Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Time To Question Your Diet

A buddy/fellow trainer sent me this link. It raised a lot of questions about life as a vegan, carnivore, and omnivore. As a (currently experimenting) vegan, it made me think differently about how I view my nutritional intake.

This clip really caught my attention because this person raises specific points in a calm, organized, and effective way. It's a treat to see somebody raise controversial issues without yelling and ranting. I sincerely urge you to watch this youtube clip for the next couple of minutes and share with everyone what you think. It will be extremely interesting to see all of your views on this topic.

Thanks and enjoy!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back Yourself Up With Some Workouts!

The key to transitioning exercise into a daily habit is consistency. A common misconception among "newbies" (and veterans) in the gym is that every workout has to be the best and the toughest ever. Now, I definitely don't want to down play hard work because I believe effort is the key to success, but the reality is that not every workout is going to be amazing. To be even more realistic, there are going to be a lot of times when you really won't want to workout! But that doesn't mean you should skip a day of exercise. Unless you are ill, have some sort of injury, or are suffering from over-training, the days that you feel like exercising the least may actually be the most significant.

The significance of working out when you truly prefer to skip it is important for a few reasons. The most important reason is that it allows your body to maintain its current frequency of activity. Skipping workouts can really affect us physically and mentally. I personally feel like it kicks me off my routine and rhythm. My body also never really feels any better and my next workout usually puts me in state of "catch up". The benefits of stimulating the metabolism frequently throughout the week are absolutely vital. Our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) goes up, we burn more fat, we have more energy, and it's what our bodies were built for! The more you push your body (in a healthy way) the stronger and more responsive your body will become.

That being said, a back up workout doesn't have to be a marathon or an Olympic triathlon. It should be something that doesn't require a lot of thinking, yet still gets your heart rate up and your muscles burning. A couple of ideas are a workout video, your base run, a simple full-body lift routine, and some plyometric exercises that you can do anywhere.

Here are some examples:

P90X- It's No Joke...Seriously, It's Really Hard

The Time Has Finally Come- Your Park Workout!

Keeping The Workouts Going

Anybody else have Back Up workout ideas?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

P90X- It's No Joke...Seriously, It's Really Hard

I'd like to start this post off by officially stating, "I do not work for P90X, I do not sell P90X, and I actually don't even know what the 'P' in P90X stands for" - maybe "physical"? Who knows? It doesn't really matter though. What does matter, however, is this exercise video. It's actually a series of 12 videos and each one focuses on a different type of workout. The idea is to circuit these videos, eat right, and see some results in 90 days. The videos are very diverse and range from muscle-focused exercises, such as "Back & Biceps" to full body cardio called "Kenpo X" (intense punching, kicking, and balancing), and even to "Yoga X".

The master behind P90X is named Tony Horton. Tony has made his exercise videos stand out for many reasons. The most important is that the exercises are hard! He demonstrates a great compilation of old school exercises and then adds a good twist of his own creativity. He also isn't trying to "sell" anything (besides his DVD's). In other words, there aren't any gimmicks involved. When compared to Bowflex,which promotes that working out for 20 minutes a day is going to "transform" your body, P90X admits that you have to put the hard work in! Working out is tough! If it wasn't, everybody would be doing it!

Another great trick to his trade are his comments. I'll be the first to admit, an exercise video is no comparison to personal training because a video will never cater to the individual details of a person's needs. Tony always has other people working out with him and he does a great job of constructively criticizing their form. Most of the mistakes that the people on his team make are common enough to keep anyone in check. So when Tony makes a technique comment to one of his peers, it's a good idea to look in the mirror and see if you are making the same mistake.

I've been very sore after P90X workouts. Even if you don't want to fully commit all of your workouts to P90X, it may be worth a try just to switch it up every once in a while and pop in a DVD. The best part is that these workouts are trustworthy, trainer approved, and effective. Check it out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Battle for Healthful Consumption- Cavemen vs Vegans

One morning while browsing through the New York Times I stumbled upon the article The New Age Caveman and the City. Being that I had just begun my "vegan experiment" and had been thinking a lot about alternative dietary options, I payed closer attention. The Paleo Diet is a way of eating and apparently a lifestyle that aspires one to live as we once lived during the Paleolithic/Caveman days. Someone who follows this diet will not eat bread, pasta,or any other processed grain or food product because paleolithic man had not yet invented these modern day conveniences. A person observing this diet resorts to eating high quantities of cooked or uncooked meat (the star of the article just purchased a meat locker for his apartment) and the fruits and vegetables of a "gatherer". Besides what is eaten, long fasts are encouraged to simulate the cavemen experience of starvation while in search of food. Their workouts reinact movements of a caveman i.e. high jumps, sprints, and other intense plyometric based exercise.
A vegan is a person who does not eat any products made from animals. The main staples of a vegan diet are fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, etc. There are no workouts specifically associated with being vegan, however running and other long distance sports are most relevant to the types of food eaten. As vegans tend to eat a high quantity of carbohydrates, activities that require a lot of carbohydrates are best.
There are many complications with both of these diets. For example, vegans need to make an extra effort to eat more protein and take in more calcium, iron, and other nutrients associated with animal products. These necessary nutrients aren't abundant in vegan foods and can be incredibly inconvenient to obtain. However, they are absolutely necessary for overall health. I have witnessed many vegans that have gained weight, lowered their energy, and slowed their metabolism because they lack protein and other vital nutrients.

The Paleo Diet recommends techniques that may be harmful to the body. It is very possible to follow a diet that doesn't contain processed grain and other processed foods. In fact, that can even be beneficial. Diets that contain animal meat in bulk and lack in carbohydrate dense food can result in an over consumption of protein and under consumption of carbohydrates. As many forms of the Atkins diets have already proved to us, this can put our body into a state of Ketosis. Ketosis puts an immense amount of stress on the liver and muscle tissue. Protein as a main source of energy is not only inefficient, but can also be hazardous. This state of "protein energy" gives Paleo Dieters no choice but to suffer from ketosis. Their long fasts put the body in a severe catabolic state for long periods of time. Catabolism requires the body to break down internally. One of the things this leads to is increased muscle tissue breakdown which in return slows the metabolism. Typical fasts follow with a "gorging" of food which simulate a caveman finally catching his prey. Studies have shown that large meals following a long fast not only disrupt the rate of metabolism but also encourages the body to hold on (aka not burn the food for energy as efficiently) to the "break-fast" food because the body doesn't know when it is going to get it's next meal. Some Paleo dieters encourage a grueling workout (on a fasted body) right before a "break-fast" gorge. This simulates a caveman catching his prey on an empty stomach. Intense workouts for a body that has no food for energy is dangerous because it directly leads to the break down of lean body mass. This means that these pre-gorge workouts demand the body to be in an even more stressful catabolic/ketosis state than usual.
The Paleo Diet fad, well... is a fad. And, that alone is something to be aware of. The Atkins Diet fad impacted Americans so much that fast food chains changed their menu just to appeal to low-carb dieters! But where is the Atkins Diet now? If it was so amazing, why isn't every single overweight person on it? Thankfully it's history. The Paleo Diet is dangerous because it's unproven methods are disguised by interesting and new "Paleolithic" theory. For the less intense Paleo dieter that decides to eat lower quantities of meat, more fruits and vegetables and fasts significantly less is not inventing a new "diet". They are simply someone who doesn't eat processed food. That's great, but it shouldn't be viewed as a fad diet! Veganism also may not be the best diet ever. For someone who has to find 100 g of protein a day (I have a knee injury which resorts to a protein rich diet for resistance training) from non-animal sources, it can be really hard. But the big difference between the two is that you can follow all of the vegan principles and still maintain optimum health. I'm skeptical that you can do so with the Paleo Diet. What was the average lifespan of a caveman??

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We're Back!

I would like to welcome everyone back to the Priority Fitness blog. It has been quite a long break, but we’re back and happy to be here.

There have been a lot of new fitness trends recently and now with the seasons changing, I’m sure plenty of people are excited to try a whole bunch of new things.... or at least read about them.

As always, I wish for this blog to be a fitness resource that provides you with information from every spectrum of fitness. I always encourage feedback, whether it may be agreeing, disagreeing or just inquiring for more information. It’s amazing how we can learn so much more if we all share our thoughts.

Here are some links to keep you occupied until the next blog comes out. (Which will be 'Vegan Diet vs Paleo Diet' - which will win?)

1. Men's Health dumbed down - yet it makes more sense than ever!!

-Yes, if you increase the rate and incline on the treadmill, your workout will become harder... It actually is somewhat refreshing to see a topic that isn't a "gimmick" or just plain false. Monitoring your heart rate can be extremely beneficial for a number of reasons, such as determining which nutrient you want to burn primarily for energy (i.e., fat or carbohydrates).

2. Take some time to listen to Jamie Oliver

-He will give you an enlightened perspective of childhood obesity. Knowledge is Power!!!!

3. An amazing New York Times article that actually stresses the point that you need to work to lose weight.

-"Parking farther away from the grocery store than usual" will burn minimal calories and slightly increase your activity. But if you buy unhealthy food, even the slightest effort to maintain health is thrown down the drain.