Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Energy Drinks Good or Bad?

The energy drink industry is booming.  The demand for these products is driven by superior marketing efforts focused on students and professionals that require sustained alertness.  Certainly the key to any marketing campaign is to highlight the benefits of the product.  Caffeine is the main player and the benefits of caffeine use are improved performance, concentration and endurance.  It is easy to see the allure of using caffeinated products.  So perhaps the question isn’t whether energy drinks are good or bad, but rather when and if we should use energy drinks?
Use as an Ergogenic Aide
The research on caffeine as an ergogenic aide is generally related to athletic performance.  The results show improvement in athletic performance comes from the consumption of caffeine in capsule form and specific to endurance performance, such as distance runners.  As it relates to weight lifting maximum or low intensity efforts there doesn’t appear to be any measurable difference. It is important to note that because caffeine is a know ergogenic aide for endurance sports athletes need to be concerned with the amount of caffeine that can be consumed (International Olympic Committee banned amounts exceeding 12mg/ml in a urine sample, NCAA limit is 15mg/ml)
For athletes that require maximum intensity efforts and are using creatine supplementation, caffeine consumption may blunt the desired results from creatine supplementation.
Mixing Energy Drinks with Alcohol
Mixing a know stimulant (caffeine) with a know depressant (alcohol) is not a smart idea.  Consuming these drinks can halt the feeling of intoxication, lead to heavier drinking and increase the risks for alcohol related injuries.
Consumption for the average person
The occasional consumption of energy drinks appear to be harmless.  But the general recommendations are to limit the consumption to about 16 ounces (500 ml) per day. For adolescents the recommendation is no more than 100 ml and for younger children I would simply avoid caffeine.
Consuming caffeine above the recommended level can lead to a variety of side effects: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors.  Important to note that some people are more sensitive than others so it is possible to experience the side effects in much smaller doses.
Please note if you have any underlying health conditions such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, pregnant or breast feeding, just avoid energy drinks altogether.
A Healthier Option
If the purpose for consuming energy drinks is to boost energy levels there is a better option that has more desirable side effects.  Improving eating behaviors, exercising and getting adequate amounts of sleep will leave you feeling well rested, focused, clear minded, and provide the increases in energy level.   The side effects will be fat loss, clothes fitting better, healthier looking skin, increase self confidence, and a better outlook on life.
In the end as a trainer and parent I would recommend steering clear of the energy drinks.  Enjoy the occasional cup of ‘Joe’, (I am a tea drinker myself).  Make better nutritional choices, exercise and get plenty of rest.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monster Lawsuit Raises Caffeine Questions - ABC News

By (@slupkin)
Oct. 24, 2012

A wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corp., and the release of Food and Drug Administration incident reports indicating that Monster Energy drinks might have been responsible for five deaths since 2009, have brought questions about death by caffeine back into the national spotlight.
Although death by caffeine is possible, it generally takes 5 to 10 grams of the stimulant to kill someone, toxicologists say. Anais Fournier, the 14-year-old Maryland girl at the heart of the lawsuit, whose parents allege the energy drinks caused her death, consumed 480 mg of caffeine over two days, or less than a gram of the stimulant.
"This dose would not be expected to be fatal in a normal person of that age," said Dr. Christopher Holstege, director of toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Then again, what's lethal depends on several factors, including a person's weight, medications and underlying health conditions. A 41-year-old woman lived after consuming 50 grams of caffeine, up to 10 times more than what's considered a lethal dose, according to a 2003 Journal of Toxicology article.

"It is very difficult to predict one's response to caffeine. Some people are more sensitive than others," said Bruce Goldberger, the director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. "Therein lies the problem. If someone has an undiagnosed medical condition, they may ingest caffeine not knowing it may have a deleterious effect, such as a cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension or anxiety."....

Monster Lawsuit Raises Caffeine Questions - ABC News

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eat More, Burn More; The Physique Athlete's Method To Maximze Fat Loss

by Tom Venuto

Physique athletes (bodybuilding, fitness, fitness model, figure and bikini competitors) eat and train differently than most people. In fact, a lot of what they do to develop the leanest, most muscular, most aesthetically pleasing bodies in the world is the exact opposite of how most people do it. For more than 20 years (more than 10 years online), I’ve been teaching men and women the physique athlete (bodybuilder’s) method to fat loss. I often sum it up as “eat more, burn more.” In today’s post, I take a reader question that clears up the misconceptions about what this philosophy really means and how it’s possible that you can eat more and get leaner and more muscular doing it… continue reading 

P.S. I enjoyed reading this article and would recommend reading the entire article.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Truth about Fat, Sugar, and Food Labels

Enough literature has been published teaching Americans about the nutritional havoc excessive dietary fat can play. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing has led to so much misinformation that while Americans attempt to eat in a manner that they perceive to be healthy, few rarely have a sense of the role fat plays and where fats are. Ordering the chicken mixed salad in a restaurant might often have you ingesting more dietary fat than you would if you ordered the cheeseburger! Often the chicken breast is “marinating” which means “soaking up oil” for hours or days before it makes it to your plate. Add croutons, dressing, bacon bits, and you are stacking up fat calories in the “healthy” salad.
Since so many attempts to eat “low fat” or “fat free,” marketers have learned that if they can plaster those words all over their label, people will buy!  Loopholes in the FDA labeling laws have allowed food companies to mislead on their labels by promoting high fat foods as “low fat” and pure fat in some cases as “fat free.”  
Skip the big print and read the label. 
If any ingredient contains fat or oil, the food cannot possibly be “fat free.” 
While some “fat free” labeled snacks may really be pretty close to fat free, the most abundant ingredient in most cookies, cakes and ice cream is sugar. When you ingest simple sugar, it causes a rush of insulin which leads firstly to a compromise in fat release, and secondly, to the possible storage of body fat.  Too often, those attempting to avoid fat wind up having their dietary attempts fail due to excessive intake of simple sugars!
Supplements:  Magic in a bottle?
There are some supplements that are valid. They are, however, “supplements,” and by definition mean, “in addition to.” A supplement cannot and will not be a solution.  Most supplements are single micronutrients (vitamins and/or minerals) or combinations of micronutrient compounds. The processing of food in itself is synergistic and all of the nutrients work together.  For the most part, the micronutrients act upon the macronutrients for metabolic processes to take place. A concern for single vitamins and minerals without concern for intake of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids can only leave you frustrated and short of achieving your health and fitness goals. Once you get the Synergy between exercise and supportive nutrition through food right, you can “fill in the gaps” or seek to optimize performance using supplemental aids. The most vital “supplement” in quest of supportive nutrition would be one that provides all of the nutrients you’d obtain in a meal in the event that a supportive meal is not accessible or convenient.  These are often called “meal replacements” or “nutrition formulas” Don’t get fooled by ads and labels that promise “magic.”  Look for a formula using a high quality protein and complex carbs, free from saturated or hydrogenated fat, and low in simple sugars. Also seek out a formula that maintains a high and complete profile of vitamins and minerals.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Successful Cardio

Did you know that doing aerobic exercise is making people fatter?
If you have ever been a health club you’ve seen em’ people who run for hours on end or climb until you are pretty sure they should have made the top of the mountain by now. Yet day after day month after month, they are showing no signs of physical change. Some may even look like they are in good shape have a nice physic, but get them our of their clothes and they are just a self-conscious as you might be. Let us refer to them as the fat-skinny-yes it is possible to be skinny and yet have enough fat on your body to be classified as obese.
Do I have your attention? Good!
You probably already know that aerobic exercise burns fat, so it seems logical if we want to lose fat, we should do aerobic exercise. So what’s the answer?
The answer is complex so I am going to simplify things a little. The body does not exclusively burn fat during aerobic exercise, its direct fuel source is ATP. ATP can be created from fat and glucose. In addition, the fat you have accumulated is not the exclusive fat supplier to meet your body’s energy needs. The dietary fats in your digestive tract can be broken down into fatty acids that travel as triglycerides in your blood stream; therefore, there is no guarantee that your stored body fat will be the preferred source.
If you exercise aerobically beyond your body’s ability and/or willingness to supply fat and stored sugar (glycogen) as fuel, your body can do a little trick. It will convert amino acids (protein) into sugar and use the newly created sugar as a source of ATP. Those amino acids are coming from muscle tissue and muscle is huge in improving your ability to burn fat. (More on this in a later article)
Far too often aerobic exercisers cut back on their caloric intake and exercise more trying to burn more fat, cannibalizing muscle.
While they are losing weight, doing to much aerobic exercise and lacking concern for muscle, you will lose muscle. If you lose weight and a predominance of that weight is muscle you not only increase your body’s percentage of fat, but you have decreased your body’s ability to burn fat.
I hope you are still with me. Aerobic exercise is part of the secret just not all of it.
For fat burning do some sort of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week for a minimum of 20mins and no more than 45mins. (If you are just starting our work your way up to 20mins and then go from there) Work with in your Targeted Heart Rate Range:
220-Age= Max Heart Rate (MHR)
MHR x 60%= Lower end of Range
MHR x 80%= Upper end of Range
Any activity will work!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Is Resistance Training Important?

By now you know that aerobic exercise burns fat, but doing to much aerobice activity breaks down amino acids and that those amion acids are coming from muscle tissue, which can cause the loss of muscle!

There is another term we need to become familiar with and that is anaerobic exercise.  Anaerobic means without oxygen.  Aerobic you might have guessed means with oxygen. Anaerobic exercise are activityes in which you become exhausted very quickly (ie sprinting or weight training).  Anaerobic activities build muscle.  What you should know anerobic exercise develops muscle and aerobic exercise burns fat.  Fat is burned inside the muscles.  As you develop more muscle you have the ability to burn more fat when you do the appropriate amount of cardio (aerobic) activity.  Good  news right?  Well for most yes, but for others the image of getting big muscular body is not something they want to visualize.  Let us examine the commonly used phrase, "I don't want to get big I just want to get toned."  Take a deep breath, "toned" means to grow or gain muscle.  What happens here is as the muscles grow they utilized more fat in the body.  As the muscles demand the use of fat stored in the body the muscles grow the fat disappears and you begin to see muscle definition- muscle tone!

So how do you build muscle?  In order to build muscle you must ask the muscles to do more work than they are accustomed.  Then provide supportive nutrition to supply the muscles with the right nutritients to grow.

To sum it up.  Anerobic exercise builds muscle.  Fat is burned inside muscles.  Aerobic exericse is the primary system in which to burn fat.  More muscle means faster utilization of fat.