Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why New Years Resolutions Fail!!

The holidays are passed and we look forward to that one last party to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome in 2012.  The typical American adds several pounds over the holiday season thanks in part to the excessive holiday parties and holiday treats.  The New Year also brings forth that wonderful tradition of New Year's Resolutions!  Hope springs eternal, especially at the start of a New Year, this will be the year that I lose that 30lbs. or this year I will quit smoking or drinking.  And off we go, to the gym or out to start jogging only to see our resolution slowly (sometimes very quickly) disappear.

 In the book "Nudge" the authors compare humans to a person riding an elephant.  If you have ever seen someone riding an elephant you realize that the control of the elephant is merely based on training and if the elephant decided to no longer follow instruction then the person would be helpless.  The 'rider' represents our analytical side and the 'elephant' our emotional side.  Thus, if the 'rider' decides that the 'elephant' is going to go down a new path but fails to prepare the path he is set up for failure.  The first time the elephant (our emotional side) decides to turn around and go back or wander off the path the man has limited ability to redirect the elephant.  Why is this important?  It is exactly the reason that 98% of diets and New Year's Resolutions fail!  We are all creatures of habit and we have just spent the last 30+ days letting our elephants roam free, doing as they pleased.  Now we decide it is time to reign in the elephant and have him walk on a strange new path that he has never had to walk on.  Then, we are surprised when the elephant decides that he doesn't like the new path and wants to return to roaming freely.  Our 'rider' tries to force the elephant to stay on the new path but soon runs out of energy trying to fight the beast and gives in.  But, wanting to save face the 'rider' soon starts to rationalize the situation..."well, it really wasn't that important"  or "OK, I'll only have one cookie, how much harm can that do" and on and on.

So, do we stand any hope of reeling in our out of control 'elephant' and making the changes we realize that we really must make?  The first step is an interview with the 'rider' face to face (in a mirror).  You must have full awareness of the situation at hand and a completely honest assessment of where you are and where you really need to be. What is the specific goal of what you want to accomplish?  General goals are easy to change, specific ones pin point down a specific outcome on a specific date.  If you need help, then go to your MD and get a physical, those are real numbers you can't avoid or ask a trusted friend or loved one. Now the rider knows exactly where they are going.    Next, what is the emotion behind the change? What is it that you are missing in your life that you could accomplish if we were to meet the goal you set?  What pain is caused by your current situation?  What are you afraid of losing if don't make a change? Again specifics are crucial, not lose weight so 'I feel better' but lose 35 lbs and decrease my cholesterol to be healthy enough to go hiking with my children.  You see this is all part of prepping the 'elephant' for the trip, let him know where you are going and why. 

The next step is to clear the path for the 'elephant' by removing any obstacles in the path.  The more obstacles you clear the better chance of keeping the 'elephant' moving forward down the path.  This can be anything and everything that could cause an issue.  Is there someone else who can help you clear the path?  Is there someone else who wants to take their 'elephant' down the same path?  Is there someone who is putting obstacles in your path?  Take a serious inventory of the "reasons" (excuses, stories, justifications) that you have used in the past to not continue and start removing them.  If you don't know where you're workout clothes are, put them next to your bed.  If you don't have the right food in the house, go get it.  If the idea of working out for an hour is too much then start with a 5 minute walk.  The point is that you have to get things moving, even if it is small steps at first. 

Making a real change in our lives is not an easy thing to accomplish but remember we are all creatures of habit and the only way to make a change sustainable is to replace one habit with another one.  If you can replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one then our 'elephant' is actually working with us and not against us.  This year instead of a  New Year's Resolution, plan out a New Year's Solution and if it includes losing weight or getting healthier then sign up for our 5 Ton Challenge and commit to completing the challenge and we'll help clear the path for your 'elephant'

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Key to Diabetes Management and Prevention

Morris S, Wylie-Rosett J. Medical nutrition therapy: a key to diabetes management and prevention.
Clinical Diabetes [serial online]. 2010 Winter 2010;28(1):12-18. Available from: CINAHL Plus
with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 29, 2011.

Kern County ranks 57th out of the 58 counties in California for deaths due to Diabetes.  Our goal at TERRIO is to treat the entire individual and to this end we have 3 awesome Registered Dieticians on Staff to help.  Here is an abstract from a recent research article about the importance of Nutritional Therapy for those battling type 2 Diabetes. 

Because of the direct correlation between diet and diabetes management, medical nutrition
therapy (MNT) provided by a registered dietitian is a key complement to traditional medical interventions
in diabetes treatment. This article describes MNT, summarizes evidence for the effectiveness
of MNT in preventing and treating diabetes, and provides physicians with information about
how to refer patients for MNT.
The link between diabetes and diet has been well documented, as has the importance of diet in
conjunction with medical interventions for diabetes. Patients often look to their primary care physicians
for advice about general diabetes care, including diet, but survey studies have revealed
that doctors feel uncomfortable advising patients on the sensitive issues of weight loss and diet.1
Research is increasingly demonstrating that medical nutrition therapy (MNT), administered by a
registered dietitian (RD) or nutrition professional, is a key component of diabetes management
and a complement to treatment of diabetes by physicians.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2009 clinical practice recommendations state that “individuals
who have pre-diabetes or diabetes should receive individualized MNT as needed to
achieve treatment goals, preferably provided by a registered dietitian familiar with the components
of diabetes MNT.”2 Furthermore, the ADA's position statement titled “Nutrition Recommendations
and Interventions for Diabetes” emphasizes the importance of MNT in preventing diabetes,
managing existing diabetes, and preventing and slowing the onset of diabetes-related
complications.3 The integration of MNT into diabetes care has the potential to improve patients'
diabetes management and to lessen the burden on physicians to provide nutrition information.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Evidence In Motion Joins Forces With TERRIO Physical Therapy & Fitness

Evidence In Motion (EIM), a provider of physical therapy education and practice consultation, is pleased to announce an official partnership with TERRIO Physical Therapy & Fitness (TERRIO), a progressive provider of rehabilitation services in throughout Bakersfield, Fresno and Clovis, California.  As part of the collaboration, TERRIO becomes a Network Partner EIM’s Orthopaedic Residency, Sports Physical Therapy Residency, Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship and Certification Programs.
“We are very excited to be teaming up with EIM.  One of our values at TERRIO is constant improvement and we feel that this partnership with EIM will help elevate the quality of physical therapy in the Central Valley.  We are proud to partner with EIM as the only host site in Southern California,” said Tim Terrio, CEO and founder of TERRIO Physical Therapy & Fitness, Inc.  “Our goal has always been to provide the absolute best quality physical therapy available and with the knowledge and expertise of EIM we feel we can accomplish that goal for our clients in the Central Valley.”
Several of the offerings included in the Residency and Fellowship curricula will also be made available to other TERRIO professional staff, enhancing lifelong learning and quality improvement initiatives for all personnel. EIM residents and fellows will be exposed to a vast community of evidence-based professionals and trained to apply the best evidence for patient care.
Using the most up to date research and cutting-edge technology, EIM is transforming the way physical therapists are trained and educated, allowing professionals to complete the majority of the coursework online.  EIM’s Orthopaedic Residency, Sports Physical Therapy Residency, Orthopaedic Manual Fellowship, and Transition DPT in Musculoskeletal Management training programs are delivered to the physical therapists where they live and work.  Web-based educational “distance learning” platforms, complimented by on-site weekend intensives conducted at Network Partner locations, and a thorough mentoring program provide a flexible learning experience for all students.   
Based on educational research, the hybrid model of online education and on-site intensives demonstrates a best-in-education approach.  This is the exact approach that EIM was founded in and has successfully used to graduated over 55 physical therapists in its APTA credentialed Residency and Fellowship Programs.
Many members of EIM’s faculty are recognized internationally for their contributions to education, research, and clinical practice. EIM’s faculty have received ninety-five-plus research grants, totaling over $10.5 million.  EIM faculty members have also taught 220-plus university level courses, founded over forty different business organizations, and held appointed positions in forty-plus state and 115-plus national and international professional associations. Under their supervision, Residents and Fellows have the opportunity to receive the highest caliber of training and become distinguished leaders in evidence-based orthopaedic and manual physical therapy practice.
About TERRIO Physical Therapy & Fitness:
TERRIO Physical Therapy & Fitness is a locally owned company that has facilities in Bakersfield, Tehachapi, and Fresno. The largest provider of outpatient physical therapy in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, TERRIO offers a comprehensive program that includes Physical, Aquatic, Occupational and Speech Therapy, Nutritional Counseling with Registered Dieticians, science based weight loss programs, sports specific training for athletes and personal and corporate wellness services.  A compilation of creative professionals TERRIO has developed a reputation of developing innovative programs to meet the needs of the community. For more information, please visit myTERRIO.com. You can also find TERRIO on Facebook and Twitter.

About Evidence in Motion:
Evidence in Motion (EIM) is an education and consultation company whose sole reason of existence is to elevate the physical therapy profession and the role of physical therapists in healthcare delivery. A strong dedication to fostering the creation and assimilation of an evidence-based practice culture within the physical therapy profession is a cornerstone of EIM’s mission. They have put in place evidence-based practice treatment pathways in many facilities and aims to promote the global sharing of information and ideas, thus advancing evidence-based physical therapy practice, research and education around the world. EIM offers Continuing Education, Residencies, a Fellowship Program, a Musculoskeletal Transition DPT, and an Executive Program in Private Practice Management with optional Transition DPT.  For more information, please visit http://www.evidenceinmotion.com/.  You can also find EIM on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Occasionally Life Throws you a Curve...

Occasionally Life throws us a curve ball and recently it threw one at our family.     If you have ever seen a pitcher throw a great curve ball you will know that it can freeze a batter.  The batter is forced to try and figure out what to do with it, to take a swing or let it pass and so it is in life sometimes.  A couple of weeks ago my Mother-in-law passed away and it is funny how the passing of someone close to us gives us a time to pause and reflect.  While the family continues to wrestle with the finality of not being able to pick up the phone and call her or plan another family vacation together there is also the attempt to put life into perspective.  In the past I have talked about longevity of life, but this curve ball has me thinking that we need to have a qualifier on the longevity of life.  While we would selfishly like to hang on to our loved ones as long as possible, the conversation of quality of life has to enter the equation at some point.  By all accounts, my Mother-in-law lived a great life.  She rasied eight incredible children who have all become very successful and were all present as her health turned.  She was honored by her 18 grandchildren during the services and everyone made the trip from around the country to be there.  Not only was she truly loved by her children and grandchildren but all of us inlaws as well.  She also travelled right up to this spring. 

I believe that we all have the desire for our lives to be the best that they can be and that life is about the quality of relationships that we create.  At the end it is all about the relationships and the experiences we have shared together.  So, if for no other reason than to be able to go and experience life with our families, we need to start making better decisions each day.  We can choose to get more activity and eat better so that we have the energy to enjoy experiences with our family and friends.  We can choose to minimize or eliminate the use of tobacco products.  And we can choose to spend time with the ones we love because at the end, that is all that is going to matter and it is these experiences that can live on in our memories when someone we love passes. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Fragile Nature of Humans

Take a walk through any large museum and look for the care used when handling rare pieces of history or art.  Look at the care and expense we go to preserve the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.  The priceless pieces of art that are kept in rooms with the exact temperature and humidity to assure they are not spoiled.  It is truly amazing!  Now compare that to how we handle the most precious of all gifts, human life.  Do we take every painstaking step to assure that our bodies are kept in the right environment to assure the maximum life?  Do we expose our lives to things we know are dangerous?  Things that will deteriorate a master piece?  That will speed up the aging process?  Why are we willing to spend the money and set up the processes to assure that certain pieces of paper and art are preserved for future generations and yet when it comes to our health and vitality we don't give it a second chance. 

Lately, I have been struck by the number of my friends and family that are struggling with loved ones who are ill.  You can't turn on any media or have a conversation without the topic of cancer coming up.  Recently in Bakersfield the Relay for Life group raised an amazing $2.1 M for cancer research.  So many charities set up to raise money to battle diseases and there has been some amazing success stories about survival and overcoming odds to beat back a disease.  And yet with all of the angst and heart break these diseases cause I am perplexed by the other statistics about increased obesity, use of tobacco and alcohol.  Believe me,  I am no Health Saint who makes the right decision every time, hell, even most the time.  I know how the human body functions and the delicate balances our bodies function in and yet I make bad decisions about eating and drinking, skipping my cardio and stretching, but why?  Even without years of college, I believe we all know what we are supposed to do for activity and eating.  We just choose not to do it, but why?

I think we skip the things we know we need to do because there is no immediate effect.  Once we figure this out we know that nothing bad will happen if we eat a little extra, drink a couple extra beers or skip a work out. Actually, if we are being honest in the short term a lot of these things are actually more pleasurable than doing the right thing and thus the path is set.  The short cuts become the norm and we lose site of where we initially started.  This is exactly the difference between priceless papers and works of art and the human body.  If you drop a priceless vase, it shatters and if you burn a priceless document it is gone forever but if you skip a couple of workouts (don't exercise for years) or eat junk food your body doesn't shatter or burst into flames and so we march on.  That is until one day after the momentum of bad decisions catches up with us and we are sick.  We suffer and those around us suffer but there is no rewind button.  I'm not saying that every disease is directly caused by our actions and decisions but maybe if we all treated our bodies like the priceless, irreplaceable items they are there would be a little less disease and then we would have more resources to focus on those diseases that can't be eliminated by improved health.  Maybe we all need a life curator to make sure we are taking care of the priceless, irreplaceable work of art called, us. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's Your Mind set?

Before we get back into X vs. I type of motivation, lets add a little twist and find out what kind of mind set you have.  Don't worry it is a simple test, for each question simply answer Truth or False
1.       You are a certain kind of person; no matter what you do you can’t change that.
2.       You can always change substantially
3.       You can do things differently but the core of who you are remains the same.
4.       You can always change the basic things.

Ok, so now the results if you said true to 1 & 3 then you have a fixed mind set.  People with fixed mind set believe that DNA rules your abilities.  You are either smart or you are not, the world is concrete, black and white.  If you believe 2 & 4 then you have a growth mind set.  Those with growth mindsets believe that with enough effort you can grow to become whatever you wish.   The belief that your intellegence is the same a a muscle the more you use it the stronger it becomes.  It is important to know your type of mind because then you know what kinds of goals to set.  People with a fixed mind set like performance goals while growth mindset people perform better with Learning Goals. So what's the difference?  A performance goal would be to get an "A" in spanish class while a learning goal would be to be able to have a conversation in Spanish.   A learning goal focuses on the process and the outcome of mastering the subject not the concrete world of grades.  Learning goals will drive type X people crazy because there is never a definitive answer, it is the pursuit of mastering something.  The problem is that we can never truly master anything, because the better we get at it, the more we realize that we haven't fully mastered it yet.  Take for example learning to play an instrument, after years of practice some people get very good and might even be considered world class and yet if you ask them they are still trying to refine certain techniques or learn new arrangements.  Learning is a journey not a destination and that is the challenge for a type I person, it is exactly that pursuit of mastery that feeds them.  They thrive on knowing they have accomplished another step on the journey and that they have mastered another small piece of the puzzle. 

Whether you are an X or an I, the problem is that believing anything is possible is different than making things happen.  It all starts for both kinds of people with the initial awareness of a possibility and deciding that it is worth pursuing.  Once you have decided to take pursue a possibility then you have to match the right kind of goal, for your personality, with the task to be accomplished.  What is the task to be accomplished?  Is is a routine task and you are just trying to take the next step?  For example, is the goal a 10% increase in productivity or a large create a new program?  What kind of reward matches your personality better?  Are you the kind of person who thrives on if you get a 10% increase in productivity then you will receive a bonus of $1,000?  Or do you thrive when the goal is to create a new program in a new sphere and to accomplish it you will need to learn and master a new area of knowledge?  You see "X" personalities love "if/then" rewards because they know exactly what they need to accomplish to earn the reward but "if/then" rewards actually make "I" personalities less productive, it feels "all about the money".  If you are going to bonus a "I" then it needs to be a "now/that" reward.  "Now, that" you created this amazing new program here is a reward?  The caution here is that if you consistently give "Now/That" bonuses then they will be come "if/then" bonuses as the person figures out.  If I do this, I will get a bonus (this is the problem with Christmas bonuses).  So, the moral of the story is to know yourself and the type of goals that line up with your mindset and personality.  Regardless of the mind set or personality accomplishing great things still takes a ton of grit and determination, but that's another topic for another day. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Motivation to match your personality...we are not all the same!

Back to that difficult, tricky topic of motivation.  Let's do a little historical review of motivation.  We all come with a basic motivation or drive based on our survival.  We have that primal drive for food, water, rest and yes expanding the species (we are going to avoid the conversation of whether some people are increaseing or diluting the gene pool with certain combinations).  We are all hard wired with the drive or motivation to find food (apparently some more than others) and to sleep to allow our bodies time to recover.  Things start getting tricky after we get past this first level of motivation.  For years it was thought that besides this primal drive there was really only one other source of motivation,  'the good old carrot and stick' motivation.  If you want to promote increased motivation you simply dangle a carrot or reward out in front of the person and we blindly go after the carrot, but if we don't move there is always the stick to poke us or smack us (negative feedback).  And so it has gone for hundreds of years, we either put a reward (carrot) out in front or we stand ready with the stick to punish bad behavior, but that motivation came from external sources.  A couple of  'out of the box' thinking pshycologists started floating out ideas that maybe humans had another type of drive or motivation that was not related to environment, primal drives and wasn't tied to external drives (carrots & sticks).   As with anyone who questions "what we know" these ideas were laughed off for several decades.  But a couple of brave new psychologists picked up the research and dusted it off.   They did some very interesting research that showed not only do "carrots and sticks" (external rewards) not alway work but that sometimes they actually DECREASE performance.  Imagine that the very thing that is supposed to motivate us actually decreases outcomes, but how can this be?  Does it always apply?  Is it time to throw away carrots and sticks? 

It turns out that as with all things the type of motivation necessary depends on the type of person and the task to be completed.  They found that external rewards work for certain people and certain tasks.  There are certain people out there who are motivated by external rewards.  They are the Donald Trumps of the world, if he does a certain deal he can make a certain amount of money, the higher that amount the more motivated he is to accomplish it.  Now, obviously, there are certain very successful people out there in this category.    External rewards have also been shown to be beneficial when a task is redundant. But, there is another group of people who actually perform worse when there is a bonus on the line. If the task is to be creative then external rewards can actually decrease performance.  For example, if you commission a painting and want the most creative piece of work imaginable and you offer a bonus for finishing early, the research has shown a decrease in the quality of the painting because the painter is now focused on the bonus, not creating the best piece of art possible.  It seems that this group is actually more motivated by internal rewards than external rewards.  These people do things because they want to demonstrate mastery.  The prefer autonomy over schedules and tasks to the highest financial gain.  The best reward for them is recognition as a Master and honored for their accomplishments.  They crave that internal sense of knowing that they have conquered the task with a creative solution, especially if it is one that no one else had or saw.   Now, these people are fine with increased income but as a secondary accomplishment to creating something unique.  These people prefer unexpected 'Now, that' rewards.  "Now that you accomplished this great thing here is a Reward." but you have to be careful with these if they become expected then they become the external "if, then" rewards.

So, are you an "X" motivated by external rewards or an "I" motivated by internal rewards?  (We won't worry about the "P"s that are motivated by Primal Drives as they won't be reading this any how).  Is the task that you need to do creative or routine?  The best way to get motivated for a task is to match you personality to your task at hand and set up the right type of reward. 

If you want to read an amazing book about the research in this field check out "Drive: the surprising truth about what Motivates us." by Daniel H. Pink.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I don't have enough time!!

The number one excuse/reason given by people for not getting done what they need to get done.  We hear it all the time about exercise.   "I just don't have enough time!"  or "As soon as I find the time, I will do it."  Sound familiar??  Let me introduce (or remind you if you already heard this) to a simple principle and another law that will change this perception. 

Praeto's Principle!  You have heard of that right?!?  The name might not be familiar but the concept is...Praeto was the guy who first described the 80-20 rule or the Law of the Vital Few (still not familiar??  Wow are you in for a surprise.)  So, basically how this works is that 80% of the results we get come from 20% of our efforts.  This started as an economics principle but can be applied to everything we do.  The problem comes in when we don't concentrate our efforts to achieve these results or viewed in another light...we spend 80% of our time to accomplish only 20% of the results!!  Think about that for a second and let it sink in...80% of our time is spent to accomplish only 20% of the results!!  All that time and effort chasing minimal results.  So lets apply it to our work life, take a typical 40 hour work week,  in 8 hours we accomplish 80% of the results and we spend the other 32 hours working on the other 20%!!  How is that for productivity?  Some have even argued that it is really 90-10 or that 90% of our results come from 10% of our effort!!  How crazy is that!  Ok, I'll give you a minute because if you haven't heard this before you are sitting there thinking that is insane there is no way this is true!  Check it out, look at what you do during a given day or week and look where the results come in.  The other argument is that well that might be true but I have to get 100% or my job done or my boss isn't going to be happy.  True, but let's introduce you to another law.

Parkinson's Law (no not the disease-this term was created by Prof. Cyril Northcote Parkinson states that "work expands to fill the time available for it's completion."  Hmmm, sound familiar,  isn't it amazing that when something absolutely has to get done even with little or no time to do it that somehow we find a way to get it done?  Or at least we know people that have an amazing ability to get things done with very little time?  We have all done it, procrastinated until the last possible minute and then somehow pull out the project in a riduculous amount of time?  But on the other end of the scale when we know we have a certain amount of time to get things done the work swells to consume the time.  This is a subconscious law, when we have time we can fuss over everylittle detail, need more research, need more conversation, debate, look at every possible angle until its crunch time then we have to move into action.  As the old saying goes "if you want something done give it to a busy person."

So putting these two "Laws" together we can see that if we expanded or increased the 10-20% that creates maximal return and made sure we didn't fill our time available with the other stuff we would not only be more efficient and effective but we would have more time for the things we want to do.  The hard part, as with anything, is putting this into practice.  But, look around you for the people that seem to have a handle on these two laws, they are out there.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Healthy Afternoon Snacks for Kids

I got to get up bright and early the other morning (that would be 4:00 am) to set up for a live broadcast from our house.  The "Got Milk?" campaign was in town to promote National Nutrition Month.  Our own Registered Dietician, Kim Tirapelle, was there with Cambi to show teach people about proper nutrition and healthy snacks for afterschool.  My youngest son, Luke, was willing to get out of bed early to help spread the word about proper nutrition.  It was a lot of fun and I think Luke learned a lot about good nutrition.  I know he picked up the recipes as he has made the smoothies several times since the show. 

Team Cambi is talking about Healthy After School Snacks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kevin McCarthy Participates in League of Dreams Event in Bakersfield 3-1...

What is a disability?

Check out the video and see Roman, Raymond's brother and Angel for our League of Dreams, giving a speech at Opening Day of Baseball 2011 about the inspiration for the new ABILITIES Field in Bakersfield.  We started the League of Dreams to give EVERY child the chance to play in a sports league.  Roman taught us that there is a new way to view opportunity. 

We are raising money and having a Reverse Raffle this Saturday to finish raising the money to build a rubber baseball field that will be accessible to every athlete regardless of their disability and to Celebrate their ABILITIES! 

League of Dreams Baseball 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse...

We have already talked about the statistics of obesity and the rapid inrease in rates of obesity over the last decade. It is now estimated that over 60% of the population of America is overweight or obese! We are teaching these new unhealthy habits to our kids as well! Obesity is contagious and there is new research out that we can infect each other with habits which will lead to weight gain and obesity. BUT, just when I thought it can't get much worse, I picked up the Wall Street Journal on Feb 22, 2011 to read about a new out break of Obesity!! It seams that we have not only infected children with the obesity epidemic but it has also spread to our Pets! The article explained that due to over eating and a lack of exercise there has been a huge increase in overweight and obese dogs and cats which is leading to increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer in our furry friends. This all leads to the question...where the hell is PETA when you need them? Where is the public outcry from the celebrities at all these senseless diseases in animals caused by man!?! But have no fear, we are Americans and we will solve this dilemma. The article focused on several potential solutions to this problem. Yes, you can now buy a 'Doggie Treadmill' for somewhere in the range of $375-$999! And you can get a customized meal plan for Fido as well! While I'm a huge fan of creating new businesses, this one is killing me! Really?!?  A treadmill for your dog?  A special meal plan?  How about feeding them LESS?  Ok, look, I'm just guessing here, but since the solution to both the human and pet weight problem is to increase exercise and decrease calories, maybe we can take our pets out for a little exercise and get some ourselves! Hurry before PETA comes to call! Actually, I think we need to create a new organization, PETO, People for the Ethical Treatment of OURSELVES!  We need to realize that the decisions we are making is not allowing us to live the best life we can live.  Remember it is the choices we make that will determine our destiny!  Be kind to yourself and those around you, it's contagious.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh sure, ask the most difficult question first...

See what you get when you ask for suggestions about blog topics!?!  One of the first questions I got was can you talk about Motivation!  Motivation would seem to be one of those simple things and yet once you start getting into it you see that it is a very complex issue to tackle.  Wouldn't it be great we could motivate ourselves or others with a simple sentence, it must work because we see all the t-shirts that aim to do this very thing.  But, it isn't quite that easy now is it.  How about those fantastic 'win one for the Gipper!' speeches that must work or watching Rocky for the 1,000th time (who isn't pumped up after that).  And yet given our best efforts we launch into a new healthy habit only to watch it slip away.  Where the hell is Burgess Meredith when we are fighting the temptation to eat that huge ice cream sundae?  "You're a bum, if you give in and eat that ice cream, now get back to the gym!"  Let's take on this topic of Motivation one step at a time.  What exactly is motivation?  What makes someone 'motivated'?  Can you motivate someone else?  Can someone motivate us?

According to Wikipedia...:Motivation is the driving force which causes us to achieve goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but, theoretically, it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism.[1] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion."  There, that clears every thing up right?  Now go out and get healthy!  I believe that the answer is in here somewhere and yet needs a little more.

As a basis, I believe that we are all creatures of habit and we like to be comfortable.  The extrinsic motivation comes from outside of us, this is where the movies and music and speeches live.  Here is some breaking news for you, all of us are DIFFERENT and we respond differently to external motivations.  Some people need positive reinforcement while others respond to being challenged or negative reinforcements.  I think this is where all the confusion comes from.  We have all been told at some point 'you can't do it?' but why do some people here it and give up and say 'yea, you're right, I need to find something more suitable for me' and others like me hear that and say 'oh yea, well, now I will do it, just to prove you wrong!"?  Is it genetics?  Genetics seem to be the 'cause Du Jor' these days.  Anything we are not sure of must be 'genetics'.  He is just 'wired' that way,  its in his DNA-he can't help it."  Which brings up the whole debate of nature vs. nurture (here we go opening up Pandora's Box).  Do we act the way we do because of our genetic make up or because of the environment we are raised in or some combination of the two?  Make no mistake that genetics dictate our physical size in height and general body shape and other physical traits like skin color, eye color, sex and some diseases that genetically linked.  But, the way we act and the behaviors and belief systems we have are all part of us making sense of the world.  We spend the first parts of our lives trying to figure this world out and we have plenty of input from parents, teachers, coaches and peers to help us make sense of the things that happen to us and to those we know.  When we are presented with a new circumstance we take a look back at our personal history to find a reference point.  'Have I ever been in a situation like this before?'  and if so what do I do about it?  If not, then what is the closest thing that I can compare it too?  And on we go through our lives situation by situation.  We store all of our experiences in our subconscious along with all of our reasons, stories and justifications.  These are those little voices that constantly reminds us 'you're not good at things like this' or 'this is something we are very good at'.  And then when we try something new and things don't go right we hear it again 'See, I told you that you shouldn't do that'.  We have taken external or extrinsic feedback and made it intrinsic or internal.  The problem with this is that we begin to limit what is possible because we already think we know what is going to happen.  How many of you starting on a weight loss plan think, "wow, this is really going to work!!" vs. "none of these ever work but I guess I will try."  That is launching into a program from two very different places. The world is full of possibilities and you can attain (almost) anything.  (almost because you can't change the genetic stuff, Micheal Jackson excluded).  I believe motivation lies in this simple fact. The definition is correct "Motivation is the driving force to accomplish goals" but ONLY if we are willing to pay the price to accomplish those goals and not let the baggage from the past get in the way.  Nothing worth having is every easy, if it was everyone would have it.  You do need some external support to help get you there and hold you accountable but you have to want it.  You have to want it bad enough to not listen to those voices telling you it's not worth it.  Let's continue this discussion in the future, there is a lot here to cover.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

7 Health Factors for Longevity

7 Health Factors for Longevity

Do the simple choices we make each day really have an impact on our life?  Well let's take a little quiz and find out.  How many of the following do you do on a regular basis?
  1. Sleep 6.5 to 9 hours per night
  2. Don't eat unhealthy food between meals
  3. Eat Breakfast regularly
  4. Maintain proper body weight
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Moderate to no use of alcohol
  7. Don't smoke or use tobacco
OK, So now you should have a count of how many of these things you do on a regular basis.  (Yes, there is actual research on this.)  The next step is utilize this number to determine your Health Age.  You take your accurate age (don't lie to yourself but the actual number of years from birth to current age) and find the number of these things to do to find your true Health Age or the Age your body actually feels.

                                                                   Calculated Age

Habits 0-2Habits 3Habits 4Habits 5Habits 6Habits 7
Current Age   2034.327.420.518.915.810.6
Current Age   3046.939.133.029.425.318.9
Current Age   4059.450.745.439.934.827.1
Current Age   5072.062.457.950.344.335.3
Current Age   6084.574.070.460.853.843.2
Current Age   7097.185.782.871.363.251.8

So back to our original question, "Do the simple choices we make each Day impact our Lives?"  I think you can now see a resounding YES!!  The one I always like to point out is the 60 year old who does 0-2 of these things, they have a health age over 80!!  There is another American Habit than has major impact on the length of our lives as well, TV.  Australian researches last year concluded that watching over 4 hours of television per day would shorten the average persons life 4 years!  So if the average life expectancy is 78 years, it is 74 years for someone watching more than 4 hours of TV per day.  So is 50 the new 30?  Only if you do these 7 things!

Tim 5TC

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let the games begin...

The wait is over!  The clients have signed up, metabolic tests have been done and continue to be done, meal plans are being posted, training groups begin meeting...it can all only mean one thing...the next 5 Ton Weight Loss Challenge has begun and we have another enthusiastic group of people beginning the journey to a healthier life.  For those of you who have been through the Metabolic Test, you know have a better idea of how your body functions.  It is an amazing test, that done properly, gives us a lot of information about how your body utilizes energy (in the form of kcal or calories).  Having utilized this test for several years, it amazes me that someone would try to go on a weight loss plan without having the information of this simple test.  Granted you have to sit still for 10-15 minutes and breath through a tube (que the druel) and the nose clamp on (not a great look for most) but the information we get is vital to your success.  The report shows the correct meal plan for you based on YOUR metabolism, the guess work is removed.  So having utilized this program successfully now for two years, the one thing we know is that most people who are trying to lose weight make one major mistake.   Any guesses?  They don't eat enough!  I heard the collective "WHAT?  That can't be possible!!  I have always heard..."  This is where our typical American Logic fails us.  Obviously, if the goal is to burn more calories than you eat then by not eating anything or eating very little would be the way to go, right?  Wrong!  Yes there is a balance and you have to eat less than you burn if you want to lose weight (3500 kcal = 1 lbs of fat) BUT and this is a BIG BUT (no pun intended) if you reduce your food consumption too low your body will begin to hoard calories.  Let's go back to our Hunter/Gather heritage, our bodies don't know when the next meal is going to come and we store extra energy/calories as body fat.  Remember our resting energy expenditure (resting metabolic rate) we said that the body burns energy (calories) to keep the body going.  There is actually a priority in the body and the brain is at the top followed by some other important organs like the heart and lungs.  Although a lot of people act like they don't have a brain or a heart, in reality we all do and yes, it takes energy for your heart to beat and the other systems in your body to continue to function.  If the body senses that it is going into starvation then it begins to slow down or will eventually shut down different functions of the body.  The body will actually start to destroy tissue to use as fuel and one of the first sources it taps into is the protein of our muscles.  So, go on a starvation diet and you can actually decrease your metabolic rate and begin to burn muscle mass.  Then when you decide to start eating again you have less muscle mass that burns energy and thus any calories over our new lower metabolic rate is stored as (you guessed it) FAT!  So the magic of a weight loss program is to reduce your calorie level enough to start burning fat stores but not so much that your body begins to shut down.  Our bodies run on energy (calories are just the unit of measurement) or the fuel we get in the form of food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins).  Fats have twice as much calories per gram than protiens and carbohydrates. It is almost like there is a science to this whole thing!  So, for those of you on our program and who have done the metabolic test we now know your effective range, don't ruin your progress by thinking "hey, I'm only going to eat part of what they told me, and then I will lose weight faster!"  hopefully you now know this is not true. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No More Yo-Yo

This coming Monday, we will start another 5 Ton Weight Loss Challenge.  We have been doing these 'challenges' for the last two years and completed the last one in November, 2010.  We have now passed our 5 Ton goal (that's 10,000 lbs of weight lost for those of you who struggle with conversions).  While we are very proud of the success we have had, there is still a lot of work to be done, basically lose another 5 Tons (statistically, there is plenty of weight out there to lose).  I know, I know, oh great another "weight loss program" and I agree there are a lot of them out there, but, here is the deal...I don't like any of them.  I'm sure they all started (OK, I'm not really sure) with good intentions but became more about making money than helping people.  So, I developed the program TERRIOlifestyle which we use as the format for our weight loss challenges to combine what we scientifically know about weight loss with what I have learned about leadership.  Think about this everyone starts out to lose weight with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.  We decide that we are finally ready to tackle this problem head on and in we jump full force.  But then something happens, all of a sudden it is not fun and actually hurts (see my previous blog about starting to quickly) and our enthusiasm disappears. Once this happens our subconscious starts lining up all the reasons, excuses and stories of why we can't/shouldn't continue and we are done. 

I was in a seminar years ago about leadership and the instructor was talking about how to create engaged employees.  The overall premise of the course (created by a business guru, he's already famous so no reason to add to that here) was to match your leadership style with the stage that the employee was in and then help move them along the course to become self sufficient, a peak performer.  As the instructor talked about the four phases that people go through when taking on a new task and the pit falls at each stage and thus the need to change the type of leadership, I  thought 'wait a minute, this is exactly why people are never successful at losing weight!  (my mind works in this strange way of putting together seemingly unrelated topics to derive new solutions to problems.  I believe that opportunity is everywhere and we just have to be willing to keep an open mind to possibilities and thus new solutions).  The more I thought about this new solution for weight loss the more I realized that it could really work.  Then came the hard work, I had to figure out how to create a system that would be scalable to help a lot of people but that would meet the needs at each step and provide a path for those willing to work hard enough to change. 

Having a good understanding of the functioning of the human body and taking what I had learned about leadership and program development, I first had to answer the question...'why do diets fail?'  and the answer was pretty easy... they are not sustainable!  This is the reason for the "YO-YO' diet syndrome (the grapefruit diet, the cabbage diet, the cookie diet, etc, etc), do they get you to lose weight, maybe, initially but then you go back to your usual eating habits, any weight loss you might have had comes back and usually with a few extra pounds. Thus the only way to create true sustainable weight loss is to replace old habits with new healthier one.  Perfect, I have the Answer!!  If it were only that easy!  You see this whole habit replacement idea, threw me into the field of behavior modification.  After reviewing current thinking about behavior modification, I realized that to make a change in behavior we had to start with the little steps.  If you can stop any habit (drinking, smoking, eating donuts every morning, whatever) and replace it with a new habit for 12 weeks you now have a new habit (at least for a year, its a technical thing).  So, I decided to create our program to be 10-12 weeks long.  For those of you trying to lose weight, I think you will agree that the idea of doing a 'program' for 10-12 weeks is much more attainable than 'the rest of your life' (that sounds like a miserable task).  We also set the program up to match the emotional side with the appropriate leadership to help people get through level one and two and move to level three where they begin to take ownership of the new habit (if you are starting Monday, just go with the program, it will happen naturally).  We launched the program in January of 2009 as a competition.  This way not only was the program limited but we invoked the spirit of competition to make things a little more fun.  We also set people up in 'teams' to help with accountability and camaraderie.  We found our program to be hugely successful and we have been improving it ever since.  In retrospect we now know that the people who were most successful were the ones who followed the program most closely.  If you cheat, you are letting those old habits keep hold and they won't be replaced.  For those of you starting the program Monday, it will be hard, you will get sore and your old habits will keep trying to sneak in on you.  Stay with the program and in about 8weeks you will be a different person, you will have replaced your old habits with new ones!  You will have lost 30 lbs (average weight loss on our program for 10 weeks) but most importantly you will be healthier, happier and have a lot more energy.  Good Luck! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life!

Variety is the spice of life and the same is true with an activity (exercise) program.  The best way to ward off boredom and meet your goals is to change things up.  Remember, that exercise is simply something you haven't done before but that doesn't mean just do one thing over and over and over again.  There are several ways to include variety in your workouts but before we get to that lets have a little lesson on 'Motor Learning'!  All these years of learning have taught me that there is one major thing that influences the activities people select and it is (drum role please!!) (now we go to commercial, just like TV shows, building the suspense)  People don't like to Look Stupid!!!  There you go, how genius is that!  But, I find it is actually True!  It hits people in varying degrees but it is always there!  Here is the problem, there is a set pattern of learning movement that has been studied over and over again and the first phase no matter who you listen to is the 'cognitive or mental' stage.  In other words we learn the steps involved like a recipe and we follow it step by step, consciously thinking of the next step.  We might as well call this the 'ROBOTIC' phase because that is exactly what it looks like!  It doesn't look very good but it is an important step in the learning process, if you try to jump this phase you will never have full command of the movement later.  So set aside the American ADD (the need for instant gratification) and realize that it will take time to learn a new movement and its OK to laugh at ourselves as we are learning.  Everyone learns at different rates but you CAN learn any movement if you are willing to put in the practice.  It is estimated that to truly master anything it takes 10 years of specific practice (that is to be world class) and yes it is true for everything from mastering the piano, to learning computers, to the Beatles!  So, knowing this give yourself a break and try some new things.  Remember, we are not talking "exercise" here we are talking activities because the more activities we do the more CALORIES we BURN!!!  Dancing (check), walking (check), hiking (check), martial arts (check), yoga (check), and on and on and on.  But here is the funny part, we like to do what we are already good at, so the strong people, they go lift weights and the very flexible people they do to yoga and Pilate's and the people who have a ton of experience dancing, they go dance.  I'm just saying if over all fitness is your goal then you need to mix it up and keep trying new things then it will be a lot more fun reaching that goal. 

Back to the motor learning, after the 'mental' phase and with enough repetitions a strange thing starts to happen!  You don't have to "Think" about every little step any more and the movement begins to look more fluid (second phase of motor learning)  now if you keep practicing eventually the movement becomes 'automatic' where you don't have to think about it at all.  This is the problem, we see someone do a movement and think 'wow, that was cool, I bet I could do that' and then we try it and we look 'goofy' and can't seem to do it.  Now its decision time, we either proclaim the whole thing "stupid and a waste of time"  (translation:  I just embarrassed myself and need to get the hell out of here) or we ask "show me that again" and we try to figure it out (enter the motor learning and the robotic phase).  If our ego doesn't get in the way and we actually truly practice the movement we can learn anything.  Think about this why is it that when a baby starts to learn any new movement, let's take walking for example, its a huge event and we constantly cheer every slight improvement!  We clap and cheer and video tape and call our family and friends when they take a step. But, something happens as we start getting older, we lose patience for kids trying to learn new tasks or movements.  You hear it every where "NO, NO, NO, I told you to shoot the basketball this way or swing a bat that way" and the granddaddy of them all "how many times do I have to tell you!!!"  I just keep waiting for the kid to turn around and say 'according to research, about a million!"  We are just as hard on ourselves "I'm so stupid, I just can't get this" or "I'll never get this".  Give yourself and the kids a break and realize that the more complex a movement is, the more time it is going to take to perfect it.  You cannot and will not have Tiger Woods (I know, but he does have a great swing) or Phil Mickelson's swing until you are willing to put in the hours and years of experience with top coaches, to constantly refine the movement.  But then again that really isn't the goal here now is it.  So, go out there and make your self look stupid, learn new activities and laugh at yourself along the way and when the 'critic' tells says your not very good, tell them your just a baby!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Matching your training program to your goals

What are your goals?  As I mentioned in the last blog, the only thing that dictates the appropriate training program is YOUR goals.  If your goal is to be able to lift really heavy weights a couple of times then you train by lifting really heavy weights a couple of times, slowly increasing the amount of weight over time.  If however your goal is to lose weight then the program would look a little different.  For everyone who has tried a resistance exercise program (it's not just weight lifting any more), any program, you will hear various beliefs on how many reps (repetitions) and sets (how many times you do the group of repetitions).  "you need to do 3 sets of 10", the next person will tell you "NO, it's 5 sets of 5" and on and on.  The next time someone tells you how many repetitions 'are the best' simply ask them "WHY?"  For some reason, we all like to 'know what we are talking about' so we will repeat what we have heard before regardless of where the information comes from.  Case in point, I had managed to make it through three college degrees in the fields of sports medicine, athletic training and physical therapy, but it wasn't until I was at a continuing education seminar several years ago that I was asked that question "why that many reps?" when several others in the class and I answered 3 sets of 10 repetitions to the question of how many to do.  It was one of those 'aha' moments when you look around and say "that's what we were taught?" so after that class I decided to look into it and I had to laugh at what I found.  The good old '3 sets of 10' was originally written about back 40 years ago and was the opinion of one writer.  Do the first set of 10 at 50% of the 10 rep max, then 75% for the Second set and then 100% for the last 10.  It sounded official so it must be right, by the way 100% of a 10 rep max is the amount of weight that you can lift 10 times and no more.  After this article, the authors that followed didn't question the '3 sets of 10 rep' theory, just the amount of resistance for each set until it was "agreed upon" that the truth must be "3 sets of 10 reps with 100% of the 10 rep max each time."  So why did this become the standard, very simple, IT WORKED!  People were getting stronger and seeing changes to their muscle mass so obviously it 'must be right'.  And so on we went with our resistance exercise routines, that is until Nautilus hit the scene in the 1970's with a crazy idea, 'Do one set of 15 repetions' on a series of very impressive machines.  But, guess what happened..."IT WORKED" well at least for a little while, people were seeing results on these machines and it took less time.  Then all kinds of ideas started coming out, multiple set and repetition combinations and you know what each one "WORKED"  Well now we have a problem, all these different combinations actually work so "How Can this Be?????"  Lets go back to my definition of exercise 'anything  your body hasn't done before' (remember?) of course each one would work because your body had to adapt to a new stress placed on it, but, once it adapts to the stress we once again hit the dreaded 'plateu' of no improvement and we pick up the next magazine or the next trainer and 'their program works'.  

Actually, over the years we have gotten some actual science on these repetitions and energy systems that go along with them.  If you want to build power, you must do a maximal effort 1-3 repetitions and a limited number of sets (of course you warm up).  Next is strength, for maximal strength development you want to be in the 4-6 rep range for 4-6 sets.  Then we hit the garbage can of cellular changes or the amount of resistance that will allow improved function of the muscle tissue 8-15 reps, 2-3 sets (sound familiar).  Anything above that and you are in the strength endurance range with an inverse relationship of strength to endurance.  Its not rocket science, the longer you do something the lighter the resistance must be and visaversa.  If you lift something really heavy, you can't lift it very many times (I know, I'm a genius and you never figured this out for yourself).  Actually, it is common sense and the next time you are working out make sure you use it.  The other issue is technique, proper form is essential to not getting injured but in comes the good old American belief 'if a little is good, a lot must be better) and on goes the additional weights (this seems to be especially true when testoterone is involved!).  The problem is if you are using too much weight/resistance then you will be compensating in some form.  Good Technique and appropriate form will get you much further, much faster than 'packing on the weights.'  As for reps and sets, that depends on what you want to accomplish, what's your goal.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Truth isn't always the truth

I was planning on going over how to find your resting heart rate and thus your training range for cardiovascular exercise today, BUT, I read an article this morning that someone sent me and now I need to vent about that so the heart rate will need to wait for another day.  The article was in Men's Journal and titled "Everything you know about fitness is a lie."  I was immediately intrigued as I thought that someone was going to join my fight to stop all the misinformation.  The article had a promising start as the author correctly identifies the current fitness/health clubs as show rooms which are meant to sell memberships and how easy it is to get a 'certification' as a personal trainer.  Obviously, you can get a decent workout in one of these centers but why is the largest amount of space dedicated to cardiovascular machines and weight lifting machines?  Just when I was getting into it and about to throw out an "Amen Brother!! You tell them!" the article turned to 'the truth about training' and my enthusiasm evaporated, what started as such a promising article became a rehash of an antiquated training method.  He was shown the 'truth' by a strength coach, strength training 101, all you need is squats, dead lifts and bench press!!  Just keep adding weight and you will keep getting stronger!  This is revolutionary information!  How simple is that!  Why hasn't anyone talked about this before???  Well, they have,  this is a rehash of the good ol' "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" program from the 1980's.  Very Revolutionary!  Also long ago proven ineffective for training athletes, but don't tell  all the high school football coaches as a majority of them still believe this is the gospel.  For some reason, when it comes to training philosophies we leave the modern era of information and we chisel the philosophies onto rock slabs never to be questioned again.  Trainers, coaches, strength coaches learn a system and information be damned lock into the truth.  Now, this is not true of all trainers, coaches, strength coaches because we have continued to make improvements into improved training techniques and the best coaches always try to improve and learn.  Like with any change, there are those who are early adopters, then the mass of people start to move over, but there are always those who are stuck in what they already know.  Let's step away from training for a second and ask one question,  when dealing with a complex situation, do we really believe there is only one solution?  Why then when it comes to training is there only one thing that works?  The answer is that there isn't.  Heavy lifting is the perfect training regime if your goal is to be good a heavy lifting.  It was shown years ago that heavy lifting is way to slow of a movement to be functional for sports.  A training program is dictated by one thing, the goal of the person who will be doing the program.  There might be a short phase of heavy lifting but there will be other phases of training as well. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fast, Slow or Combo?

Last time we were talking about activity (exercise) and making sure to change it on a regular basis.   This brings up an interesting question that again has multiple 'Opinions' and actual real science.  Speaking of just cardiovascular exercise (also know as aerobic or endurance exercise) is it better to do prolonged exercise at a lower heart rate or aggressive exercise that really gets your heart rate up there?  The first question is 'What is your goal?'  and the second is 'what is your current fitness level?'  Due to the statistics we have already talked about we can guess that most adults want to lose weight (actually lose body fat) so then the question of fitness level comes into play.  Remember, gradual progressive increases are the way to go, so where is the best place for you to start.  Simple, you start where you are (I know Genius Right?!?!) Actually you start with what you have been doing for the last couple of months.  If you haven't been doing anything, then start walking.  Remember we want early success and no pain. So start with a 10 minute walk.  One of the best ways to evoke change is not to plan to go out for a 30 or 60 minute walk, just go out for a 5 minute walk then once you are out there it will be much easier to keep going.  If we 'decide' to do a 60 minute walk, that little voice inside our head starts telling us all the reasons why this is not a good day or time (I'm to busy, we have a lot of things we need to get done today, what if I get to tired, what if its to hot or cold).  Trick the little voice by going out for a short walk and once your moving keep moving (Newton's law works the other way as well-A body in motion tends to stay in motion!)  I can hear it already, but my 'friend/trainer/video/biggest loser program' said you burn more calories running. To that I say, you are correct but is your body ready for that level of exercise?  Here is where the science comes in...ready...ok, when we start any exercise we start in anaerobic state (meaning we are burning carbohydrates and not utilizing oxygen) this is the way our energy systems work.  Have you ever notices that the first 2-3 minutes of cardio seem hard and it doesn't feel very good, but then around 3-4 minutes you start feeling better?  That is because of science, we burn carbohydrates to get started and then (based on how hard we are going and how high our heart rate goes) we switch to aerobic exercise where we are utilizing a different energy system and utilizing oxygen.  Now that we are in this state we can keep going until we hit the anaerobic threshold on the other side.  Remember the anaerobic system utilizes carbohydrates, actually technically it utilizes glucose (simple sugar).  We have some glucose in our blood, and we store some in our muscles and organs as Glycogen and that's it.  Once we burn up our glucose and glycogen stores we are done.  This is known as "hitting the wall" that feeling when you are doing something when your body says.."That's it I'm done!!"  and you have to sit down.  So, if you push your cardio too hard you will blow through the aerobic phase back into anaerobic and then you are done. Because of this for years it was reported that if you want to burn fat, which occurs in the aerobic phase that you should do exercise around 50% of your max heart rate, no higher than 70% or basically the level where you can still talk but couldn't sing.  (called the Talk/Sing test).  The problem is that while this is true, you will burn calories from fat stores during the length of exercise once you stop exercising you go back to your normal metabolic rate and burn calories at that level.  So if you burned 300 calories then that was your net amount burned in addition to your resting metabolic rate.  But, if you do intervals of exercise where you get your heart rate up and then recover (allow it to come down) and do this several times you will actually increase your Metabolic Rate for several hours after you finish exercising burning more calories for HOURS!  But let's cover that and how to figure your your heart rate in the next blog. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is exercise?

Today let's focus on burning some of those additional calories we have been gathering.  But first lets focus on our perception of exercise.  When you think about exercising what is the first thing that comes to mind?  For a majority of people fitness and exercise has a negative impression.  It is a wide variety of negative impressions, PAIN, Uncomfortable, Miserable, a negative memory of a gym class, being the last chosen for the team at school, No Pain-NO GAIN.  Exercise is hard, you have to push yourself if you want results.  What is the typical cycle of exercise?  You get frustrated with your weight or fitness level and finally get so irritated that we decide we are finally going to do something about it.  You decide that you are going to hit the gym or go for a jog or bike ride. We have good intentions, "That's it I'm getting back in shape and I'm going to do this EVERY DAY!!"   Remember, we want quick results so we go from 0-60 and off we go.  Our bodies are happily stuck in Newton's Law (A body at rest tends to stay at rest) when suddenly we are off and running.  While the human body has an amazing ability to adapt to stresses placed on it, it also has mechanisms if place if to much stress is placed on it all at once.  While the tissues in our bodies (muscle, tendon, bone, ligaments, etc) will react to gradual increases in stress by increasing their size and strength, they will just as easily be damaged by placing to much stress on them or placing the stress too quickly.  Once again we want to jump over the laws of physics as they apply to the tissues in our bodies because we want quick results "I want it and I want it NOW!"  All of the tissues in our body (muscle, tendons, bones, etc) succumb to the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands).  So, if we place NO demands on our body, it will respond by decreasing the amount of muscle mass, the density of bone, the density of tendons and ligaments (works for the brain as well) because this additional tissue is not necessary.  If we place gradually more stress on the tissues they will respond by adding muscle mass and increased density of the other tissues to meet the amount of stress, but here is the warning-only to a point.  Every substance has a breaking point steel, wood, concrete and yes human bone, muscle, tendon and ligaments.  If you go past this point the tissue is damaged and then must go through a healing phase.  Now we are in physical pain and most of us human's don't really like things that hurt us, so we stop exercising to heal.  Then when we think about starting again we talk ourselves out of it with a multitude of excuses, reasons, stories but the truth is that 'last time that really HURT!!!"  The amount of information in this area is incredible and well beyond the scope of this blog but maybe in the future we can get there.  But for now, suffice it to say, if you place the right amount of stress over the right amount of time the tissues will respond appropriately.  If you go to fast or with too much the tissues will break down.  So, what is the right amount?  It is simply a little more than you did before.  My definition of exercise is 'something your body hasn't done before'  period.  Oh, and let's get this straight, exercise is simply activity, any activity that moves the body.  It doesn't have to be done in a big gym while dressed in tight leotards while looking in a mirror.  The human body was made to move and adapt over time, so let's get it moving.  Two of the cardinal rules for activity(formerly known as exercise) are to make increases gradual and make the increases small.  If you have not been walking then activity is taking a 5 minute walk, then increase 1-2 minutes a day.  In 10 days you will be walking 15-20 minutes without the pain.  Once you get to 20-30 minutes and you "don't have time" to do any longer simply increase the intensity of the walk.  First, we have to build a base then slowly increase.  It never fails that someone will say 'but I walk 2 miles everyday and I can't lose weight!"  My first question is 'How long have you been doing that?"  and they usually answer for several months.  Lets, go back to my definition...Activity (exercise) is something that your body hasn't done before.  So if you have been doing the same walk, the same distance, your body long ago adapted to those stresses and it is part of your daily routine.  Our bodies are tricky that way, remember Gradual Increases Over Time.  Now, let's get moving!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hunters and Gathers in the Modern Era

Not so long ago, human beings wandered around and hunted or gathered up what ever they could find to eat.  Since they didn't know when or where the next meal would come our bodies adapted by becoming very efficient at storing extra calories as fat stores, to be used during those periods in between the hunts or the next time food was found.  Plus, humans had to actually go out and walk looking for food.   Remember, for every 3500 kcal of food we eat in excess of what we burn we store one pound of fat.  So, welcome to the modern era, no longer do we have to go out searching for the next kill or a patch of edible fruits or vegetables.  There is no longer a shortage of food, between convenient stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and those fast food drive ins, we are well stocked.  Not only is there no shortage of food but all the capitalists out there looking to get our business came up with the kind of food we LIKE to eat...HEAVY on the fat, salt and sugar!!  Not only do we have a taste for fatty, salty or sweet food, we don't want to be cheated on our portions...MORE IS BETTER!!  So, now we have an abundance of not only food but Calorie Dense Food and large portions but we also can drive up and get it.  Wouldn't our ancestors be proud! 

Here is the science of the human body.  In order to keep our hearts beating, our brains functioning (yes, everyone has one, even though some don't use it much) and our other basic life functions working we need energy and we burn kcal as the energy source.  So, here is the good news, even if you did nothing but lay in bed all day you are burning calories.  This is known as your resting or basal metabolic rate.  More good news, as we get up and move around and walk around we burn additional calories.  At TERRIO we utilize a breathing test which calculates your metabolic rate and the number of calories you burn through your other activities of life.  Several things can affect your resting metabolic rate, that's why we prefer using the test to find out, instead of guessing.  So you can see that our hunter gather ancestors burned a tremendous amount of calories while they were out searching for food and then ate only what they could find.  Now our hunting and gathering is limited to walking to the fridge and looking in there, if there is nothing there we want we might walk over to the pantry (not a lot of calories being burned here).  If we can't find any thing then comes the heavy activity a hike to the car and off to the fast food restaurant.  Bakersfield has one of the highest concentrations of fast food restaurants in the country (suppose there is a link between this fact and the Obesity rate???).  When we do go to all this activity to find food, it is rich in calories, good thing because we can store it as fat until we find the next meal. 

Sum it all up and we have gotten into some really bad habits and the worst part is that we are teaching these habits to our children.  We need to replace our old habits with new ones if we want to change the path we are on and are taking our children down.  There is no silver bullet and it won't be easy but it can be done!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeking the Silver Bullet for weight loss...

Have you stopped and thought about the speed of life in America today?  We have a seemingly endless need for speed.  Long gone are the days of trying to find a phone booth to make a call, now its inconvenient when our cell phone only has one bar.  3G wasn't fast enough so now we are going to 4 G and can anyone remember dial up connections for Internet?  We become inpatient if we have to wait a few minutes for the venti latte even if we were the ones who orders the 'triple venti, half caff, extra foam with a shot of vanilla'.  Americans have become so used to instant gratification that we become frustrated when something takes even a short amount of time to accomplish.  We immediately assume that this cannot be the case and that somehow, somewhere there has to be a faster, better way.  (Believe me, I am guilty of this as well and have made a career out of looking for a 'better way' to do things.)   To quote the girl in Willy Wonka "I want it and I want it NOW!"  So, what happens when the laws of nature are the very thing that keeps us from our need for instant results? 

We hear daily that Americans continue to gain weight and the numbers of clinically obese people is constantly increasing.  In Bakersfield it is estimated that over 60% of our population is overweight or obese.  Before you start laughing, you might want to check the national statistics or your local statistics (it isn't just Bakersfield).  Thus there is a growing (literally and figuratively) population seeking an answer to weight loss. Where there is demand, products and services are soon to show up (that's what makes America Great).  This is where the problem comes in.  We take years putting on the extra pounds and then one day we decide that we need to do something about our weight.  Now that we have focused our attention on the issue we expect immediate results.  Enter the actual laws of nature (if you don't want to know the truth don't read this next part).  A pound of fat is 3500 kcal, not so scary right?  Until you start doing the math.  For every pound of fat you want to lose you have to burn 3500 kcal more than you take in.  Hang on it gets better because the human body doesn't like to be in a negative calorie count (you burn more than you take in) your body isn't going to just give in.  Without getting into the battle of creation/evolution suffice it to say that our bodies are set up to store additional calories (as fat) for future use.  Just in case we can't find any extra food for a while.  The problem is that a shortage of food isn't the issue for most of us, so we just keep storing and storing and storing, until a majority of the population is overweight (oh, wait, we are already there)!!  Since we don't want to acknowledge this simple rule of human nature and we want quick results we go searching for the 'silver bullet'  the 'cheat code' that will over ride human physiology.  With 24 hour television and the Internet we don't have to look far for the latest "lose weight fast" program, pill, drink, formula.  Go from "fat to fit in just a few days", oh and it is really easy "just a few minutes a day is all you need to get in fantastic shape and be skinny" and we gobble it up like the food that got us here in the first place.  There is no silver bullet and there are laws of human physiology that are in play.  I intend to share these with you over the next several blogs.  The good news is that there are ways to maximize burning fat that are based in science and we will be going into those as well.