BLOG 135 HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
As I have become more involved in the body building world, as a natural competitor I have often wondered what exactly “non-natural” athletes take to gain such definition and size. I just was in Las Vegas and attended the Mr. Olympia and my eyes were certainly wide open and staring and some of the people I saw. And then I heard a comment made about the Human Growth Hormone and their formula for their working out, so I thought hmmmmm….. let me look into this.
We do live in a world that desires immediate gratitude. This substance is sought as an answer to look and feel a certain way. In summary, “HGH, produced by the pituitary gland, spurs growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function. Produced synthetically, HGH is the active ingredient in a number of prescription drugs and in other products available widely over the Internet” (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/human-growth-hormone-hgh#1).
I was actually surprised to learn that the FDA does have approved uses for the drug dating back to its original purposes in 1985. For children, approved uses were for:
- Turner’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects a girl’s development
- Prader-Willi syndrome, an uncommon genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger
- Chronic kidney disease
- HGH deficiency or insufficiency
- Children born small for gestational age
In adults, approved uses were for:
- Short bowel syndrome, a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed due to severe intestinal disease or the surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine
- HGH deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors or their treatment
- Muscle-wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS
- Chronic kidney disease
- HGH deficiency or insufficiency
- Children born small for gestational age
But the reality is that the most common uses for HGH are not approved. Some people use HGH in a combination with steroids to stimulate muscle growth and improve athletic performance. Nothing is exactly scientifically proven, but we know that HGH levels decrease with age, so pumping them back into the system to achieve a “younger” state of levels would possible have some anti-aging impact. Companies love to include HGH in their products and might claim: “they turn back your body’s biological clock, reducing fat, building muscle, restoring hair growth and color, strengthening the immune system, normalizing blood sugar, increasing energy and improving sex life, sleep quality, vision, and memory” (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/human-growth-hormone-hgh#1).
At some point, testing the waters and putting substances into your body that don’t have the scientific backing can become questionable to your health. For some, the benefit over powers the risk, which is indicative of our society’s nature of wanting everything here and now. I know that hard work goes along with steroid use, because the muscle doesn’t exactly magically appear but man oh man I have seen some biceps the size of my head. My feelings are certainly mixed on the sport that realms on the “dark side” of HGH use. Choices. We certainly live in a world of choices and no matter what route you take on your fitness journey, you are the product of your choices and I am here to help.
BLOG 134 ACUPUNCTURE
The 1970s introduced the exotic and interesting field of acupuncture to the world of medicine. Yet, this needle practice has been around for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. I have me a number of clients who use this form of treatment for various reasons, but have never fully understood the pros and cons. The fitness learning fanatic in me had to do some research.
The goal of acupuncture is to heal. And of course this approach is very controversial in terms of scientific backing of its effectiveness. Thus, “The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action” (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/). But the good news is that it has worked for many, and when researching this blog there aren’t statistics to show results. That debate may lie in Western medicine’s lack of acceptance of acupuncture.
Acupuncture is used for a number of reasons. Here is what I found, “The benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson’s disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/) .
There aren’t many serious complications from using acupuncture. Bleeding and soreness could occur from the points of insertion and needle manipulation. I can say that I can certainly get a tattoo but have a fear of trying this out. Sometimes traditional methods aren’t getting the job done, so acupuncture can become an option to remedy the problem. We want to be at peak performance on our fitness journeys so do what is best for your body to accomplish this. After all, science doesn’t indicate you FEEL.
BLOG 133 CHEAT MEAL
Restriction and rules can lead to the human nature act of defiance. When Mom said don’t touch the stove it’s hot, well, you had to find out the truth for yourself right?? On our fitness journeys, sometimes having a cheat meal is our sense of sanity for the week. Our relationship with food is coming to terms Sunday through Friday because Saturday it’s time to eat we want. Having something to look forward to means there is light at the end of the tunnel. But there is quite the debate when it comes to your cheat, so let’s take a look.
A cheat meal is a reward for your exercise, clean eating, and hard work. Sacrificing for better choices is a great achievement and you want to recognize this behavior so that you are motivated to continue. Fear of burning out from relentless restriction is a common occurrence. Many people find themselves in an all or nothing state of mind, others use moderation in their approach, and some workout just to eat and maintain. No matter your tactic on your fitness journey, understand that a cheat meal can be abused and if you ate poorly twice already this week, do you really think you should have a cheat meal?? Here’s the bottom line: “People of all sizes and fitness levels can successfully implement cheat strategies, but self-evaluation is a must. Consider your fitness goals, your day-to-day eating habits, and your previous dieting success or failure. These factors impact how — and, more importantly, IF — you can cheat” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/542505-the-art-and-science-of-cheat-meals/).
A cheat meal is not to be confused with a cheat day. Having an entire day or junk can undo the entire week’s work. For some, this cheat can become a binge. All self-control is lost with the intent to get back on it the following day. Or you might find yourself going overboard. Let’s say pizza is the pleasure of choice and instead of having 2-3 slices, your cheat is an entire pizza. You have eaten to the point of bloat and discomfort making that one cheat worth it’s max – go big or go home. And this really doesn’t make for a positive relationship with food. In fact rewarding yourself with food, is confusing your mind. But I get it a cheat doesn’t feel right if it’s limited.
For myself, I have to error on the side of caution. I know that I can eat until I feel sick because that cheat is so few and far in between. But at this point, I know the next day is so miserable I have to be mindful of what I pick, how much I have, and when I have it (way late at night means no sleep). My relationship with food has to be structured or else I do falter and overeat. We are our own worse enemies. No one is forcing that food down your throat. So find the approach that works for you, but most importantly, make your non-cheat days solid and on point.
BLOG 132 DONUTS
Are donuts the breakfast of champions or breakfast of convenience and taste?? It’s human nature to like sugar and big chains like Dunkin Donuts or even mom and pop stores taunt us on every corner. The smell from Mr. Donut by the studio teases from time to time. When I was a girl, it was routine to have donuts the next morning after a sleep over or on a Saturday after practice. Sugar digested a little differently back then. But believe it or not, donuts are still a popular start to the day. There’s even a National Donut Day.
It’s no secret that donuts aren’t good for us. In fact, a single donut can be worse than having a bag of chips. Check this out: “If you add a doughnut a day to your regular diet and don’t exercise the calories off or cut down on calories elsewhere, you will gain about one extra pound every 10 days” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). They’re packed with saturated and trans-fat, so your heart is not happy when you eat one. Here’s a scary concept: “According to a 2008 report published by the Hong Kong Consumer Council, doughnuts have more trans fats than chocolate, peanut butter chocolate bars and even chips. A single doughnut will meet your maximum allowance for trans fats for the whole day, and the truth is that people rarely eat just one doughnut. Trans fats can increase your cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase your risk of heart disease” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). I’m not sure I can list any good nutrients in a donut ?
A donut is sugar and sugar can be like a drug. When I grab a coffee at the donut shop, I see the same people every day eating there. Having a strawberry filled donut isn’t exactly having fruit for breakfast. Let’s face it: “Doughnuts contain lots of sugar. Even the plain doughnuts are high in sugar, but if you choose one with glazing, cream or jam, the fat, sugar and calorie numbers soar. A chocolate glazed cake doughnut contains 5 tsp. of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, women should eat a maximum of 6 tsp. of sugar a day, so a single doughnut will almost meet that number” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). Sounds like a good scare tactic.
Coffee does taste good with a donut. The breakroom is filled with them. I get it. In fact, “ Last year, convenience stores sold some 391 million doughnuts (on an annualized basis) for sales of about $580 million, according to the latest IRI data” (https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/03/dollars-to-doughnuts-us-eats-half-a-billion-worth.html) . But come on now, we know they are not good for us.
At least now you will think of me every time you have a donut now. What would Megan do????
BLOG 131 DANGER: TEEN BINGE EATING
Childhood obesity has been on the rise and it’s a direct reflection of lifestyle and eating choices. We live in a world where most things are a click away or convenient. Technology is the new form of playing with your friends. Less talk, less action, less movement. I recently watched a documentary on Amazon Prime called, “Danger: Teen Binging” (2015), in which 3 teenagers were obese and the movie documented how they coped with this on a day to day basis. Let me share what this film was about with you.
Of course seeing overweight teens is no surprise to me. In fact, everyday around 3pm I see students walking home from school with some sugary beverage in one hand and a bag of chips in the other from AM/PM. They have been sitting all day at school only to go home and sit more, have their terrible snack, and then eat again at dinner. The only good part is the WALK home. I can’t remember getting home before 5pm from school from sports practices and activities. Adding that it if I was home, I was outside with my neighbors playing until it got too dark. Times have changed.
In this documentary, we learn that 1 in 5 children are obese. Many reach a point of no return, meaning once they reach adulthood, it is too late to lose this weight. Their metabolism has been ruined and their only hope is surgery. Children as young as 12 are having gastric bypass surgery. The opening scene is of a devastated family whose daughter, Samantha, ate herself to death. She died as a teen from her destructive eating habits that led to such terrible health.
Then the film looked at 3 others teens. Harry was 14 years old, heavy set, but did not even know his current weight. To him, there was no problem. But his parents fought over this issue. He used his bubbly, comedic personality to hide from the truth of his weight. He was the class clown, loved by all, and has his own YouTube Channel. He loved to cook, but had alternative motives to eat many of the ingredients during the process. Harry wanted to be a pilot when he grows up, so his dad had him undergo the real medical evaluation for this process to prove to him that his dreams were unrealistic given his current habits. The army-like nature of his father versus the caring concern of his mother created a recipe for disaster. Regardless, Harry refuses to diet and doesn’t want to waist his childhood starving himself.
Jess was 16 years old. She was bullied at school and comes from a mother who had weight issues herself. Her mom had gastric bypass surgery and she is headed down the same path. Her typical snack is a Frappuccino and bag of chips.
Holly, who was 14 years old suffered from body anxiety. She rarely attended school and her mother was even fined for this. She sees her skinny sister and wonders why she is overweight. Holly is the type who keeps her emotions bottled up.
All 3 teens used food for comfort and pleasure. In the end, they started light activity but ultimately, they didn’t want to change. This means their adult lives will be marked by health issues and weight related issues. The documentary was nothing out the ordinary or shocking, but proves the point that children today need to get moving. Movement is critical so there needs to be a form of activity that is tolerable to them on a daily basis. Looks like the parents are up for a challenge. At the studio, I want to encourage every BODY to lead by example and be part of an active family environment. This is teamwork as you become the best version of yourself.
Danger: Teen Binging (2007) by Ed Kellie, &Katy Lock