Fit Tips

Skipping Breakfast Tied To Heart Disease

April 25th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Whether you eat breakfast might be linked with your risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially stroke-related death, in the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology this April.

Best bet: eggs and veggies microwaved in a cup.

After a person’s age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had an 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day.

Breakfast is traditionally believed as the most or at least one of the most important meals of the day, and this paper is among the ones that provide evidence to support long-term benefits. “There are a few cardiovascular risk factors — for example diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders,” Dr. Wei Bao said. “Our findings are in line with and supported by previous studies that consistently showed that skipping breakfast is related to those strong risk factors for cardiovascular death.”

Skipping breakfast and cardiovascular death
The study involved data from 1988 to 1994 on 6,550 US adults, aged 40 to 75, who reported how often they ate breakfast. The survey data generally let respondents define what meal would be considered breakfast.

Separate data was analyzed to determine the adults’ health status through 2011. All told, 2,318 deaths occurred during an average follow-up period of 18.8 years, including 619 from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers took a close look at how often each person consumed breakfast and at mortality, specifically whether a death was related to cardiovascular health.  Of those adults, 5.1% reported never consuming breakfast; 10.9% rarely ate breakfast; 25% had breakfast on some days; 59% had breakfast every day.

Compared with those who consumed breakfast every day, adults who never did so had a higher risk of heart disease-related death and stroke-related death, according to the study. Those associations were found to be significant and independent of socioeconomic status, body mass index and cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers noted.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective analysis of skipping breakfast and risk of cardiovascular mortality,” they wrote.

The complexities of skipping breakfast
In general, the study noted that skipping breakfast has been associated with increased risk of obesity, elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

The new study “was fairly well done,” said Krista Varady, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who was not involved in the research.
“However, the major issue is that the subjects who regularly skipped breakfast also had the most unhealthy lifestyle habits,” she said. “Specifically, these people were former smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, and also had poor diet quality and low family income.”

All of those factors put people at a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease. “I realize that the study attempted to control for these confounders, but I think it’s hard to tease apart breakfast skipping from their unhealthy lifestyle in general,” Varady said.

Some people might skip breakfast as part of an intermittent fasting routine, but the breakfast skipping in the study and breakfast skipping during intermittent fasting are two different concepts and practices, said Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and director of the USC Longevity Institute, who was not involved in the new research. To connect the study’s findings to intermittent fasting, Longo warns “be careful.”

“There are very good ways to do intermittent fasting and potentially very bad ways to do intermittent fasting,” Longo said. “But certainly, that’s an interesting thing to keep in mind, that A: Maybe it’s better to stick with 12 hours or 13 hours of fasting and that’s it,” he said. “Or B: If you need to do 16 hours, try to consider skipping dinner and not breakfast or lunch.”

Read the complete CNN article here


Youth Strength Training: A Parent’s Guide

April 17th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

FOR YEARS NOW, ADULTS have been told by medical and fitness experts that strength training is a crucial part of a stable exercise regimen for overall health. We know that cardiovascular fitness is fantastic, but alone, it isn’t enough to keep our bones healthy and our muscles from degenerating as we age. But when it comes to kids’ fitness, historically the exercise focus has been cardiovascular in nature. Yet research has revealed that even children 12 and under can reap the health and physical fitness rewards of strength training. To be most effective, it must be done properly and safely

First, it’s important to note that strength training isn’t the same thing as weightlifting. While weightlifting can be a feature of a strength-training workout, it isn’t the only way to strength train, nor is it appropriate in every form for children and adolescents.

Heavy weightlifting, often called “powerlifting” or “bodybuilding,” aren’t what we’re going for here. These activities aren’t harmful on the surface; they merely increase injury risk – especially for children. You see, depending on a child’s age, not all of their cartilage has yet turned to the bone – especially in the areas of the body where growth plates are located. So placing too large an emphasis on heavy weightlifting can overly tax young muscles, bones, and cartilage. That risk isn’t what we orthopedic specialists would consider being worth the potential reward. But don’t worry, there’s plenty else that is.

Wondering whether you should even bother trying out strength-training exercises on a kid who isn’t particularly “athletic?” The most straightforward answer is yes. Strength training isn’t just for athletes. After all, we humans are all made of the same material. The benefits of this type of exercise are for everybody. From increasing muscle and bone strength, agility and endurance to helping to protect your kiddo’s joints into adulthood, there are plenty of excellent benefits that go beyond a sports field. Physiological benefits aside, the boost in self-confidence and self-esteem that have been demonstrated to accompany this type of consistent exercise are also worthy of consideration.

In children, strength training is best accomplished and less risky when the resistance is light and the movements are incredibly controlled and have been demonstrated by an adult for proper technique and safety. As an added precaution, it’s best for children to be instructed in strength-training methods by an adult who is trained and experienced in the instruction of such techniques for children. Your favorite personal trainer may provide you with a stellar workout, but he or she may not be the most qualified to instruct and supervise your child.

Before beginning any strength-training activity, a proper warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes of easy aerobic exercise is crucial to prepare the muscles. Once the warm-up is complete, one of the best and safest ways to start out with a kid-focused strength-training regimen (this goes for adults, too) is to focus on simple exercises that utilize the child’s own body weight as the “resistance.” A 10- to 15-repetition circuit of exercises like pushups, sit-ups and squats won’t be too complicated for most children, but they must remember the proper technique in performing each activity. If the adult instructor begins to notice form being sacrificed, he or she will likely adjust the number of reps for the child, which is essential to help avoid injury.

Of course, if you have any concerns, it’s always best to clear a strength-training program with your child’s pediatrician before getting started. Other than that, and like anything else with kids, the key to making strength-training stick is consistency and fun. Getting them involved in planning the workout circuit, or better yet, jumping in and doing it with them can be great ways to show your children that you too place a high value on health, fitness and overall wellness – whether you’re 9, 19 or 49.

by Bert Mandelbaum, M.D.


Strength Training Builds More Than Muscles

April 17th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition conspire to gradually steal bone mass, at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.

Strength Training builds bones and confidence

Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. An estimated eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures each year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may become impossible.

Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action. That stress comes from the tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running). The result is stronger, denser bones.

And strength training, in particular, has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures another way — by cutting down on falls.

by Harvard Medical School


5 Important Facts About Sarcopenia

March 11th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia is a relatively new term for the most insidious health crisis in the world. Sarcopenia is a disease that impacts all of us as we age. And there is only one known way to prevent it and treat it.

Here are the 5 most important things you need to know about Sarcopenia:

  1. Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging
    The functions of skeletal muscle include control of movement and posture; regulation of metabolism; storage of energy; acting as a primary source of amino acids for the brain and immune system; and acting as a substrate for malnutrition/starvation, injury/wound healing, and disease. Maintaining skeletal mass is critical not only for remaining physically independent but also for survival.
  2. Sarcopenia affects half of all older adults
    More than 18 million Americans suffer from sarcopenia. One in three adults over 60 have the disease, and that number increases to over 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.
  3. Muscle loss from Sarcopenia begins in our 30s
    Beginning in our 30s, every single human being on earth develops sarcopenia. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against the muscle loss. The erosion of strength accelerates in our 50s and continue to increase as we move into our 60s. By our mid-70s, there is an exponential increase in the loss of lean tissue.
  4. Sarcopenia can cause muscle weakness, frailty, and loss of independence
    The loss of strength that accompanies sarcopenia will dramatically impact your physical health. This loss of strength makes it hard to recover is we lose our balance. As we become weaker, we become more cautious and less physically active. When we are less active, we are weaker. The downward spiral continues.
  5. Strength training is the only treatment for Sarcopenia
    You can counteract this loss of muscle tissue with strength training, which will also have a positive effect on many other chronic diseases. We’re living longer. Strength is critically important to enjoying the extra four or five decades that we each have been given through medical science advances over the last century.

Strength training, as you age, is the recognized treatment for combating the devastating effects of sarcopenia.

Of all of these important facts, the last one is the most important. Medical scientists at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, the Academy of Royal Colleges, and dozens more respected medical research institutions have all concluded that intense strength training is the only way to combat the downward spiral of physical health and loss of strength that Sarcopenia causes.

by StrongPath


Rev Up Your Metabolism

February 19th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

A recent article by Health.com (Jan/Feb 2019) has some great advice that I agree with as a personal trainer, here are the highlights.

Your muscles are in charge

A pound of muscle burns 7-10 calories/day compared to 1 lb of fat which burns only 2-3 calories/day. We all know that after you hit your 20’s, you lose muscle as you age. That muscle loss can slow your metabolism by 15% (your calorie burning power). While building new muscle can help counteract this trend, it is even more important to engage the muscle you already have. Every time you challenge your muscles by strength training, you burn calories by working out and continue to burn calories after you put your weights away.

Do 2 30-minute sessions of resistance training each week and in 3 months, your resting metabolism will be about 6% faster. When you exercise, focus on major muscle groups and do not shy away from heavy weights (60 – 75% of your maximum lift).

A lack of Protein can slow your metabolism

If you are not already on the protein bandwagon, get on board! Your body needs amino acids to stay functional. Without enough protein, your body will be forced to tap your muscles. When you lose valuable muscle, your resting metabolism slows.

Make sure you are putting protein in every meal and snack – starting your day with 15 grams (about 2 eggs) is a great idea. Don’t overlook whey, one of two proteins found in milk. Whey protein is rich in the amino acids muscles thirst for and can aid in recovery after workouts.

Dieting is the enemy

Any weight loss diet can leave your metabolism slower than when you started. We highly recommend a lifestyle diet of plants and proteins (no grains, sugar, highly processed foods or processed starches) and eat enough calories to satisfy your resting metabolism. The easiest way to do that is to multiply your body weight in lbs by 10.

Your metabolism likes sleep

Lack of sleep tends to slow your metabolism, in part because that’s when your body repairs itself (which burns calories). Sleep well, eat well and exercise hard for 2 30-minute sessions each week and your metabolism will thank you.


Protein Cracked: Making A Case For The Egg

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Egg whites are a high-quality protein source, but whole eggs often get a bad rap. It’s time to crack a few myths and showcase the power of the yolk.

Egg whites are often referred to as the perfect protein, due to their amino-acid makeup and the body’s ability to utilize them properly.

The average large, whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, about 200 mg of cholesterol, and nearly no carbs. The average large egg white contains only 17 calories, 4 g of protein, and no carbs, fat, or cholesterol.

Egg whites contain as many as 40 different proteins. Of these, ovalbumin constitutes the majority, making up about 55 percent of the protein in egg white. Ovotransferrin is an iron-binding protein in egg whites that provides antimicrobial properties and makes up over 10 percent of the protein content. Ovomucin is another type of protein that makes up less than 5 percent of egg-white protein and provides the jellying property of egg white, as well as antimicrobial properties.

Egg-white protein is rich in BCAAs and arginine, as well as the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids are critical for maintaining the structure of many proteins such as collagen, which is critical for maintaining joint health and levels of certain hormones.

GET YOLKED
Although bodybuilders used to focus on just the egg white for protein and avoided the yolk because of the fat and cholesterol—it’s now known that it’s more beneficial to consume both the egg white and the yolk together. That’s because that golden center contains the majority of the micronutrients in eggs, including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

The yolk also contains all of the egg’s fat and cholesterol, but don’t let that scare you off. Blood cholesterol levels don’t seem to be negatively affected by whole eggs. In fact, one study from the University of Connecticut tested the cholesterol response of 25 males and 27 females to an egg diet (640 mg per day of additional cholesterol) and a non-egg diet (no additional cholesterol). They found the cholesterol in egg yolks does not raise the LDL cholesterol particles that are particularly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.

We now know that fat is important in a diet. The saturated fat in egg yolks is less than half of the total fat. But saturated and monounsaturated fat, also in egg yolks, are important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. The fat and cholesterol from yolks, which was once thought of as harmful, appears to provide benefits for those who do strength training.

In fact, in a head-to-head egg comparison, consuming more whole eggs was shown to help with muscle gain and strength. The magic number? Three. One study from Texas A&M found that subjects consuming three whole eggs a day while following a weight-lifting program for 12 weeks gained twice as much muscle mass and twice as much strength as subjects eating either just one egg per day or no eggs. Those kinds of benefits may be due to the cholesterol content. After all, cholesterol is converted to testosterone in the body.

Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes, which helps them function properly and avoid breakdown. Scientists from Kent State University put 47 older adults (ages 60-69) on a 12-week weight-lifting program and tested them before and after for changes in muscle mass and strength. They placed all subjects on a moderate protein diet and divided them into two groups. One group followed a lower-cholesterol diet (1.6 mg per pound of body weight or approximately 150-250 mg per day), while the other half consumed a higher cholesterol diet (2.6 mg per pound of body weight or about 250-450 mg per day). After 12 weeks the group that consumed the lower-cholesterol diet did not increase muscle mass and only increased their strength by about 35 percent. The higher-cholesterol group, on the other hand, had an increase in muscle mass of about 5 pounds and upped their strength by about 90 percent.

DROP THE FAT
Eggs can also help you get leaner. Research from Saint Louis University found that people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had breakfast with the same amount of calories from a carb-heavy bagel. A follow-up study by the same team found that when women consumed two eggs for breakfast at least five times per week over a 12-week period, they lost 65 percent more weight and had a 34-percent larger reduction in waist size compared to those who skipped the eggs. The study also found that adding two whole eggs to breakfast resulted in no changes in cholesterol levels.

Consider eating two or three whole eggs each day to take advantage of all the benefits eggs have to offer in regard to performance and body composition. You can bump up the protein intake by adding an extra white or two for each yolk.

While eggs are typically thought of as a breakfast food, you can enjoy them anytime throughout the day. Hardboiled eggs work great in salads or as a stand-alone snack. If you really want to kick your eggs up a notch, try my Egg and Ham Cups; they’re delicious and easy to make.

by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.


What I Learned During 13 Years Of Strength Training

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

It all started when I was 18. At the time, I was slowly recovering from an eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa, and my dad was trying to help me get healthy again.

“You know, there’s a way you can eat a lot more and still be skinny!” he said. “Come to the gym and workout with me.”

It’s funny how different my ideal body was back then, 13 years ago. I was judging myself by what I saw online and in magazines. I wanted to be emaciated-looking. I wanted to be small and petite. I wanted to be “less.”

My first trip to the gym was immensely unproductive. My “hardcore workout” consisted of some abdominal machine work, some crunches, and…wait for it…sleeping on the mat. Yup, I fell asleep on a mat about 15 minutes after walking into a gym for the first time in my life.

Despite what happened during that first visit, I’ve been steadily going to the gym for more than 13 years now. In that time, I’ve completed countless numbers of lifting sessions. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the process of strength training and how it made me feel. I soon became passionate, determined, and dedicated to making gains, both physically and mentally.

Today, I’d like to share with you 13 lessons I’ve learned along the road to becoming a stronger, more fit, and more confident me.

Lesson 1: Women, You Will Not Look Like Men
No matter how hard you work out at the gym, you will not—I repeat—not look like a man. Women simply do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to increase their muscle mass to the point where they look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The women you see pictured online with huge muscles use steroids.

Without these dangerous drugs, you can still see amazing changes in your body shape and tone. You get there by following a healthy diet and by lifting weights—real weights. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the colored-plastic 5-pounders and grab some iron. It won’t make you bulky, but it will make you strong and lean.

Lesson 2: Strength Training Shapes Your Body Much More Than Cardio Does
There are two components to physique: muscle and the visibility of that muscle. We increase muscle mass when we strength train. We increase muscle visibility when we lower our body fat percentage. To increase muscle visibility, you must strength train. In other words, in order to display your muscles, you have to have them! In contrast, cardio is great for heart and overall health, but won’t do anything for your muscle tone.

Lesson 3: Strength Train The Major Muscle Groups
When most people decide they want to change their physique and improve their health, they tend to focus on the body parts that bother them the most. For women, often this means lower body and stomach. For their part, men often focus on biceps and chest. To improve muscular balance, prevent injuries, improve overall appearance and strength, and increase caloric burn, you must train all the major muscle groups—the ones you see in the mirror and the ones you don’t.

Focus on compound exercises that use large muscle groups—exercises such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and rows. Then add accessory, or isolation, exercises that target smaller muscle groups. Such exercises include leg curls, triceps extensions, and rear-delt raises.

Lesson 4: Going For Spot Reduction? If Only!
Newsflash: There is no such thing as spot reduction, meaning no exercise can burn fat in a specific area. Your genetics, not your workouts, determine the areas where you can gain and lose fat. A good diet combined with intensive strength training is what creates an aesthetically pleasing physique.

Lesson 5: Continuous Progress Requires Progressive Overload
The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) is simple: Your body adapts to stress (in the form of exercise) by gaining muscle mass and strength. To continue building your physique, you must constantly increase what you demand of your body through a concept called progressive overload. One way to achieve this is by adding more weight to the bar. But you can also do it through any combination of increasing your reps per set, increasing your range of motion for a certain exercise, improving your technique, or reducing the rest time between sets. All these techniques give you the freedom to change, monitor, and adjust your program so you can keep challenging yourself.

Lesson 6: Diet Schmiet—Mind Your Calories!
I’ve attempted all kinds of diets—low fat, high fat, zero sugar, only “specific foods” diet, and on and on. None of them worked. About three years into my weight-lifting career, I decided to dive deeper into the science behind body composition changes. I hoped to answer several questions: Why do we get fat? How do we lose fat? Are certain foods fattening? Do some foods burn calories just by digesting them?

Along the way, I realized there are three possible scenarios for an individual’s body weight and caloric intake:

  • The number of calories you consume each day is equivalent to the number of calories your body burns per day. In this scenario, you maintain your weight.
  • The number of calories you consume per day is greater than the number of calories your body burns. In this scenario, you gain weight.
  • The number of calories you consume daily is less than the number of calories your body burns per day. In this scenario, you lose weight.

Simply put, we gain fat when we eat too many damn calories, not because we eat or avoid specific foods. I’m a big proponent of the 80/20 rule, whereby 80 percent of your diet consists of highly nutritious, minimally processed foods, and 20 percent consists of low-nutrient, processed foods. The good news is you can still eat those foods you love. Just eat less of them. Maybe a lot less.

Lesson 7: Food Has No Moral Code
Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind?

A cookie is bad for you, while a salad is good for you.
I was bad because I had a piece of chocolate cake. I’d be good if I had broccoli and chicken.
Thinking of foods as “good” and “bad” is called orthorexia, “an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.” Orthorexia sounds great but, in reality, it undermines your long-term success, both physically and emotionally.

Labeling foods as good or bad only encourage a negative relationship with them. In reality, food is neutral; it’s meant to be used as fuel for the body—and to be enjoyed! A healthy diet isn’t all black or all white—it comes in shades of grey. Yes, it’s rich in nutrients, but if you want your diet to last the long haul, it also needs to include foods that give you pleasure.

Lesson 8: Be Realistic About Your Expectations
You’ve finally decided to start your fitness journey. You’re excited. You’re motivated. You think to yourself, “I’m going to have my dream body in 3-6 months!”

Good for you—but not so fast. For most mortals, it takes way more than three months to achieve that dream body, whatever it may be. With consistency in your exercise and diet program, you will see measurable and noticeable changes in three months—just maybe not the kind of before/after transformation you see so often on social media.

Getting a fit body and adding quality muscle can take years. Get into it for the long term.

Lesson 9: Consistency And Patience Are Keys
Motivation can get you started, but habits keep you going. It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, but putting in a not-so-great workout beats no workout at all every time. Keep at it and don’t give up. Being consistent will bring you closer to your goals while also helping you develop the grit and work ethic needed to continue despite obstacles. Treat every day as an opportunity to grow and improve, and rely on your discipline—not your motivation—to get you to the gym. If you miss a workout, don’t get down on yourself. Just get right back into it!

Lesson 10: Don’t Be Obsessed With Scale Weight
For years I’ve been attached to a magical number on the scale, a number that would make my life so much easier, fuller, and happier. In reality, there is no such number. Your weight comprises fat mass and fat-free mass (bones, muscles, connective tissue, organs, and water), and it’s a dynamic measurement, one that fluctuates in response to stress, hydration, carb intake, fiber intake, types of foods, time of the day, and sleep.

Lesson 11: Mental And Emotional Strength Gains Are Coming Your Way
Just as muscles grow by repeatedly overcoming resistance, we grow as people the same way. Sometimes life can seem like a daily resistance workout you never signed up for. If you’re lucky, strength training can help you learn how to show up and do the work.

I fell in love with strength training because it has better prepared me for life. Strength training tests your will power. It challenges your patience and dedication as you progress, regress, plateau, and progress again. There’s something empowering about that, especially for us women.

Lesson 12: You Won’t Always Have The Support Of Others
Some people—even those closest to you—may not understand your new fit lifestyle. That’s OK. Not everyone has to agree with you, because the most important person in your life, you, will understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take care of your own health and well-being first. Focus on getting stronger, healthier, and fitter. The rest will follow.

Lesson 13: Remember, You’re Much More Than Your Body
Strength training doesn’t guarantee you’ll find happiness once you’re lean. Or that your life will be any more meaningful than it was before. Or that your friends and family will love you more. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get wiser or become a better person. All your troubles and hardships may not vanish into thin air, but you will feel healthier, stronger, and, hopefully, more confident. And that is huge!

Over the years, I’ve witnessed so many people (mainly women) attaching their self-worth to the number on the scale or the size they wear. Know that you’re so much more than that. No matter what your body is up to on any given day, learn to love it all and treat your body well. After 13 years of strength training, today I am healthy, energized, and strong. I am a capable human being, and I’m much more than just my body. And so are you.

by Sivan Fagan


Resistance Training Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Young Overweight Men

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

New Findings:

Short duration resistance training results in early and progressive increases in muscle mass and function and an increase in insulin sensitivity.

Short bursts of high-intensity resistance training improved insulin sensitivity for relatively young, overweight or obese men.

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow recruited 10 overweight men to carry out three sessions per week of 15-20 minutes of resistance exercise. The trial lasted for six weeks. Each session involved a single set of nine exercises which were performed until reaching muscle fatigue.

The participants were aged between 28 and 44 years old with BMI between 26 and 32 kg/m2. Their fitness levels, insulin sensitivity, and muscle strength were measured at the start and after each week of the study.

Insulin sensitivity is a marker for whether a person is at risk of type 2 diabetes. If the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin, blood glucose levels can rise leading to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

A 16 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity was recorded along with improvements in muscle strength.

The study indicates that short bursts of exercise through the week, carried out on a regular basis, can have substantial effects on improving insulin sensitivity which could help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It will be interesting to see how a similar exercise regimen could benefit insulin sensitivity for people of both genders who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The findings have been published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

diabetes.co.uk


THE DEAL WITH SQUATS

January 29th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

I love squats. I train my clients on squats, especially squat presses. I’m a stickler for proper form, and suggest going down slowly (think count to 3 or 5) and coming up strong. Here are some more thoughts on why I love squats:

• Squats are mostly known as a leg exercise, but they promote body-wide muscle building by catalyzing an anabolic environment

• Squats are also one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting mobility and balance and helping you complete real-world activities with ease

• Squats also help you to burn more fat, as one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle

• Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue

• Squats are one type of exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s fitness routine, as they provide whole-body benefits


Strength Training Tied To Better Heart Health Than Aerobic

January 21st, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

A survey of 4,000 adults revealed that static activity, such as strength training, had stronger links to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases than dynamic activity, such as walking and cycling.

The researchers point out, however, that any amount of either kind of exercise brings benefits, and that it is probably better to do both than to increase either.

Recommended amounts and type of exercise
According to the AHA, guidelines recommend that adults in the United States should be physically active for at least 150 minutes each week.

This activity should consist of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or a combination. It is better to spread the exercise across the week than complete it all in 1 or 2 days.

The guidelines also advise doing exercise that strengthens the muscles, such as resistance or weight training. People should do this on at least 2 days per week.

Even greater benefits accrue from 300 minutes of exercise per week, says the AHA. They also recommend breaking up prolonged bouts of sitting — even getting up and doing some light activity is better than just sitting, they add.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), advises older adults to do four types of exercise:

  • Endurance, or aerobic, exercises that increase breathing and raise heart rate.
  • Strength, or resistance, exercises that strengthen major muscle groups in the upper and lower body and improve their function.
  • Balance exercises to reduce the risk of falls and the disabilities that they can cause.
  • Flexibility exercises that stretch the body and increase a person’s range of movement.

Aerobic activity includes walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, gardening and all forms of sports, such as golf, tennis, and volleyball.

Push-ups, static rowing, resistance training, dips, arm, and leg raises, and hand grips are all examples of strength-building exercises.

Practicing Tai Chi and yoga can improve balance and flexibility as can simple exercises that involve the use of the body or everyday objects, such as a chair.

Only around 1 in 5 adults and teens in the U.S. meet the recommended 150 minutes per week of “heart-pumping” activity. With this in mind, perhaps the more pressing message  is that clinicians should encourage people to “exercise regardless.”

Dr. Maia P. Smith