Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

December 2017 // Archive

Date based archive
30 Dec


Netflix got me again, this time with a great documentary called, “I Am Bolt”. This movie explored the running career of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt from Jamaica. There is certainly a gap between this man and the rest. He’s naturally a champion and he’s says it’s all for making people smile. His tall stature and fun energy make him lovable, but best of all, he just runs…. no drama, no politics, just the sport. He’s that much better than everyone else.

Bolt has a triangle team that helps him. His coach is Glen Mills, is an ordinary man who always reminds Bolt to take control, there’s no pressure, and to just run. He is like a second father to him. NJ is the name of his best friend who is also his manager. He might be the most influential person in his life and the brotherhood is mutually beneficial. Finally, his agent is another important member. They’re the folks that make him work. In fact, his training is sort of barbaric. Like an ox he drags weights behind him on the dirt field. He cuts up his legs with his cleats on a daily basis.

His running started in 2002 at age 15, where he won the World Jr. Championships. Some of Bolt’s titles include the 4x World Champion of the 100 and 200 meter races. 2007 is when he broke the World Record the 1st time.

Injuries have cost him setbacks along the way, but realistically he still wins when he comes back. Due to his scoliosis he does have lower back and hip issues. But Bolt is his own worst enemy when he’s not motivated, not necessarily his injuries.

The Jamaican team has also won the 4×4 relay with him. Justin Gatlin of the USA is probably his closest form of competition. Justin is a talker and Bolt hates that, but uses it as fuel for the fire. The catch would be that although Gatlin is fast, he also was caught in 2006 using performance enhancing drugs, somewhat tainting his abilities.

Bolt is an athlete like no other with his ability to basically out run anyone. He has now retired, saying he looks forward to normalcy and eating what he wants. He feels like he sacrificed a lot but it was all worth it. What a site to watch him run. He will remain among the Michael Jordans and Babe Ruths we will never forget.

“I Am Bolt”, 2016, Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner

24 Dec


Sleep is part of each cycle in our day. We are sensitive to how much sleep we get and are aware of the bare minimum to make it through the day. Sometimes this nightly routine is not easy and sometimes it’s amazing. However, sleep apnea is a common but very serious sleep disorder among more folks. So let’s take a closer look at this condition.

Definitions are always a good start. Thus, “Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen” (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox). There are 2 types of this. Obstructive sleep apnea (OPA) is the more common type in which the airway is blocked and the throat collapses. Central sleep apnea is when the brain isn’t signaling the body to breathe. Communication is ineffective with the respiratory system.

Here are the common risk factors for sleep apnea:
• Being male
• Being overweight
• Being over age 40
• Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
• Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
• Having a family history of sleep apnea
• Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
• Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

And here are the health risks if left untreated:
• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
• Diabetes
• Depression
• Worsening of ADHD
• Headaches

If you have any of these symptoms, go see your doctor. From there, they might have you to do a sleep study to monitor your eye movement, heart rate, breathing, choking, and/or snoring. This may result in the following: “The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This method of treatment is highly effective” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). And then, “Other methods of treating sleep apnea include: dental appliances which reposition the lower jaw and tongue; upper airway surgery to remove tissue in the airway; nasal expiratory positive airway pressure where a disposable valve covers the nostrils; and treatment using hypoglossal nerve stimulation where a stimulator is implanted in the patient’s chest with leads connected to the hypoglossal nerve that controls tongue movement as well as to a breathing sensor” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). Other lifestyle changes like losing weight and cutting out alcohol and smoking can help.

It’s hard to argue that lack of sleep is not fun. Sadly, many of us are used to this with life’s demands. However, serious cases when sleep deprivation is continuous need to be addressed. We want our mind and body to be operating as best as possible on our fitness journeys so be sure to get those zzzzzz’s.

16 Dec

They say the tell-tale sign you know you are losing weight and working out is when your jeans start to FIT better. Coming from a FIT Chick who never wears regular clothes, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what size I wear. But I hear clients refer to this all the time as they shed inches and pounds. Go by how your clothes feel ? In my case, when gearing up for a competition by leggings do actually fit differently. Anyways, the retail industry markets sizes and we gravitate towards the sections in stores where we find what works for us. But how accurate are these sizes??

It honestly depends where you shop, what size you will wear. SO how can you mark all your progress and hard work by what pants size you wear or desire to be?? You don’t because a pear of jeans at the GAP that are size 4 don’t necessary fit like a size 4 from H&M. In fact, “This phenomenon is called ‘vanity sizing’, and it occurs because clothing size in the U.S. is not standardized, so brands are free to create their own definitions” :

Use this link below on your browser to see a good image of this comparison (sorry the image would not insert here)

And yet, we fall for the trap. Society tells us what sizes define you as “skinny”, so much so that “skinny” jeans were created. The tighter the better somehow took precedence over what was comfortable. Here’s the reality, “Despite the inconvenience caused by vanity sizing, it does seem to have a positive psychological effect on shoppers. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that smaller size labels increased the self esteem of customers, while larger size labels reduced self esteem” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2702866/Are-six-Gap-eight-H-M-A-look-just-jeans-sizing-differs-25-mainstream-retailers.html) .

So best practice would be to keep a pair of jeans, regardless of the size that you currently are not able to fit into. As you start to notice progress and change, revisit them. Do they FIT now?? Size is not the priority. Men, this goes for you too. Your self-worth, hard work, and fitness journey don’t depend on any number. Your fitness journey is about daily strides to become the best version of you. Rip the tags off and focus on the process because you are soooo worth it.

09 Dec


The world of Bodybuilding is an entity of its own. There’s no ESPN, most fans who attend go because they know someone competing, and the money athletes spend between training, admissions and supplements can run up quite the tab. “Generation Iron 2”, the follow up to “Generation Iron” on Netflix, dives into the sport behind the scenes. These organizations, IFBB and NPC, are much different than what I experience and compete in.

This subculture of bodybuilding is about changing your appearance through weights. It’s about sculpting what you want to see. Jay Cutler, the current Mr. Olympia for the past 4 years, discussed how the environment has changed. Everyone is about being popular, and it’s not that hard to do if you are a winner or not with the internet and social media. How many followers can you get?? Joe Weider, the organizer of the Olympia, says that the old school commodity of hanging out, training together and eating together no longer exists. You were friends back stage not falsely online. The difference is technology and supplements. The Venice Beach days are gone and posing routines aren’t like they used to be.

A few competitors were spotlighted. Kai is from India, and he has trained for years but never won any titles. As a result, he figures it isn’t meant to be and uses his body for other endeavors now like art and posing routines in shows. Being runner up for 3 years finally took its toll. Calum is an Australian who moved to the U.S. and aspired to earn his professional status. Bodybuilding is now his career path. In Kuwait, an investor named Boodai, has formulated a team to come compete at the Olympia. They represent their country with purpose and pride. In the end, his top competitor ended up winning this year’s Mr. Olympia.

On the women’s side, the sport has really changed. The sport is more about being attractive and actual bodybuilding doesn’t exist anymore. There are the categories of bikini, fitness, figure and physique. Iris Kyle the is the 10x Ms. Olympia but because the category has been eliminated she no longer competes. The lack of femininity of women’s bodybuilding makes it not appealing to watch. Sex sells, not manly women.

Rich Piana was also talked about. He has used steroids for over 25 years, and he actually died this year. He has many haters because he doesn’t compete, he sells supplements and has made a living off YouTube and social media. His body image sells and he found his niche. He is all about the dark side of the sport, which he openly admits and spotlights, but he does well for himself.

This sport can be selfish, relationships can be compromised, and the amount of time and effort is constant to be successful. It’s a lifestyle. No alcohol. It’s 100% if you want to be good. This movie shows the sport’s evolution and we will see where it is headed as more and more supplements emerge and competitors find ways to be at the top outside of just exercise and eating right.

02 Dec


Alcohol is a major part of our society and they more you think about it the more, you more you realize how most social occasions, eating, and events, involve alcohol. For me, it takes on a very negative connotation as of a result of life experiences, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be around it or still be in settings that have it. There are a lot of common questions when it comes to this beverage and I’m always asked on fitness journeys tricks and traits to still be able to enjoy a cocktail or two and reach goals. Thus, I had to do some research and found a documentary called, “The Truth About Alcohol”, to help me out.

They say on average people (both men and women) should consume no more than 14 drinks per week. But what is a drink?? A drink should be measured as a unit. 1 shot of whiskey is 1 unit. A glass of wine depending on size is 2-3 units. 1 pint of beer is 2-3 units. As such, most do exceed 14 units.

Alcohol has many effects on the body. The brain functions differently when drinks are involved. Hand-eye coordination is not as sharp because self-control is impaired. Your attention is divided and multi-tasking is out of the question. Your mental energy is very limited, hence poor decision-making results.

It may appear that some people get drunk quicker than others. This has to do with one’s blood alcohol concentration. The amount of water in the body is the key. A person with more water in their body gets less drunk. Essentially, the water is diluting the alcohol. And hey, they also say the more muscle you have, then less drunk you get (winning for me just kidding). But the reality is that the bigger you are size wise, the more water you will have in your body and that is why someone petite gets drunk a lot faster.

Alcohol is also calorie rich and all of these are “extra” counted to the daily total intake. 1 shot has 59 calories, 1 glass of wine has 180 calories, and 1 pint of beer has 215 calories. Studies have shown alcohol makes you want to eat more. In fact, someone who drinks usually consumes 11% more than those who don’t in a social setting. That means having nearly 300 extra calories on top of the alcohol calories and not even knowing it. Eating before drinking can however help with processing alcohol in the body. The liver isn’t left on its own and the food helps absorb the beverages and slow them down as they come and move through the body.

Have you ever heard of the French paradox?? Well the French have a diet high in fat but the lowest rate of heart disease. They say the culprit is red wine because of its possible benefits to the heart. Wine dilates blood vessels because it is made up of polyphenols. The best type of red wine, noting that the darker the better, is called Sacration. But the counter argument is that you don’t need wine to help with heart health. The same benefits come from 24 grams of walnuts, 360ml of tea, or 85 grams of blueberries.

Does a night after drinking help with sleep?? The famous “night cap”. Truth is that it may help you fall to sleep quickly into a deeper state, but then the rest of the night is interrupted and light.

Finally, there are some studies relating alcohol to cancer. This is definitely true of the liver and pancreas. But some don’t know that alcohol does alter hormone levels, especially in women. This is the controversial link to breast cancer.

Alcohol and your fitness journey don’t exactly mix well, but I realize that this beverage is a big part of our culture. We always refer to moderation but must keep in mind the designated number of units and don’t exceed that. Again, choices, choices, choices, buy maybe this Blog will make you think twice. That’s what I do right haha??

“The Truth About Alchol”, 2016, by David Briggs.