121118 Carbohydrates, triglyceride levels and the size of your waist

121118 Carbohydrates, triglyceride levels and the size of your waist

The modern American consumes approximately fifty percent of their daily calories from carbohydrate sources. These high carb diets signal the liver to create more of the previously mentioned Triglyceride rich particles. If the diet includes more than sixty to sixty five carbohydrates then this process increases.

Diets that are high in sugar, fructose being the main cause of the problem, raise the triglyceride levels and in turn stimulate production of triglyceride particles that are rich in very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).

As this substance goes through the bloodstream it loses some of the triglycerides, which eventually ends up as cholesterol loaded with a high concentration of LDL. We know that approximately sixty to eighty percent of the cholesterol coming into the artery wall is from LDL, the rest comes from Chylomicrons and VLDL.

Doctors and research scientists also know that people with high levels of LDL are at an increased risk for a heart attack and that lowering these levels can reduce the same risk. As of now, they do not have the research data to confirm whether lowering the level of triglycerides will do the same thing.

They do know that having both, high levels of LDL and triglycerides, is a heart attack in the making. Women with high triglyceride numbers seem to have a stronger link with heart disease than men do with the same numbers. Why this predictor is not valid for men is unknown at this time.

 

130818 VO2 Max Formula

VO2 Max Formula 130818

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

Interested in what your VO2 Max may be?

Here is a quick method to find out without using high priced equipment. It is equated to how far you are able to run in 12 minutes. K. H. Cooper, of the famed Cooper Institute came up with this equation for aerobic fitness.

The protocol is to warm up efficiently as it will be a maximum effort. Warm up and run on a level course. The course selected should have markings in meters so you know how far you have gone at the conclusion.

The equation:
VO2 max= 33 + 0.17 (x-133)
X is the distance (in meters) covered in one minute

From Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurz published by Stadion Publishing Company Island Pond, VT.

280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

Does your relative strength match these standards? In the following chart* you will find commonly accepted values for determining whether or not your strength is good, excellent or elite in the three power lifts.

Squat Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
Bench Press Male Female
Good >1.25 X bdwt >0.8 X bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to 1.75 X bdwt 1 X bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
2 X bdwt
greater than or equal to
1.25 X bdwt
Deadlift Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt

Relative strength means balancing out your lifting.  This requires adequate attention to each of the lifts; which in essence means your lifting should be in a ratio of one to the other across the board. It has been suggested by practitioners of the sport and the scientists who support these lifters that a ratio of 1:1.5:1.5 will provide the ratio for success. In this case the first number represents the bench press followed by squat and the dead lift 1 repetition maximum numbers.

*Adapted from Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength by Stoppani, J Human Kinetics 2006

290118 Changing your physical activity habits

290118 Changing your physical activity habits

Here we are, into the New Year and already many people have broken at least one New Year’s resolution. Are you one of them? If so, now could be the perfect time to step back and reevaluate why you’ve fallen off the wagon and are about to end up under the wheels.

New Year’s resolutions most often involve changing habits and that takes time. Your old habits won’t change in a flash. They weren’t developed that quickly and won’t go away that fast either.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you successfully succeed in achieving this year’s resolutions. They involve creating new habits to replace the old ones that are not working for you.

  1. Use your resolutions as your goal list. It is already written down or should be. Take this readymade list and divide it up into long term, intermediate and short term relatively easy to achieve goals. Tell others about them and begin developing your support group to help your reach each one.
  2. Change takes time and if you try to change everything at once then nothing will change. Go slowly in making these changes.
  3. Pick out the smallest and easiest habit you want to get rid of.
  4. These changes will take upwards of three to four months to complete. Develop and secure one small success at a time and then move onto the next one on your list.
  5. Since you have decided, or at least considered deciding, to begin with the smallest change on your list let me give you an example of a small something that you can do immediately. Grab a pen and paper and write down what you most recently ate or drank. Do this for a week, you will be surprised at the stuff you are putting into your body.
  6. If you want to start exercising, start small. Ride or walk for five minutes every day. No excuses just get the time in. Soon these few minutes will become easier to do and you will want to increase the time spent doing them. These minutes, short as they are, are the future building blocks toward more physical activity.
  7. If you expect these habit changes to be a walk in the park you are setting yourself up for failure. Life brings with it setbacks. How you handle them will ultimately determine your success or failure at making these habit changes permanent.
  8. If you didn’t reach a goal, reset it and go at it again. Don’t give up. The world is full of quitters, figure out where and why you didn’t meet the goal, readjust and move on. You can’t change the past, it’s over but you can change your future. Don’t waste time looking back; instead, keep focused on the goal.
  9. If today is not changed then tomorrow will not be any different.

121217 Balance out your exercise program

121217 Balance out your exercise program

It is well established that exercise benefits us in many areas such as increased self confidence, improvements in our moods, and longer healthier lives. Simply being able to do what you want to do physically and mentally may be made easier by engaging in a long term pattern of running, weight training, stretching/balance, and recreational sporting exertions.

During spring time the runners start hitting the road, especially those who are getting ready to run Bloomsday here in Spokane, Washington. While running is an admirable endeavor, it is not enough to keep your body in top physical condition. Our body needs physical and mental stimulation which is only achievable through the use of a variety of methods.

Cyclic exercise, similar to running, stresses the cardiovascular abilities thereby increasing the capacity to engage in lengthy activities through enhanced oxygen transfer to the working muscles. However, exercising in this manner will not increase the lean muscle mass composition of our body. In order to do that resistance training is necessary.

Weight training helps build strong bones.

Bone density responds directly to increases in intensities of load and site specifically to the greater pressures required to move the load. Adaptations take place within the structures of the bone that make it more resistant to the imposed loads and thus stronger.

Women in particular need this load bearing weight on their long bones, the spine and hips to stave off and help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis from occurring. Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that progressively decreases the bone density which in time leaves them weakened and vulnerable to fracture.

 

It is well established that exercise benefits us in many areas such as increased self confidence, improvements in our moods, and longer healthier lives. Simply being able to do what you want to do physically and mentally may be made easier by engaging in a long term pattern of running, weight training, stretching/balance, and recreational sporting exertions.

Flexibility

Getting stronger helps in other ways too. The strength to recover from a slip may prevent a bone damaging fall. Postural muscles that are strengthened through weight training inevitably lead to improved posture and a reduced potential of lower back problems. Even though strength training is high on the list of maintaining a strong fit body other pieces of the equation are important too. For instance being flexible enough to tie your shoes or even scratch your back is an important part of living a full and healthy lifestyle.

Work the joints normal range of motion each day by following a stretching program. But be cautioned that static stretching performed before a strength training session has been found to lower the power output by as much as 8%. If you are a sprinter, thrower or recreational handball or tennis player stay away from these at the start of your activity. The proper place for a static stretch is at the end of the workout when the muscles are warm and receptive to change. Doing so before hand, is an invitation to injury.

Find a good stretching book; read up on the proper way to stretch and start applying these to your exercise program. Brad Walker’s Stretching Handbook or Bob Andersons Stretching are two of the premier ones on the market and each one has stood the test of time. Even though flexibility is important it is not the end of the line. Maintaining your balance becomes harder as we age.

Balance

Prevention begins with daily practice. Standing on one foot or with heel to toe for multiple seconds at a time (60-120) will help stave off this decline in balance. Leaning toward the floor on one leg with arms to the side or rear will change the center of gravity and will change the feel of the exercise. In each instance it is important to have the ability to catch yourself on something solid to prevent a dangerous fall from happening in the event you do lose your balance while doing these.

Of course there are many other ways to practice balance training but this article is not being written to list them all. Suffice it to say balance is a critical part of living a healthy life.

Bodily balance. A physical state or sense of being able to maintain bodily equilibrium

290817 Moving the curve

290817 Moving the curve

Power is developed according to the formula which is the mass moved divided by time it takes to do it. If, for instance, you are moving a two hundred pound barbell from point A to Point B in one second during your early training phase and you decrease the time it takes to move this the same distance then you have increased your power output.

This is important to any lifter as the ability to move massive amounts of weight depends on rapidly and almost instantaneously increasing the force necessary to move the bar from the starting position. This is termed moving the curve to the left. It is also one of the most basic concepts in developing a powerful athlete. You must apply all of your possible force immediately against a heavy weight or an opponent if you expect it to be influenced to any positive degree.

Explosive force is separate from starting strength

080817 Heart Rate Calculation Options

080817 Heart Rate Calculation Options

By Danny M.O’Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

Effectively training in your target heart rate zone will result if greater physiological adaptations within your body. Knowing which formula to use in figuring out the best heart rate zone depends on how accurate you want to be in the calculations.

Here are three options to consider.They range in difficulty of using them from easy to slightly less easy.

The most commonly used formula is to subtract your age from 220. This supposedly results in your maximum heart rate (MHR). However, this can be off as much as ten percent plus or minus beats per minute in the final figure. Once you have figured out your MHR multiply this answer by 60-80% and you will have your exercise target heart range. As an example if you are 30 years old your MHR would be 190 beats per minute (BPM). Multiplying this by 80% will set your target heart rate at 152 BPM. The majority of your training time will be spent at this heart rate.

  1. Bear in mind the reason this formula will not be accurate as the same calculations are supposed to be used by both the elite as well as the sedentary. To even the most causal observer this will not be in the best interest of either person. In the first case the heart rate may fit the elite but be far in excess for the couch potato. My advice is to learn and use one of the following.

The Karvonen formula is a better option to use and it is figured out in the following three step formula:

  1. Age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR). Figuring this is the same as before, i.e. 220 minus your age equals APMHR.
    c. Maximum heart rate minus resting heart rate (taken as soon as you awake) equals heart rate reserve (HRR).
    d. Now take the heart rate reserve and multiply it by the percentage of exercise intensity, 60-80%, add the resting heart rate to this figure and you will have your target heart rate for training.

The most precise target heart rate formula is the one devised by Tanaka:

a. 207 minus 70% of your age will yield your maximum heart rate.
b. Maximum heart rate minus your resting heart rate equals your heart rate reserve.
c. Heart rate reserve multiplied by 70% plus resting heart rate will result in the target heart range for your exercise period.

180717 Stable and unstable surface bench pressing

180717 Stable and unstable surface bench pressing

Research scientists in Norway examined the electromyographic activity of the muscles used in the bench press on both stable and unstable surfaces. They compared 6 repetition maximum loads on three different surfaces. One series on a bench press bench, another on a balance cushion and a third on a Swiss ball. Admittedly, the volunteer numbers were small, at only sixteen; however, the results showed that a more stable platform insured greater EMG activity, which relates to greater strength development.

The EMG probes monitored the biceps brachii, deltoid anterior, erector spinae, oblique external, pectoralis major, and the rectus abdominus muscles.

In relation to using the stable bench, this 6-repetition maximum was approximately 93% greater than when doing it on the balance cushion and approximately 92% greater than for the Swissball. In fact the contribution of the pectoralis major was approximately 90% using the balance cushion and only 81% using the Swissball, triceps activity was approximate 79% use the balance cushion and only 69% using the Swissball.

The relationship to the balance cushion, the EMG activity of the pectoralis major, triceps, and erector spinae, when using the Swissball was 89% and 80% respectively. However, the activity of the rectus abdominus showed more involvement when using the Swissball when compared to both the cushion and stable bench.

The researchers concluded that the stable bench produced a greater 6 repetition maximum than was achieved with either the cushion or the stability ball.

Unless there is a specific medical reason to be doing bench presses on a cushion or stability ball you are going to get more out of it on a stable bench than a cushion or stability ball. If, however, you insist upon using unstable surfaces to bench on, the next best option is the cushion with the stability ball being used as a last resort.

270617 The Myth of Spot Reduction Exercises

 

270617 The Myth of Spot Reduction Exercises

Spot reducing exercises do not work and if your trainer is pushing you to do hundreds of sit ups in the effort to tighten up your abdominal muscles and in turn reduce the circumference then find another one. In a study performed by people doing over 5000 sit ups in a twenty seven day period it was found that size changes in the adipose cells of the abdomen were similar to the size changes in the glutes and the subscapular regions.

The training did accomplish one thing; it reduced the size of the adipose cells in all three locations not just the stomach.

If weight reduction is your goal then add in strength training and cut back on the endless cardio sessions. Muscle burns more calories per hour which at the end of the day means more expenditure of energy and better utilization of the caloric intake. This adds up to consistent weight loss if followed correctly.

230517 Adaptation of Bone to Exercise

230517 Adaptation of Bone to Exercise

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA.CSCS*D

Background information-briefly stated

Bone is considered a connective tissue that when stressed, deforms and adapts as a result of the load. To meet the strain imposed upon the external structure caused by the bending, compressive, torsional loads and the muscular contractions at the tendinous insertion point’s osteoblasts migrate to the surface of the bone.

At the point of the strain, immediate modeling of the bone begins. Proteins form a matrix between the bone cells. This causes the bone to become denser due to the calcification process occurring during the growth response to the load.

The new growth occurs on the outside of the bone to allow the manufacture of new cells to continue in the limited space with in the bone itself. This outer layer is commonly known as the periosteum.

Adaptations take place at different rates in the axial skeleton (skull/cranium, vertebral, ribs, and sternum) and the appendicular skeleton (shoulder, hips, pelvis and the long bones of the upper and lower body-essentially the arms and legs). This is due to the differences in the bone types- trabecular (spongy) and cortical (compact) bone.