By Dr. Michael Koskiniemi
In a world where time is money, and we always complain about never having enough of either one, it’s quite ironic that anyone still jogs. As I drive around and pass by fitness facilities, and as I consult with many gyms around the world, I always notice the amount of people still doing traditional cardio like running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or using an elliptical.
The reason most of us exercise is to obtain an attractive body, get healthy, and beat disease. Yet, the majority of people are doing traditional long slow distance aerobic cardio like running on a treadmill, cycling in group exercise, swimming, or any other moderate-intensity steady-state aerobic activity in the total imaginary “fat burning zone.”
Conventional wisdom is that exercise should focus on during calories and cardio is the best way to accomplish this. Meanwhile, the only thing this promotes is the ability to bike, run or swim for a really long time. What’s worse, is that cardio reduces the more critical biomarkers (muscle mass, strength, metabolic rate, body fat percentage, aerobic capacity) in the process. Those of you that continue to bike, run, and swim, further and more frequently are losing muscle; and as it continues to decline they’re losing strength, storing fat, and reducing your resting metabolic rate.
Exercise should focus on building and maintaining muscle. This translates to a higher metabolic rate, lower fat storage rate, and decreased risk of degenerative disease and morality. Individuals that work on building muscle always look better than those that focus on cardio. Not only because a toned muscular build is more aesthetically pleasing, but because muscle increases our daily burning rate. People with more muscle burn more energy at rest, and require less exercise to maintain their physique.
The perfect expand is a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that put two groups on a calorie restricted diet, with on doing ‘only cardio’ and the other doing ‘only resistance training.’ Both groups lost weight (28.2 lbs and 32 lbs respectively), but the ‘only cardio’ participants lost 9 lbs of muscle and decreased their resting metabolic rate by 210 calories/day. the ‘only resistance’ group lost 1.8 lbs of muscle (because of the deficit), and managed to increase their resting metabolic rate by 63 calories/day! In other words, the ‘only resistance’ group will burn 273 more calories that the ‘only cardio’ group EVERY day going forward without moving a finger. Plus, they’ll be sporting a stronger, more muscular physique; which aside from being more visually appealing, sets the stage for successful aging.
If you enjoy these activities, I guess you can have at it. But, it’s important to understand that this behavior is not getting you any closer to the strength and muscle necessary to fight the negative effects of again. And when done to the extreme (which has become common with the universal goal of ‘running a marathon’) it’s probably accelerating the process.
If you’re currently doing strength-training and still want to maintain a level of aerobic capacity, I direct you to Small Group Training (SGT) or Team Training (TT) at Motions Fitness. Which not only gives you all the benefits that the marathon person is acquiring without the excessive stress and free radical damage, but requires less than a fraction of the time.
For more information, pricing and a schedule of SGT and TT at Motions, please stop by Motions Fitness, call 906-228-2233, email [email protected] , or visit our website at www.MotionsFitness.com and get started today!
Be it because of the toxicity which surrounds us or because of bodies cannot handle properly the estrogens we produce. Whichever is the case, it can lead to an estrogen overload called estrogen dominance. And aside from the male issues you might think it leads to, it can cause serious health complications for both men and women. Thinking of shedding some body fat? Want to increase strength? Stave off cancer? Have better cognition? Conceive a child? Conquer depression? Estrogen dominance can disrupt all of those.
This article is not about how macho we have to be by driving down estrogen as much as possible. In fact, be it in male or female, estrogen is necessary for normal body function. It regulates a lot of body functions in both females and males, however a dysfunctional management of estrogen can spell disaster for your health.
This usually translates to too much estrogen and too much of the wrong form of the hormone in the body.
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How to Fix Rounded Shoulders…
If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you have round shoulders. And if you’ve had rounded shoulders for a long time, chances are you want to find a quick, permanent way to resolve the problem. There is such a way, one that often doesn’t involve any exercises or uncomfortable soft tissue work. Let’s take a closer look.
Poor posture is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip, back pain, cervical pain, and headaches.
Poor posture is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder pain.
Ankle injuries are among the single most common type of injury that occurs to athletes, but you don’t have to be a jock to find yourself suffering from ankle sprains and strains.
First, consider that the difference between a sprain and strain is that a sprain occurs to a ligament, and a strain is an injury to a tendon or a muscle. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that about 850,000 Americans injure their ankles each year. Of these, 85 percent are sprains.
Have you ever had a side that was weaker than the other on a particular movement or exercise?
When the body is out of alignment, even if only slightly, this causes muscular compensation. This phenomenon can cause the muscles that cross that joint to contract with less force. If you are weaker on one side, this can be a sign that the joints are misaligned.
The mechanoreceptors surrounding the joints send inhibitory signals to the brain, who in return prevents the muscles from firingas many motor units in an effort the prevent injury from happening because it senses that the joint is not functioning properly and could thus be unstable or unable to handle large loads.
So a very strong individual like a strongman competitor or powerlifter can lift incredible loads and yet still be imbalanced and prone to injury.
In conclusion, a very small discrepancy in the symmetry of the body can thus affect function of all joints and their surrounding muscles. This has important impact on performance, and can have profound consequences in the long run, in just about anyone.
Tyrosine, an important amino acid you may not know about
Like almost any nutrient, be it a vitamin, mineral, or botanical extract, amino acids are best introduced to the body via whole foods. In this way, they typically come packaged along with complementary and accessory nutrients that facilitate their absorption and fulfillment of their biochemical destinies. (It’s so nice of nature to do that for us, isn’t it?) But in just the same way that certain disease states, both acute and chronic, can increase the body’s need for particular vitamins and minerals above the levels someone would reasonably get from food alone, certain conditions may warrant supplemental amounts of amino acids.
There’s branched chain amino acids for potential skeletal muscle growth, tryptophan (and its metabolite, 5-HTP) for lifting a low mood or helping to promote sleep, and glutamine for gut health and tissue healing and repair after trauma.
What about tyrosine?
Like its aromatic amino acid brethren (phenylalanine and tryptophan), tyrosine is a building block for neurotransmitter synthesis. Unlike phenylalanine and tryptophan, however, it is not technically an essential amino acid, since it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. (For individuals with phenylketonuria [PKU], tyrosine is essential, as they lack the enzyme that facilitates this conversion.)
Tyrosine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is the starting point for producing L-DOPA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also the building block for thyroxine (a.k.a. T4, or thyroid hormone), but inadequate tyrosine is usually not the limiting factor in thyroxine synthesis. Individuals with suboptimal thyroid function might benefit from supplemental tyrosine, but likely only if hypothyroid symptoms are due primarily to insufficient tyrosine availability. Owing to its role in neurotransmitter and catecholamine synthesis, it has shown benefit for alleviating depression, acute stress, narcolepsy, and cocaine addiction. (With regard to cocaine addiction, tyrosine and tryptophan may be an effective combination, with these amino acids blunting the cocaine “high,” and reducing the depression that may result from drug withdrawal.)
Tyrosine competes with other large, neutral amino acids (phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine) for transport across the blood-brain barrier, so for optimal efficacy supplemental tyrosine is best taken on an empty stomach, or perhaps with a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack that is low in protein. Taking vitamin B6 along with it may facilitate the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine, as the vitamin is a cofactor for the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme that catalyzes the reaction.
The Brain and Mood Link
Considering tyrosine’s role as a precursor to dopamine and thyroid hormone, it would seem that tyrosine supplementation would be a slam dunk for improving depression. Yet, results are mixed . Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have failed to show efficacy for tyrosine with regard to depression ; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence indicates there may be a role, so it’s possible it depends on an individual patient’s presentation. Depression is multifactorial, so there may be cases where supplemental tyrosine will help alleviate symptoms, and others where the issue is unrelated to inadequate levels.
On the other hand, tyrosine may be helpful for supporting cognitive function in acutely stressful situations. A review looking at the effects of tyrosine on behavior and cognition found that “tyrosine loading acutely counteracts decrements in working memory and information processing that are induced by demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.” Most likely this is due to the influence of tyrosine on restoring healthy brain catecholamine levels. Other researchers had similar findings—that it does enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and cognitively demanding situations. One study’s authors caveated this by saying that it “is an effective enhancer of cognition, but only when neurotransmitter function is intact and DA [dopamine] and/or NE [norepinephrine] is temporarily depleted.”
Fortunately, it is an inexpensive compound to supplement with, so patients may be inclined to give it a try if their health care professionals suspect some of the symptoms they present with may be related to suboptimal tyrosine and/or reduced levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that come from tyrosine.
Note that tyrosine should not be supplemented in pregnant or lactating women, nor in individuals taking MAOIs for depression. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplemental tyrosine, for the production of dopamine, but it should not be taken at the same time as levodopa, due to possible reduction in the drug’s efficacy.
Weight lifting is important to begin to building muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of shoulder training.
Posture is essential if you want to be injury free and want to start adding serious size to your shoulders.
Visual feedback and equal weight distribution are important to ensure that your muscles contract accurately.
New study demonstrates omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to regions of the brain associated with cognition
According to a new study published last Thursday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, by using neuroimaging, researchers were able to demonstrate increased blood flow in regions of the brain associated with memory and learning in individuals with higher omega-3 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) are a group of conditions that cause mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. These conditions affect one’s ability to function socially, personally, and professionally. It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms start , just like many other conditions. There is evidence that simple prevention strategies can reduce the risk of ADRD by as much as 50%.
This new study included 166 individuals from a psychiatric clinic in which Omega-3 Index results were available. These patients were categorized into two groups: higher EPA and DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations (<50th percentile). Quantitative brain single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed on 128 regions of their brains and each individual completed computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.
SPECT can measure blood perfusion in the brain. In addition, performing various mentally stimulating cognitive tasks will show increased blood flow to specific brain regions. (Previous research has demonstrated that mentally stimulating activities reduce the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment even when performed later in life.) As a result, researchers identified significant relationships between the Omega-3 Index and regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas that are involved with memory and neurocognitive testing.
This study demonstrated the positive relationships between omega-3 EPA and DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition. This is significant because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
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