Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


23 May

There are four main types of blood: A, B, AB, and O. Blood type is determined by antigens found on red blood cells. Each letter refers to a type of antigen. A blood type is also called a blood group. Which type a person has is determined by the genes they get from their parents. Every person’s blood is unique because they have their own set of antigens and antibodies. Most people have 4-6 liters of blood in their body. The cells that float in this liquid are called plasma. In 1901 the Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner discovered that there are in fact different blood types. Before that, doctors thought that all blood was the same.

Red blood cells deliver oxygen to different tissues in the body and remove carbon dioxide. White blood cells destroy bad invaders and fight infection. Platelets help the blood to clot.

Blood type is based upon two different antigens: A and B.
Group A has the A antigen and B antibody.
Group B has the B antigen and A antibody.
Group AB has A and B antigens but no A or B antibodies.
Group O doesn’t have A or B antigens but has A and B antibodies.

Rh factor determines if a person’s blood is positive or negative. Positive means you have Rh and negative means you do not. Rh is another type of antigen. Therefore, a person can have A positive or A negative, B positive or B negative, AB positive or AB negative, or O positive or O negative blood.

Blood type is important because is two different blood types mix, they can clump and this can be fatal. This can cause a toxic reaction. During a blood transfusion, the donor and recipient must have the same blood types. Blood types don’t always have to be an exact match to be safe. In fact, type O has been referred to as the universal blood type because it used to be thought that it could be donated to anyone. That is not always one hundred percent true. However, type O is considered the safest to donate in times of emergency or when there is limited supply.

Recently there have been claims that people can eat to their blood type to achieve better weight loss results. There is not enough scientific evidence to this claim yet.

Blood is part of all of us and knowing our type is important in case we ever are in a crisis or can help someone out who is in one. When we can safely share and help one another in times of need, but blood is not meant to be freely shared. If you don’t know your blood type, ask you doctor and find out. You never know when this information can come in handy.

16 May

Time dictates so many aspects of our lives. When beginning this Blog idea, I thought to myself how much time controls my day from the seconds, minutes, and hours. And of course in relation to this piece of writing, it is the measure of our age. The aging process is unique to each of us. But ultimately, it does impact our life decisions, and that includes our exercise choices. So let’s take a look at the relationship between aging and exercise.

Naturally, activity level changes when we get older. As one of my long time clients put it, “Man, I don’t just roll out of bed anymore ready to go”. This isn’t to say that one is less motivated, rather, the energy expenditure levels are different. This is mainly due to the fact that, “A major fraction of total daily energy arises from resting metabolism, and it is thus important to note that resting metabolism decreases with aging, by about 10% from early adulthood to the age of retirement, and a further 10% subsequently” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html). Adding to this, “One reason is the loss metabolically active muscle mass and parallel increase in metabolically inert depot fat. In later old age, there may also be some overall reduction in cellular metabolism” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html). When muscle mass decreases, this can cause body fat to increase. Keeping the excess pounds off can get harder. As such, “Your body fat can increase by up to 30 percent, which leads to a loss of lean muscle tissue and can affect your sense of balance. This can make it difficult for you to perform exercise activities you once enjoyed” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/418037-how-does-age-affect-exercise/). We need to continue a strength training program in order to not let our bodies replace muscle with fat at the rate it would like to. Not to use a scare tactic but here you go: “Strength peaks around 25 year of age, plateaus through 35 or 40 years of age, and then shows an accelerating decline, with 25% loss of peak force by age of 65 years” (http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/agingex/agingex.html).

Exercise becomes so extremely important as we grow older. We tell ourselves that we used to be able to eat whatever we wanted and still look fabulous, but now the odds aren’t necessarily the same anymore. We have to take care of our bodies, and we can help prevent certain diseases with exercise. For example, “Your bone mass begins to decline once you enter your thirties, putting you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis. If you are concerned about developing this condition, perform more weight-bearing exercises, such as running and tennis. Regular cardio activity will also help you control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as ward off type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/418037-how-does-age-affect-exercise/).

As I always say, there is no “can’t”. That word is not allowed in my studio. There are modifications for so many exercises, and I will be by your side as we run, walk, or crawl to get it done. If we don’t use it, we lose is, right?? Not every day is a peak performance day, but we do we can. As long as we are active, we are being productive to our bodies. Running a marathon might not be in the future, but what about making to your training session twice a week and keeping that commitment to your body?? Goals should be realistic. Remember the glory days fondly, but know that you are keeping your mind and body in better condition and sticking around longer for your family and friends by maintaining an exercise program. Fitness is a way of life and the destination involves progress not perfection so just keep going one rep a time, one day at a time, and with every age of your life.

09 May


Oh that sweet tooth so many of us have. Dessert is a tradition, a celebration, a reward, and a comfort. Having a treat seems so perfect in that moment, but it can certainly come back to haunt us on the scale. But people are eating candy every day, not just on Halloween, at birthday parties, or special occasions. Candy is at every check-out stand, sold year-round, and now comes in extra-large servings at a reduced price. Hence, let me shock you with some candy information in this Blog…. enjoy. Let’s start with the fact that, “1 in 4 American adults will choose to have at least one piece of candy every day of the week” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). And I do see this in the food journals, and yes, the fun sized, mini pieces do count. Just having a couple even a few days per week does add up because, “The average amount of calories in a fun-sized candy bar: 60-100” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). There’s something about that 3 o’clock hour that a little sugar just hits the spot.
The candy industry continues to thrive and we continue to buy. We certainly keep them in business: “65% of the American candy brands have been around for more than five decades” (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/). Here are some other statistics that might interest you (or disgust you): (http://brandongaille.com/42-awesome-candy-consumption-statistics/):
The United States candy market is expected to reach $35 billion by 2025.·     

 1.) 51% of overall candy consumers purchase seasonal or holiday candy.      

 2.) The average household will spend $44 just to purchase Halloween candy.    

 3.) Americans buy over 120 million pounds of candy for Easter.

So what types of candy are we buying?? Here are the top sellers: (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/)M&Ms come in at number one, coming in at $406.7 million. They’ve been around since 1941 and interestingly, “M& Ms, which were names after their inventors Forrest Mars and R. Bruce Murrie, were given to GIs serving in the World War II, and the chocolates even went on a space mission in 1982” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Reese’s comes in at number 2, generating $398.9 million. Fun fact: “The company claims if you were to line up the Reese’s sold annually, they would wrap around the earth several times” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Snickers come in at third, generating $386.2, and “More than 99 tons of peanuts go into making over 15 million Snickers bars each day, and each bar contains around 16 peanuts” (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/19/america-favorite-chocolate-candies/). Good old Hershey’s is next and generates $249 million. Apparently Hershey has bought several of the other brands so these numbers don’t do the company overall justice. Finally, there is the crispy covered Kit Kat, generating $201.8 million.

Well, if I want to stay positive I would say that we are providing many people jobs in the candy industry. But don’t even get me on a roll with how much sugar children consume. That is for an entirely new Blog. Sugar affects our bodies and well-being and truly impacts our functioning. I like the recent quote I found by Benjamin Franklin, “Few have died of hunger. Many have died of eating”. You are all sweet enough so put that candy down. Don’t have it on display at your house or in the office. Reward your fitness journey successes in other forms. You didn’t earn candy just to turn around and have to burn it back off!!!!

02 May


Often times, stretching takes a back seat to our exercise routines. Yet, on our fitness journeys we need to take about 10 minutes per day to stretch. We mainly focus on the exercise portion of our journeys at the studio, but I want to emphasize the need to take a few moments at home to stretch. This can become a morning ritual to wake up the body for the day, an activity during T.V. time, or an evening de-stress and winding down routine.  Not only will this help us with our recovery, but there are many benefits to stretching. The best part is that we can stretch anytime, anywhere.

So why is stretching a must?? To begin, “Stretching may help you improve your joint range of motion, which in turn may help improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931). Blood flow to the muscles is also increased, therefore, helping to reduce soreness. As we age, our muscles do tighten and our range of motion decreases. Stretching is a preventative measure for this and by doing so we can make many of our daily living activities much easier. Picking up the newspaper from the floor doesn’t have to be such a daunting task each morning, or reaching over our shoulder to tuck our shirt tag in doesn’t have to be so hard. Other benefits include: “Reduce muscle tension, increased range of movement in the joints, enhanced muscular coordination, increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body, increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/stretching_benefits.asp).

We naturally stretch all the time. When we have been sitting too long we might stretch our back out when we stand up or move our neck around after being at our desk too long. It does feel good to stretch. We live in the go, go, go mentality so taking the responsibility and time to stretch can be just another added task to our day that gets pushed aside.

It is important to practice good safety and techniques when stretching. Having knowledge of the different types of stretching is also beneficial. So let’s discuss the main forms of stretching. Static stretching is the most basic form and can be described as, “Static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds” (http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/types-of-stretches). I prefer dynamic stretching which might include activities like our hill walks, jogs, high knees, butt kickers, etc. Passive stretching involves my assistance, or one can use a strap or wall in which there is a source of resistance. This method does allow one to get past their “comfortable” range of motion. My personal favorite, which I have a love-hate relationship with is self-myofascial release (SMFR) stretching with the foam roller. Your muscles contract due to the pressure of the foam roller and tension is released. It hurts so good. There are other, more complicated forms that are used for athletes such as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching or active isolated stretching.

Recently, I started a stretching routine myself because of my activity level and I want to be sure I’m at peak performance each day. I have started with 2 days per week just dedicating 15 minutes solely to stretching. I have developed greater body awareness and it feels good to relieve the tightness and soreness of my main target areas. Would I rather just go to bed?? Of course, but this practice has helped me to wind down and I feel a lot less tension especially in my quadriceps. As always, I want to practice what I preach so this is a new goal for myself too. Longevity is important, so 30 minutes each week stretching is well worth it to me. Take a moment to evaluate your stretching and let’s work together to make a new habit of this practice. As we know, this is a lifestyle process so to achieve optimal results we have to take care of our bodies and stretching is an important component of our fitness journeys.

25 Apr

We all have conversations with ourselves. In fact, when we talk to ourselves, we are rationalizing, comforting, and reflecting upon our lives. This is a healthy habit, and some of us even find ourselves doing it out loud. You aren’t crazy and you aren’t strange, we just don’t often tell others about our inner chats, so we don’t even know that everyone else around us is doing it too. It’s our little secret with our mind. Didn’t your mom used to say that if she didn’t talk to herself then no one would listen?? There are a number of reasons why talking to yourself is beneficial.

1.       Organizing your thoughts: You are making your game plan, your blue print, your strategy to the upcoming. It helps you prioritize what needs to be done and let go of the small things that shouldn’t carry weight. We are better able to logically understand that we don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill.

2.       Self-reliance: You are able to ask yourself how to solve the problem. Our inner voice helps us analyze a situation. We can come to conclusions independently.

3.       Helps with stress: Your mind wanders and races as you worry and try to juggle life. Talking to yourself can be a pep talk or help you rehearse what you are going to do. This helps you face tough situations and increases confidence.

4.       Eases loneliness: You don’t feel so alone when you have debates with yourself or feel like someone is listening and even talking back to you.

5.       Allows you to determine your goals: You start to visualize the situations playing themselves out and talking out the lines to the play. This helps you decide what you really want to go after and accomplish.

6.       You gain insight about yourself: What you say to yourself can reveal a lot about your inner desires. Your perspective when alone can be different compared to face to face with someone else because you are your only influence.

7.       Increases self-esteem: Giving yourself compliments and encouragement makes you feel good and proud. You re-enforce to yourself that you can do something or that you should be proud of yourself.

8.       Increases memory: We all talk to ourselves when we are trying to find something we have lost, like our car keys. We have to re-trace our steps and talk ourselves through what lead to the moment when the keys disappeared.

9.       You feel more in control: Sometimes we need re-assurance or to hear someone else confirm that we are okay or doing something write. What better person than yourself.

10.   You can increase your intelligence: When you rehearse, practice, organize your thoughts, and plan ahead, you aren’t scrambling in the moment when the situation arises. You self-talk a lot when taking a test, so all you have to do is re-call that conversation you had with yourself when you were studying. You are reproducing the talk.

Go ahead and jabber away to yourself. The benefits “speak” for themselves. And hey, you aren’t wasting your breath either.

18 Apr

When your muscle suddenly becomes hard and tight or you feel a quick sharp pain in the calf, a muscle cramp has struck. It can happen while in motion when out for a run or even during a night’s sleep. This type of involuntary contraction is a spasm we would rather forgo. Without warning, the onset of a “Charley horse” (cramp that occurs in the calf area), is marked by temporary pain that we want instant relief from. Cramps are never fun to endure, and one just has to breathe through it, stretch, and massage out the area until alleviation kicks in.

There are a number of triggers that can cause muscle cramps. In order to avoid future spasms, knowing the causes becomes important. A cramp can be the result of poor blood circulation. Exercise related stress can bring on a cramp. Being dehydrated or deficient in magnesium and/or potassium, can be causes. Hot temperature is also a culprit, especially when being active. Not stretching enough can also lead to cramping. There are also medications that can lead to cramping. These include diuretics, certain Alzheimer’s medications, statin medications for cholesterol, as well as some osteoporosis and high blood pressure medications. Nerve compression can also cause a pinch that produces a cramp. Muscle mass lessens with age so what muscle is working may be more stressed than normal and overworked much more easily which can cause cramping. Muscle cramps are common during pregnancy as the body is undergoing a lot of changes. Certain medical conditions like diabetes, liver, or thyroid disorder can also heighten the risks of cramping.

Prevention includes staying hydrated, properly stretching, and making sure to eat healthy foods with nutrients. These include vitamins, minerals, potassium, and calcium. Potassium is found in many choices including vegetables, bananas, berries, potatoes, melon, citrus, meat, fish, and milk. Caffeine found in coffee, soda, and other beverages does affect fluid hydration in the body so be sure to replenish with water. Exercise and activity that lasts over 60 minutes can lead to glycogen depletion which can lead to fatigue which can lead to cramps.

Although only a temporary sensation and typically harmless, an unexpected bout of pain never feels good. It is important to seek a doctor’s help if these cramps are reoccurring or persistent. A nutrient imbalance may not be readily noticeable. Finding the cause can help avoid future incidences. Muscle cramps happen to almost everyone, few and far in between, but when they strike, they aren’t forgotten. The healthy folks of Bonsall and Fallbrook know that less is more when it comes to “Charley horses”.

11 Apr

Yogurt is the result of bacterial fermentation of milk. This bacteria is called yogurt cultures. The fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid which is a milk protein. This milk protein gives yogurt both its taste and texture. Cow’s milk is the most popular dairy source used for yogurt production since it the most readily available. However, yogurt can also be produced from the milk of a goat, buffalo, camel, ewe, or yak. Each type of milk produces different results and it also depends if the milk is pasteurized, raw, or homogenized. Most people eat yogurt as a dairy snack, with breakfast, dessert, of anytime of the day because they like the taste. There are many good reasons to like yogurt.  

Yogurt is filled with vitamins. It contains potassium, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin E. it also contains vitamin C which could help induce weight loss. Vitamin C tells fat cells to create less cortisol which is the hormone related to belly fat. This means that yogurt can help the body burn fat versus store fat. Yogurt is also filled with the good bacteria our digestive system needs. It contains active live cultures and probiotics. Low fat dairy products can also help lower blood pressure. Yogurt contains protein which helps a person feel satiated and fuller longer. Greek yogurt is especially high in protein. Specifically, for those who exercise, protein is important because it contains amino acids which can help muscles recover post-workout. The calcium in yogurt is great for bone health and strong teeth. Some yogurt types contain more than half of the daily requirement amount. The combination of calcium and Vitamin D can also help ward off osteoporosis.  

All of these incredible health benefits certainly depend on the type of yogurt being consumed. Adding yogurt to one’s regular diet can be great, but reading labels is always necessary. One should consider the calories, fat, and sugar content. There are brands that add different fruits and preservatives that can almost make yogurt more of a dessert than healthy option. Many reduced fat and low fat options are packed with artificial sweeteners. Yogurt can also be used as an alternative to mayonnaise, to add thickness to salad dressings, or to replace sour cream. There are so many flavors and plain flavor can be used for many purposes. One has to of course be able to handle dairy. Yogurt is a great tool for someone making healthy lifestyle choices. Find the type right for your body, waistline, and taste buds and see how much it can help you.  

04 Apr

I’m not talking about the kind at the end of a paper or book. I’m talking about your body part the appendix, which the thin 4-inch tube at the junction of your small and large intestine located in the lower right abdomen. Some say it has no purpose. Others say it is the storage unit for the good bacteria of our digestive system, coming to the rescue after a bad bout of diarrhea. For whatever reason, the good old appendix has stayed with us through evolution.  

 When the appendix is removed, well nothing happens. We only notice this body part when it has to be surgically removed due to appendicitis.  The appendix really only gets attention when it becomes inflamed or infected and needs to be taken out. When a person is experiencing pain to the lower right abdomen, nausea, and vomiting, antibiotics won’t always do the trick.  This leads to a surgery called an appendectomy. Without surgery, the appendix can rupture. Luckily, minimally invasive procedures are being used that help with quicker recovery, less time in the hospital, and best of all… less pain. Chances are slim of this occurring in the body. In fact, males are only at 8.6% risk and females only at 6.7% of contracting appendicitis. Having a low functioning immune system is a probable cause of having this and sometimes drinking contaminated water can be the culprit.  

The downside of the appendix is that is can be a store house of tumors with cancer. This is another reason for removal. After an appendectomy, the chances of having Parkinson’s disease later on in life does increase.  

So all in all, the appendix is sort of like that ugly vase your great aunt Suzy gave you that is sitting on the table that serves no pretty purpose. It is just there and probably would be better served to be removed from the setting. In the meantime, no harm no foul. But then when it shatters it’s time to clean it up and finally get it out of the house. The appendix is an interesting part of our body due to its “serve no purpose” nature. Since I’ve been working on my Doctorate, anatomy has been ever so prevalent in my life. The appendix is an easy one to remember thank goodness. A fitness journey must go on, with or without that appendix. I’ll never forget the time one of our FIT family members vomited during a workout. That was her appendix…. yep removed and back to workouts the next week.  

28 Mar

What’s breakfast without cereal when you were a kid?? Super convenient and taste bud pleasing, but is cereal actually healthy?? Cereal does come from processed grains. How cereal is made is highly processed starting with processing the grains into flour, then adding sugar and water, undergoing high temperatures to shape the cereal, and then drying out the product into the final shapes. Nutrients are added, hence many of the labels stating fortified with vitamins and minerals. This crunchy food is typically enjoyed with milk or yogurt in puffed, flaked, or shredded form.  

The major trouble that comes with cereal is the added sugar. Consumers are often misled by false claiming labels. You have to read the nutrition facts, not the claims that say they can lower cholesterol or help fight diabetes. The next problem with cereal is that most people eat well over one serving at a time. Most cereals abide by ½ cup to 1 cup per serving with around 200 calories. However, a “bowl” of cereal is much more than this amount. Many cereals also contain refined grains, so it is important to find those that are whole grain so that more of the nutritional value is intact. To help out, always look for cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Another worry with cereal is that it can pack on the sodium. Therefore, between the added sugar and sodium, it’s no wonder we want to keep adding more and more to the bowl if there is milk left. Some cereals contain up to 500 mg per serving. When it comes to sugar, some cereal equates to eating cookies. Cereal also does not contain much protein at all, which means it doesn’t necessarily keep you satiated unless of course you eat a large quantity of it.  

There are close to 6 million types of cereal. There are many crispy and crunchy brands. Cereals is quick and easy, and of course has a longer shelf life than eggs and toast since it is a highly processed food. There are also hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits. All types of cereal either come in corn, wheat, or rice form. This ready to eat packaged option makes the morning routine much easier to manage. The worst types of cereals are those made for children and they can contain up to 50% sugar. The packages only claim the good qualities, but it is important to read further into your selection. All of the colors and shapes make cereal fun and attractive. Even in adulthood we can be nostalgic for a good bowl of cereal. For some, it’s a late-night snack too. Always read labels, always. Then make more informed choices because how you start your day can direct your energy, mood, and performance.  

21 Mar

Developing in a unique way 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disability that affects people in different ways. A person with autism will communicate, interact, and behave differently. There is not a single cause or single type of symptom which makes this disability very unique to each person. Symptoms also appear differently and can start as early as in the first few months or life or can start in early childhood. Most of the time, signs appear before age 1, and if not 80-90% of parents see the symptoms by age 2. The spectrum is also very wide. Some children also “out-grow” certain behaviors. Some children show very noticeable symptoms while others have very mild forms. The common denominator is the person’s ability to communicate and interact, which all ties into social behaviors. Social skill problems are the most common difficulty people with ASD have. Relationships are hard to handle.  

Understanding diagnosis can be complicated. Certain signs to watch for include:  

  1. Preferring to be alone.  
  1. Disinterest in talking, sharing, or playing with others.  
  1. Not understanding emotions.  
  1. Avoiding eye contact and/or physical contact.  

For 40% of autistic children, they do not talk at all. However, some do start to talk later in life and others (25-30%) do have language skills but then lose them. Trouble with language skills might include repeating the same phrase over and over (echolalia), trouble pronouncing, delayed speech, having a robotic voice, trouble staying on topic, and not responding to humor or sarcasm.  

There are also tell-tale sign behaviors. Repetitive hand motions are common like flapping or twirling. Having routines and rituals are common and a person with ASD does not like these habits to be disrupted. They can become fixated on certain tasks or habits. Pacing or feeling hyper is common. Being extremely sensitive can be a trait or having aggressiveness. Clumsiness is also a behavior.  

The key is early detection. Therefore, as a parent, be sure to take notice if your child has one of the following characteristics:  

  1. Does not smile by 6 months. 
  1. Does not coo or babble by 12 months. 
  1. Cannot speak with single words by 16 months. 
  1. Does not play or have imaginative qualities by 18 months. 

Doctors don’t know what exactly causes autism. Genes seem to be the biggest culprit. There is not a lab test to diagnose ASD, rather, determination is based upon observed behaviors. Every child needs to have their regular check-ups with their pediatrician. It is in fact a fallacy that vaccinations can cause autism.  Having a healthy pregnancy is important. ASD is a special condition that many people still grow up to lead successful lives with. Behavior is a learned trait, so with time ASD can be addressed with different therapies and with practice these actions become more and more manageable and controlled.