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The Ketogenic Diet : The Facts Behind The Hype

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The Ketogenic Diet : The Facts Behind The Hype

The ketogenic diet has gained a lot of publicity in recent years, with many people claiming that it is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat. The premise of the diet is to eat a sufficient to high amount of protein, low carbs, and high amount of fats. Proponents of the diet say that, by eating a high amount of fats, the body becomes a more efficient fat burner as it learns to use fat as energy. Along to using the fat consumed to power through the day, proponents of the diet say that the body learns to use systemic (bodily) fat as energy. However, many people have begun to speak out against the diet because of some possible side effects of a high fat diet. After all - fats, or fatty acids, are acidic and too much fat consumption can bring the body into an overly acidic state, known as ketosis. What is the truth about the diet? Do the positives outweigh the possible negatives, or vice versa?

 

Under normal conditions, the human body uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy. However, proponents of the ketogenic diet contend that by limiting the amount of carbs consumed and replacing those lost calories with fats, the body becomes a more efficient fat burner, using both consumed fats and systemic fats as its primary energy source. When the body is inundated with fats, the liver begins to break down fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies, and these ketone bodies become the brain’s primary energy source, rather than glucose from the breakdown of carbs. According to a paper published in Behav Pharmacol, an increased bodily concentration of these ketone bodies can dramatically reduce the amount of seizures experienced by those with epilepsy, with some patients reducing seizure occurrence by up to 54%. So, along with turning the body into a more efficient fat burner, the ketogenic diet can even be a substantial, drug free way to treat certain diseases.

So what are the negatives, you might ask? Well, they can be extensive and quite serious, according to some opponents of the diet. Again, breakdown of fats by the liver creates an acidic environment in the body that can usually be offset by a balanced diet. However, consistent intake of a high amount of fats can lead to low pH, or high acidity levels in the body. This can lead to decreased bone density and an increased rate of muscle breakdown. One study found that a ketogenic diet accelerated neurodegeneration in the forebrains of mice – essentially, speeding up the breakdown of neurons in the mice’s brain. Another study found that a ketogenic diet caused in increase in the stiffness of arteries in adults and children who used the diet as a treatment for epilepsy. This may not sound serious, but arterial stiffness is a telltale sign of vascular damage later in life.

 

So, is the ketogenic diet everything it’s said to be? That's up to you to decide. While it may be beneficial in the short term for both fat loss and the treatment of certain diseases, it can cause damage to multiple bodily systems if used long term.

 

 

Learn more about Coach Stubbs here

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Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367001/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27639119
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325592/

 

 

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Want Better Mobility? Try Strength Training

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Want Better Mobility? Try Strength Training

While the advice seems counterintuitive, if your body lacks the strength to keep itself stable during challenging tasks such as reaching high overhead or squatting down low, it will not be so willing to move all the way into the positions you ask it to. It is important to recognize that your body likes to be comfortable and will always seek to avoid discomfort. Ever wonder why, no matter how hard your try, you can’t seem to get your squat to go low enough, or no matter how often you stretch, your shoulders and neck stay tight? While a lack of mobility seems to be the apparent issue, the cause of your poor mobility may actually be an issue of poor stability.

When you ask your body to move in a way that requires lots of mobility, but you lack proper motor control and key muscles lack the strength to stabilize your joints at the full range of those movements, any number of those key muscles or supporting muscles may tighten up to prevent the possibility of injury. Until key stabilizing muscles have the adequate strength to lengthen and contract fully, and your nervous system exhibits the motor control to keep your joints stable, your muscles and joints will not move beyond what is perceived as safe.

Mobility exercises such as various forms of stretching or myofascial release (foam rolling) and massage therapy are effective interventions, and should not be removed from your regular routine of self-maintenance. However, the effect of these therapies will be temporary if solid motor control is not programmed into the nervous system, and if key muscles are not strengthened to meet the challenges you present them with.

For example, let’s say you have chronic hamstring tightness. You stretch daily, have gone to yoga, and get a massage on occasion. All seem to help for a while, but every morning you wake up they are right back to their same tight selves. What’s going on here?

Well, the first thing to consider is this: when you are not stretching, getting a massage, or doing yoga, what do you spend your time doing? Let’s say you’re someone who works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, and about 80% of the time you are sitting in a desk chair. That’s 40 hours of sitting per week, about 8 hours a day, and that’s just at work. Because the chair is supporting your weight, and your body loves to be comfortable, all the muscles that normally stabilize your body’s posture, become lazy over time and either shorten or lengthen to accommodate your new posture as your body sinks into the chair. Eventually these key stabilizers become weak and won’t like to move in ways they are not used to. If they are short as a result of prolonged sitting, they will want to stay short. If they are lengthened, they will want to stay lengthened. In the case of your hamstrings, prolonged sitting can chronically shorten the distal end (by the knee), and because you aren’t challenging the muscle in any way for many continuous hours, it becomes weak and stuck in that position. Even worse, your glutes and other muscles that help your hamstrings do their job become weak and stuck so your poor hamstrings don’t get any help when they need to do their job.

Each morning you wake up and do some stretches to alleviate your tightness, but because they are weak in that lengthened position, and other key muscles aren’t doing their job either, so they eventually tighten up again to stabilize the hip and knee or prevent a muscle tear. Because your patterns of behavior (sitting for 40 hours a weeks) do not require much mobility or strength, you have patterned your nervous system and muscular system to be comfortable with poor level of mobility and strength. So what’s the solution?

To fix a poor pattern, you need to combat it with a new and better pattern.

First, get moving.

If you’re sitting for 40 hours a week, and much of that sitting is continuous, even working out for an hour a couple times a week won’t do anything to save your posture and tight muscles. There is no way that 3 hours a week of exercise can compete with 40 hours of sitting. However, this doesn’t mean you need to exercise 40 hours a week either. Just take breaks, and take them often, to perform some slow and easy dynamic movements such as walking or slow squats with an emphasis on breathing. For every 30 minutes of sitting, spend 5 minutes doing some exercises.

Start a regular mobility routine or see a massage therapist if this is not already established.

Movement and strength training is essential for maintaining healthy mobility, however if you’re already tight, you will need the help of mobility interventions to get you back on track. Foam rolling, yoga, dynamic stretching, and massage are great options.

Hydrate

Dehydrated tissues are stiff tissues. If you’re dehydrated, your muscles are also more prone to injury and motor control will be altered to compensate.

Sleep more Seriously, get some rest.

For many people, more sleep may be the key to addressing their issue. Sleep is when you integrate what you’ve learned from your day into long term memory so that your patterns of behavior can become more permanent. Even if you do everything on this list, without enough sleep, the rate of learning your new habits will be decreased and progress will slow. Additionally, it is during times of rest that you build muscle and repair your body, not when you are working out. Therefore, without enough sleep, all your hard work in the gym and throughout the day will be for nothing.  

Have a movement specialist or high-level personal trainer create a strength training program and provide coaching on your movement mechanics.

At the very least, start some sort of regular strength training routine that challenges your body in all its primary movement patterns (squat, bend, push, pull, twist, and lunge/gait). It is important you build strength in this way so that your body has the stability it needs to take one various types of movements in a variety of situations. Additionally pay attention to your breathing as an indicator of how intense you should be going. If you are unintentionally holding your breath while you exercise, the intensity is too high, and really you’re training yourself to hold your breath and stiffen up every time you do an exercise, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to do! However, I recommend working with a movement specialist that has some formal education in exercise science to ensure you are moving optimally. A movement specialist can assess your movement and tailor a strength training program to address weak links in your body’s stability. They can also provide coaching to improve movement coordination and sequencing to ensure you are not performing exercises in a way that is detrimental. This is very important because if you habitually exercise with poor mechanics, you may actually create more instability, even if you feel stronger.

Combining strength training with a regular mobility routine and healthy lifestyle habits is the best way to make sure your body stays mobile and supple, not to mention it’s a really good practice for your health.

If you have any questions on how to get started or any of the advice written above, feel free to contact myself or any of the Perform For Life Movement Specialists. Our contact information can be found here: http://www.performforlifesf.com/our-team/

 

 

 

Learn more about Coach Randall here

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Sleep Like a Golden State Warrior

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Sleep Like a Golden State Warrior

    Between work, school, a social life, and of course exercise, we often forget to prioritize one of the most important aspects of our health: SLEEP. It’s easy to overlook the need for routine sleep with such busy schedules. The problem with putting sleep on the backburner is that it is essential in performing all of the important tasks in our lives. We all need sleep in order to reset our bodies to function at full capacity for the next day.

    Have you ever wondered why even though you have been exercising regularly you just can’t seem to get to that body composition goal? There has been evidence to suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. An article in Time magazine, “Poor Sleep Gives You the Munchies” discusses a study done by the journal, SLEEP. In the study, they found that sleep deprivation could lead to higher levels of endocannabinoid, which is a chemical that makes you hungry in the middle of the night.

    Sleep deprivation can also hurt muscle mass growth. A lack of sleep can lead to a reduction of testosterone and decreased levels of protein synthesis. So whether or not you are trying to lose weight or increase muscle mass, adequate sleep plays a key role in performance.

    So how much sleep do we really need? According to research, the average adult needs about 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night. In an interview with Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, he not only stated he gets at least 8 hours of sleep, but also he commented on his new key to success:

“I’d wake up on game day in the morning to practice, and I started noticing better shootarounds. My teammates are like, ‘Man, you’re making some shots today,’ and I’m thinking to myself, ‘They have no idea I’ve been going to sleep!’ I start getting confident. It’s 9 or 10 in the morning, but I know I’m going to have an amazing game tonight. Sleep good, feel good, play good.”

    In conclusion, getting enough sleep is one of the most important but overlooked aspects regarding a healthy lifestyle. If only we had a few more hours at night, imagine what we could accomplish.

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Here are some tips for getting to bed earlier:

  1. No screens (TV, phone, computer) at least 30 minutes before bed.
  2. Sleepytime teas with lavender.
  3. Take a warm shower before bed every night.
  4. Have an actual set of clothes specifically for sleeping in. Mentally prepare yourself for getting the rest you deserve.
  5. Exercise!

 

 

 

Learn more about Coach Nathan here

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References:

"Adult Sleep Needs at Every Age: From Young Adults to the Elderly." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Bromwich, Jonah. "Poor Sleep Gives You the Munchies, Study Says." The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Dattilo M. "Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Spies-Gans, Juliet. "Andre Iguodala Attributes Strong Play To Better Sleep Cycles." Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 10 June 2015. Web. 2 Sept. 2016.

*The image used is from Andre Iguodala's instagram, @andre.

 

 

 

 

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Going Hard in the Gym but HARDER at Home

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Going Hard in the Gym but HARDER at Home

Many people think that if they work hard enough they will achieve their fitness goals. Whether their goal is body composition, performance, or general fitness, the common belief is that success is directly linked to how hard you work. This can be true but there is a important caveat - working hard is more than just going to the gym and busting your ass. The hardest work is changing day to day life habits. Changing these lifestyle habits give us the vitality we need in the gym. Change takes energy. A well hydrated, well rested, and well fueled body is ready for change. Is that you?

"Never rob health to pay fitness" - Gray Cook

But before we work hard at the gym or at changing our lifestyle there are two critically important steps. Your first and most important challenge is identifying your goal(s). Get clear about what you want and why you want it. Don't be afraid to dream big, but make sure it's a dream that has check points. You want to gain 50lbs of muscle? Great. First goal is gaining 5 lbs!

This brings us to step 2: making a strategic, realistic, and measurable plan of action. Be prepared to revisit and revise. If what you're doing ain't working, it might be time to switch things up. Understand your body has not read any medical studies or textbooks. Your mom was right: you are a unique snowflake unlike any other. The interval training program with which your co-worker had great success may NOT be compatible with your unique body. Your program is to be tailored to your life, your goals, your stresses, and your strengths.

Your program MUST include lifestyle changes. In a week, sixty minutes three times of intense commitment to fitness cannot outweigh 165 hours of treating your body like crap: sleeping poorly, making unhealthy eating choices, and poor hydration.

Once the above are identified execute the ENTIRE plan with vigor and PRIORITIZE lifestyle changes over exercise. So often I see clients rearranging their schedules to accommodate for their training schedules. Meetings re-scheduled and dinner plans delayed to make way for the gym. This is great, but often this same client will not attack the rest of their lifestyle with such vigor and commitment. For example, a client will make the sacrifice of getting up an hour early and forego sleep to make their training session. I commend their commitment, but it is a flawed approach. This is a commitment to fitness that violates their commitment to health. I don't want my clients to get up an hour early if they don't go to bed an hour early! We are making change. Change takes energy! How do you expect to make that change on a worn down body? 

If you don't have the discipline to sleep early, you shouldn't be robbing yourself of your important recovery time for the sake of fitness. It doesn't work, and it isn't sustainable. Don't trade health for fitness!

We here at Perform for Life believe fitness is a by-product of health. The four P's of Perform for Life are perspective, purpose, passion, and process.

  • Perspective - It's important to have goals, but goals serve our larger mission of making fitness a lifestyle instead of an end-goal

  • Purpose - Be mindful of what your doing and why your doing it. When we are truly mindful of what we do, we can honestly answer the question: Is this serving me?

  • Passion - Creating a supportive environment for your journey.

  • Process - Committing to process that prioritizes health and lifestyle changes above all. The process might start at the gym but for success it must extend into the rest of your life.

So I leave you with the following questions:

  • Do your lifestyle choices serve your short term goals?

  • Do your lifestyle choices serve your long term health?

  • Chances are you are reading this blog at home or at work. What is the easiest lifestyle change you could make right now that will help you become a more vital human being?

If you can't think of any I offer you three options:

  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Turn off the computer of phone and go spend time without electronics.
  • Take a nap or it's past 9:00 pm, GO TO BED!

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No Pain, No Gain | Truth or Myth?

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No Pain, No Gain | Truth or Myth?

Should we be working out until we're sore?

As a competitive athlete and chronic over trainer in the past, getting “sore” muscles during and after my training sessions was something I took pride in. Having sore muscles was something I paid particular attention to because I was somewhat of a masochist who mainly trained for contact sports like football and boxing. Sometimes it seemed that it was about how much pain I could endure.

Okay, okay other than being a crazy person, I did understand that muscle soreness should happen when I started a new training program. My coaches and trainers told me that it usually lasted for a few days and it would happen every 4-6 weeks as I slowly altered the intensity of my training program during new training phases.

Measuring the productivity or effectiveness of the training based on soreness has exponentially risen this day in age with the popularity of boot camps, spin classes, heart rate monitors, and other forms of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Over the past couple of years I have increasingly noticed that many of my athletes and clients have become very concerned if they are not sore after their coaching sessions or small group training.

Because I trained for several years with the mentality of getting sore, I developed a bad relationship with exercise, believe it or not. I was chronically over trained and my performance suffered at times because I focused on high intensity all the time. So when Justine and I created Perform for Life, one of our main goals was to make exercise an enjoyable lifelong process. Our movement specialists focus on mastering movement before intensity and building rather than breaking down the individual. However, we are still see a growing concern for and attention to intensity. I could do a 50-page paper on the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training, but I could also do a 50-page paper on HIIT and its catabolic effects on the body -  in other words, how it stresses our bodies out and we end up breaking muscle down and storing fat.

Although I really want to go deep into it I am here today to focus on SORENESS. Is it good or bad? And should we always strive to be sore? So Coach Charles and I decided to put together some research and here is what we found…..

 

  • Research shows progressive overloads leads to improved fitness. Changing the mode of the activity, volume, and intensity should be gradually done overtime. Exercising constantly to be sore can result in overtraining or overuse injuries, which can hinder your progress and goals.

 

  • Studies have shown on a scale of 0-10 that muscle soreness is a poor correlation between muscle growth and adaptation. Soreness could affect us in different ways based on our athletic abilities and our genetic make up.  

 

  • Although being sore after working out can indicate that you have trained a muscle differently than you usually do, you don't need to be sore to build muscles. Extreme soreness can lead to less training days which does hinder muscle growth.

 

  • After beginning a new training program, you should be sore. It’s actually okay. After a few days, the soreness should be reduced, which means soreness isn't an indicator of having trained at high intensities. Soreness is actually the body’s way of saying it needs time to recover. Training to be sore can lead to overtraining.

 

  • In order to get the most out of your training, consistency is needed. If you are too sore, it can reduce your overall effectiveness of your program goals. Mastering movement is the key before training with intensity.


In summary, a lack of soreness seems to just mean you have adapted to the type of exercise program. So a solution would be to SLOWLY adjust training variables such as the load, reps, tempo, etc.  We’ve also concluded that constantly being sore can result in overtraining which hinders results. Instead, we should be refocusing our attention on what your muscles feel during your workout. Basically, it matters how you activate muscles and if you contract them correctly in order to get the lean muscle and performance outcomes you desire. In summary, it really doesn’t f*#king matter if you are sore or not.

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Sources:

Daly, A. (2013, November 19). Does Muscle Soreness Mean You Had a Good Workout? Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/sore-muscles-after-workout

Duvall, J. (n.d.). Trainer Q&A: Should I Be Sore After Every Workout? Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/trainer-qa-should-i-be-sore-after-every-workout

Gonsalves, K. (2013, October 08). Should You Always Be Sore After A Workout? Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/should-you-always-be-sore-after-workout

Matthews, J. (n.d.). Should My Muscles Be Sore After a Workout? Retrieved July 23, 2016, fromhttp://www.shape.com/blogs/working-it-out/should-my-muscles-be-sore-after-workout

Yu, C. (2014, July 17). No Pain, No Gain? 5 Myths About Muscle Soreness. Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/doms-muscle-soreness/

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