legs) and the lower back, well ok, and the abs - and other stuff too through the entire "posterior chain." For our purposes, the key deal is when we move that major muscle group, the butt, other big muscles, like the upper legs, come into play. When we move the butt right, all those other "core" muscles we keep hearing so much about come into play too.

So what, you may ask? What's the big deal in moving all these muscles?

In the first of this two part series on the magnificent glutes, i'm going to talk about WHY moving the butt is such a powerful aid to fat loss in particular (a nice side effect is increased strength, but right now, fat loss).

Continue reading "The Bum as the Path to Svelt-ness & a Fast Metabolism (Part 1)" »

February 19, 2008

Drink Responsibly: Get a Real Bottle - stop buying plastic bottled water.

water bottles

Image of two million bottles of water - the amount Americans drink EVERY FIVE MINUTES. from

Ever hear the joke about a new mesiah named Evian? he turned water into really expensive water.

It was a clip from an ad on the tube last night: why buy oil, ship it all the way over here to turn into plastic bottles, fill the bottles with water and sell the water, only for that plastic to end up on a landfill?

No kidding. The cost of drinking responsibly is so low: get a bloody bottle. We're spoiled for choice: stainless, colored stainless, polycarb, squishy, suction or pour.... Are we immoral if it's not a choice we're willing to make?

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January 20, 2008

Meet Michael T. Nelson, Very Fit Grad Student: "Training is a method to get more out of life"

Grad students are busy. PhD students perhaps especially so as they begin to run their own research projects and publish independent results. As with any class of student, there are no 9 to 5 hours. The work takes what it takes, and it takes a lot. A lot of time, energy and patience. It's easy to become a single track person, focusing on one's studies and nothing but.

What sets Michael T. Nelson apart is that not only is he a full time PhD student, he's also a very well qualified health consultant.

He's certified - like WAY certified in serious programs. He holder the following certificates:
Mike Nelson

  • CSCS, probably the most respected strength and conditioning certification out there - just take a look at the number of top people in the field who preface their PhD's with "CSCS." The certification requires a degree qualification.
  • Z-health, R, I and T phases - joint mobility and central nervous system work
  • RKC - Certified Russian Kettlebell instructor

Where some grad students have jobs to fund their studies (so does Mike - a couple in fact), Mike also has clients. He uses his certifications and academic knowledge to support his successful fitness consultancy.

No wonder Mike is a proponent of Getting Things Done (see below): one has to be organized to succeed at both one's scholarship and business. As if this isn't enough, Mike is also a Fit Guy. That means he's making time for his own health as well as that of his clients' - and the health of his research work.

So if anyone knows both the slings and arrows of an entrepreneurial grad life AND the value/deep scientific basis for thinking fitness thoughts at the same time, it's the soon-to-be Dr. Nelson.

While Mike is an up and coming voice in the fitness scene, he is also a generous guy: he hangs out on a variety of fitness forums providing free, technically and scientifically supported feedback to folks on their health, fitness and nutrition questions. With his qualifications and background, when he posts, folks listen. Mike kindly agreed to slice into some more of those precious temporal resources to talk about health, fitness and being a grad student.

The following reflects our conversation about helping folks think about getting fit; getting into some good nutrition practices, and why and how to follow through.

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January 2, 2008

vitamin d: essential sun in a capsule

I've been charting my food intake for the past couple weeks, and just looked at the RDA (recommended daily allowance) charts for the vitamin content. Everything is pretty well at or way above 100% - except vitamin D.

In the UK, unlike the US, dairy products and even soy products are not fortified with vitamin D. Now the usual super source of this vitamin is the Sun. In the winter, what with (a) going out less and (b) having more skin covered when we do go out and (c) having really crap grey days, our key source of Vitamin D goes, well, out the window.

This loss of Le Sol means it's a good idea to supplement our supply.


Vitamin D is a HUGE important vitamin. It's major known role is enabling utilization of calcium. Calcium is not only critical for bone building, but also in muscle building. Without calcium, something called the myosin/actin bridge which enables muscle contraction can't work. But the main role of vitamin D is to let calcium work for bone building. It's also being shown as important for boosting the immune system and having a big impact on SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

So how get that extra boost of D and how much do we need?

Continue reading "vitamin d: essential sun in a capsule" »

December 28, 2007

new year's resolutions for health and fitness: making it real

I've posted before about the importance of having SMART goals - ones that have a specific, measurable, acheivable, relevant and timed deliverable, like be able to do one pistol, each leg, in 12 weeks. That's a measurable, specific and timed goal, also very relevant to health as the ability to do a pistol is a great sign of overall strength, balance and well being. no kidding. 12 weeks is pretty good estimate for an able-bodied person to achieve with the right practice plan to get there. If it's not, it's always possible, once into it, to adjust the plan to better suit the individual.

Getting to a pistol is a commitment, and that level of commitment may seem a bit steep for someone just starting out on a fitness plan. But, tell you what: i'll make a commitment that i'll join any ECS iamfitter in that goal this term for as long as they stick with it.

But steep commitments aside (and it's just dumb to commit to do something that is just a turn off and you won't do), 'tis the season of resolutions, so how take the SMART approach and apply it to new year's resolutions for health, weight loss, fitness etc.

It can be easier than you think. Take a look at these examples.

Continue reading "new year's resolutions for health and fitness: making it real" »

December 15, 2007

Zinc for Reducing Cold Duration and Symptom Severity

Because we're heading into the holiday season, thought it might be worth mentioning a few things to have on hand in case of colds.

zinc in periodic tableFirst and foremost, one of the biggest aids to avoiding catching a cold is washing one's hands regularly and vigorously with soap and water - there's more research that shows spays are less effective than even water alone especially when used repeatedly. Good ol' soap and water (not anti-bacterial either) still rules.

Second of course is staying well rested and well hydrated. But if a germ does get you (why i hate plane travel will be an upcoming post, no doubt), one way to get on top of its effects may well be zinc lozenges, nasal gel, and maybe chelated zinc tablets.

Continue reading "Zinc for Reducing Cold Duration and Symptom Severity" »

December 9, 2007

Do you know what a "healthy body weight" is for you? Or what a healthy amount of exercise / week is?

Apparently only 3% of Americans (1) eat five servings of fruit/veg a day (2) don't smoke (3) exercise regularly (4) are at a healthy weight. While the first two of these are quantified, the last two are not. What does "regular exercise" mean? what is a "healthy weight"?

Continue reading "Do you know what a "healthy body weight" is for you? Or what a healthy amount of exercise / week is?" »

December 1, 2007

Every Step Counts: or Why Taking the Stairs Will Improve and Prolong Your Life (The Value of Non Exercise Physical Activity)

I am often perplexed when i see healthy 20 somethings standing in front of the fourth floor escalator to go down to the ground floor. Besides the horrible needless waste of natural resources to catch that ride, they are missing a great opportunity to increase non exercise physical activity (NEPA). Every little really does help - potentially a lot. One lean athlete, Chris Shugart over at Testosterone Nation recently reported on simply adding a walk to his existing activity pattern - with no other changes to his work out / nutrition regime - that meant going from low double digits body fat to 9%. That's it. just that little extra activity. What that drop to 9% means is this guy's 6 pack shows.

New research is showing, however, that going for that doing stuff other than sitting (or riding the elevator) - in other words, getting ambulatory in some way - has other significant benefits for health than keeping a lean guy lean. Indeed, new studies are showing it's critical to get off our butts.

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November 25, 2007

Fish Oil, Green Tea, CLA - good fat for weight loss

Working out, but not seeing the fat loss desired? A big deal according to many human performance researchers is, of course, diet: it doesn't matter how much time is spent on a treadmill, if we consume more calories than we spend. Unused calories get stored, mainly as fat.

Nutrition is critical in no small part because we're electro-chemical systems, and different nutrients, with their different chemical profiles cause different reactions. There are three supplements that are getting a lot of research attention (a) to help rev up metabolism and thus get fat burning boosted and (b) to help utilize fat stores more efficiently. In the month run up to the holidays, you might want to check these out.

In the metabolism revving category, it's green tea. Yes, that simple beverage has huge benefits. In the fat utilization category, it's (purified) fish oil, no. 1, with CLA, a type of naturally occurring fat, coming in a good second. You may be asking yourself "fat to help burn fat? Green tea to impact metabolism?" Yes and Yes.

Over the next four weeks, along with my regular diet and workouts, i'm going to be adding in the recommended doses that research has shown to have fat utilization effects, and see what happens. The following goes through some of the details on why i'm giving this a shot.

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November 20, 2007

Intervals - options for fitness and performance

Recently i was asked "how do you do intervals"? as in, with what piece of equipment. This question assumes that doing intervals is a good thing to do - we've touched on this before. It doesn't matter what your sport or activity is: interval training, or timed piece of intense work followed by a time piece of recovery, is a good supplement to any activity program, whether you go for walks in the park, play squash or weight train.

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November 18, 2007

Goals and Measures

If you say to yourself "I want to lose weight" or "i want to get strong arms" or "i want to bulk up" - that's great to have a desire. If that expression is not followed by a plan - a real, stick to it plan - that desire will not materialize. It's that simple.

Part of the process of getting fit/healthy is understanding clearly where we are now and where we want to go so we can build a path to get there. Two parts of this process are pretty simple: one is to have a clear goal, the other is to have clear ways to measure progress.

Sounds obvious, right? Well very few people i've spoken with about health/fitness actually have either a clear achievable health goal or a set of measures to know if they're making real progress. This post talks about a few ways to approach these basic parts of a health path.

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More Fat Burning More of the Time

Here's a quick idea for getting more fat burning:

if you usually spend an hour doing cardio, think about finding a way to split your workout in half so you do 30 mins at one time of day and 30 mins at the other.

Why? Double recovery!

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Water Water Everywhere : Carry a bottle, fill it, empty it; repeat

As it gets a little colder out there, the desire to hydrate tends to go down.

And that's BAD - it's so bad!

Drinking only if you think you're thirsty is the worst indicator there is to whether or not you need water. There's a really simple way, and the benefits are huge. In fact staying hydrated is one of the best, cheapest things you can do for your daily health.

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