Monthly Archives: February 2017

February 27, 2017

Fix your fat liver with Kristin Kirkpatrick

Kristin Kirkpatrick is a widely recognized registered dietician and the author of a new book entitled, Skinny Liver. This book gives a greater picture of what the liver does for your whole body and how to properly take care of it.

Kristin explains that organs such as the heart and brain are the body’s “lead actors” and the liver is the “director”. One of the most important and most resilient organs, the liver has the potential to rebuild itself if given the opportunity. The liver can regenerate itself, and you can even give part of your liver to someone else.

The liver affects other organs and parts of the body. One of the liver’s main roles is to metabolize nutrients and macronutrients. It is also responsible to manage the buildup of ammonia within one’s system. When the liver is not functioning properly, ammonia can build up and cause other health problems.

One main problem associated with the liver is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This occurs when droplets of fat are found within the liver. Eventually the liver becomes overloaded with this fat and can’t function properly. This can develop into a more severe form called NASH, where these droplets of fat turn into inflammation and can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Kristin also warns of the danger of sugar with liver health. Sugar has no nutrient density and the liver is ultimately responsible for metabolizing fructose in one’s diet. This can become overwhelming for the liver, which may lead to other implications health-wise.

Skinny Liver tells you about potential liver issues and gives you tools and guidance to make changes in your own health. To connect with Kristin Kirkpatrick, visit www.kristinkirkpatrick.com.

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Get a happy gut | Dr. Vincent Pedre

February 24, 2017

The essentials of mass building

When our weight lifting objective is mass building, there are three key phases to consider: work, food, and rest. All three phases are very important, as you cannot properly build mass without focusing on all three.

Work Phase

This is what most people think of when building muscle mass—doing the actual work or exercise. Pick particular muscle groups that you want to work. This work tends to be more single-joint movements that will isolate muscles. Reps for each set should be in the six to 10 range, with three to four sets total. The weight with the movements are slow and controlled to create time under tension combined with this volume of reps. That combination will give the stimulus to grow the muscle.

Food Phase

After each workout, you will need to consume certain foods to assist in building mass. A little bit of carbs after the workout will restore the glycogen used during your workout. You will also need protein, so consider 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain an overall healthy, nutritious diet.

Rest Phase

Between sets, be sure to rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Slowing down will give you energy and intensity to put into your sets. For most people and muscle groups, a proper rest period between workouts is about 48 to 72 hours. Even if you’re still experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), as long as you’ve given yourself the proper rest period, you should be okay to proceed. Make sure to get quality sleep, usually seven to nine hours per night.

Remember to focus on all three phases to put your best foot forward in building muscle mass.


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Body by science | Dr. Doug McGuff

February 22, 2017

11 of my health and fitness pet peeves

Here are a few of my biggest pet peeves related to health and fitness:

  1. Stuck on calories in/out – All of these calorie measurements are estimates. Eat good quality, nutritious food and let your body tell you when it’s full.
  2. Barbie reps – Not burning calories or building muscle. Not getting benefit of a true resistance program that includes a challenge on the muscle.
  3. Food puritans – Food choices are often limited anyway. Do the best that you can. Food is about replenishing our body and making the best choices possible given our circumstances.
  4. Bro science –Don’t always follow the crowd, because sometimes the crowd is wrong. Do a little bit of research on your own.
  5. Pre-workout stimulants – Avoid these. If you’re getting proper nutrition, that is all you need.
  6. Fat loss supplements – If you’re eating a good diet and you’re moving around, your body will begin to burn fat without these supplements.
  7. Flat stomach machines – Your body has a natural rhythm to how it wants to store fat. These machines will not be the difference maker.
  8. Incomplete nutritional information in apps – You must do your own diligence to be sure what you’re eating is a true serving compared to the information within the app.
  9. Ignoring food, stress, and sleep – You cannot ignore these, as you need them in your program just as much, if not more, than exercise.
  10. Scale worship – The scale is not a good measure of health and fitness, but a measure of body mass. Focus on how you look and feel.
  11. Irresponsible headlines – Misleading headlines cause people to make health decisions without understanding the real implications.


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How to shop for good food

February 20, 2017

The science of mind over body with Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant is an accomplished science journalist and the author of the new book, Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body. This book examines the role that the mind plays in healing the body.

One example of how the mind impacts healing within the body is displayed through the placebo effect. Jo explains that many people do get better simply by taking a placebo. Decades of research has shown that taking any medicine, including a placebo, triggers specific changes in the brain that eases our symptoms.

Many trials have shown that placebos even work when the patient knows the medication is a placebo. This may be because the brain gets the signal that the body is being cared for, and therefore backs off on its own symptom signals.

Similarly, the brain decides what level of the symptom we need to see based on the severity of the injury or issue. This is similar with fatigue. The sensation created is a psychological one of exhaustion and fatigue, so that we don’t push ourselves to a risk of death. This role that the brain plays shows that we have some control through our beliefs, hopes, attitudes, for example. Exercises such as HIIT can actually help improve our performance and break down this fatigue state, as the brain learns to let the body go a bit further each time based on previous experience.

Jo also speaks about the role of the vagus nerve within the parasympathetic nervous system in altering one’s heart rate. By slowing one’s breathing, the vagus nerve is triggered to keep the body and mind calm. This helps the body to better respond to stress.

Cure is a great primer to understanding how powerful mind can be for your body. To connect with Jo Marchant or to learn more about Cure, visit www.jomarchant.com.


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Forever painless with Miranda Esmonde-White

February 17, 2017

11 Health and fitness objections

There are many health and fitness objections, but many of them don’t hold up. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Bad genetics – Your genetic potential is to be a better person. With the right amount of work and managing your health, you can accomplish any goal. Mindset is key. Your body will follow.
  2. Tried everything – It’s not about the temporary fix. To make change, you must fix your lifestyle.
  3. Boredom – A good walk outside is never boring. Many different machines in the gym will keep you entertained. There are options to increase variety.
  4. Don’t want to get bulky – Those who get bulky often have genetic advantages and are using supplements. Focus on being lean and strong.
  5. Intimidated by the gym – Consider hiring a personal trainer to introduce you to the equipment. Check out a gym before joining to be sure you feel comfortable and perhaps work out with a friend.
  6. Unsupportive spouse – Have a conversation with your spouse about your goals and gaining their support. Encourage them to join you.
  7. Can’t move like that – You’re not competing with others. You are competing with you. Over time, you will improve your mobility, strength, and endurance.
  8. No time – This really shows a lack of priority. Make a commitment and schedule time on your calendar.
  9. Illness – Don’t go to the gym if you are sick. Instead, try doing your workout at home.
  10. Injury – There are ways to work around your injury. Avoid the area of injury, but focus on other areas of your body.
  11. Don’t know where to start – First, solidify your goal and assemble the program to get you there. Consider hiring a personal trainer or joining the Surefire Results for Weight Loss

Need help? Reach out to me at main@forever.fitness.

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Gym etiquette

February 15, 2017

Becoming a certified personal trainer

There are multiple paths to becoming a certified personal trainer. I began my journey as a personal trainer because I wanted to get fit, but I didn’t have the time and availability to work with a trainer or get to the gym. In an effort to learn the skills and apply them to my own life, I chose to take part in the comprehensive certification program offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or NASM. After six months of studying and learning, I was able to sit for the certification exam.

My daughter is also a personal trainer, but her path was a bit different. During college, she took kinesiology courses and acquired her L1 base level certification for CrossFit instructors. She is now studying to attain her certified strength conditioning coach certification.

Though the path to becoming a certified personal trainer can be quite varied, note that not all certifications are equal.

Is one type of certification better than the other? No; it simply comes down to the individual’s preference.

As a personal trainer, it’s more about working with your clients and being an overall good trainer. Here are a few tips in doing so:

  1. Aim to teach the client everything you know so that he can move onto something bigger and better. A good trainer should not be striving to be a client’s trainer for life.
  1. Focus on what the client wants. It may take time to get the client’s mindset to ease through a progression of what they should achieve.
  1. It’s all about the relationship. The trainer and client must get along and communicate well. The relationship is based upon the client’s personal development.

When becoming a certified personal trainer, be choosy about the path that works best for you. A good personal trainer stands out not only because of his education but also because of his soft skills.

Here is the guide on selecting a personal trainer.  You can use this to assess your needs as you work toward this goal.

8 Things to Look for in a Personal Trainer

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Here is another episode you may enjoy

When to fire your personal trainer

February 13, 2017

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

After an intense workout, it’s normal to feel sore or stiff. You may even struggle to move. This is a natural physical reaction to the work you have done called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short.

What causes DOMS? The current popular thought is that when we do resistance style exercise, micro tears are created within the muscle, which allows these muscles to get stronger. Because of this, the autoimmune system often sends signals that we’ve overdone it, which manifests in the soreness we feel.

How can we manage DOMS?

  1. Get into a mode of active rest. Though you will want to lay still to avoid the pain, you should actually try to move muscles in full range of motion throughout the day.
  1. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated and flush out impurities, which will help to maintain your muscles. Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes such as potassium and sodium.
  1. Get an adequate amount of protein. This will help to add muscle and allow you to get stronger.
  1. Rest at least 48 hours between exercise sessions. You may be sore, but you are still capable of doing work. You may consider toning down the workout slightly, but there is no need to skip a session if you have rested adequately.

There are smart ways to get fit and improve your physique without experiencing DOMS after every workout. By having a good plan in place and doing everything in moderation, you will be better able to manage delayed onset muscle soreness.


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Essentials of strength training

February 10, 2017

Going too hard, too long with Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn is a professional frame builder, bike designer, and co-author of a new book entitled, The Haywire Heart. This new book examines the potential impact on the heart when pushing one’s self too hard during the course of exercise.

Though exercise is often viewed as a key to living a healthy life, research has indicated that we can actually go too far during exercise. At a certain point, there is potential for exercise-induced disease, especially concerning the heart.

A competitive cycler, Lennard explained that during one particular race, he noticed his heart rate was extremely high. He decided to get it checked out later in the day and was instructed to go to the ER. Though he was in denial for some time about the issues with his heart, he continued to train and race. Eventually these incidents became so frequent that he needed to stop.

Lennard was experiencing arrhythmias, which is an electrical problem of sorts with one’s heart, that causes an irregular or abnormal rhythm. Symptoms encompass a wide variety, ranging from a racing heart rate to general uneasiness. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which can present as a strange feeling in the chest or an erratic heartbeat. This can persist for hours or days and may require medical intervention. Anything that seems out of the ordinary should be evaluated by a medical professional.

To encourage heart health, Lennard recommends adding magnesium to one’s diet, as it is critical for the function of the heart. Other beneficial supplements include CoQ10, baby aspirin, hawthorn, L-carnitine taken with alpha-lipoic acid, and iodine.

To connect with Lennard Zinn or purchase The Haywire Heart, visit www.zinncycles.com.

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The tao of running | Gary Dudney

11 Health and fitness biohacks

There are four main tactics to employ when trying to lose weight: eating well, movement, quality sleep, and managing stress.  But if you're looking to find some incremental advantages, you can add some health and fitness biohacks.  These practices/foods won't move the needle, but they may be something for you to consider as you go on your health and fitness journey.

Health and Fitness Biohacks:

  1. Cold – Submerging the body in cold water boosts the metabolism and helps to reduce body fat and inflammation.
  2. High-intensity interval training – HIIT builds endurance and enhances your metabolism. Be sure to fully recover during recovery periods and between workouts.
  3. Intermittent fasting –This keeps the body in fat burning mode for longer. One method involves eating during an eight-hour period and fasting for the other 16 hours each day.
  4. Ketosis – Ketones in the blood can be used to fuel the body’s energy, which leads to fat loss.
  5. Hormone management – Aging often leads to a lowering of estrogen or testosterone, which causes the body to store fat in different ways. Maintain good hormone levels through diet, exercise, and possibly supplementation under a physician’s care.
  6. Treadmill desk – Do normal work while walking one to two miles per hour. This increases your activity level and improves core strength and balance.
  7. Warm lemon water – Consuming this in the morning jumpstarts the metabolism, digestive track, and energy levels.
  8. Apple cider vinegar – One tablespoon before bed each night can have a positive effect on lowering blood sugar.
  9. Elimination diets – Added weight can be caused by inflammation from certain foods. Elimination diets will help you determine which foods cause you inflammation and should be removed from your diet permanently.
  10. Manage your water – Flushing water from the body is one way to drop a few pounds fairly quickly.
  11. Long, slow distance – This stress-reducing exercise keeps the metabolism going and allows you to stay in a fat burning mode.

While these health and fitness biohacks should not be used as a primary method of weight loss, they may be able to supplement the main four tactics.

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11 Best weight loss lessons

February 6, 2017

11 Foods you should be eating

There are several healthy foods you should include in your diet.

  1. Avocado – Has good fats, tastes great, and is a great source of potassium without the sugar.
  2. Fish – Should eat at least three to four times per week. Mix varieties and choose wild fish, if possible.
  3. Leafy greens – Great source of fiber and nutrients. Choose a large salad with kale or spinach.
  4. Nuts – Another source of healthy fats and contributes to brain health. Choose an in the shell nut and crack them open as you eat them.
  5. Variety of colors – Choose colorful foods like beets, bell peppers, blueberries and vary the colors of the food you eat regularly.
  6. Offal – A great source of nutrition, but difficult for many to eat. Find ways to mix liver or kidney in with other foods you eat.
  7. Berries – Those ripened on the vine will have the most nutrition and antioxidants.
  8. Dark chocolate – Varieties that are 85% cacao will be lower in sugar. Consume small pieces.
  9. Flaxseeds – Choose ground varieties and mix it in with any food.
  10. Turmeric – Has many health benefits, including anti-inflammation properties. Eat it with black pepper to improve body’s ability to absorb the nutrients.
  11. Water – Drink regularly to stay hydrated and flush toxins out of the body.

Be sure to incorporate some or all of these healthy foods into your regular diet to see a real improvement in your overall health.

February 3, 2017

Becoming a firebreather with Greg Amundson

Greg Amundson is known as the original firebreather in the CrossFit world. In his new book, Firebreather Fitness, Greg defines a firebreather as one who embraces the trials and tribulations of a great physical challenge and maintains an optimistic energy.

The term firebreather has less to do with the physicality of an athlete, but is more related to his spirit or heart. Both novices and seasoned athletes can embrace the spirit of a firebreather.

In the book, Greg includes exercises with visual representations and written cues. The movement patterns are broken down into four basic sets including:

Open – a full extension of hip and body (example: overhead squat)

Close – at axis of hip (example: crunch)

Push – (example: push up or burpee)

Pull – (example: pull up)

These movements are complementary and can be combined, such as with open and push movements, for example. Greg explains that the movements involve multiple joints and use body weight moving through the same patterns. Elite levels of fitness can be accomplished with just moving our bodies.

Greg also discusses the concept of virtuosity, meaning to do the common uncommonly well. This involves finding one’s self completely aligned and integrated between mind, body, and spirit. Other important concepts include intensity, intention to do one’s best, and consistency. Maintaining fitness is meant to be a lifetime lifestyle. To encourage ongoing forward movement, goal setting can be helpful.

Greg also points out the usefulness of the zone diet. This diet quantifies the food we’re eating in a specific way, which complements the physical exercise. The diet involves sectioning off one’s plate, with a high-quality protein source making up 1/3 (about the size of the palm of your hand) and fruit and vegetable carbohydrates making up the remaining 2/3.

To learn more about Firebreather Fitness, visit www.gregoryamundson.com or www.firebreatherfitness.org.

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Warrior | Theresa Larsen

Nobody’s Perfect

As I near my 51st birthday, I have spent some time thinking about myself and my life. One of the biggest areas I have struggled with is self-inflicted stress and anxiety. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m always striving to be the best I can be.

The trouble with this mindset is that it often leads to comparison. It’s easy to look at colleagues in the industry, compare myself to how they look or what they have accomplished, and feel as though I am falling short.

What I’ve realized is that nobody is perfect. We all deal with this internal struggle. However, I have come to several realizations in determining how to prevent this negative mindset from taking over.

  1. Me versus me. We must stop comparing ourselves to others. The only person you should be competing with is yourself. Continue to make small efforts today and you’ll be better off tomorrow.
  2. This is a journey, not a destination. Keep working toward your goals each day. You may take a step back here and there, but you’re not out of the race.
  3. Seek joy. Don’t be all work and no play. Plan more activities or vacations. Take time to rest and enjoy life.
  4. Focus on your why. My why is to be here for my unborn grandchildren and family. It’s not about being the best in the industry or achieving perfection. Don’t let comparison confuse you about why you started in the first place.

We are human. We all have good days and bad days. As members of the 40 Plus Fitness Community, we can support each other throughout the journey.


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The three monkey experiment