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May/June 2018
Today the leading causes of death in Western countries include cancer, heart disease, liver disease,
kidney disease, and metabolic disease. As scientific research advances on these leading diseases,
researchers increasingly find the culprits are often environmental — that is, they are related to the air we
breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and our exposure to various chemicals.
Page 30
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May/June 2018
Volume 18, Number6
OnFitness® is published 6 times per year
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Product Review
Megan Johnson McCullough
SWAT Fuel is a science-based
supplement line to support
occupational athletes. The
combat physiology behind
creator Dr. Dan Olesnicky,
M.D.’s, products, is fighting
the biological time cells in our
bodies (telomeres). This comprehensive line
of popular sports nutrition supplements;
originally developed to provide energy and
endurance to military, law enforcement, and
shift workers, efficiently provides the
nutrients that our bodies need for optimal
performance, while using and maintaining
The occupational athlete is an
individual required to physically perform at
the level of an athlete during their job.
Physically demanding occupations, such as
the police force, military, fire fighters,
nursing, can often place the body under
extreme stress. Obviously, this ongoing
stress can accelerate the deterioration of the
body internally, along with the visible signs
of aging we see externally, thus support
supplementation is needed.
Reserve Police officer, tactical medical
instructor, and physician, Dr. Dan
Olesnicky, M.D., took his interest of
molecular genetics and created a researchbased product that is taking the fitness
industry by storm.
After the age 25, our bodies are no
longer growing, instead they are fighting the
aging process; therefore, our bodies don’t
obtain the necessary nutrients needed from
food alone, as they do not absorb or readily
process the essential components the same
as in our youth. Olesnicky wanted to know
how something like a tortoise can live so
long? How can we decrease the rate at
which those telomeres shorten? When we
don’t obtain this proper nutrition, our body
is not functioning at its peak and our
immunity is at risk. SWAT Fuel is the right
supplement strategy to take.
According to Olesnicky, the answer to
living our best involves 3 factors, fitness,
sleep, and eating right. When he entered the
police force as a reserve officer and
emergency medical responder, he found
himself older than his surrounding
colleagues. He decided to study combat
physiology in order to discover what
supplementation could help him. What sets
him apart in his research is that he’s not just
a lab rat, rather, he is a “product of his
products”. Olesnicky has the education and
experience to back his products. He is
currently in the process of building his own
sports performance lab to improve his
company. He also donates 10% of profits
from sales directly to charities that support
military, law enforcement, fire fighters,
scouts, education, and medical research. Just
as these agencies make a difference in our
lives, so too will this product.
Popular products include the 9mm+
Endurance Formula and the SWAT Fuel 40
Caliber Multivitamin. The SWAT Boxes are
also great tools to enhance performance.
The Warrior Box includes 9mm Endurance.
This product helps with energy for up to 8
hours. The proper amount of caffeine and
glucose has been formulated that does not
create that “jittery” feeling. Focus and
energy are enhanced. The Bootcamp Box is
designed to help those looking to lose
weight. It is composed of the Swat Fuel 40
Caliber Multivitamin, 44 Magnum Protein
Powder, and the 9mm Fat Burn Formula.
The right combination of products produces
the desired results.
Olesnicky is particularly proud of the 44
Magnum Protein Powder. It is 100% natural,
with its ingredients imported from Australia.
There is a science to this powder which
involves a combination of fast and medium
absorbing proteins. It is 85% organic grassfed whey, 15% organic egg whites, and has 5
grams of L glutamine. This scientific make
up helps with hypertrophy and recovery.
SWAT Fuel was formulated in 2012 and
has undergone years of testing to reach the
point where it’s at today. Olesnicky’s,
fascination with DNA and the aging process
have led to a versatile product line. From
the occupational athlete to the everyday
person, SWAT Fuel is supplementation
backed by science that works.
The editors of OnFitness have
tested the following products
for the past year. Swat Fuel 40
caliber Multivitamin and the
9mm + Endurance. We feel a profound
difference in our workouts and
additional endurance and power,
when surfing the big Hawaiian waves.
We give it a thumbs up!
Since 2006
W W W. O N F I T N E S S M A G . C O M | V O L 1 8 N O 6 | 2 0 1 8 8
May/June 2018
12 GET ON THE BALL! One of
the primary benefits of an exercise
ball is its use of multiple muscle
the label of most packaged foods
and odds are you’ll see the term
“natural flavors.”
fast food.
tend to associate calories with food,
but they apply to anything containing
It’s obvious that drug-infused meat is
becoming a major health concern,
and the U.S. is 1 of the few nations
ignoring this problem.
Evidence suggests nonsteroidal antiinflammatorys can cause a myriad of
potential health issues.
28 HEADACHES The true cause of
headaches is often overlooked by
many physicians.
Some of the most damaging and
prevalent toxins in today’s environment
include air pollution…
YOUR BODY Highly toxic chemicals
are used in the components of
everyday products.
34 SUPPLEMENTS Supplements
have become a huge industry, and
anytime industry rears its head, it is
always good to do some due
36 DIGESTION What you need to
38 FOOD & PAIN Food does 1 of
2 things — it either builds the body
up or tears it down.
40 SUGAR As addictive a cocaine.
44 HEART HEALTH How does fish
oil compare to satins?
LEVELS An ingredient in aged garlic
extract helps inhibit the liver’s ability
to produce cholesterol.
46 MEAT The important thing to
understand about conventionally
raised animals and organic
processed animals is that there are
some key ways they differ and some
important ways they are exactly the
49 ASTAXANTHIN? What would
you say to a health food supplement
that could help in cancer prevention,
enhance the body’s immune
response, and to top it off, act as a
strong free radical quencher?
Cocoa, the future of medicine.
53 ANTIOXIDANTS Is the word
antioxidant just another health
industry marketing phrase?
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May/June 2018
TRAINING Train your mind and
body to develop a balanced fitness
lifestyle that not only feels good but
will also have you looking great!
STRENGTH Next to the squat there
is perhaps no better lower body
resistance training exercise than the
How it burns the maximum amount
of fat during and after a workout.
2 muscle fiber development is key.
TRAINING Escalating density
training is perhaps 1 of the most
effective weight training regimes in
the resistance-training world.
the weight gets heavier for a certain
exercise, that the working muscle
gets bigger.
69 THE SFS WORKOUT If you’re
looking for something new to try,
then the slow-fast- slow workout is
your next step.
71 BIG ARMS Are you happy with
your arm development?
WEIGHT LOSS Believe that as long
as you’re moving, you’re doing
enough to get results? Think again.
more, the look of tight, toned
muscles on women is being seen as
the height of femininity and
walking lunge is a tremendous
foundational movement that is key to
human functionality.
building muscle is different for
martial arts fighters are regarded as
some of the fittest and strongest
athletes on the planet.
RIDER It’s an unrequited love affair,
never totally consummated, only
partially fulfilled.
87 JUMP! The key to power and
athletic capability.
FAILURE Why understanding this
will jump start your athletic progress.
90 DANNY MUSICO Known as the
Picasso of celebrity trainers, Danny
Musico can paint the body any client
envisions on them.
of useful information.
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W W W. O N F I T N E S S M A G . C O M
Abdominal crunches are a great
way to build a strong core. Crunches
strengthen, flatten and tone your abs,
which are the foundation of a strong
core. Targeting your abs, crunches
will also increase your lower back
strength, which improves posture.
Sit on the ball and walk your feet
out until you’re lying on your back
with your thighs parallel to the floor
and your knees at a right angle.
With your hands up by your head,
engage your core muscles, keep
your spine neutral, and bring your
shoulders up toward the ceiling a
few inches, then return to the
starting position and repeat.
ne of the primary
benefits of an
exercise ball is its use
of multiple muscle
groups. You can
perform a variety of exercises
such as crunches to build
and strengthen your abs or
side lifts to work on your
obliques. Chest presses and
biceps and triceps lifts can be
done with free weights while
sitting on a ball. In addition
to muscle toning, you’ll
engage a variety of core and
glutes muscles trying to keep
your balance. Exercise balls
also are ideal for back
stretching, and they
challenge every muscle of
your body to maintain good
posture and balance.
Exercise balls are a great
tool for your entire workout
routine. By moving your feet
closer together, you increase
the intensity and stress on
your core, and the effort to
remain balanced engages
additional muscles.
If you’re overweight,
older or out of shape, you’ll
find it easier to balance on a
larger, slightly less inflated
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| 2018
When it comes to
flexibility and
balance, an exercise
ball is an excellent tool.
Its unstable surface
works your balance,
coordination, stabilizer
muscles and core.
(Pictured above) Sit on the ball and
slowly walk your feet out until your
back is resting on it. Stretch your
arms out to your sides, focusing on
that deep stretch in your chest and
core. Hold this position while taking
deep breaths.
Stand in front of the
ball with your legs
spread wide and a slight bend in your
knees. Bend forward, placing your
hands on the ball, and roll it forward,
focusing on the stretch in your
hamstrings and your calves.
Start out by holding a ball with both hands in front of
you. Take a step forward and descend into a lunge,
lowering your back knee to the ground and stopping
just short of touching down. When you reach the
lowest point in your lunge, twist the ball to one side
by rotating your torso, then twist the ball back to
your front, returning to a standing position, and
repeat with your other side.
Start by standing and
hugging the ball to your
chest. Bend forward so
you’re resting the ball on your thighs,
letting your arms hang down. Relax
your body, letting your legs support
Sit on the ball with your legs
wide apart. Bend forward,
keeping your back flat, and,
placing your elbows on the
inside of your knees, force your legs
together while simultaneously forcing
them apart with your elbows. Focus
on the stretch in your thighs.
Begin by holding the
ball straight up over
your head while
standing on 1 leg with
your other leg slightly
off the ground behind
you. Bend from your
hips while lifting your back leg straight up,
simultaneously lowering the ball to your front so
it's parallel to the ground. Your body should end
up in a straight line from head to toe. Next,
lower the ball down to the floor while keeping
your back leg up. Take a deep breath, stand
back up and repeat with your other leg.
In a push-up position with the shins of
your feet resting on a ball, drive your hips
directly up into the
air while keeping
both your arms and
legs straight. Your
body will end up in
an inverted V-shape.
Once your core has
pulled your hips as
high as they can go,
slowly lower yourself
back to the starting
position and repeat.
TECHNIQUE As with any other type of exercises, it’s
important to warm up first. During your workout
always maintain good posture; this means keeping
your back straight and preventing your knees from
locking. Focus on breathing properly; being aware of
your breathing is essential to great results.
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In a push-up position with your toes resting on
the ball, tighten your abs and lower your
upper body to the ground. Hold for a
moment, then push yourself back up so
your elbows are straight but not locked.
Keep your head in line with your spine
and your abs engaged, and repeat.
Lie on your belly with an exercise ball
between your legs, your forearms and hands
braced on the ground. Engaging your abs,
squeeze the ball, lifting your knees, arms and
chest off the ground. Hold for a moment
then relax, lowering your body back to the
ground, and repeat.
If you find it difficult
to keep the ball from
rolling about too
much, place towels
around the base.
When you get used to
balancing, remove the
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Lying on your back holding a ball,
lift your legs up slightly, keeping
them parallel to the ground,
simultaneously lifting your head,
neck and shoulders, and reaching
forward and placing the ball
between your legs. Then swing
your arms back up and behind
your head and quickly lower
them again, grabbing the ball and
lifting it up and behind your
head. Continue to pass the ball
back and forth from your hands
to your legs.
Lie on your back on the ball.
Holding dumbbells just above
your chest with your palms facing
forward, press the weights straight
up over your head and hold for a
moment, then lower the weights
back to your chest and repeat.
Sit tall on the ball with
your abs engaged and
your feet firmly on the
ground. Lift your knees
up and down to
bounce as high as you
can off the ball. Bounce
for a few minutes,
working to keep your
heart rate up.
Lie on your back with your heels resting
on the ball. Tightening your butt and abs,
lift your hips up, using your arms for
leverage. Then slowly bring your knees in
toward your hips so
your feet are now
resting flat on the ball.
Hold this position for a
moment before
straightening your legs
out again, and repeat.
Keep your hips up
throughout the move
for maximum butt
Start in push-up position with the tops
of your feet resting on the ball and your
hands on the ground beneath your
shoulders, your arms straight but not
locked. Allowing your feet to roll over
the ball, pull your knees in toward your
chest until they’re directly under your
hips; the tips of your toes remain on the
ball. Hold, then straighten your legs by
extending your knees back and repeat.
Lie flat on your back with your legs resting
on the ball. With your hands on either
side of your head, push the small of
your back into the ground, isolating
your ab muscles, and lift just your
shoulders while squeezing your
abs, focusing on a slow,
controlled move; refrain from
using momentum. Hold for
a moment, then slowly lie
back down and repeat.
Beginning in a standing position, hold the
medicine ball at chest level. Squat, trying to
drop your buttocks as low as possible,
keeping your heels on the ground.Then,
stand up and raise the medicine ball
directly over your heat. Bring the medicine
ball back to your chest and repeat.
For a different take on the push-up and a terrific strength, power, chest,
shoulders, and triceps workout, start in standard push-up position with 1
hand on the ground and the other hand on top of the ball. Lower your
body as usual, making sure to keep the ball still. Pause and return to the
up position and repeat.After a set, roll the ball to your other hand and
repeat. Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for
stability while making sure the hand on the
ball is stable, and don’t flare
out your elbows.
You may find
yourself holding your
breath as you try to
balance. Breathe
normally during the
In a push-up position
with your feet together
on a ball, lift 1 leg up
while squeezing your
butt. Return the leg and
repeat with your other
leg, alternating sides.
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Quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings,
abs, back, chest, deltoids, biceps
and triceps. Pretty much every
muscle group you’ll ever want
to work.
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Lie with a ball under your hips,
your arms on the ground in a
plank position. With your feet
together and your core engaged,
lift your legs up as high as you
can and hold for a moment before
lowering them back to the
starting position. Then repeat.
Kneel with your forearms on top
of the ball. Slowly roll the ball
forward as far as you can —
without allowing your lower back
to collapse — until your hands,
elbows, shoulders, hips and knees
are in a straight line and your
arms are still on the ball. Using
your abs to pull the ball back to
your knees, repeat.
Partners should sit on the
ground facing each other
with their feet off the
ground, pressing against
each other’s feet, and toss
a ball back and forth.
Great for balance and abs.
One of the first things
you’ll need to verify is
that you’re using a
ball that’s the right
size and properly
inflated.The general
rule of thumb is that
when you’re sitting
on the ball, your
upper thighs should
be parallel to the
Stand upright and place the
ball between the legs so the
center is about even with
the knees (it should not be
touching the floor). Squat
down until your knees
form 90-degree angles,
squeezing the ball to stay
balanced. Hold the position as long as possible,
working up to 30 to 45 seconds per set. Note:
for this move, consider using a ball that’s not
the perfect fit. A larger ball makes this move
more difficult, while a smaller ball is a little
easier on the thighs.
Complete a
traditional squat while
holding a ball at arm’s
length overhead while
keeping your torso
upright. This position
engages your shoulders and
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Lie with your stomach on the ball,
your legs extended straight out
behind you, your toes resting on the
ground and your hands behind your
head. Raise your head, pulling your
chest up, and hold for a moment,
feeling the stretch in your back,
then return to a relaxed position
and repeat.
Get into a plank stance, supporting your body with your
chest and forearms resting on the ball and your toes
on the ground. Lift your chest off the ball so
your upper body is supported by your
forearms. Keep your abs contracted
and your back straight and
hold this position for as
long as you can.
With a ball between
your lower back and a
wall, slowly squat. Use
the ball to support
your back as the ball
rolls up to your
shoulder blades. Then
slowly stand back up
and repeat.
Consider replacing your
desk chair with an
exercise ball. This can
help you improve your
balance and burn up to
350 calories every day.
You’ll have to readjust
your position throughout
the day, in order to
lessen the risk of getting
stiff from trying to
maintain balance.
In a push-up position with your hands braced
on the ball, tighten your abs and push your
upper body up so your elbows are straight but
not locked, hold, then lower yourself back to
the ball. Keep your head in line with your
spine and your abs engaged and repeat.
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Sit on the ball with your hands on
either side of your hips for
support, your feet flat on the
ground. Scoot forward a few
inches away from the ball and,
using your triceps, lower yourself
as low as you can go, hold, then
push yourself back up and repeat.
Lie face up on the ground with
your ankles resting on the ball.
With your arms pointing toward
your feet, roll your torso up so
your body forms a V. Hold for a
moment, then slowly roll back
down to the ground and repeat.
Lie back on the ball, holding
something behind you for
support. Keeping your legs
pressed tightly together, flex your
abs and bring your knees up
toward your chest, hold and
WALL SLAM Holding a med
ball with both hands, stand
approximately 5 feet from a wall
with your feet shoulder width
apart. Bring your arms up and
over your head and slam the
ball against the wall as hard as
you can, catching it on the
rebound. Then slam it again.
A medicine ball is a weighted ball that can be
used for a wide range of exercises to improve
fitness, strength and coordination as well as help
recovery from injuries. The balls come in
different weights ranging from 2 lb. to 25 lb. The
standard is 14 inches in diameter.
Med balls are commonly used by athletes to
improve core strength including chest, arms, legs
and abs.
You can replace your regular
weights with a light med ball. Set
up a circuit and squat with it,
press it overhead, perform
lunges, rows and Russian twist
or woodchops. Hold it in 1 hand
and do Turkish get-ups. Place it
behind you when you do squats
so you know when you’ve gone
deep enough. Tone your inner
thighs by squeezing it between
your leg. And the list goes on.
Med ball slams are simple exercises
that have persevered for centuries.
Lift the ball high above your head,
throw it at the ground, pick it up,
do it again. It might look like
child’s play, but med ball slams
build better athletic performance.
A few key reasons why they work
are as follow: (1) They’re hard to
screw up, which means benefits
can be reaped even by
inexperienced trainees because
med ball slams require minimal
skill. (2) The med ball slam is an
explosive exercise that trains you to transfer
energy from your core throughout your body.
You’re raising the ball overhead while getting
triple extension from your ankles, knees and
hips, and you’re controlling it with your abs,
then forcefully contracting your abs while
keeping a rigid torso and slamming the ball
down. It’s essentially a total-body workout with a
lot of emphasis on bracing your core. (3) Due to
their simplicity and the fact that gravity is
working for you during the slam portion of the
movement, med ball slams will help you release
built-up energy. There’s something about
throwing a ball down violently and repeating it
that’s therapeutic.
Before you start slamming, make sure you’re not
using the heaviest ball available. You want to be
fast and explosive; an 8- to 10-pound ball should
be more than enough.
Start by assuming an athletic stance, holding the
med ball at waist level. Rising up onto your toes,
bring the ball
overhead, then
explosively drive
your chest down,
slamming the ball
onto the ground
with as much
force as you can
muster. Catch the
ball as it bounces
back and repeat.
Sit on the floor
holding a med ball
in both hands with
your arms extended
in front of you.
Explosively twist
your body to one
side and then twist
back and then twist
your body to the
other side and
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Clean nutrition report
Gabriel Bates
Have you ever wondered what
the heck this means, beyond
the obvious? The answer isn’t
as clear as what you might
Although natural flavors
sounds better than chemicalladen artificial flavors, it turns out they’re not really all
that different.
Of over 80,000 foods scored by an environmental
group,“natural flavor” was the fourth most common
ingredient listed on labels, outranked only by salt, water
and sugar.
Natural and artificial flavors play an interesting role in
food.They’re essentially providing the taste and appeal,
and/or an attempt at replacing something that got lost
through processing, storage or pasteurizing.
One place you'll often find artificial flavor is in orange
juice; manufacturers often add fake flavors to ensure
uniformity so that you have the exact same tasting foods
anywhere you go and at any time of the year.Taste, after
all, is the product’s signature.
So what distinguishes an artificial flavor from a
“natural” flavor? Not a whole lot.The biggest difference is
that natural flavors come from natural sources: those
original ingredients found in nature, purified, extracted
and added back into the food.
But that doesn't necessarily mean the natural flavors
in your fig bars are simply crushed-up figs.They probably
consist of chemicals originally found in figs that have
been enhanced and added back into the bar.
Artificial flavors, on the other hand, are usually created
by humans in labs. If you think the distinction seems
fuzzy, you’re not alone.
The differentiation really boils down to the origin of
those molecules, whether they have been synthetically
processed in a lab or purified in a lab but from a natural
Here’s where it gets really muddled: added flavoring,
both natural and artificial, can contain anywhere from 50
to 100 ingredients, and all of the extra ingredients aren’t
as innocent as you think. Eighty to 90 percent of the mix
will often have solvents and preservatives. It may be a
very small amount, but it’s still artificial.The difference
between natural and artificial flavors comes down to
miniscule distinctions.
Although the amount of preservatives and solvents in
natural flavors is too small to be linked to any bad health
effects, it still leads consumers astray.
While you don’t need to swear off natural or artificial
flavors, stick to a diet of whole foods when you can,
because you can be sure the flavors in an actual fig didn’t
originate in a lab. Z
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Look at the
label of most
packaged foods,
and odds are
you’ll see the
term “natural
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Clean Nutrition Report
Casey Adams
Plants from oceans,
lakes and ponds can
provide an incredible
source of
nourishment. Most
edible sea vegetables
are either cultivated in ponds or wild-crafted
(harvested wild) from open waters. Sea
vegetables are not as sensitive to overharvesting and the by-catch issues that fish
and shellfish have, however. And because
ocean plants rely upon photosynthesis
rather than filtering for their growth — as
fish and shellfish do — they are not likely to
contain much in the way of environmental
toxins such as mercury and DDT.
There are about 70,000 known sea
vegetables, but they boil down to 3 general
types: green algae, brown algae, and red
algae. These range from single-celled
microalgae to giant, broad-leafed kelps. Sea
vegetables trump all other food sources for
protein production. While an acre of beef
production might yield 20 pounds of
useable protein, an acre of soybeans will
yields about 400 pounds. Seaweeds like nori
will yield 800 pounds per acre of tidal zone,
and spirulina can yield a whopping 21,000
pounds of usable protein per acre of pond
Commercial algae like spirulina are grown in
huge outdoor ponds in sunny areas.
Spirulina is a good source of carotenoids,
vitamins, minerals and important fatty acids
such as gamma linolenic acid — known to
be good for the skin and help reduce
inflammation. Spirulina also contains all the
essential and most nonessential amino acids,
with 55-65 percent protein by weight.
Spirulina contains a number of other
phytonutrients such as zeaxanthin,
myxoxanthophyll and lutein. Clinical
studies have indicated spirulina can increase
brain cell health, reduce inflammation, help
prevent cancer and, for athletes, boost
overall stamina.
Chlorella is also cultured in outdoor ponds
like spirulina. Over 800 published scientific
studies have confirmed its safety and
effectiveness for various health issues.
Chlorella’s ability to cleanse the body of
heavy metals and other toxins make it a
favorite suggestion of natural health
Chlorella’s nutrients include betacarotene, various vitamins, and a cool
nutrient called chlorella growth factor.
Chlorella growth factor has been shown in a
number of studies to increase the growth
and productivity of cells, making this food
excellent for athletes looking to build
muscle mass and heal injuries.
Chlorella is also a complete protein with
every essential and nonessential amino acid.
Clinical studies have shown that chlorella
stimulates T-cell and B-cell activity and
increases macrophage activity — helping us
strengthen our immune systems. Chlorella
has been shown to help fibromyalgia,
hypertension and ulcerative colitis. Chlorella
has a hard cell wall. Most chlorella products
have a crushed cell wall, which releases its
polysaccharides and fiber. These nutrients
give chlorella its unique ability to bind to
heavy metals — aiding detoxification. So
make sure your brand says the cell wall has
been crushed.
AFA (short for Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) is
an alga sea vegetable that grows on the
pristine volcanic waters of Klamath Lake in
Oregon. As opposed to chlorella’s, AFA’s
nutrients are readily available because of its
soft cell wall. The rich volcanic lakebed of
Klamath Lake renders it an available source
of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and all
the essential and nonessential amino acids.
Like spirulina and chlorella, AFA is a
complete protein with 60 percent protein by
weight. AFA also contains up to 58 trace
Another exciting pond-grown microalga
nutrient on the market is astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is an oxygenated carotenoid
with significant antioxidant properties,
hundreds of times the antioxidant value of
vitamin E. Recent studies have shown
astaxanthin to be effective in reducing
There are about 1,500 species of
kelp-like brown algae, many of
which flourish in the cold waters of
the North Pacific and the Atlantic
Oceans. Well-known kelp-like sea
veggies include nori, wakame,
dulse, kombu, Irish moss, sea palm
and several species of laminaria.
Kelps are harvested periodically and
managed carefully — easy to do
since kelp beds are stationary.
Kelps have an impressive array
of vitamins — more than most
land-based vegetables, with A, B1,
B2, B5, B12, C, B6, B3, folic acid, E,
K and a steroid vitamin D
precursor. Nori and dulse have
betacarotene levels as high as
50,000 IU per 100 grams. Certified
organic kelps show 60 minerals at
ppm levels. They are also good
sources of calcium and magnesium.
Most brown algae also contain all
the essential amino acids. Nori is 30
percent protein by weight, and
other kelps average about 9 percent.
Kelps also contain a number of
beneficial polysaccharides and
polyphenols. One such sulfated
polysaccharide, fucoidan, has been
shown to have anti-tumor,
anticoagulant and anti-angiogenic
properties. Research shows it also
inhibits allergic response, inhibits
beta-amyloid formation (linked to
Alzheimer’s) and decreases artery
platelet deposits.
Red marine algae
Red marine algae research has
confirmed some potentially
amazing health benefits. Dumontiae,
a red alga, is mostly harvested in
colder oceans by either wildcrafting or rope farming. It has been
shown to inhibit growth of several
viruses, notably herpes simplex I
and II and HIV. Most studies have
illustrated that its polysaccharides
block DNA mutation and retrovirus
replication. Michael Neushul, PhD,
from the University of California at
Santa Barbara’s biology department,
has reported antiviral properties
among all of the 39 California red
marine algae varieties tested.
Some algae also produce a
potent and pure form of
docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA —
the fatty acid typically extracted
from fish oil. DHA is recommended
now by medical professionals for
reducing inflammation and
increasing cardiovascular health.
Commercial DHA-producing
microalgae are cultured in tanks,
so this form of DHA does not have
the risk of mercury or DDT
toxicity. DHA produced from algae
doesn’t put pressure on already
scarce fish populations either. The
fish are perpetually grown in
tanks. The 2 DHA algae
microorganisms commercially
produced are now used in many
supplements and infant formulas
and typically labeled as
“vegetarian DHA.”
Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is
produced in the human body from
DHA, so there is no need to add
EPA separately.
While vegetables from the sea
are often overlooked as viable food
and supplement sources, they are
some of the most nutritious foods
on the planet. They are best taken
as freeze-dried powders, vegetable
caps or tablets. Sea vegetables are
a great way to immediately and
safely increase well-being, stamina
and brain power. They are quite
simply nature’s most nutritious
fast foods. Z
your water
To remember to drink
your water quota
every day, fill a glass
pitcher with water
before you go to bed
and place it in the
refrigerator. This is
your water for the next
day. It will already be
chilled and ready to
drink, sparing you
from having to keep
track of how many
glasses you’re
A calorie is a unit of energy. We tend to associate
calories with food, but they apply to anything
containing energy. For example, a gallon (about 4
liters) of gasoline contains about 31,000,000 calories.
A calorie is the amount of energy or heat it takes
to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1
degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). One calorie,
including a food calorie, is equal to 4.184 joules, a common unit of
energy used in the physical sciences.
The calories on a food package are actually kilocalories; 1,000
calories equal 1 kilocalorie. A can of soda containing 200 food
calories contains 200,000 regular calories, or 200 kilocalories. A
gallon of gasoline contains 31,000 kilocalories.
The same applies to exercise; when a fitness chart says you burn
about 100 calories for every mile you jog, it means 100 kilocalories.
What Calories Do
Human beings need energy to survive — to breathe, move, pump
blood — and they acquire this energy from food.
The number of calories in a food is a measure of how much
potential energy that food possesses. A gram of carbohydrates has 4
calories, a gram of protein has 4 calories, and a gram of fat has 9
calories. Foods are a combination of these 3 building blocks. So if
you know how many carbohydrates, fats and proteins are in any
given food, you know how many calories, or how much energy, that
food contains.
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inflammation and stimulating the
immune system. Studies have also
shown astaxanthin’s ability to
prevent and treat oxidative damage
and macular degeneration. Reports
from marathoners and triathletes
also reveal that astaxanthin
increases recovery rates from
rigorous exercise.
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Clean Nutrition Report
Thomas Hammer
A trade spat between
the United States and
Russia inadvertently
revealed that the U.S.
is still loading meat
up with various drugs.
Russia, a major importer of meat,
announced that it will no longer accept
meat from animals raised on the drug
ractopamine. Russia is also mandating that
all countries must provide proof certifying
that their meat is ractopamine-free.
Unfortunately, the United States’
response, from both agricultural and trade
officials, was that the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration has approved ractopamine
as safe for use in cattle, pigs and turkey and
will not alert buyers to its use in meat
products. This substance is used to promote
leanness in the animal.
The European Food Safety Authority
has stated that the science backing
ractopamine is insufficient for determining
whether the drug is safe for human
Even China has indicated concern about
this drug. And although the FDA is
allowing meat sellers to continue stuffing
ractopamine into livestock, Brazil concurs
with Russia and is pulling the drug from its
meat production.
In total, 160 nations have banned this
substance — which you may be consuming
regularly if you happen to eat turkey, pork
and beef products.
Some side effects of ractopamine are
headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, tremors and
chest pain. What’s more, beta agonists, the
component in ractopamine, are thought to
more than double the death rate in people
with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Physicians are starting to raise more
concerns about the full plethora of
antibiotics and other drugs in U.S. meat. In
fact, they are starting to point the finger at
antibiotic-tainted meat as catalysts for the
rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Amazingly, 80 percent of the total use of
antibiotics in the U.S. is for animals. Eating
meat with antibiotic and other drugs has
loaded up unsuspecting Americans with
There is also real concern in the
veterinary community because of recent
data about the overuse of antibiotics and
other drugs in animals and the side effects
that trickle down to the human population.
It’s obvious that drug-infused meat is
becoming a major health concern, and the
U.S. is 1 of the few nations ignoring this
problem. Purchasing antibiotic-free meat is
the immediate solution to ingesting
dangerous drugs. Z
Evidence suggests nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
can cause a myriad of potential health issues
Damian D. Dubé
When athletes,
whether competitive
or recreational, train
with a high intensity
for a prolonged
period of time,
they’re likely to be
stricken with
muscle soreness,
aches and pains,
and even minor injuries.
They’ll more than likely train
through the pain to accomplish the
goal at hand. No pain, no gain,
right? To get through those
workouts, an athlete will in many
cases pop a couple of nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
NSAIDs are a class of medication
such as aspirin, ibuprofen and
naproxen, which work by
inhibiting the production of
prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are
substances the body produces
naturally that promote pain and
inflammation, protect the stomach
lining and control blood pressure.
Athletes will take them prior to
every workout to treat acute
musculoskeletal injuries or as a
maintenance or preventive measure,
with the mind-set that they’ll
prevent post-workout muscle
Many athletes, especially
endurance athletes, have begun
using them as an ergogenic aid to
enhance performance. The theory is
that they’ll inhibit inflammation,
allowing for decreased muscle
soreness and fatigue as well as
improved recovery and
There is no scientific evidence
that taking anti-inflammatories
prior to working out will prevent
muscle soreness or enhance
recovery and performance.
However, there is overwhelming
evidence that they can cause a
myriad of potential health issues.
Some of the more common side
effects of NSAIDs are gastrointestinal
disorders, hypertension, kidney and
liver disease, and cardiovascular
problems such as congestive heart
The use of these drugs could
also mask the source of the pain.
Combining an anti-inflammatory
drug such as ibuprofen with intense
exercise can lead to increased
intestinal damage.
When we exercise, blood is
diverted away from the digestive
tract to be used by the muscles,
which is 1 reason exercising right
after eating is not recommended.
The lack of blood in the
digestive tract causes damage to the
lining of the small intestine, causing
the intestines to leak. Under normal
conditions, the lining of the
intestines will return to normal
within an hour of exercise
However, when ibuprofen is
taken prior to exercise, that
intestinal leakage continues for
several hours after exercise has
ceased. This may not only cause
digestive enzymes and bacteria to
leak into the bloodstream, which
can be toxic, but it may also
prevent nutrient absorption after
If post-exercise nutrient
absorption is compromised, the
body’s ability to repair and
regenerate is also compromised.
This may cause recovery to be
hindered, preventing optimal
performance gains and potentially
leading to injury.
Studies have shown that regular
use of ibuprofen by runners causes
Natural fortification
Rather than taking potentially
harmful drugs, the trainee can rely
upon a number of natural methods
to help prevent or relieve delayedonset muscle soreness.
Be sure to properly hydrate.
Dehydration can cause muscle
tightness, decreased range of
motion and joint pain. Keeping the
body hydrated with water or a
quality electrolyte beverage, rather
than sugar-filled drinks, is
necessary to keep the body fueled
during exercise.
Proper nutrition plays a huge
role in preventing post-exercise
soreness and injury. Avoid
processed, refined or packaged
foods, as they are loaded with
toxins and create internal
inflammation while preventing the
body from healing.
Keeping protein intake high
helps repair and rebuild muscle,
potentially reducing soreness and
improving injury recovery.
Certain herbs and spices may
help as well. Both curcumin and
ginger contain anti-inflammatory
compounds, which have been
shown to reduce exercise induced
muscle pain.
Consuming animal protein
such as grass-fed beef and freerange chicken may also be
beneficial. Most animal proteins
contain naturally occurring
carnosine, which has been shown
to buffer acids in muscle and has
antioxidant effects, both of which
may improve athletic performance.
As a final note, when using any
type of drug, whether over the
counter or prescribed, it is
important to consult your physician
regarding any changes in your body
or your day-to-day routine. Z
Beans for
Fruits and vegetables
aren’t the only foods
generous in
antioxidants. Beans
are too. Stock up on
pinto beans, kidney
beans and small red
beans (dried). Add
organic catsup to perk
up the taste.
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bacteria from the colon to be leaked
into the bloodstream, which results
in higher levels of systemic
inflammation. Ironically, the use of
ibuprofen has no effect on muscle
damage or soreness, according to
these studies.
In addition, like any drug,
NSAIDs cause the depletion of
certain nutrients from the body,
such as folic acid, iron, potassium
and vitamin C. Ironically, vitamin C
taken post-exercise has been shown
to reduce post-exercise muscle
soreness and promote the healing of
soft tissue.
The idea that NSAIDs will help
an athlete train harder has no
scientific validity, but there are
many reasons to avoid their use.
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Clean Nutrition Report
Dr. David Ryan
The true cause of headaches is
often overlooked by many
physicians. Understanding the
headache triggers leads to the
correct diagnosis and
treatment. Headaches are
often classified based on their
presentation of symptoms:
migraine, nonmigraine, vascular, cluster,
sinus — frankly, the list goes on and on.
The dieter’s headache
The most common cause of all headaches is
associated with diet. You have likely heard
of a hypoglycemic headache, caused by low
blood sugar. The brain is very picky and will
use only glucose (blood sugar) as energy.
If you’re dieting or running low on
energy, then the body under stress will react,
and the hungry glial (pronounced glee-al)
cells in the brain release chemicals to trigger
a chain reaction that causes head pain.
Diet can also trigger headaches based on
what you eat. Even when an allergy test will
shows negative results for food allergies, but
it’s very common to have a powerful
hypersensitivity to any substance.
Nuts are the most common, but soda,
caffeine, dairy, citrus and wheat products are
very typical triggers. Your blood type may
have a critical role in determining those
It sounds too simple, but restriction of a
specific food or beverage is commonly the
first step for many of the top headache
clinics in the world. People tend to crave
the very substance they are hypersensitive
A simple step is to keep a headache
journal and also a diet journal. Correlating
the foods you eat to the actual onsets of
headaches is the fundamental key in
controlling the triggers of your headaches.
Migraines are classified based on their
presentation of either having a clear
neurological symptom or lacking one.
Many migraines can last for days or
even years. What is often lost in all of this
classification is what triggered them in the
first place.
The point that everyone misses in
medicine is related to the true cause of
disease. Doctors love to have the “correct”
Many physicians will strive to put the
correct name on a condition and quickly
prescribe medication to suppress some
symptoms, but then lose sight of the
etiology, or cause.
Side effects of medications
Many medications also result in headaches.
The medicine’s combination with specific
foods or beverages results in a chemical
chain reaction that leads to intense head
Drugs and supplements often result in
sinus reactions as well, and cause a change
in the body’s sewer system (sinuses), leading
to intense blockage, also resulting in pain.
Sinus headaches
Obviously sinus headaches can be from an
allergy and/or hypersensitivity. Sinus
conditions also occur due to drastic changes
in barometric pressure, humidity,
temperature and sunlight.
Many people have a genetic tolerance
for salt content in the air. If your ancestors
or you lived in an area like Miami, which
has a naturally high salt content, and then
you moved to Ohio, for example, your
sinuses will likely need more salt than what
is available in the air.
Several sinus conditions can be helped
simply by using a saline solution for nasal
irrigation. Most pharmacy stores carry
simple salt solutions that are all-natural and
free of medications.
To improve the use of any salt solution,
you need to lie on your back with your head
fully extended. Breathe through your mouth
while placing a few drops of salt solution
into your nasal cavities.
Stay in that position for a minute or 2.
Yes, it can burn, but the properties of the
salt will break up the mucous.
Vascular headaches
Vascular headaches are associated with
blood vessel changes. This can be from a
variety of sources and is often associated
with stress, rapid changes in temperature
or chemical properties in food and
Exertion headaches, which are very
similar, are very common in sports and can
be from head contact (concussion) or
simply straining with a weight and holding
your breath, also known as the Valsalva
maneuver, which also spikes blood pressure.
In either case, blood is often moved out of a
normal flow pattern.
When you warm up properly and
practice proper breathing techniques during
exercise and sports participation, these types
of vascular headaches can be avoided.
Concussion headaches are very serious and
unfortunately there is little training for
physicians to understand them. Quality
school programs offer pre-season testing
using the IMPACT format for athletes.
This format uses neurological testing
and assessment tools in order to diagnose
the athlete’s ability to return to their sport
after a concussion.
Current research has shown that
chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation,
along with fish oil supplements, offer a great
deal of relief for concussions.
Finding your trigger points
With the correct diagnosis of triggers and
resulting treatment, most headaches should
show some improvement in frequency,
intensity and duration in less than 2 weeks.
If not, look for a second opinion from a
similar or different type of physician. Z
Rae Nicole
Curcumin (also known
as turmeric) is a
brightly colored spice
you may or may not be
familiar with. Any fan
of Indian or Thai food
will tell you that this
spice can be found in
many dishes. Known to
be a cooking substitute
for pricey saffron, it is
the prime component of
curry powder. However,
curcumin is gaining
global recognition not
only for its delectable
contribution to cuisine
but for its medicinal qualities as a powerful antioxidant. The medical world
is standing up and taking notice.
You can easily recognize curcumin on the shelf of your supermarket by
its deep yellow-orange color. Deriving from the root of the curcuma longa
plant, curcumin is related to the ginger family. The root has a tough brown
skin encasing a bright orange flesh. The ground version of curcumin
Westerners generally purchase is a derivative of the rhizomes or
underground stem of the plant, boiled or steamed and then ground for use.
Curcumin is a tropical plant, with India being the number 1 producer, along
with Indonesia and China.
The first use of curcumin dates back at least 5,000 years, when the plant
was used primarily as a dye. However, it is most valued as a spice today.
South Asia has been reaping the benefits of curcumin for many years
medicinally, and the spice has been cited in Sanskrit medical treatises and
used in Ayurvedic medicine dating back to 250 BC. Historically, the spice has
been prescribed for digestive disorders, inflammation and joint problems as
well as for an aid in healing wounds.
In India, rates for Alzheimer’s disease and colorectal, prostate and lung
cancers are among the lowest in the world. Could this be due to the
common and almost ritualistic use of curcumin as a food additive? Few
studies have been conducted citing the role that the native diet in India and
the use of curcumin play in development of certain cancers, yet the
correlation seems apparent. Some studies of Indian immigrants in the
Western world reveal that adaptations to a different diet in the adopted
country show an increase in these identified diseases after a generation in the
new country. Studies are now focusing directly on curcumin and its effect on
cancers and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Emerging studies suggest it is the medicinal properties that appear to be
the most valuable asset in recent clinical trials. Curcumin is an amazing
antioxidant and has been stated to support and regulate immune system
activity. Effects have been reported in the treatment of allergy, asthma,
atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Crohn’s disease and
cancer. Is this due to its effect on the immune system, or is there something
more to it?
Medical studies are showing that curcumin causes activity that may
possibly induce cell death in precancerous cells. Animal and human studies
specific to colorectal cancers appear to be promising, and scientists wonder
whether the fact that India has the lowest rate of colon cancer in the world is
simply coincidental. Researchers Dr. Francis M. Giardiello and Dr. Marcia
farms and
A team of scientists in
Germany carried out a
comprehensive review
of existing studies
relevant to comparing
the net greenhouse
gas emissions from
conventional and
organic farming
systems. Their basic
conclusion: organic
farming emits lowered
amounts of
greenhouse gases
than do comparable
conventional systems.
Higher greenhouse
gases emissions occur
in conventional
agriculture because of
a greater reliance on
imported animal
foodstuffs, including a
portion purchased
from overseas. The
use of energyintensive pesticides
and fertilizers on
conventional farms
also increases
greenhouse gas
While higher yields on
conventional farms
compensate for some
of the differences,
total emissions are still
higher in conventional
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Cruz-Correa of Johns Hopkins
Medical Institution ran a small trial
using pills containing curcumin.
During the 6 months, 5 patients
with inherited precancerous polyps
in the lower bowel took regular
doses. The results, published in the
August issue of the journal Clinical
Gastroenterology and Hepatology
(vol. 4, no. 8), showed that on
average, the number of polyps
dropped 60.4 percent and size
dropped 50.9 percent.
Curcumin is nontoxic to the
body even when taken in higher
doses than needed, as the body uses
it in antioxidant processes;
therefore, there is no accumulation
in the bloodstream. Side effects are
extremely low, and the liver clears
the supplement out of the body
within 8 to 12 hours, so
accumulation does not occur.
Clinical cancer studies involving the
use of curcumin include bladder,
skin, colon, stomach, breast, lungs,
intestine, oral cavity and lymphoma.
The results thus far are promising.
Human trials must continue.
Alzheimer’s disease is a
devastating condition for affected
individuals and their families and
friends. The hope for prevention
and treatment of this disease with a
natural agent is not far-fetched.
Trials using mice by researchers at
UCLA show the slowing of the
formation of plaque deposits in
mouse brains similar to those found
in human Alzheimer’s patients.
Some smaller human trials have
also been conducted showing
positive results as well.
The anti-inflammatory
properties of curcumin open many
doors for treating Alzheimer’s and
heart disease, and they trump overthe-counter anti-inflammatories
commonly used for heart disease.
Curcumin is natural, the side effects
and toxicity are little to none, and
it’s inexpensive.
Antioxidants seem to be a
buzzword in the health food
industry, and everything from
blueberries to spinach is on the list.
Seem overwhelming? The emerging
evidence seems more than clear
with curcumin, so this is 1 addition
to your diet that you may want to
take notice of. You may want to
start by simply adding curcumin to
common dishes or researching new
recipes that use the spice, or by
using a supplement. With all of this
interesting and hopeful information,
it’s no wonder it’s so very tempting
to rush to the health food store for
curcumin. Z
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Clean Nutrition Report
Dr. Case Adams
Today the leading causes of death in Western
countries include cancer, heart disease, liver
disease, kidney disease, and metabolic disease.
As scientific research advances on these
leading diseases, researchers increasingly find
the culprits are often environmental — that is,
they are related to the air we breathe, the food
we eat, the water we drink and our exposure to various chemicals.
Toxins defined
Some of the most damaging and prevalent toxins in today’s environment
include: Air pollution: carbon monoxide, chlorofluorocarbons, dioxins,
sulfur, mercury, tobacco, volatile organic compounds such as benzene.
Water pollution: various industrial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides,
chlorine and fluorine by-products. Food pollution: pesticides,
herbicides, heavy metals, refined sugars, oxidized fats, plastic packaging
chemicals (phthalates and phenols). Home pollution: asbestos,
formaldehyde, lead, mercury, heavy metals, and more.
Just how bad is it?
These are just a few of the many toxins polluting our bodies. In the
United States, more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals are in use. Yet
few have been tested for their toxicity to our bodies. And studies have
found that we are harboring hundreds of these chemicals within our
cells and body fluids.
To illustrate the gravity of the situation, consider one of the more
popular chemicals used in a variety of consumer products and foods —
bisphenol-A. This chemical was thought to be so safe that it is used in
practically every type of food packaging containing any plastic, yet
research over the last decade has revealed that the chemical disrupts
hormones, producing an array of developmental and neurological issues.
No matter how careful we are, we are exposed to these chemicals,
often on a daily basis. We could live in a cave on a deserted island and
surely avoid many of these, but we’d still breathe polluted air and deal
with water pollution due to chemicals moving within the atmosphere
and even dropping via rainfall.
Accumulating toxins
We live in houses made of chemicals and eat food wrapped and
bathed in chemicals. We breathe air soaked in chemicals, and our
rainfall now contains pesticides and herbicides. Multiple studies, for
example, have found that rainfall in many areas contains glyphosate,
the chemical used in the weed killer Roundup.
Despite the gross presence of chemicals in our lives, there are steps
we can take to reduce our exposure. There are also steps we can take
to increase our body’s ability to eliminate and break down many
chemicals before they build up within our cells.
This last point is critical because when our body’s cells accumulate
fatty acids and proteins, they can also accumulate pollutant chemicals.
This accumulation is often found in fat cells, and in some cases can
alter our DNA. This alteration can provoke the creation of cancer cells
EDTA. This is a
synthetic agent used
to retain color in food.
Who needs fake
color? Can you taste
color? The FDA is
currently studying
EDTA for toxicity. Why
would you want to eat
something that's being
studied for toxicity?
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Avoid this in
your food
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Clean Nutrition Report
and other diseased cells as the body seeks to
If the immune system is overburdened
with chemicals, it will have a tough time
trying to eliminate cancer cells as they
develop. This produces a perfect storm that
results in tumors and other fatal diseases
such as the ones mentioned above.
The good news is that if our liver,
kidneys, and immune system are healthy
and not overburdened with chemicals, they
can help prevent some of the chemical
The liver produces enzymes that will
help break down chemicals, and the liver,
kidneys, and immune system work to break
down cells that become polluted, hopefully
before tumors form.
Avoiding the perfect storm of a
chemically polluted body requires not a
single tactic but a combination of strategies
that together reduce chemical exposure and
chemical burden and increase the response
of our liver, kidneys, and immune system.
Drink pure
Water filters are critical for eliminating
toxins in our municipal water supplies.
Good filters can eliminate 99 percent of
most chemicals; make sure to check the
specifications of any options you explore.
Eliminating refined sugars from our
drinks and reducing or eliminating alcohol
intake can also facilitate a healthy liver and
Perhaps most importantly, we should
make sure to drink plenty of filtered water
and other healthy fluids. To help the body
remove chemicals, drink 8-10 glasses or
more of water or related fluids per day,
depending upon weight and exercise.
Eat clean
Plant-based foods are also essential when it
comes to reducing chemical load because of
their antioxidants. Antioxidants help
neutralize chemical free radicals before they
can damage our tissues and cells. They also
assist the liver and immune system by
stimulating them. Plant-based foods provide
a number of immune-stimulating factors
that help reduce the risk of cancers and
metabolic conditions.
Keep in mind that the antioxidants in
many fresh foods can be damaged by heat and
processing. Whenever possible, try to
incorporate vegetables and fruits that have not
been subjected to heat or processing. Instead
of canned vegetables, for example, choose
fresh varieties from your produce aisle.
The other important element is
packaging. Most foods are now packed in
plastics, which is sometimes difficult to
avoid. The more fresh or bulk foods we eat,
the less exposure to BPA and plasticizers our
bodies experience.
Look around the home and office
Our homes and office environments are
often littered with pollutants. These come in
the form of furniture, carpets, walls, paints,
mold, and other building products. Consider
natural furniture materials such as cotton
and wood. Make sure the walls don’t contain
lead paints, and aim to replace asbestoscontaining ceilings and sheetrock. When it
comes to flooring, choose real wood over
carpet if possible.
Consumer products
we put on our skin
Today, chemicals are found in our soaps,
cosmetics, sunscreens, shampoos, and
cleaning supplies.
It’s important to note that the skin does
not prevent chemicals from getting into the
body. Our skin is one of our body’s tissues,
and a porous one at that. If we put
something on our skin, it will immediately
be absorbed into the body.
This means we need to get that
magnifying glass out and read the small
print on product labels of skin products
before use. A good rule of thumb: if we
would never eat the ingredient, we shouldn’t
apply it to our skin.
This also applies to cleaning supplies.
Whatever we clean with will typically also
get onto our hands and elsewhere. Vinegar
and lemon juice are great antiseptic cleaners.
If we need to scrub something, baking soda
is a great option.
Breathe fresh air
Breathing fresh air on a daily basis may be
tough for someone living in the city. Moving
to the country or at least near some natural
setting such as a large park or seashore is
the best option, but understandably, that’s
not always possible.
Wherever you live, know that trees
remove many pollutants and supply fresh
oxygen. Indoor plants also help clear air
inside your home.
If you do live in a city, early mornings
typically offer the best air for working out
because polluting activity typically declines
overnight, allowing the air to clear a bit.
Assuming fresh air outside, leaving
windows open for ventilation is also an
option. Studies have shown that indoor air
can be some of the most polluted air we
breathe. Plus, when we breathe out, we are
releasing pollutants. So an open window
close to the bed is also a great idea.
Herbs and spices
There are a number of herbs and spices that
stimulate the removal of chemical pollutants
from our bodies. Some of these stimulate the
liver, the immune system — or both. Some
also directly attach to chemical toxins and
neutralize them.
Herbs and spices to include in our diets
regularly for this purpose are garlic, basil,
oregano, peppers (hot or sweet), turmeric
and black pepper.
Excellent purifying herbs include cilantro
and parsley, which are botanically related. Both
directly attach to many heavy metals and other
chemical toxins. And yes, this means that salsa
(especially fresh) is one of the best ways to
help reduce toxins and boost immunity.
Mushrooms are also a great way to
stimulate the immune system. Although
white button mushrooms will directly attach
to toxins, better options are portobellos,
oyster mushrooms, and shiitakes.
Heavy exercise
Exercising stimulates the release of many
chemical toxins. This elimination occurs
with heavy breathing, with sweating, and
during energy metabolism in general.
Furthermore, when we exercise, we
stimulate the circulation of our lymphatic
system, which circulates immune cells to
tissues and transports toxins out of tissues.
The “heart” of our lymphatic system is
muscle contraction.
Will these save us?
Certainly, these strategies will not eliminate
all chemicals from our bodies. We will still
be exposed to some of the 80,000 possible
toxic chemicals in our environments.
However, these strategies will help
reduce the extent of these chemicals, which
in turn will allow our immune system, liver,
and kidneys to function more efficiently.
This will reduce our risk of many diseases
related to chemical toxicity. Z
Gabriel Bates
Three highly toxic
chemicals used in the
components of everyday
products were found in a
group of diverse Americans
who participated in a
nationwide biomonitoring
Residues of bisphenol A are
project, according to a
present in resins used to
make protective coatings and report issued by a coalition
linings for food and beverage
of public interest groups.
The report comes at a time
of heightened awareness of toxins in consumer
products, including ongoing revelations about lead in
toys and lipstick.
The report, titled “Is It in Us: Toxic Trespass,
Regulatory Failure and Opportunities,” documents the
results of blood and urine testing of 35 people from 7
states for the presence of 3 classes of chemicals:
phthalates, bisphenol A and polybrominated diphenyl
ethers. The project, conducted in 2007, found all 3
classes of toxic chemicals in every person tested.
Each of these chemicals is ubiquitous in common
products people use every day, including baby bottles,
shower curtains, cosmetics, couch cushions, computers,
toys and scores of other items found in most American
homes, schools and workplaces. Human and animal
studies have linked the 3 chemicals to birth defects,
cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, asthma and other
health impacts. For some toxic chemicals, the levels
found in people are near or above levels linked to health
impacts in laboratory
The participants range
from a commercial
fisherman in Alaska and a
U.S. Navy veteran from
Illinois to a Connecticut
senator and a stay-at-home
mom from Minnesota,
each of whom volunteered
to find the answer to the
simple question: if toxic
pollution is in the products
we use every day, is it in
The Reverend Dr. Jim
Antal, who serves the
Massachusetts Conference
of the United Church of
Christ as minister and
president, said, “I expected
that because I’m a
vegetarian and have a
healthy lifestyle, that the
levels in my body would
be lower. Now that I see
my results, I’m wondering
if the water bottle on my
bike, or other things I thought were safe, are actually
causing harm.”
According to Stephanie Felton of Illinois, a U.S.
Navy veteran and stay-at-home mother, “People have a
trust that products manufactured and sold in the United
States are safe. This report proves otherwise. The results
are particularly troubling to me as a nursing mother.”
Ted Schettler, the science director at the Science and
Environmental Health Network and a medical and
public health expert, stated, “The chemicals looked for
and detected in this project have been linked to birth
defects, asthma, cancer, learning disabilities, obesity and
diabetes — conditions of urgent public health concern.
Just as disturbing, we have no information at all about
the potential health effects of many other chemicals to
which we are exposed because pre-market safety testing
is not required for most of them in the U.S.”
Project organizers point out that the federal law
regulating chemicals — the Toxic Substances Control
Act — was enacted in 1976 and has not been updated
to reflect recent scientific advances, including evidence
that even tiny doses of toxic chemicals may cause harm.
According to Sharyle Patton, 1 of the coordinators
of the project, “Our nation’s chemical safety system has
failed. It’s time to join together to support commonsense policies that will protect people from involuntary
exposure to toxic chemicals from products we use every
Organizers also point out that because these
chemicals are used in so many different products,
consumers are not able to
shop their way out of the
problem. Some states
throughout the country
have taken the lead in
creating chemical policy
that seeks to eliminate
potentially hazardous
chemicals and ensure the
safety of others used in
Senator Frank
Lautenberg (D-NJ) said in
a statement, “This report
makes clear that toxic
chemicals are in the
products we use and the
food we eat. My
legislation, the Kids Safe
Chemicals Act, requires
testing of toxic chemicals
will limit the use of those
chemicals that can’t be
proven safe. It’s time to
protect our children and
our families from unsafe
chemicals, and my bill
does just that.” Z
Feed your
pets organic
Don’t just feed organic
food to your twolegged family
members; dogs and
cats deserve organic
food, too. Organic dog
and cat foods are
readily sold at whole
foods or health food
stores. This includes
organic treats and
“cookies” for dogs.
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Clean Nutrition Report
Thomas Hammer
Supplements have
become a huge
industry, and anytime
industry rears its head,
it is always good to do
some due diligence.
The media factor is
another reason to have your thinking squared
away to ensure that the popular buzz about
some supposed miracle cure really has
something behind it. Or not. Since the FDA does
not monitor supplements in the same manner it
monitors drugs, caveat emptor is always at play.
Here are some helpful facts to help you get your
supplement scheme right.
Natural foods are the best supplements.
Forget trying to beat nature at its own game.
This is the number 1 fact to nail down in
nutrition, touted by virtually every nutritionist
out there — there is no substitute for real food.
There are 2 main schools of thought on
supplements — industry marketing media,
which say that supplements are super, and
nutritionists, who say that food is the super
element and supplements are second class at
best. Guess who is right. There is no reason to
substitute a supplement for a real food. This
sounds like heresy, but it is true, in that
supplements are inferior to everyday food.
For instance, an apple is better than
applesauce, which is better than apple juice,
which is better than apple added into a powder
or pill. The more removed an item is from its
natural state, the more ineffective it becomes.
Supplements are a couple of steps removed from
the prime nutrition level.
Avoid isolation supplements
Unfortunately, many supplements are narrowly
sliced — for instance, a zinc tablet or a vitamin
A tablet. In natural form, vitamins and minerals
don’t come in isolation. They have intrinsic links
to other vitamins, minerals, precursors and
more. Taking vitamins in isolation can actually
cause more harm to the body than help. For
instance, studies on the intake of vitamin E in
supplement form reveal that more negative
elements abound than positive.
Avoid large doses of supplements
This one can be deadly if you get it wrong.
Vitamins and minerals are powerful elements
and need to be taken in prescribed amounts. Fatsoluble vitamins can accumulate in the body and
cause toxicity problems. Other supplements can
also contain elements that cause problems in
high doses (caffeine, ephedra, etc.). More isn’t
always better — more can be worse when it
comes to supplements.
There is no “silver bullet,” no killer dietary
application that does it all. A nutritious and
effective diet is 1 that is multifaceted, that has
many working parts that come together to make
the body better. Don’t buy into the media hype
that by taking 1 special drink or pill, you will be
instantly changed. That type of wishful thinking
is for fairy tales, not for responsible eating. It is
not a good idea to try to lose 30 pounds in a
week or 2, for instance. The most successful
dietary change is incremental, not instantaneous.
It is important to be aware of the drug
interactions that supplements may cause. For
instance, if you are on medication for low or
high blood pressure, you will need to check with
your physician prior to taking chromium
supplementation. That’s because chromium
works to smooth out your blood sugar levels. If
you are taking a medication that’s already doing
the same thing, twice as much may be harmful.
And that’s just 1 example. Some supplements can
available or simply have no time to
even sit down and have a sandwich,
a supplement (liquid or solid food
item) can help keep your blood
sugar running on an even keel —
provided you choose a supplement
that doesn’t spike your blood sugar
(some supplement bars have too
much sugar).
When choosing supplements,
focus primarily on nutrient-dense
supplements that are directly
natural. Some supplements are “1shot wonders” — containing a
single substance or just a couple of
Plants have the remarkable ability to protect
themselves from the harsh elements. Think
about what a plant is routinely subjected to:
a beating sun, wind, hard rains, cold,
bacteria and insects.
Now, plants don’t have legs. They can’t just walk into the shade for
relief from heat, or walk out of the wind, or swat away bugs like we
can or like animals can with their tails. So plants evolved to produce
a natural protection system against the various offending elements.
This protection system is what we call antioxidants.
Antioxidants help protect plants from damage inflicted by
hungry microscopic invaders, creepy critters and the weather. When
plants do not receive help in protecting themselves, their
antioxidants run full force.
But when plant life gets help, as in the form of pesticides,
fungicides and other chemicals that are sprayed on, then the
antioxidant force weakens. This is why conventional crops have a
weaker antioxidant army than crops that are not bathed in chemicals.
Thus, that conventional apple you ate today never needed to
develop a full-force antioxidant brigade because pesticides did much
of the protection for the apple. So now you know why organic fruits
and vegetables hit home runs in the antioxidant department while
their conventional counterparts barely make it to first base. Z
elements. Conversely, a nutrientdense supplement will have a dozen
or more key nutritional elements
that the body can draw from. Some
of the nutrient-dense supplements
include brewer’s yeast, wheat germ,
and blackstrap molasses. These can
all be purchased off the shelf (in a
nutrition store) and really pack a
punch of powerful nutrient value.
Supplements outshine in 1 area
— meaningful doses. There is 1
area where supplements do exceed
the concept of simply getting
nutrition through normal eating,
and that is where it is difficult to
obtain a full dose from a natural
source. Sometimes natural sources
require a ton of gross product to
add up to the net amount needed
for nutrition.
For instance, how often do you
eat 3 whole garlic cloves? Extracts
allow for targeting the desired
nutrients. The same is true for
other food items such as green tea
(5 cups are necessary for a holistic
impact) and fish oil. So there are
some instances in which
supplements have an outsized role
and can really make a difference.
Supplements may
include side effect
Just like drugs, some supplements
can include nasty side effects. It is
necessary to weigh the benefits
against the negative aspects to
determine whether or not there is
enough upside for you to proceed.
Some protein powders, for example,
cause severe bloating and cramps.
Or worse. You have to decide
whether the pain and problems are
worth the benefits from the
supplement. Supplements are not
always put together in their
original, natural nutritional profile,
and your body may not get along
with them as smoothly as it does
with a natural food item.
Supplement hype is huge
The fluff surrounding the mass
marketing of supplements is way
over the top. A significant amount
of the claims about most
supplements lacks credibility. If all
of the claims were true, everyone
would look great and stay looking
great. That simply doesn’t occur. It
takes some diligence to cut through
the fog and get to the facts, but
remember — the truth is much
closer to what comes out of
nutrition and medical journals than
it is to what is hyped in an
advertisement. Z
Perfect gift
Having trouble coming
up with the perfect gift
for a family member,
friend or some other
person who’s special?
How about an organic
gift basket? You can
buy these already
made at whole foods
stores, or you can
purchase the
components and
construct the basket
yourself. Either way,
an organic gift basket
is the perfect gift!
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be quite powerful and have druglike effects on the body. Make
certain to let your physician know
what supplements you plan on
taking if you are currently or are
going to be on any medication.
Supplements can work well as
gap fillers. Although supplements
are not nearly as nutritious for the
body as real food, a supplement can
fill the gap on occasions when you
do not have access to or time to
make a nutritious meal.
If you are on the go or stuck in
a situation where a hot meal is not
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Clean Nutrition Report
What you need to know
Casey Adams
Most of us assume
digestion takes place
in the stomach. Not
true. While some
carbohydrates and
proteins are broken
down in the mouth
and stomach, and water is absorbed through
the walls of the stomach along with a few
minerals, most of our nutrients from food
are broken down completely and absorbed
through the upper intestinal tract.
The small intestine is made of 3 parts:
the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum.
The duodenum is short — only about 30
centimeters — but the jejunum runs about
2 meters long and the ileum is another 3
meters in length. The intestine is a
contorted tube about 2 to 3 centimeters in
diameter. Throughout the inside of the
intestines are finger-like protrusions called
villi. These villi are lined with blood and
lymph vessels to absorb the
Enzymatically and
In between the villi are glands
that secrete bile and bile salts
from the liver via the
gallbladder, and various
enzymes from the pancreas.
Together these biochemicals
change the pH of the food
mix from the stomach and
break down the nutrients to
be absorbed. Proteins are
broken down to polypeptides
(amino acids) by protease.
Fats are broken down into
glycerol and fatty acids by
lipase. Lactose is broken down
into glucose and galactose by
lactase — just to name a few.
Should our pancreas be
burdened or stressed, it will
not produce enough
enzymes. When the body is
in stress mode, hormones
and blood go elsewhere,
leaving the pancreas in low
gear. For this reason, it is
important to relax when we
eat. Otherwise, our food
might end up significantly
Enzyme production can
decrease with age. For example, lactase
production can slow down as our bodies get
older. This is natural. However, this doesn’t
necessarily mean we are lactose-intolerant.
In fact, a recent study showed that most
people claiming to be lactose-intolerant
could drink at least 1 glass of milk a day
without any problems.
Prevailing opinion is that many suspect
lactose intolerance simply because lactase
production slows down a bit. Low lactase
doesn’t mean we have to stop consuming
dairy either. Cheese and yogurt also contain
lactase and lactase-producing cultures.
For conditions related to cramping and
indigestion, first consider not drinking
fluids with meals. This will better
concentrate the enzymes. Beyond that,
enzymes and probiotic supplementation
should be considered. Enzyme supplements
are readily available in broad mixes and
should be taken with meals.
Probiotics are microorganisms that live
in between our villi. They help us break
down and assimilate certain nutrients, also
helping us defend against invading bacteria.
They also secrete critical nutrients such as
vitamin B12. The Lactobacillus,
Streptococcus and Saccharomyces families
are the more prolific probiotic inhabitants in
the upper intestines. These are also readily
available in supplements or live yogurts and
kefir. Probiotics should be taken with or
shortly after meals.
The gall
Our gallbladder stages and times the release
of bile and salts from the liver into the
intestines as needed — especially useful for
fat digestion. Without the gallbladder, bile
infusion doesn’t time with our meals. The
liver produces bile as it recycles its filtered
components from the blood and lymph.
This means that if the body has imbalanced
even better, golden micro-algae.
The docosahexaenoic acid from
micro-algae doesn’t have the
mercury, saturated fat and toxins
like PCBs seen in both farmed and
wild fish. Plus, it is a renewable
The “stitch”
The runner’s “stitch” is caused by
our intestinal villi pulling blood
from the surrounding abdominal
muscles for nutrient absorption just
after we eat. As blood is diverted,
less oxygen and glucose gets to
surrounding muscles. Other muscle
groups in the legs and arms can
also cramp for the same reason after
a meal. The best way to relieve an
abdominal stitch is to bend over
and firmly push into and rub the
painful area. This draws blood into
that muscle group, relieving the
cramp. Even better: work out on an
empty stomach.
Intestinal permeability
and irritability
For years, alternative practitioners
described a digestive disorder called
“leaky gut syndrome.” This idea
was ridiculed by the medical
establishment as anecdotal and
nonexistent. In recent years,
however, research on drug
absorption by the pharmaceutical
industry has confirmed the lining of
the small intestine is subject to
alteration, creating permeability and
absorption problems. This “new”
disorder was named more
technically intestinal permeability
Increased permeability of the
small intestine is thought to create
many allergic and arthritic
conditions. This appears to be the
result of larger macromolecules —
complex peptides, toxins and even
invading micro-organisms —
getting into the bloodstream or
lymph. Once these foreign
macromolecules arrive in the
bloodstream or lymph, the body
may launch an inflammatory
immune response. This can result in
the dreaded autoimmune syndrome.
Worse, an invasion of microorganisms through the abnormally
permeable intestinal wall can infect
joints and tissues. Bacteria have
recently been found to be the
culprits in multiple cases of
rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
Blastocystis hominis, found largely
in the digestive tract, was 1 of the
bacteria found in swollen joints.
Overgrowth of Candida albicans
elsewhere in the body has also been
attributed to IIPS — as C. albicans is
a normal fungal inhabitant in a
healthy digestive system.
Macromolecules leaking into the
bloodstream may also be a cause for
the increasing occurrence of food
allergies in Western society. Should
larger, undigested food molecules
enter the bloodstream — even if
from a food consumed for decades
— the body’s immune system simply
does its job of rejecting invaders and
setting up antibodies for future
invasions. This response is usually
accompanied by sinus, skin or other
inflammatory responses.
The epithelium of the intestinal
tract functions as a triple-filter
barrier that screens for molecule
size, ionic nature and nutrition
quality. The villi are made up of
smaller cells called microvilli, and
between them are junctions that
form a bilayer interface, controlling
permeability. Should the intestinal
wall mucosal chemistry become
altered, its protective and ionic
transport mechanisms become
weakened, allowing foreign
molecules to irritate the microvilli,
causing a subsequent inflammatory
This inflammation is not only
seen in intestinal permeability
syndrome, but also in cases of
irritable bowel syndrome. As the
microvilli are altered by this
changed chemistry, not onlydo they
let large molecules into the body,
but the cells themselves may be
marked as “foreign” by the immune
system — causing inflammation
and irritable, cramping bowels.
This alteration of the intestinal
mucosal layer can be caused by
excessive alcohol, smoking,
pharmaceutical drugs (notably
NSAIDs such as aspirin and other
pain medications), and foods with
high arachidonic fatty acids such as
fried foods, trans fats and animal
meats. Toxic substances such as
plasticizers, pesticides, herbicides
and food dyes are also suspected.
Fortunately, most of the
epithelial cells of the small intestine
are replaced within about a week.
With probiotic supplementation,
relaxing mealtimes and a high-fiber,
nutritious diet with plenty of fresh
foods, intestinal health can be
regained in most cases. Botanicals
helpful for stimulating intestinal
digestion include papayas,
pineapples, fennel, peppermint,
licorice, black pepper, ginger and
anise. A light, circular abdominal
self-massage is also helpful after a
large meal. Z
First cut out any
sprouts that might be
on the potatoes after
you bring them home.
Then, store them in a
dark, cool, dry space.
Don’t put them in a
plastic bag. Your
refrigerator works
best. And as always,
organic is better.
When making potato
salad, include the
potato skins for extra
nutrition and extra
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calcium, cholesterol and other
nutrient levels, the gallbladder may
crystallize the excessive
components into gallstones. The
best way to prevent gallstones is to
eat a well-balanced plant-based diet
with plenty of fiber, and consume
plenty of water in between meals.
Fiber is also extremely critical
for proper digestion. This is
because fiber regulates the
absorption process. It does this by
absorbing excess water, allowing
enzymes to be more concentrated,
while softening indigestibles headed
for stool. Without both soluble and
insoluble fiber, starches will be
broken down and assimilated
quickly. As the glucose hits the
bloodstream, it stimulates insulin
production from the pancreas. This
avalanche stresses the pancreas and
the cells. This creates insulin and
glucose insensitivity, encouraging
obesity and type II diabetes.
Professional consensus suggests
25 grams of fiber a day at the bare
minimum, but 40-50 grams per day
is recommended, with at least 5075 percent soluble. The average
American diet contains no more
than about 12-15 grams of fiber.
Great fiber choices include apples,
oats, whole wheat, and vegetables.
Every meal should have 5-15 grams
of fiber. Low-fiber meals stress the
body’s resources and increase the
likelihood of obesity, heart disease
and blood sugar problems.
Healthy fats from nuts and
seeds are also helpful in balancing
glucose absorption. Because fats are
broken down slowly, a meal with a
little healthy fat will time-release
absorption, giving us a steady
stream of energy instead of the
roller-coaster insulin-glucose ride.
Research has illustrated that the
healthiest mix of fats is about 10
percent saturated; 10 percent
gamma linoleic acid; about 40
percent long-chain omega-3 fatty
acids such as alpha-linolenic acid,
eicosapentaenoic acid and
docosahexaenoic acid; and 40
percent healthy omega-6 unrefined
oils from nuts, sesame and
sunflower seeds, olives and canola.
Gamma linoleic acid is found in
green leafy vegetables, spirulina,
borage and primrose oil. Alphalinolenic acid, found in walnuts,
pumpkin seeds, flax, chia, salba and
canola, will convert to the longer
docosahexaenoic acid and
eicosapentaenoic acid. For some,
the conversion is difficult, however,
requiring the need to obtain
docosahexaenoic acid from fish, or
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Clean Nutrition Report
What to eat and avoid when you’re in pain
Dr. David T. Ryan
Is there a relationship
between food and pain?
According to many
recent studies, including
1 conducted by the
American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition in
2012, the answer is definitely yes. Some
foods — including processed sugars and
other high-glycemic starches — can cause
inflammation and, as a result, chronic pain.
Other foods, however, can help eliminate
that type of discomfort.
About 15% of physicians surveyed by the
National Institute of Health Statistics
indicated that severe headache or migraine
pain is the most common type of pain
reported to physicians.
The majority of headaches present as
non-migraine, and many times, they are
triggered by factors ranging from hormones
to physical exertion (heavy exercise or
strenuous labor) or drugs. Even though a
headache may start out as a non-migraine, it
can can often lead to migraine complaints.
Just as there are many causes to
fluctuating gas prices, there are many causes
of both types of headaches. Environmental
factors, especially when mixed with certain
foods, can often play a role.
Migraines affect 36 million men,
women, and children each year, according
to the Migraine Research Foundation.
When you consider lost time at work,
money spent on over-the-counter
medicines, and time lost with family and
friends, the cost can be devastating.
Researchers estimate that about $13 billion
each year is lost because of 113 million
quite devastating and sometimes are
accompanied by chest pain.
Another type of headache is known
as the “hotdog headache.” This is
commonly associated with the
excessive nitrates added to some
prepared meats. Other individuals
may be hypersensitive to cold
liquids and solids and commonly
experience “brain freeze.” Far too
many individuals fall victim to
alcohol-induced headache that
usually occurs when you drink red
wine or liquor.
When trying to decipher which
types of foods may be causing your
headache, consider that it may be a
combination of foods that is
creating the problem. My father has
headaches that force him into bed
for several days whenever he mixes
chocolate and soda pop or
chocolate and coffee. He’s ruled out
an allergy to caffeine, so he’s draw
the correlation himself, as is the
case with many people.
It is to your best
benefit to keep a food
log and include
anything you drink
with respect to your
headache onset. Keep
this journal for
approximately 2 weeks
prior to seeing any
The number 1
cause of all physicianreported pain,
according to the
National Institute of
Health Statistics, is
back pain. There are
many causes of back
pain, just as with
headaches. Whether it’s
arthritis or injury, back
pain can be
exacerbated when you
eat starches or
processed sugars. Both
cause a cascade of
hormones and
responses that attack
your joints with an
intense vengeance.
Some simple spices can
alter this attack, such
as ginger.
In the United
States, 1 out of 5
people has been
diagnosed with
arthritis. There is some
evidence that shows
that a diet rich in
omega-3 fats provides
some relief for arthritic
pain. Other research has found that
chemicals are produced with foods
by frying or grilling meat and often
react with various inflammatory
diseases. It should be noted that
this is weak research, but some
tendencies and hypersensitivities
toward foods that are prepared this
way may be applicable.
For most individuals who are
not on kidney dialysis, consuming
more protein on a daily basis will
offer healing benefits. Many
individuals with nervous problems,
digestive problems, and other
related connective tissue disorders
will benefit from an increase of
dietary protein. Utilizing protein
offers an increased enzyme
response associated with a normal
metabolism that produces sugars
and results in new tissue formation.
Typically, eating foods in a more
raw and natural state releases
natural enzymes, which allow food
to be digested more easily. The
obvious exception to this rule is
raw eggs and meat. Other specific
foods to eat when you are in pain
include fresh fruits that are high in
citrus because of their high
antioxidant values.
One of the best things you can
ingest when experiencing pain is
water. The osteopathic profession
was based upon the theory that
whenever something in the body
slowed down, it led to an increase of
disease. Drinking about a gallon of
water a day offers an increase of
filtration that is sure to remove
unwanted toxins from your system.
The majority of the pain in our body
is associated with toxic chemical
neurotransmitters, and a significant
amount of water is required to
remove them from the body.
Eating approximately 8 raw
asparagus spears a day will also
assist with the removal of water
from our system and a tremendous
amount of toxins. The aspartate
acid associated with asparagus is a
powerful toxic chemical attractant,
and the efficiency of this chemical
will be obvious the next time you
use the restroom. The strange smell
associated with urination is proof
that the aspartate acid, along with
the toxins it has picked up, is being
expelled from your system.
To summarize, when you are in
pain, avoid fatty meats, eat more
fish, drink more water, and avoid
processed sugars. Try to eat raw
asparagus every day, and
incorporate more raw foods into
your diet to add some vitamin
supplementation. Z
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missed days at work as a result of
Some of the best headache
clinics in the world look at
common food allergies as a major
trigger for headaches.
The most common are dairy
products, seafood, wheat gluten,
coffee, and chocolate. Many times,
an allergy test will prove negative
with respect to any particular food.
The truth is, certain foods such as
chocolate will stimulate the brain to
produce peptides, and those
chemicals can result in an increased
blood supply to the brain, which
results in a pressure headache. Other
addictions to various chemicals such
as caffeine are likely to produce a
headache during withdrawal.
Many individuals may be aware
of Chinese restaurant syndrome
brought on after consuming high
amounts of monosodium
glutamate. These headaches can be
Save the
planet, save
your health
According to the
United Nations
Development Reports’
statistics, for every
human on the planet,
the world produces 2
pounds of grain per
day: roughly 3,000
calories. It seems
preposterous, then,
that nearly 1 in 6
human beings suffers
from hunger. Nearly
half of the grain
produced in the world
is consumed by
To produce beef, it
takes massive
quantities of water
and drains numerous
resources, putting an
even greater strain on
the already weakening
planet. A meat-based
diet also has adverse
effects on our health,
as more and more
studies are connecting
a meat-based diet to
chronic disease.
Limiting meat is a very
wise choice in this day
and age.
Clean Nutrition Report
As addictive as cocaine
Garret Keyer
Most can agree
that the taste
of sweet is 1 of
the most
addictive out there. At an annual
meeting of the American College of
research was presented showing
that sugar may be as addictive as
heroin or cocaine.
The research presented was
done on rats, but it successfully
showed not only that sugar impacts
the waistline, but it can also alter
brain chemistry, making it nearly
impossible to avoid it. From a
biochemical standpoint, this
conclusion makes sense once you
understand sugar metabolism and
its effects.
When any type of carbohydrate
is consumed, from bread to
potatoes to candy to cereal, the
sugar from the food is absorbed
into the blood. (Note: any
carbohydrate that is not fiber is
sugar). When blood sugar levels are
high, the body releases the
hormone insulin to mop it up and
store it.
Among other effects, insulin
influences cell membranes at the
blood-brain barrier to increase Ltryptophan absorption in the brain.
Tryptophan is an amino acid
precursor to the neurotransmitter
serotonin. With a greater
availability of its precursor,
serotonin production increases and
results in elevated mood, sexual
appetite and decreased anxiety,
among other effects.
It’s no wonder we are addicted
to sugar — it elevates the “feelgood” hormone serotonin,
ironically the same
neurotransmitter that is increased
with use of illegal drugs such as
ecstasy and LSD.
Very few people are able to stay
away from sugar — which is why
over 60 percent of the American
population is overweight or obese.
Apart from serotonin production,
insulin’s major job is to mobilize
excess post-meal blood sugar and
store it. It is stored in the muscle
and liver, a finite space, in the form
of glycogen, while overflow stores
are converted to fat and stored in
the fat cells, an infinite space.
Chronically high insulin leads
to increased fat storage, and
eventually insulin resistance — the
body can no longer “hear” insulin,
and so begins a cascade of negative
metabolic effects. From the outside,
this issue simply presents as an
overweight individual. However,
the internal effects of insulin
resistance are much more
complicated and detrimental.
Ask any fitness professional,
and most will say that sugar is food
enemy number 1. In fact,
dysfunctional metabolism of sugar
plays a prominent role in numerous
health conditions such as diabetes,
hypoglycemia, elevated
triglycerides, cardiovascular disease
and hypertension. And the path
toward metabolic dysfunction
begins with 1 thing:
overconsumption of sugar.
Enter sugar alternatives. These
caloric-free options are touted as a
healthier alternative because they
allow those addicted to sugar to
gorge with no ill effects. Or do
they? The problem is, these agents
often have problems of their own
and may not be the benign
substances we believe they are.
Synthetic sweeteners
Saccharin (Sweet’N Low): this
sweetener was discovered in the
late 1800s and can now be found at
any restaurant in a small pink
packet. It was originally packaged
together with the other chemical
sweetener, cyclamate.
Because of early concerns about
cancer induced in animals, the FDA
and the Canadian equivalent of the
FDA both banned certain aspects,
though they disagreed over which
compound was to blame.
Interestingly, the American FDA
banned cyclamate, and the
Canadian organization banned
saccharin, meaning that the
Sweet’N Low found in Canada is
cyclamate, while the version in the
United States is saccharin!
Recent research into saccharin’s
effect on cancer has shown that the
methodology of the original study
was flawed, casting doubt on
whether there was ever any reliable
evidence linking saccharin to
cancer. In our biased opinion, this
sweetener, along with other
synthetic sweeteners, should be
critically evaluated. However, for
those who are diabetic and literally
killing themselves with sugar, this
is perhaps a better alternative.
Acesulfame: if you are an avid
reader of labels, you know that this
sweetener commonly appears in
many foods. It’s frequently used
alongside aspartame to mask the
aftertaste of aspartame. Very few
studies have been conducted on
this product, which in itself may be
an issue.
Many consumer advocacy
groups complain that this
compound has not been studied
extensively enough to allow its
presence in the food supply and
needs further review for its safety.
However, the FDA has approved
this sweetener, stating that they see
no risk. But as we know, just
because the FDA approves
something and allows it to sit on
the shelf does not mean it’s
harmless to our health. Be wary of
“unnatural chemical compounds”
like this one.
Aspartame (Equal or
Nutrasweet): Of all the synthetic
sweeteners, this one is probably
the scariest. There are several
recent studies showing increased
risk of cancer in animals fed high
amounts of the compound. At the
same time, it’s also the major
sweetener in most diet sodas and
tends to be unstable at higher
dyes and
An L.A. Times article
reports on mounting
science strengthening
the connection
between artificial food
colors and hyperactive
behavior in children.
The improvement in
behavior when dyes
are removed from
children’s diets is great
enough in some cases
to convince parents to
take their children off
There are 9 artificial
colors approved for
use by the FDA. A
study in the Lancet, a
top medical journal,
showed that exposures
to artificial dyes
increased hyperactivity
in children, both
among young people
already displaying
hyperactive behavior
and children never
before displaying such
The U.K. government
has asked the food
industry to voluntarily
remove the dyes from
foods, and most are
complying. Kellogg has
removed the dyes from
Nutri-Grain cereal bars
sold in the U.K., but so
far not those sold in
the U.S.
The science supporting
the FDA’s approval of
the 9 dyes is 30 to 50
years old. In support of
approval of the dyes,
the FDA cites on its
website a 1982
consensus report by
the National Institutes
of Health. The Center
for Science in the
Public Interest has
petitioned the FDA to
add warning labels on
products containing
the dyes.
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Clean Nutrition Report
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Sugar manufacturing and
refining from engraver
Johann Theodor de Bry’s
voyages in the 16th
temperatures or in acidic environments,
like the stomach.
Many fitness enthusiasts use this
sweetener because of its origin in the amino
acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which
perhaps leads them to believe it’s healthy.
On the contrary, in highly acidic
environments and elevated temperatures,
this compound can and does break down to
form methanol and can even form
formaldehyde (a.k.a. embalming fluid), a
highly toxic compound! Stay away from this
sweetener as much as possible.
Sucralose (Splenda): This chemical
sweetener is reportedly the safest if you trust
the FDA. There have supposedly been over
100 studies on it, and almost all of them
show it’s safe. There was, however, 1 small
study that showed a shrinkage of the
thymus gland in rats fed
this compound. Since the
thymus is an important
immune organ, shrinkage
of this would not be
Furthermore, the
rumor is that Splenda
was discovered while
scientists were
performing research on
pesticides. In fact, it has a
very similar chemical
structure to many
pesticides, being a
chlorinated sugar
molecule. This insight
alone has led many biochemists and
alternative medicine practitioners to be very
skeptical of this compound.
As we are sure many readers have
experienced, Splenda is known for causing
uncomfortable gas, bloating and other
digestive dysfunction. This makes sense
given that much of the research on sucralose
shows that most of the compound passes
through the digestive system unabsorbed.
Thanks to a thriving marketing campaign,
this sweetener is by far becoming the most
popular alternative sweetener on the market.
Once again, though much of the
research concludes that the product is safe,
in our biased opinion, any molecule
resembling a pesticide is suspect. Because of
this, try natural sweeteners such as xylitol,
erythritol or stevia.
Natural sweeteners
Xylitol (pronounced
zye-la-tall): this
completely natural
compound can be found
in many fruits.
Interestingly, the human
body actually makes
and uses several grams
of xylitol per day in
various biochemical
This naturally
occurring compound
was first used in large
amounts in Russia and
Finland during sugar
shortages during WWII.
Xylitol, derived from the
bark of birch trees or
the husks of corn,
comes in granule form
and can be used 1 for 1
in place of sugar. Xylitol
actually has many
health benefits.
It has been shown
to inhibit bacterial
adherence in the mouth, nose, lungs and
ears. Because of this, it has the potential to
decrease cavities and decrease upper
respiratory tract infections, especially ear
infections in children. Rat studies also show
it may have a favorable impact on bone
density and muscle mass.
In all, this sweetener is not only a good
replacement for sugar but also a healthy
functional food. Xylitol, sold under the
brand name Xylosweet, among others, can
be found in most health food stores. It
should be introduced into the diet slowly to
avoid the digestive discomfort that may
occur in some people. Usually, this effect is
transient, as the body adapts quickly to
xylitol’s ingestion.
Most people adjust to this sweetener just
fine, enjoying the very low calorie count (4
calories per teaspoon) and non-insulinpromoting effects. It has the clean, sweet
taste of sugar with a slightly cooling
Erythritol: pronounced ee-rith-ra-tall,
this is another natural sweetener found in
small concentrations in fruit. Like xylitol,
the taste is almost indistinguishable from
regular table sugar. It’s a zero-calorie
sweetener and has no effect on insulin. It
also has favorable, healthy effects on good
bacteria that live in the digestive tract.
Gentle on the stomach, this sweetener is
slightly less sweet than sugar, about 70
percent as sweet, and will serve in a pinch to
squash a sugar craving. It’s sold under the
brand names Sweet Simplicity and Zero, and
The sweetest thing
There are other sweeteners on the
market, but the ones described here are
the most popular. A good rule of thumb
when evaluating a sweetener is to choose
ones that are more natural, are low in
calories, and have a low insulin response
without other detrimental metabolic
Synthetic, unnatural sweeteners
should be examined with suspicion, in
our opinion. They have not been in the
food supply long enough to ascertain
their true, long-term effects. In fact, one could argue that the
consumers of these compounds are essentially the guinea pigs in the
synthetic sweetener experiment.
Furthermore, many of the companies that hold or have held
patents on these products (i.g., Monsanto) stand to lose millions of
dollars if bad information is revealed about them. These companies
have the money and the marketing machine to shape public opinion
while potentially hiding scientific findings regarding these
Be scrupulous in your evaluation of artificial sweeteners. By the
same token, just because a sweetener is natural does not make it
healthy. Sugar is, after all, natural, but extremely detrimental to human
health in excess of small amounts. Z
Beat the blues
Feeling low? Eat foods
that contain vitamin
B1: brown rice, whole
grains and sunflower
seeds, and foods that
contain vitamin B6:
legumes, nuts, seeds
and avocados and
dark leafy greens.
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it has a very light taste with a slight
vanilla aftertaste.
Stevia: this sweetener is probably the
most commonly recognized naturally
sweet compound. It comes from the
South American plant stevia rebaudiana,
known also as sweet leaf. Stevia is made
from the leaves of the plant, which have
about 300x the sweetness of sugar. The
plant has been used in South America for
hundreds of years, as well as other
countries like Japan for decades.
Stevia has recently been approved for
use as a sweetener in the United States
and has earned GRAS (Generally
Recognized as Safe) status from the FDA.
Cargill, a major food manufacturing
company, has recently launched a
sweetener using rebaudioside, 1 of the
sweet compounds in stevia, along with
It’s sold under the brand name Truvia
and is becoming widely available from
many grocers around the country. With
no insulin-producing effects, stevia has
been used by native cultures to treat
diabetes for centuries and can help
resensitize the body to insulin’s action.
To be objective, it’s responsible to
report that very high amounts of the leaf
have been shown in some animal studies
to lower sperm counts by affecting
testosterone. Though this has not been
shown in humans, women of certain
native cultures have reportedly fed the
leaves to their husbands if they suspected
that they were being unfaithful, lending
some credibility to the claim.
Maltitol (pronounced mall-ta-tall):
this is another “sugar alcohol” like
erythritol and xylitol. It’s made from the
hydrogenation of glucose polymers and
contains about 2 calories per gram. It’s
approximately 90 percent as sweet as
sugar and has a very safe track record.
Maltitol has not found widespread
acclaim because it’s absorbed very slowly
and therefore frequently has many
uncomfortable digestive effects including
gas and laxative action in sensitive people.
It’s found in many sugar-free hard candies,
gummy bears and chocolates. Though a
safe alternative, we would recommend
consuming it in small amounts to test its
effects before diving right in!
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Clean Nutrition Report
How does fish oil compare to statins?
Arthur Remington
“Cholesterol drug drops heart
attack risk rate in healthy
individuals” said the
November 2008 headline in
bold print. The drug being
feted was Crestor, which is
touted for its heart health benefits. Some
health care analysts believe the findings
behind studies on Crestor (which, not
coincidentally, are financed by the makers of
Crestor) will greatly expand the market for
And it is no wonder — these drugs are
the top-selling drugs worldwide in a massive
industry. Billions and billions of dollars have
been invested into these drugs. Statins are a
class of drugs specifically designed to target
cholesterol to allegedly help people with
heart problems. As of late, however, the
whole cholesterol issue is up in the air.
One of the results of the recent Crestor
study is a change in focus — from a reliance
on cholesterol issues to use of C-reactive
protein as an indicator of potential heart
issues. This is a huge shift in direction, as
cholesterol has been the litmus test of heart
problems for the past several decades.
Amazingly, the entire discussion on heart
health is taking a turn away from cholesterol
and toward C-reactive protein markers.
The big question in the medical
community is whether or not our
knowledge of cholesterol has lost its role as
a heart problem indicator. The medical
community is starting to examine C-reactive
protein as the new heart problem indicator.
It is believed by some health care experts
that the push behind AstraZeneca’s
cholesterol drug Crestor has the potential to
change the battle against heart disease.
Interestingly, the media is suddenly touting
Crestor as also being effective against Creactive protein problems. C-reactive protein
is an indicator of inflammation in the body,
and some point to it as a reaction to heart
The timing of the release of the Crestor
study is ironic, as another recent study
found that fish oil was slightly more
effective than the drug in benefiting patients
with chronic heart failure. This study,
performed in Europe, was conducted over a
4-year time span and included thousands of
subjects. The takeaway from the study is
that it’s better to take fish oil than the drug,
even aside from the potential side effects
that statin drugs offer.
Statin drugs come with a price —
harmful effects on the body. For instance,
the FDA issued an advisory on risks from
taking statins, which includes an increased
risk for potentially life-threatening muscle
damage, known as rhabdomyolysis (which
can lead to kidney problems, including
failure). In fact, there have been a few dozen
cases of kidney failure from Crestor, and
AstraZeneca has cut the recommended
dosage in half. With fish oil, you don’t have
to worry about these potentially “lifethreatening” issues.
Fish oil is 1 of nature’s best heart-healthy
choices. Not only are there no side effects, it
is simply better for the heart than drugs.
The American Heart Association states:
“Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of
healthy people, and those at high risk of — or
who have — cardiovascular disease. We
recommend eating fish (particularly fatty fish)
at least 2 times a week. Fish is a good source
of protein and doesn’t have the high saturated
fat that fatty meat products do. Fatty fish like
mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines,
albacore tuna and salmon are high in 2 kinds
of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid
and docosahexaenoic acid.”
Scientists point to the fact that fatty acids
from fish oils are stored in the cell
your leg, C-reactive protein will
skyrocket. It is not a specific (heart)
marker by any stretch of the
imagination.” He also points out
that any of a large variety of
variables, from cancer to asthma,
can elevate C-reactive protein. In
effect, elevated C-reactive protein
can result from a wide range of
issues besides heart problems, and
A study completed by Pennsylvania State
University researchers has found that an
ingredient in aged garlic extract helps inhibit the
liver’s ability to produce cholesterol.
This is significant because it shows that aged garlic extract works
much the same way as cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins,
but without any known side effects. Aged garlic extract has long been
recognized for its cholesterol-lowering properties.
The Pennsylvania State University researchers isolated an
ingredient in aged garlic extract called S-allyl cysteine. Then they
tested various concentrations of S-allyl cysteine on liver cells and
determined that it successfully inhibited the formation of cholesterol
by reducing the production of a liver enzyme called HMG-CoA. This
enzyme is necessary for cholesterol synthesis.
Aged garlic extract can help people who are working to reduce
their cholesterol levels. S-allyl cysteine is effective even at the lowest
concentrations tested.
Aged garlic extract can be useful for the general public to help
achieve the desired cholesterol level of 200 or less, and it has been
shown in other studies to reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL
(bad) cholesterol while at the same time raising HDL (good)
cholesterol levels. More research is necessary to completely
understand how that happens.
A recent separate clinical study has shown that aged garlic
extract causes significant inhibition of plaque formation in coronary
arteries without any additional adverse effects.
it is absurd, he believes, to place
emphasis on C-reactive protein as
being directly related to specific
heart problems.
The so-called impressive
findings come from a relative risk
reduction, not an absolute risk
reduction. These are 2 different
animals, Ellison says, and the
Crestor absolute risk reduction
numbers are “clinically
insignificant, which doesn’t
rationalize taking the drug.”
Relative risk reduction numbers can
be more easily manipulated, or
made to look impressive, than
absolute numbers can be. And in
the Crestor study, the relative
numbers look appealing, but the
absolute numbers are miniscule.
The Crestor study’s claim, that
the drug can prevent 30,000 heart
attacks, is a speculation based on
the relative risk, not the absolute
risk. The absolute numbers don’t
reveal anything.
Ellison also has issues with
Crestor’s side effects: they tend to
surface after the fact. “Side effects
don’t show up until after the drug is
released into the general
population.” Ellison says that some
studies may last weeks or months,
but for some side effects such as
diabetes, “It can take 1-2 years to
show up. The problems don’t show
up until after the short-term study
is over.” In fact, the short-term
nature of most studies prevents a
look at potentially devastating side
effects of the long-term use of
certain drugs. With the issues
surrounding Crestor out there, it is
certainly a candidate for a deeper
look at what those side effects are.
One of the scarier issues
stemming from the recent Crestor
study on C-reactive protein is the
idea that Crestor needs to be given
to healthy individuals who happen
to have some C-reactive protein
marker. The proposal is a
preventive strike against potential
heart issues. However, since Creactive protein is a general instead
of a specific marker, this is a bad
idea. Throw on top of that the side
effect aspect, and you have reason
to avoid, not take, Crestor.
The smarter, healthier option is
to consistently take fish oil
supplements. Fish oil in fish or in
supplements helps the heart and
doesn’t have the probability of
seriously harming the body in other
areas. When it comes to heart
health, the natural approach has the
upper hand. Z
4th graders
risk diabetes
as a result of
too many
calories and a
lack of
A Texas team studied
the diets, weight, body
mass index and
diabetes risk factors for
a cohort of 1,402
fourth graders
composed of Mexican
American (80 percent),
African American (10
percent), Asian (5
percent), and nonHispanic white children
(5 percent). Nearly 75
percent of the children
lived in households
with less than $20,000
Almost half lacked
adequate calories in
their diet, yet 33
percent were obese
and already, in the 4th
grade, 7 percent had
high blood glucose
levels. Diets were
composed of energyand calorie-dense
foods such as cookies,
chips, and ice cream,
and were low in
nutrient-dense fruits
and vegetables.
The authors concluded
that these children
faced a high risk of
developing diabetes
and were in need of
substantial dietary
interventions, particular
an increase in daily
intakes of nutrientdense foods.
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membranes of heart cells and can
prevent sudden cardiac death and
fatal arrhythmias. Nevertheless, the
press for the Crestor study
involving C-reactive protein action
has been prominent, elevating
hopes in the health care
Pharmaceutical chemist Shane
Ellison, of NM, notes, “If you break
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Clean Nutrition Report
Jade Teta and Keoni Teta
Organic foods
have become
the go-to staple
of many healthconscious
individuals. Organic food has
special allure because it gives
outside assurance that, unlike
conventional foods, its processing
avoids compounds and chemicals
that may harm human health and
the environment. It’s useful to start
this article with how organic food is
Here is the direct definition
from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture: “Organic food is
produced without using most
conventional pesticides; fertilizers
made with synthetic ingredients or
sewage sludge; bioengineering; or
ionizing radiation. Before a product
can be labeled ‘organic,’ a
Government-approved certifier
inspects the farm where the food is
grown to make sure the farmer is
following all the rules necessary to
meet U.S. Department of
Agriculture organic standards.”
Reading the above definition
should make us all feel fairly
comfortable that organic foods are
indeed a good thing for our health.
However, if you really want to
understand whether a food is
healthy or not, organic is only a
small consideration. This is
especially true for the organic
animals you may consume. Before
we get into talking about what a
truly healthy organic animal is, let’s
first go through a little exercise.
Let’s say we put you in a small
prison cell with the floor, ceilings
and walls made of bars. Directly
above, below and beside you there
are other people as well. Since your
cell is made of bars, not only can
you see these people, but if one
happens to use the bathroom above
you, well, you get the picture.
Now let’s say when you were
put in your cage, your hands were
cut off so you can’t reach out to
punch the guy who just peed all
over you. What about your diet?
Let’s say you live off a constant
supply of organic oatmeal raisin
cookies, that’s it. If this was your
life, do you think you would be
healthy? Of course not. Assuming
that the stressful conditions and
lack of exercise were absent, living
off of cookies, whether organic or
not, isn’t an ideal diet. Believe it or
not, the above scenario is very close
to how many chickens, including
organic ones, are raised in this
We realize the above scenario is
a disturbing one to imagine, but
when you think about whether the
animal protein you eat is healthy or
not, there is far more to consider
than just what that animal is eating.
The only real difference for many
organic animals is that they are fed
organic feed, they are not not given
antibiotics, and the growth
hormone is omitted. However, often
the living conditions remain the
What’s the difference?
The important thing to understand
about conventionally raised animals
and organic processed animals is
that there are some key ways they
differ and some important ways
they are exactly the same. An
organic animal is not exposed to
chemicals in its feed. In the
conventional world, there is no care
taken to source animal feed that is
free of pesticide residues, antifungal
agents and antibiotics.
This is an issue because
pesticides and other chemicals are
what are known as lipophilic. This
means they tend to concentrate in
fat tissues. When you consume the
milk or meat of an animal that was
raised on feed containing
chemicals, you yourself will begin
to concentrate these chemicals in
your own body. This is because
animals eat massive quantities of
feed during their lives,
concentrating these compounds at
levels that could not be duplicated
even if you ate the contaminated
feed yourself.
A study in the January 2009 issue
of Environmental International
showed that a popular pesticide
called hexachlorobenzene was
highly concentrated in human fat
tissue. The levels found were
directly correlated to how much
conventional milk, cheese, chicken
and fish were eaten.
Exposure to this compound
and other pesticides was shown to
interrupt the maturity of young
women, increase the pesticide
concentrations in breast milk and
interrupt normal immune function
(February 2005 issue of Pediatrics
and the October 1998 and
November1998 issues of
Environmental Health Perspectives).
Overdosing animals on antibiotics
is another issue. Organic animals,
unlike conventional animals, do not
receive routine antibiotic therapy or
standard growth hormone. The
question to ask is, why are these
measures used in the first place?
The reason is that animals
processed in the conventional
manner live in crowded and
stressful surroundings. They eat
foods like corn and sorghum that
are unnatural to their digestive
systems. The living conditions and
unnatural food cause stress and
digestive distress, often leading to
malnourishment and illness.
When this occurs, antibiotics
become necessary. Interestingly,
naturally raised animals do not
have this issue. A cow, for instance,
is not meant to eat grain, and when
it does, E. coli bacteria overgrow.
You can think of a cow eating grain
is more
A report entitled “New
Evidence Confirms the
Nutritional Superiority
of Plant-Based
Organic Foods,” jointly
produced by the
Organic Center and
professors from the
University of Florida
Department of
Horticulture and
Washington State
University, provides
evidence that organic
foods contain, on
average, a 25 percent
higher concentration
of 11 nutrients than
their conventional
counterparts. The
report was based on
estimated differences
in nutrient levels
across 236
comparisons of
organically and
conventionally grown
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Cattle that are fed grass have lower fat
levels and higher levels of the healthy
omega-3 fats than do grain-fed cattle; and
grain-fed cattle have higher concentrations
of trans fat and saturated fat (vol. 15, no. 1,
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
Similarly, a July 2008 article in the
Journal of the American Diabetes Association
looked at the 4 most common farmed raised
fish (salmon, trout, tilapia and catfish) to
determine the concentrations of healthy fats.
While salmon and trout were shown to
retain marginal levels of omega-3 oils, the
tilapia and catfish were shown to have
extremely high levels of saturated and
omega-6 fats, making these fish every bit as
hazardous to your health as a grain fed cow.
as being like a human who is lactose
intolerant drinking milk. Both will result in
rather unpleasant digestive upset and alter
the bacterial concentration of the digestive
system. Feeding a cow large amounts of
grain almost guarantees the need for
antibiotics and the growth of bacteria such
as E. coli.
Another interesting issue related to
antibiotics is the development of resistant
strains of bacteria. It’s 1 thing to get a
bacterial infection of salmonella, but it’s a
whole other thing to be able to treat it. It
turns out the widespread use of antibiotics
in conventionally raised animals creates
resistant bacteria that pose unique risks.
Resistant bacteria are immune to many of
the antibiotics your doctor will use to treat
you if you happen to become infected.
An article in the Journal of Food
Protection (Vol. 71 #12) determined there
was very little difference in the amount of
bacteria present in organic vs. conventional
meat, but showed the bacteria in
conventional meat was resistant to many of
the antibiotics tested. On the other hand,
organic meat bacteria remained sensitive to
7 of the 10 antibiotics used.
Growth hormones
Sick, stressed-out animals have a difficult
time growing fat or generating enough milk.
This means less money at market for
farmers. To deal with this, growth
hormones, sex steroids and other hormones
are used.
There is a debate among scientists and
regulating bodies such as the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, WHO and
CODEX about what, if any, risk these
hormones have. A December 2002 article in
the American Journal of Nutrition Research
Reviews discussed this debate at length,
showing that many of the hormones used in
the meat industry are potential carcinogens.
Many European countries have banned any
animal products where hormones are used
because of these fears.
Natural-fed vs. organic
The above shows that an organic animal is a
better option for your health, but it’s not the
best option. Many organically raised animals
are still raised in a way that is less than
desirable. For an animal to be healthy, it
needs to eat natural, healthy food that it’s
designed to eat.
Fish and cattle are a good example.
Most people have heard that red meat is not
healthy because it has too much and the
wrong types of fat. By the same token, many
people have heard that fish is healthy
because it has “good” fats such as omega 3.
If you feed a cow grass, its natural food,
instead of grain, the same “good” fats found
in fish will show up in the cow. Grass, like
algae, has high concentrations of omega 3
oils. An organic cow is no different from a
conventional cow is in this regard.
Also, a fish crammed into a giant tank
with a bunch of other fish that’s fed the
same grain fed to a cow will develop a fat
profile that looks more like a cow’s. Farmed
raised fish and grain-fed cattle, whether
organic or not, should not be considered
health food. The health of an animal, like
the health of a human, depends on the life it
lives and the food it eats.
It’s the lifestyle
We often get tired of the medical experts in
the popular media who focus too much on
possible genetic causes of problems. They
believe that if a human gets sick, it’s
probably due to poor genetics, and a
person’s lifestyle is rarely considered. The
health of a cow (or fish, pig or chicken,
etc.), like that of a human, is based on how
it lives.
Whether an animal is healthy to eat is a
matter not just of being raised organically
but also of what they were fed and how they
were raised. A cow is meant to eat grass, and
is not meant to be crammed into a feedlot
and force-fed grain. A fish, too, is meant to
eat algae or other fish that eat algae. They
don’t naturally live in giant tanks and eat
corn and other grains. A chicken or turkey
does best on a diet of insects and worms and
a life of ranging freely, not stuck in a metal
box of bars.
Here are 6 tips to eating protein that’s
not only beneficial for you, but beneficial for
the environment.
Eat wild game. Elk, deer and other wild
animals make an excellent source of protein,
being low in fat and high in omega-3.
Eat animals that don’t like grain, such as
buffalo and lamb. While they will eat some,
it’s usually less than other animals.
Eat grass-fed and grass-finished cows.
Remember, all cows are fed grass until they
are taken to the feedlot and fattened up. The
amount of time they spend in the feedlot is
directly proportional to how healthy they
will be. Ask if the cattle was grass finished.
Grass-finished cattle eat grass their whole
lives and are never given grain.
Eat wild fish. Avoid farmed raised fish
and always ask which fish were wild caught
or line caught.
Eat Alaskan salmon or salmon in the
can. There is no such thing as a wild
Atlantic salmon. All Atlantic salmon are
farmed raised. The only wild salmon comes
from the West Coast. Most canned salmon is
Eat-low fat animals. If all else fails, eat
animals that are low in fat to minimize the
negative contaminants and bad fats. Z
Dwayne Hines II
What would you say
to a health food
supplement that could
help in cancer
prevention, enhance
the body’s immune
response, and, to top it
off act as a strong free
radical quencher? Get
it on the market quick,
right? It is on the
market, but you
probably haven’t heard
of it. The substance is
Astaxanthin can be
derived from several different sources. Many of these astaxanthin sources are
aquatic in nature. These include certain types of fish (particularly trout and
salmon), shrimp, krill, crayfish, crustaceans, micro-algae and yeast. Most
people don’t eat enough of these food items to get significant amounts of
astaxanthin, but it can also be picked up through supplementation.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. It is the element in fish that gives their flesh
its vivid red color. That bright red hue in the flesh of salmon and trout
comes from astaxanthin’s carotenoid aspect. Carotenoids are important for
human nutrition because they protect the body from oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin is 1 of the most powerful carotenoids; its antioxidant capability
is immense.
For example, astaxanthin compares especially favorably to vitamin E.
Studies have revealed that astaxanthin can be up to 100 to 500 times more
effective than vitamin E at preventing lipid peroxidation (damage by free
radicals) in animal cell membranes (Physiological Chemistry and Physics and
Medical NMR 22).
Other studies have shown that astaxanthin efficacy in quenching singlet
oxygen was up to 80 to 550 times higher than vitamin E (Biochemical Society
Why would athletes and fitness enthusiasts be specifically interested in
astaxanthin? One of the best applications for astaxanthin is to curb free
radical activity. Curbing free radical activity is beneficial for the human body,
and especially the hard-training athlete, who really stirs up free radical
action. Mark A. Jenkins, MD, associate team physician for Rice University,
notes: endurance exercise can increase oxygen utilization from 10 to 20
times over the resting state. This greatly increases the generation of free
radicals, prompting concern about enhanced damage to muscles and other
Ironically, those who work out the most produce the most free radical
activity, free radical generation levels that are exponentially higher than the
sedentary person’s levels. This is 1 of the side effects of strong oxygen
utilization. The non-athlete doesn’t generate this type of response owing to
their minimal physical activity (however, the sedentary person may generate
it through other means, such as poor diet).
But the hardcore athlete is not the only one who needs to be aware of
free radical generation. There is 1 group of people even more susceptible —
the people who move from the sedentary state into initial physical activity on
occasion. That is because free radical activity can be especially harmful on
novice or part-time trainees:
Intense exercise in untrained individuals overwhelms defenses resulting
in increased free radical damage. Thus, the “weekend warrior” who is
predominantly sedentary during the week but engages in vigorous bouts of
exercise during the weekend may be doing more harm than good (Physiol.
Chem. Phys. & Med. NMR 22).
This doesn’t mean you should forgo exercise, but that you do need to
address this free radical flood that
comes from the physical activity.
Although endurance training is
specifically cited, hardcore
resistance training also boosts free
radical activity. Therefore, being
able to address harmful free radical
activity is highly beneficial to any
and all athletes and trainees. The
harder the training, the more
important it is to put a lid on the
free radical romp in the body.
Astaxanthin’s ability to strongly
work as a free radical suppressor
makes it an ideal supplement.
Astaxanthin also has the ability
to enhance the body’s immune
system response. This is a superb
benefit for the athlete and trainee,
since the stronger your immune
system, the better you can maintain
constant training levels. Training
strains the body’s immune system
initially (although strengthening it
in the long run), and if there is also
a viral or bacterial illness making
the rounds, the body becomes very
susceptible to it.
The combination of a hard
workout and trying to stay healthy
as well can be too much for the
immune system. Having something
to strengthen the immune system is
very important, and astaxanthin
provides that support.
In addition to being an effective
free radical fighter and an immune
system supporter, astaxanthin also
is being studied for its cancer
fighting properties. Add to that its
ability to benefit the eyes, and you
have an incredible package of
benefits in 1 nutritional element.
The health market is starting to
recognize how powerful
astaxanthin is, and now some
companies are offering it in various
forms for human consumption. It’s
currently offered in pill form from
its various sources. Two of the most
potent types of astaxanthin come
from yeast and from micro-algae.
Two caveats — if you take a lot
of astaxanthin, your skin may take
on a tone change similar to that
from an artificial tanning lotion.
That’s a small price to pay for the
healthy benefits of astaxanthin.
Also, be aware that some
astaxanthin comes from synthetic/
chemical origin. Z
increases risk
of colon
cancer and
A government
epidemiological study
has established a
connection between
exposures to the
herbicide EPTC and
human cancer. The
research is part of the
Agricultural Health
Study and focused on
EPTC applicators in
Iowa and North
Carolina between 1993
and 1997.
While the team called
for further research,
they found an
association between
EPTC exposures and
colon cancer and
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Clean Nutrition Report
Cocoa, the future of medicine
Keoni Teta and Jillian Sarno
cacao, the
scientific name
of the plant
from which raw
cocoa is made
and the main
ingredient in chocolate, literally means
“food of the gods.”
It is a famous plant with a lengthy and
rich history; a symbol of love that cuts across
cultures; a power food packed with
antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and
the building blocks of neurotransmitters and
other “feel-good” hormones; and a medicine
backed by modern research with far-reaching
implications for treating cardiovascular
disease, high blood pressure, cancer and
other chronic degenerative diseases.
Some experts are even saying the healthgiving properties of cocoa will potentially
benefit public health equal to or more than
antibiotics and anesthesia. The beautiful
thing is that raw organic cocoa is readily
available in health food stores.
Theobroma cacao is native to Central and
South America. Historical documentation
cites cocoa and its products a cure for
almost everything from fatigue, indigestion,
emaciation and hemorrhoids to respiratory
ailments, cancer, depression and heart
problems. The ancient people of Central
America, the Mayans and Aztecs, believed
this plant could impart immortality.
Well, this amazing plant probably will
not impart immortality to its consumer, but
if there were ever a food to do so, cocoa
would be the one. Throughout history, the
cocoa plant has been used as currency, food
and medicine. In fact, the cocoa bean is still
used as a form of currency in some areas of
South America. The Aztecs revered
Theobroma cacao because of its central role
Quality control
So what about chocolate? Can
we consider it a health food? It is
important to realize that most
research is conducted on raw cocoa
powder and not chocolate. With
that being said, there is some
indication that chocolate can be a
healthy addition to the diet, but the
real magic happens with raw
organic cocoa powder.
The greatest health benefits are
derived from unprocessed cocoa
rather than a processed version of
it, and so raw organic cocoa is
superior to dark chocolate, which is
better than milk chocolate. Dutch
processed or alkalinized cocoa
helps reduce the acidity of raw
cocoa, but also destroys some of its
medicinal power. Raw cocoa that is
not organic contains pesticide and
herbicide residues.
There is also controversy
surrounding the high amount of
lead found in some cocoa products.
Lead is a heavy metal that can
cause damage to the body when
ingested in almost any amount. The
evidence seems to point to the
manufacturing process of raw cocoa
as the source of lead. An October
2005 study in Environmental Health
Perspectives shows that the cocoa
bean itself has very little lead; in
fact, it has 1 of the lowest levels of
lead of any natural food.
There are insignificant amounts
of lead found in raw beans, but
significant amounts found in some
chocolate products, leading one to
conclude the manufacturing
process is the culprit.
Unfortunately, no one is exactly
sure where all the lead is coming
from. To be safe and promote
maximal health benefits and to
prevent potential lead exposure,
choose raw organic cocoa. You can
also call your favorite chocolate
company and ask about their
policies for testing heavy metals in
their products.
Constituents in cocoa
What is it about raw organic cocoa
powder that makes it such a
powerful medicinal food?
For starters, it is packed full of
antioxidant-rich phytonutrients.
Antioxidants help quell the fire of
free radicals our bodies generate and
are exposed to every day. One way
to measure the antioxidant potential
of a food is by its ORAC value. ORAC
is the acronym for oxygen radical
absorption capacity, and is a
measure of the potential antioxidant
capacity of a food.
In theory, the higher the ORAC
value, the higher the concentration
of antioxidants present in a food.
Organic raw cocoa has the highest
ORAC value of any food. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture/Journal
of the American Chemical Society has
released data on high ORAC value
foods per 100 grams compared to
unprocessed raw cocoa (28,000):
dark chocolate (13,210), prunes
(5,770), blueberries (2,400), kale
(1,770) and broccoli (890).
According to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, the
average American gets a 1,200
ORAC value/day in their diets. They
go on to say that Americans should
strive to get a 3,000-5,000 ORAC
value/day. One teaspoon of raw
cocoa powder, about 5 grams has
an approximate ORAC value of
1,400, which gives you almost half
of what you need.
The phytonutrients that give
raw cocoa powder its high
antioxidant value are a group of
compounds called polyphenols, or,
more specifically, flavonoids. Cocoa
has more flavonoids than any
known food. Two flavonoids in
particular, catechin and epicatechin,
are found in extremely high
amounts in cocoa powder and have
copious amounts of research
supporting their health benefits.
These 2 flavonoids, along with
hundreds of other known
phytochemicals in cocoa, appear to
prevent and even treat some of
today’s most devastating diseases.
Interestingly, this myriad of
flavonoids in cocoa appears to be
absorbed intact into the human
bloodstream (American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, Nov 2002),
which allows them to exert their
medicinal power on the body.
Many Americans are deficient
in the minerals copper and
magnesium, both of which are
found in cocoa. Cocoa contains
about 0.8 mg of copper per 100 g
and is therefore a great food source
of copper. Copper has many uses in
the body, including the oxygenation
of red blood cells and aiding in
cellular energy production.
Cocoa also has the highest
amount of magnesium of any known
food source, approximately 131 mg
per 100 g of cocoa. This mineral,
which plays a significant role in
cocoa’s health-giving properties, is
required by more than 300 enzymes
in the body and is crucial for
cardiovascular health, optimal blood
pressure and protein synthesis.
Cocoa and chocolate have the
reputation of making people
euphoric and happy. This is
probably why chocolate is the gift
of choice on Valentine’s Day. There
is a wide array of chemicals in
cocoa that cause euphoria,
including phenylethlamine,
serotonin, tyramine and
anandamide. One of the most well
known is phenyethlamine, which
helps the body release its own
opium-like compounds, called the
endorphins, and also boosts levels
of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Endorphins and dopamine give
one a sense of well-being and can
act as an antidepressant.
Phenylethlamine and dopamine
flood the brain when we fall in love
or have an orgasm. The other “feelgood” chemicals in cocoa are
serotonin and tyramine. Most
people are deficient in the
neurotransmitter serotonin, and
this is why many Americans are
prescribed antidepressants, which
boost serotonin levels. Tyramine
helps reduce anxiety and balance
mood, but it can also trigger
migraines in sensitive people.
Another constituent found in
cocoa that alters the mental state in
a pleasurable way is anandamide,
whose name is derived from the
Sanskrit word ananda, which means
“bliss.” This chemical binds to the
same receptor sites in the brain as
THC, the active constituent in
marijuana. It is no wonder that
cocoa has the reputation of being
an antidepressant, an aphrodisiac
and a calming stimulant.
Health effects of cocoa
As naturopathic physicians, we
have such a great appreciation for
the medicinal properties of raw
organic cocoa. One thing we
learned in medical school is that if
we want to cure disease, we can
learn from populations around the
world where those diseases do not
exist. The Kuna people of San Blas,
off the coast of Panama, are turning
What does
rocket fuel
have to do
with water?
Water from the tap
may contain toxins
that are used in rocket
fuel. Rather than
guzzling water from
the public drinking
fountains at your
health club between
sets, get a water
treatment system and
bring purified water
from home to the gym.
Tap water may also
contain insect
repellents, drycleaning fluids and
flame retardants. It’s
estimated that about
40 percent of
America’s water does
not meet standards for
protecting the health
of the public.
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in their culture. They even believed
the plant to have divine origins.
Due to this belief, the
consumption of cocoa was usually
reserved for royalty, warriors and
other high-society people. While
the Spanish were exploring the
Americas in the 1500s, cocoa was
being introduced to Europe.
Although initially consumed by the
European elite, cocoa quickly
spread through Europe to the
masses. Chocolate, cocoa’s most
familiar product, has its origins in
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Clean Nutrition Report
out to be wonderful teachers for the rest of
the world, thanks to the ongoing work of
Norman K. Hollenberg and colleagues at
Harvard Medical School.
He found that the risk of heart disease,
cancer, diabetes and stroke — 4 of the most
common killers today — are almost
nonexistent in these people. As part of
living by their traditional ways, they drink
an average of 5 cups of cocoa per day,
making them the world-record holders of a
flavonoid-rich diet.
There has been much modern research
conducted on this ancient plant with
astoundingly positive results. Most notably,
the positive effects of drinking raw organic
cocoa have been illustrated for various
parameters of cardiovascular dysfunction
including high blood pressure and diabetes.
There is also sound research stating that cocoa
has immune-stimulating effects, can be used
adjunctively to treat cancer, helps oxygenate
the brain and promotes detoxification of
industrial chemicals in the body.
Through randomized controlled trials,
many researchers, including Fisher et al. in
the Journal of Hypertension and Taubert et al.
in JAMA, have demonstrated that habitual
cocoa intake lowers blood pressure via its
high arginine content and the nitric oxide
pathway. Lowering blood pressure reduces
the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart
attack and stroke.
Other protective mechanisms that cocoa
can offer against cardiovascular disease
come from its potent antioxidant profile.
The flavonoids in cocoa raise HDL, the
“good” cholesterol, and both lower LDL, or
“bad” cholesterol, and protect it from being
oxidized (damaged by free radicals) in the
blood, which helps fight against plaque
formation according to Baba et al. in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Flammer et al. in Circulation (2007)
demonstrated that cocoa reduces platelet
aggregation, or, in other words, thins the
blood. Platelets are sticky little cell
fragments that help our body repair injury,
but they can also contribute to plaque
formation in the arteries. Cocoa acts as a
natural blood thinner when taken daily.
One of the most deadly complications
from diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes) is
heart disease. Cocoa protects us from these
complications and also helps promote insulin
sensitivity, according to Grassi et al. in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005).
Cancer is fast becoming the number 1
killer of Americans; colon, breast and
prostate are among the most common types.
Components of cocoa, notably the
polyphenols, have been shown to stop
proliferation of breast, prostate and colon
cancer cells while sparing normal cells by
researchers at Georgetown University’s
Department of Oncology and others,
including Bisson et al. (Journal of Medicinal
Food [2007] and European Journal of Cancer
Cocoa and chocolate have the reputation of making people euphoric and
happy. This is probably why chocolate is the gift of choice on Valentine’s Day.
Prevention [2008], and Carnesecchi et al. in
Cancer Letters [2002]).
Research is also showing cocoa powder
to help immune function, cognition, and
detoxification. Cocoa can both upregulate
specific immune cells and help modulate
immune function. It appears to increase
brain oxygenation, which has beneficial
implications for diseases such as dementia.
And finally, raw organic cocoa powder, with
its high fiber content, has been shown to
facilitate the excretion and detoxification of
environmental contaminants from the body.
Cocoa myths
There is some confusion about the source of
cocaine and cocoa. Cocaine is derived from
the plant Erythroxylum coca, which is a
different plant from the one cocoa and
chocolate come from, Theobroma cacao.
Good-quality chocolate is also unlikely
to cause weight gain because of its lower
sugar content.
Data appears to suggest that raw organic
cocoa powder aids fat loss. There is also the
myth of chocolate or cocoa causing high
cholesterol. Raw cocoa powder contains very
little cocoa butter, and although cocoa butter
contains saturated fat, specifically stearic acid,
this fat has a neutral effect on blood lipids.
What about the myth of cocoa/chocolate
being addictive? Compared with coffee,
cocoa has a very low caffeine content and
does not impart withdrawal symptoms.
Some people will also say chocolate causes
acne, but again, the research does not
substantiate this.
It is easy to see that cocoa not only plays a
multifactorial role in protecting us from
chronic degenerative diseases, but also goes
a long way to making us feel good by its
mood-enhancing and nutritive properties. It
may not impart immortality to us yet, but it
is certainly immortalized in human history.
How wise the ancient peoples were to
realize the powerful and far-reaching
implications of this amazing plant. Modern
research is beginning to prove what the
ancients already knew: raw organic cocoa is
truly a gift from the gods. We invite you to
taste this magical food and discover its many
medicinal benefits yourself. For maximum
health benefits, raw cocoa should be
unsweetened. Z
Natasha Linton
Is the word
antioxidant just
another health
marketing phrase?
Because we hear it so much, is it
just another cool trend to even use
it in a sentence and drink the juices
that contain antioxidants? All over
in ads on TV, on the radio and in
our neighborhood supermarkets,
we see that word. What exactly are
antioxidants other than the content
of some foods and drinks in hip
designed packaging? Are they really
that good for us? Absolutely.
On a daily basis and no matter
where we live, our bodies are
exposed to all sorts of intruders that
aim only to make us sick and
damage our bodies. These intruders
are called free radicals: unstable
oxygen molecules. Free radicals
damage cells and cause harm to the
immune system. Also, they can
speed up the aging process.
Yes, if you don’t eat properly,
your body’s aging process can speed
up, making you look older than
your true age. By eating properly
(consuming sufficient amounts of
antioxidants), not only will you
help minimize premature aging of
the skin, but you might also
possibly reverse the effects of an
aging mind. Besides aging, among
the other harmful effects of free
radicals are heart disease, cancer
and diabetes. In addition, recovery
from athletic performance is
negatively affected.
Let’s take a deeper look at
free radicals
Free radicals are formed by a
process called oxidation (damage
caused by oxygen). This is the same
process that causes rust on metals.
You can slow down the oxidation
process by consuming antioxidants.
Exposure to toxins such as cigarette
smoke, pollution, chemicals and
radiation aids in the development of free
radicals. These exposures cause the
oxygen molecules in our bodies to
break down to eventually form the
reactive molecule known as a free
radical. As science discovers how to
better fight free radicals, we will be able
to improve our life span by a number of
Recommended preventive measures are to avoid smoking, stick with a
well-designed exercise program and to stay away from pollutants when
possible. We must take extra measures to ensure that we are indeed
protecting ourselves. As with any health and wellness goal, diet is an
important part, especially a diet containing plentiful antioxidants.
Antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, are natural substances that
we can use to fight and prevent any damage to cells caused by the unstable
oxygen molecules. They also stop the chemical reactions that lead up to the
creation of free radicals.
So be sure to increase consumption of vegetables, fruit, whole grains,
nuts and fish, and reduce eating processed foods and items with white sugar
or high-fructose corn syrup.
Beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A)
Carotenes are found in plant foods. They not only protect plants but also
help protect the body from free radicals. Sources of beta-carotene include
apricots, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe and broccoli. A darker color of the
fruit or vegetable means more beta-carotene content.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which is important to skin
health and preventing skin aging. It also helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin
C also helps wounds repair rather quickly. Sources of vitamin C include
many fruits (citrus and strawberries), vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage,
kale, etc.) and also beef, poultry and fish.
Vitamin E
Some may say that vitamin E is known as the answer to anti-aging. Sources
of vitamin E include mangoes, eggs, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts,
sesame oil and whole grains. Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and corn
are other great sources.
Green tea
Green tea is one of the most potent antioxidants. It reduces the risks of skin
damage and skin cancer due to radiation, and the risk of lung cancer due to
smoking. Green tea is unprocessed, while black tea and oolong tea are
partially processed.
From berries you will get vitamins, minerals and potent antioxidants. For
fighting cancer and heart disease, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
are great choices. Blueberries also help keep the aging process away.
Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo extract has been known to reduce clots and reduce blood pressure. It
also hunts and destroys free radicals and prevents the formation of them in
the first place. Another effect of ginkgo biloba is to protect the brain, as it
promotes proper blood flow to the brain and improves alertness. Z
Eat only fertilized eggs
from free-range hens.
Most of the eggs
these days come from
chickens that live in
cages all their lives
and never see the sun.
They are fed
chemical-laden foods.
A healthy, range-fed
chicken will produce
eggs that have thick
yellow yolks as
opposed to pale
yellow ones. An egg
contains all the amino
acids necessary for
human life and
therefore are good
additions to your diet.
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Smart training
Train your mind and body to develop a balanced fitness lifestyle that not only feels good
but will also have you looking great!
Dr. Matthew Tischler
Let’s be real, we go to the
gym to look better, get
stronger, feel awesome
and, of course, get
healthier, right? Many
people train to look
great, but they neglect
the most important
fitness goal, which is to
increase their overall
health. Being healthy can
mean different things to different people, but according to Dorland’s
Medical Dictionary, health is optimal physical, mental and social
well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This
definition is not focused on symptoms but instead on functioning
of the body. Since the brain controls every function of the body, it
makes sense to begin by learning how to be a master of your own
mind and develop enough mental control to be able to place your
attention only on the thoughts that empower you and provide
inspiration for creating the healthiest version of you possible. If the
only goal of a fitness plan is to look a certain way or to reach a
desired weight, it is destined to fail and often ends up being shortlived and unfulfilling.
Below are 5 important steps that when done consistently, have a
profound impact on body mind training and will have you looking
your very best while developing the healthiest version of you
Start with forming a clear and definite mental image of what it
would feel like and look like to be completely healthy. If you
combine that with frequent contemplation and gratitude, the
trained mind will set your body into a type of autopilot or cruise
control to do things such as eat correctly, lift the right amount of
weight, rest as needed, stretch and even train in a certain way that
produces the most effective and lasting results.
Begin each day with a brief meditation to set in motion the
power of directing the mind to choose the thoughts that serve it
best. A great way to start if you are new to meditation is a
technique called breath counting. In this meditation, sit in a
comfortable chair with your back straight and place your focus on
the sensation of breathing, especially noticing the feeling of air as it
passes out through your nose. The mind will wander, but you can
use the sensation of the breath as an anchor to focus on the
moment while counting to yourself silently on each breath out
from 1 to 10, then begin again. If you lose count, simply start over
again at 1. The purpose of this meditation is not to learn how to
relax, but instead to train your mind how to focus. Start out with a
few minutes each day and increase the minutes over time.
Develop a training routine. Make time each day for some type
of physical exercise. Ideally devote 45 minutes to an hour 3 to 5
times a week. Whether it be jumping rope, jogging, lifting weights,
yoga, biking, swimming or a sport, some is better than none. It is
important to look at whatever workout you choose as your “play
time.” The goal is to move the body, challenging flexibility, strength,
speed and balance. It’s been shown that when flexibility is equal to
strength, the side effect is perfect balance. Train the core muscles,
which protect the spine and provide stability between the upper
and lower body. A great core exercise to start off with is abdominal
hollowing, which is the first position of all the other core exercises
and should be mastered before advancing to more challenging core
protocols. To perform this exercise, lie down on your back with
your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. As you exhale draw your
belly button in toward your spine and hold the exhalation while
bracing your lower back flat against the floor. Hold this position for
up to 5 minutes while breathing comfortably, with slightly longer
than usual exhalations. This exercise transfers to every movement
you will ever do.
Eat the proper balance of lean protein, healthy fats and
complex carbs. On training days keep lean protein high. Include
chicken, fish, turkey, beef and eggs. Eat 1 g of protein per pound of
body weight. Healthy carbs should account for 35-45 percent of
your daily calories, which include sweet potatoes, rice, yams and
fruit. The rest of your calories should come from vegetables and
healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and coconut oil. On
rest days cut carbs in half. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar
and diet drinks.
Get 6-8 hours of sleep nightly. Z
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Smart training
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Jason Miller
Next to the squat, there is perhaps no better
lower body resistance training exercise than
the deadlift. While the squat exercise recruits
the majority of the lower body muscles, the
deadlift focuses primarily on the posterior
chain consisting of the hamstring, glute and
erector spinae (lumbar) muscle groups.
When the fitness enthusiast is developing a balanced program,
whether focusing on athletic performance, bodybuilding or general
fitness, the deadlift is a multiple-joint lift that can accomplish the
same amount of work in less time than multiple single-joint
exercises that target the hamstrings, glute and erector muscles.
In particular, athletes benefit greatly from the deadlift because of
the importance of the glute and hamstring muscle groups during the
pulling phase of running and sprinting. Anecdotal evidence for the
importance of the glute and hamstring muscle groups is found in
successful power athletes, who have well-developed glutes and/or
However, many trainers and fitness enthusiasts avoid the deadlift
because of its potential for causing injury. While the exercise does
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In particular, athletes
benefit greatly from the
deadlift because of the
importance of the glute
and hamstring muscle
groups during the pulling
phase of running and
shoulder blades pulled together and the lower back
extended, producing either a straight or a slight
hyperextension in the lower back when viewed from the
The head and chest should be up and the barbell
should be rolled into the shins. It is very important to
keep the load as close to the body as possible to
minimize the stress placed on the lower back as the
movement phase begins.
Upon initiation of the deadlift, the hips and
shoulders should rise at the same rate as much as
possible. A lower back injury is likely to occur when the
hips rise faster than the shoulders, causing a flexing of
the lumbar and thoracic spine (rounded back),
producing stress on the lower back musculature and
lumbar spine.
If the “set” back position is maintained and the hips
and shoulders rise together, the lower back should be
protected. Once the barbell clears the knees, the hips
should be pushed anteriorly or forward while the chest
rises and the shoulder blades are squeezed together,
producing a “big chest” position.
The exercise is completed when the hips and knees
are fully extended and the shoulder blades are pulled
together, pushing the chest out. When lowering the
barbell, “trace” the legs on the way down while
maintaining a “set” back and chest-up position, and
maintaining the same relationship in movement speed
between the shoulders and hips. As the hips and
shoulders rose together, they should fall together.
The sumo deadlift is similar to the conventional style
in terms of movement, but it has a different starting
position that allows a greater opportunity to maintain
the “set” position for the back.
Unlike in the conventional style, the feet are placed
very wide (2-3 times wider than conventional) with the
toes pointed outward at a 40-45-degree angle or greater.
The hands are placed at shoulder width on the barbell in
an alternating grip, 1 hand palm up and 1 hand palm
In this starting position, with the barbell rolled to
the shins, the lifter has less trouble with clearing the
knees, which allows you to start in a more upright
position and maintain a “set” back throughout the
The same movement pattern is followed as with the
conventional version. The sumo deadlift is great for
trainees with lower back problems, and it is a great
exercise to alternate with the conventional deadlift
because of its greater emphasis on the quadriceps.
Because of the importance of technique in performing
the deadlift, caution should be observed when attempting
high volumes. When fatigue sets in, the chance for a
technique break and injury is increased.
Therefore, it’s recommend that the deadlift be
reserved for lower volume and moderate to low
repetitions (preferably no more than 6 repetitions and a
maximum of 10 repetitions). When starting to deadlift,
keep the repetitions low (around 4) and the loads very
Be sure the back is “set” and the hips and shoulders
rise at the same rate, trace the legs on the way down
and always ensure at the beginning that the load is
placed at mid-shin level.
Use a weight training or powerlifting belt when a
history of previous back injury is present or with nearmaximal loads. If correct technique is observed, there is
no reason why the majority of resistance trainees cannot
reap the reward of the well-developed posterior chain
that the deadlift exercise can provide. Z
place stress on the lower back, if done correctly and with
a style that fits the individual, the deadlift should be a
cornerstone exercise for most resistance training
The deadlift is performed with either a conventional
or sumo style when using a barbell. Both styles should
allow you to utilize the deadlift while protecting the
lower back.
The exercise movement is essentially the same for
both the conventional and sumo styles. The
conventional barbell deadlift is what is typically thought
of when describing the deadlift. With the conventional
version a barbell is loaded with standard-sized 45pound plates.
If 45 pounds is too great a load, the barbell is raised
to a starting position, allowing it to be at mid-shin level.
Feet are placed at shoulder width, and the barbell is
gripped just outside of the legs in a prone or palmsdown position.
When you start the movement phase, the hips and
knees are flexed at 80-100 degrees, allowing the center
of gravity to drop.
It is very important that the back is “set” at the
beginning of the deadlift. A “set” back is defined as the
chin-ups and
When doing these,
make an effort to keep
your lower body “stiff”
in that it doesn’t sway
or twist and your legs
are straight and
together. Picture a
gymnast performing
on the rings. His lower
body is in one fixed
position as his arms
do all sorts of pulling
and lifting. His legs are
straight, completely
together, feet pointed.
Feet need not be
pointed during the
chin-ups and pull-ups;
the other option is to
keep them up at a 90degree angle. But
whether or not they
are extended or at the
90-degree angle, keep
them even with each
other; do not shift a
foot. Maintain this
lower body rigidity
throughout your reps.
This will make each
rep more difficult, but
you’ll also get better
results ultimately.
Smart training
How it burns the maximum amount of fat during and after a workout.
Jade Teta and Keoni Teta
cable row
Set the weight for a
little less than half
your 8-rep max and,
sitting or standing,
grab a handle with 1
hand. Keeping your
chest and shoulders
facing squarely with
the weight stack,
begin pulling with 1
arm and concentrate
on maintaining good
form. A little “loose”
form toward the end is
fine; but make sure
you don’t end up
wildly yanking the
handle toward you.
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What is it?
Since there are a ton of so-called “metabolic”
programs popping up all over the place, let’s
first cover what metabolic exercise is not.
Metabolic conditioning is not aerobic
exercise. If the body is not being forced to
push beyond the anaerobic threshold during
a workout, then you are not doing metabolic
conditioning. It also is not interval training.
Metabolic conditioning involves the use
of weights — but if you’re doing heavy, fullbody weight training and taking several
minutes of rest between sets, you are not
doing metabolic training.
Single-joint, body-part-focused
bodybuilding workouts are definitely not
metabolic conditioning.
And no matter how cool you think it
might look, balancing 1 leg on a BOSU board
while you throw medicine balls back and
forth with a partner is nowhere close to
metabolic conditioning.
We define metabolic conditioning as a
system of exercise that uses the latest
understanding of endocrinology, exercise
science, and strength and conditioning
research to fully tax the body’s major energy
systems with the chief goal of maximizing
the greatest amount of fat that can be burned
both during and after the exercise session.
As a fitness enthusiast, you have
probably heard about
hypertrophy training, highintensity interval training,
endurance protocols and
functional training. If we asked
you to give us a protocol to
increase strength, improve
muscle mass or increase
muscular endurance, you could
probably give us the textbook answer.
However, if we asked you to explain
what metabolic conditioning is, could you?
It’s very likely you have not yet even heard
of this new style of training, but metabolic
conditioning (also called metabolic exercise,
metabolic training or the metabolic effect) is
changing the face of fitness, and if you want
the best results and the most cutting-edge
techniques, it’s time to bone up on this new
fitness genre.
Go for 8-12 reps. If
you end up losing
decent form (leaning
way back, erratically
yanking, or not being
able to pull the handle
close to your chest),
then the weight is too
Protocol of the athletes
Unlike other exercise protocols that focus
exclusively on developing power, muscular
endurance, aerobic capacity or bigger
muscles, metabolic conditioning is focused
on burning fat above all else. This means
metabolic exercise protocols are not
modeled after the old-school weight training
methods and monotonous aerobic exercise
of the past.
Metabolic exercise takes its cues from
the world of sports. Ninety-five percent or
more of all sport involves multiple
parameters of fitness and challenges all 3
body energy systems. The simple fact is that
athletes don’t train to look good; they look
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Smart training
good as a natural consequence of participation in their sport.
Consider a gymnast, boxer, American football player, tennis
athlete or soccer player. If you watch these sports, what you will see
is fluid-steady movement patterns that will quickly morph into
chaotic unpredictable bursts of strength and speed before changing
back again.
Metabolic exercise seeks to reproduce the nature of sport by
combining resistance training, interval exercise, old-school
calisthenics, body-weight exercises, plyometrics and explosive
Olympic-style movements in 1 integrated workout. The workouts
are fast paced and hard-hitting, involving short rest periods and full
fatigue protocols.
Metabolic conditioning is
combination training
Metabolic conditioning focuses on
compound exercises that work multiple
muscle groups across several joints such as
squats, powercleans and deadlifts. It
employs exercises that combine 2 or more
exercises into 1, called hybrid exercises. It
also moves from 1 exercise to the next
quickly with little downtime and
will frequently combine aerobicdominated lower body activity
with anaerobically dominated
upper body movements.
Research supports these techniques.
The journal Medicine and Science in Sports and
Exercise published a study showing this effect.
Thirty-five females did a workout merging lower
body aerobic exercise with resistance exercises for
the upper body. This strategy generated a lower
body fat percentage and greater muscle gain among
participants as well as improved endurance and
muscle strength over aerobics alone: thigh circumference
decreased by 11 percent while abdominal fat dropped 12
percent, and muscle mass increased between 2 percent and 14
percent in 9 different muscle groups in 3 months.
Irish researchers have shown that exercisers burn up to 50
percent greater fat by combining upper and lower body exercise.
Finally, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research showed a 10-fold greater fat loss for an exercise protocol
that intermixed weight training and aerobic exercise compared to the
exact same workout that separated the 2.
Two other studies showed that workouts using the techniques of
metabolic conditioning described above generate a large metabolic
after-burn that can last up to 16 hours for women and 48 hours for
The old way does not work
The numbers above are shocking, especially when you consider what
science has to say about more traditional modes of exercise. A study
published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition shocked
many in the exercise world.
This study was a meta-analysis, which is a study that looks at
many different studies done on the same subject over several years to
try to get at the truth of a subject. In this study, researchers examined
hundreds of studies done over a 25-year period on the benefit of
aerobic exercise to help people lose weight. The results showed that
aerobic exercise provided only a 2-pound weight loss advantage over
diet alone for weight loss.
A more recent study published in Exercise and Sport Science
Reviews showed that traditional aerobic and resistance training
workouts had no effect on stimulating the metabolism to burn more
fat. Given the stark contrast of these studies with the others
highlighted above, it makes sense that metabolic conditioning
should begin to become the focus of personal trainers and fitness
enthusiasts alike.
Making it happen
As a fitness enthusiast, you’ll want to keep 4 goals in mind for any
metabolic conditioning program. We call these the “Bs” and “Hs,”
which stand for breathless, burning, heavy and heat. To make sure
you are generating the desired metabolic effect unique to metabolic
conditioning, your workout must accomplish these 4 elements.
Each workout should have the goal of making you breathless as
though you’ve been running wind sprints. This can be accomplished
with a short sprint on a treadmill (no holding on) in between hardhitting weight training sets, or busting out 10 squat thrusts while
carrying weights.
At the same time, the workout should generate a feeling of
burning in the muscles. This will involve using light weights on
compound exercises like a push-up and repping them out until the
chest and arms are screaming for you to stop.
The workout must also force the body to stress and
strain under heavy weights at times. This may involve
going immediately from 15 explosive squat jumps to a
10-rep max on a leg press machine.
Finally, you have to generate heat, and that
means sweat. Sweating is a sure sign you are
generating the desired effect. If you can
accomplish these 4 goals in every workout,
you are absolutely doing metabolic conditioning.
You can probably tell these types of workouts
are seriously intense. However, you should not
make the mistake of thinking this style of training
cannot be tolerated by the less fit. As long as you
don’t break the cardinal rule of metabolic
training, anyone can do this workout. That rule
is you must rest.
Resting in a metabolic conditioning
workout is essential. Without taking rest you
are reverting right back to the same tired
aerobic-driven exercise protocols of the past. If
you don’t rest, you will pace yourself and
that is the last thing you want in a
metabolic training session.
Resting, whether you take lots of
short little rests or a few longer ones, is
essential and will drive the results of
the workout. The more you rest, the
Fluid-steady movement
harder you will push, and the
patterns will quickly
harder you push the more you
morph into chaotic
unpredictable bursts of
will have to rest. We use a
strength and speed
proprietary method we call restbefore changing back
based training, which exploits rest
in a way to generate big results. In
this system, rest is taken anywhere in the
workout it’s needed, after which the workout is resumed right where
you left off.
For starters
With light dumbbells in hand, complete the following series of
exercises in order without stopping, taking rest whenever you
need to just long enough to recover and then pick up right where
you left off.
Squat thrusts: 10 reps; push-ups: 10 reps; squat jumps: 10 reps;
squat/press: 10 reps; lunge/press: 10 reps. Repeat circuit for 10
Using a 10 rep max on all exercises, complete the circuit of
exercises in order without stopping, taking rest whenever you
need to just long enough to recover, picking up right where you
left off.
Free bar squats: 5 reps; powercleans: 5 reps; pull-ups: 5 reps;
push-ups: as many as you can do; 1-minute treadmill sprint.
Repeat entire circuit for 10 to 20 minutes. Z
Smart training
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Why type ll muscle fiber development is key
Jason Miller
Thanks to the running boom of the 1970s,
the popularity of distance running and
triathlons has begun to create imbalances
in the training approach.
Aerobic exercise is important, but if
there is no joint stability or strength
training going on, then aerobic exercise
will begin to take a severe toll on the body.
Even those who are very fit will encounter a decrease in strength
and power as age ensues, which will affect activities of daily living
later in life.
De-innervation of fibers
Physiologically speaking, there is a bias in favor of endurance muscle
fibers, also known as type I fibers. As we age we tend to disengage
our powerful fibers, the type II fibers, and our body begins to
transform them.
Even in fit populations, with a lack of strength and power
training the type II fibers take a back seat and eventually get
“unplugged.” The nerves feeding the type II fibers will de-innervate
the fiber. A type I motor neuron will then take over the once-type II
fiber and convert it into a type I fiber.
What was once a powerful type II fiber has now become a slow,
less powerful version of its former self. What does that mean for the
individual? That means as the individual ages they will lose muscle
strength and even more importantly muscle power.
Protecting the aging body
Another perspective might be to think about an older adult tripping
or falling. Despite the aerobic conditioning the individual may have,
they also need to have the muscle power to move the leg fast enough
into position to catch themselves, and the strength to hold
themselves up in a compromised position.
With a loss of type II fibers, the hip is also not as insulated or
padded. If a fall occurs, the force of the impact on the hip is taken
predominantly by the bone, possibly resulting in a fracture. With a
fracture and loss of mobility, aerobic conditioning will eventually
suffer also.
There is no question the aerobic system is very important in
improving and maintaining metabolic and cardiovascular health.
However, if quality of life is to be maintained, an individual must
also utilize resistance training consistently over their life span to
maintain the powerful type II fibers.
Even in trained endurance athletes, there seems to be a lack of focus
on resistance training. If programmed correctly, resistance training
for the endurance athlete will result in little to no increases in body
mass while increasing movement economy, improving connective
tissue quality and ensuring joint stability and strength.
Most of the endurance athletes’ weaknesses center on poor
trunk control, lack of mobility and range of motion and muscular
imbalances. These issues could easily be resolved with a solid
resistance training regimen in place.
Practical application
If type II fibers are so important, than how do we stop them from
degenerating? There are 3 strategies to keep your type II fibers active
and powerful. These include the repetition method, maximal method
and dynamic method.
Repetition method: the repetition method involves going to
fatigue during a set that exhausts the more aerobic type I and
anaerobic type II fibers. The type II fibers will then produce the work
of the final repetitions.
Maximal method: the maximal method involves lifting heavy
loads while avoiding failure by utilizing the 6-or-less repetition range
The size
of fiber
Understanding this
principle is imperative
in understanding which
muscle fibers you are
targeting during your
workouts and what
these fibers are
capable of.
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Program design
A typical program for both athletic populations and
fitness enthusiasts would follow an order starting with
the repetition method and finishing with the dynamic.
Certainly a mixed method approach will yield
accelerated results for more experienced athletes.
Obviously for the older population will need to
observe caution when using heavier loads and adjust
accordingly if technique is not spot-on when working
on the maximal method.
Failure to maintain muscle power can have just as
great of a negative impact on health as not having a
robust cardiovascular system. A balanced program of
aerobic, muscular strength and power work will keep
both kinds of muscle fibers intact while protecting the
body from injury and imbalances. Z
per set range, with 3 working sets as typical.
Dynamic method: the dynamic method employs
using lighter loads in the range of 60 percent of a 1repetition method, but with an emphasis on keeping the
tempo extremely fast.
The principle of fiber
recruitment dictates
that fibers with a high
levels of reliability are
always recruited first
when engaged in
exercise. This means
the type I fibers, which
are also known as the
endurance fibers, and
type II fibers are
recruited last.
Motor units within the
muscle are recruited to
produce force output in
regard to their
recruitment thresholds
and firing rates. To
activate a highthreshold motor unit
and in turn your type II
fibers, all subsequent
fibers below it must be
recruited first.
An example of this
would be the motor
units and in turn
muscle fibers required
to pick up your
television remote,
compared to those
required to life a 65pound dumbbell.
Picking up the remote
will require much lower
threshold units than the
65-pound weight, and
therefore innervates
only the type I fibers.
— Lindsay Kent
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Smart training
Garret Keyer
Escalating density training is perhaps 1 of
the most effective weight training
regimens that the resistance-training world
has ever seen. The fitness industry is 1
where marketing hype and gimmicky ideas
are the norm and dominate every corner of
the market. Likewise, it is a place where
good ideas that generate real results are severely lacking.
For every 10 fruitless and ineffective fitness trends, there may be
1 standout program. Escalating density training is most certainly 1 of
those special systems of training that will seriously change the way
you approach weight training forever.
Work and volume
When it comes to weight training, building size and building
strength, there is only 1 principle to know: progressive overload.
This idea is illustrated nicely by a story our Italian grandfather used
to tell us. In this story, a young Italian boy had a baby calf as a pet.
He would go out every day to play with this calf and would test his
strength by hoisting the animal into the air. As the calf grew bigger
and heavier, the boy continued to lift the animal, and he too got
stronger and more built. Even after the calf grew into a fully mature
cow, the boy was still able to pick the cow up and carry it around the
This story demonstrates an undeniable truth about the nature of
muscle growth and building strength. The human body must be
challenged with ever-greater intensity for it to continually respond,
adapt and improve.
Perhaps the oldest and most popular protocol in weight training
is the 3-sets-of-10-repetition format. Personal trainers have lived by
this protocol for decades. Though this program does have merit,
once a client moves beyond the beginning phase of weight training,
this type of approach quickly becomes only marginally effective. The
common belief in training is that the amount of weight lifted makes
the difference, when in reality it is more accurately the intensity with
which you lift that induces the biggest changes.
The magic of escalating density training
Escalating density training has done for weight training
what interval training has done for aerobic exercise. Just
as interval training has made aerobic training more
efficient and productive, so has escalating density
training made resistance training more effective with
less time invested.
The inventor of escalating density training is a
strength and conditioning specialist named Charles
Staley. Like most brilliant ideas, the escalating density
training system takes complicated mechanisms and
breaks them down into a simple, easy-to-use format.
Staley has been able to distill results-based weight
training down to its essence by creating a system that
will generate volume, density and tension all in 1 easy
format. He has made the system very simple and created
a built-in system that ensures progressive overload is
accomplished in each workout.
Triceps trio
For a change of pace,
try a free-hand triceps
training routine. This
trio includes the dip,
the push-up with a
narrow hand
placement, and the
reverse dip, with your
hands behind your
back on a bench and
your feet supported
on a separate bench.
Once you master
completing 3-4 sets of
10 repetitions each,
increase the workload.
This will include
adding weight to the
dip to make it a
weighted dip,
elevating the feet on
the push-up and
elevating the feet on
the reverse dip. Work
up to a 15-repetition
range for each
Another way to
increase intensity for
each: dip, hold the dip
position for a 2-count;
push-up, place your
hands on a medicine
ball instead of the
ground; reverse dip,
place the weight on
your lap or place your
hands close together
so that your thumbs
are touching each
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Density and tension
Volume by itself is useful, but it is the amount of
volume completed in a given time that is the real secret
to generating intensity. This is the concept of density. A
dense workout is 1 where you’re doing the maximal
amount of work possible within a given timeframe. If I
can complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions in 15 minutes,
then my goal for my next workout should be 3 sets of
10 reps in 14 minutes, or 4 sets of 10 reps in 15
minutes. The point is to do more work per unit time
and to continually progress to more dense workouts
each time.
Another important factor is the amount of tension
the muscle is exposed to. If you do 3 sets of a 10-rep
max (10 RM) with 135 pounds on the bench press, will
you achieve the same average muscle tension you
would have if you instead did 10 sets of 3 reps with the
same weight? It sounds like a trick question, right?
However, despite the total volume or work done being
equal, more average muscle tension will be achieved in
the latter scenario. In the 10 sets of 3 reps, the muscle is
exposed to a greater tension because fatigue has not yet
set in.
A 10 RM means that you can lift the weight 10
times, but not 11. This means that with each rep, the
amount of tension the muscle generates becomes less
and less until it can no longer overcome the weight of
the bar. In other words, the amount of tension the
muscle can generate goes down with each successive
rep until the weight can no longer be lifted.
By turning the protocol into a 10-sets-of-3repetitions format, you effectively increase the average
tension imposed on the muscle per rep, even though
the total volume of work remains the same. This is an
important concept that usually causes some confusion.
But if you can do the same work in less time with more
average muscle tension per rep, you will be able to
greatly increase not only the intensity of your workout
but the subsequent results.
Here is how it works
Escalating density training uses between 1 and 3 15minute segments for a workout that can last between
15 and 45 minutes. In each of the segments you will
choose 2 exercises. These exercises are to be
antagonists (i.e., if you choose a back exercise, you
also need to choose a chest exercise; if you choose
biceps, you need to pair it with an exercise for triceps).
It is also appropriate to do unilateral antagonists,
meaning you could do a 1-leg squat on the left leg
paired with a 1-leg squat on the right side. Use a 10rep max for each exercise. This is a weight you could
lift 10 times, but not 11.
Once you choose your exercises, start your
stopwatch and begin. Do 5 reps on 1 exercise and
immediately do 5 reps on the other side. After each
set, make a note of how many reps you did for each
exercise (i.e., a number between 1 and 5 reps).
Continue to progress this way, resting as you need to.
As the weight gets heavier, you will reach a point
where 5 reps are no longer possible and you will only
be able to get out 3 or 4 reps. That is fine; record it
and move on. Do not reduce the weight.
The most common mistake in the escalating
density training system is to reduce the amount of
weight lifted so that you are always able to complete 5
reps. This is wrong. As a segment progresses, 5 reps
may no longer be possible. When this happens, just
complete as many reps as you can. If you can do only
2 or 3 reps, that’s fine and is exactly how it works. As
you approach the end of a 15-minute segment, you
may only be completing 1 rep at a time for each
exercise. Don’t worry; you are right where you want to
be. Just record the reps and keep going, switching
back and forth between exercises until time is up. That
is 1 segment.
For the next segment or segments, pick another 2
antagonistic exercises (i.e., leg extension and leg curl).
Set your stopwatch again and proceed as you did in
the first segment. For each round, record how many
reps you did (a number between 5 and 1). Continue
on working as hard as you can until the 15 minutes
have elapsed. Now look at your sheet where you
recorded your reps for each segment and count up the
total reps you completed for each exercise. The total
reps for each exercise that you were able to achieve
represent your workload for that exercise. This is the
number that you must work to beat next time.
The next workout you do will have you using the
exact same weight you used the previous workout,
except this time you are working to improve your
performance by doing more reps. This ensures you are
always working toward progressive overload. The
weight stays the same until you increase your total
reps 20 percent over your starting reps. At that point,
add 5-10 pounds to the exercise and proceed the same
The escalating density training system is super
simple but devastatingly effective. For those of you
willing to try this system, you will see that if you have
been stuck with no progress for long periods of time
you will begin to achieve significant changes in
strength, body composition and muscular
development. We can say without reservation that this
system of resistance training is by far the greatest
advancement in the practice of weight lifting we have
ever seen. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.
You now have a whole new system of weight training
that far surpasses the old paradigm. Z
Intensity in weight training can be measured in
several ways, but the most common measure is in the
poundage one lifts. However, it is really the volume of
work done that makes the difference. What we mean by
volume is the amount of work that is accomplished per
unit time. You can lift 50 pounds 10 times or you can
lift 100 pounds five times, but the volume of work is
the same. This is 1 of the hardest concepts for devotees
of the set-vs.-rep scheme to understand. But is this an
optimal measure of intensity?
Smart training
If you are a frequent gym-goer like me,
you have probably witnessed the same
people doing the same exact workout
for years. Not so surprisingly, you have
probably seen these same people with
the same body size and shape for
years. It is not rocket science; the body
does not respond if it is subjected to the same workout
day after day. Changing the workout is critical to
changing the body.
Hypertrophy, or size increase of each muscle fiber,
will occur with progressive resistance training. Thus, it
would seem logical that as the weight gets heavier and
heavier for a certain exercise, the working muscle
would get bigger and bigger, right? Unfortunately, that
is not the way the oh-so-efficient human body works.
Plateaus will occur in muscle growth and strength
gains because the body wants to conserve energy as
much as possible and will adapt to each specific exercise
over time. The muscle fibers will not keep getting
bigger nor stronger exponentially. The muscle will find
a way to respond less and use up fewer calories than it
once did performing the same exercise. To keep the
body responding, increasing the weight is a start, but
what about progressive movements, sets, repetitions,
rest or even the order or tempo of exercises?
Most beginners want their trainers to design a
workout routine for them to perform on their own.
Your trainer may set you up with a basic pull/push
routine to complete 2-4 days per week with the
intention of progressing the resistance over time. That’s
great, but what about learning how to change your
workouts on your own?
Many regular exercisers will do the same workout
day in and day out without the tiniest semblance of a
result because they simply don’t have the knowledge to
create new workouts each day. However, using a little
creativity and a few minutes of prep time, it is easy to
learn how to do this and maximize results.
Choose a basic workout routine
The best way to begin is to take a basic weight-training
routine and make small adjustments each time it is
performed. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with the
task of creating a completely new workout every day.
Luckily, incremental changes from day to day will keep
the body guessing and improve body composition. Here
is an example of a very basic “push” routine for an
intermediate female trainee:
Push circuit: perform 4 sets in this order
Incline barbell press: weight 55 lbs, reps 10
Push-ups: reps: 10
Assisted dip machine: weight 10 lbs, reps 10
Cable rope press-down: weight 40 bs, reps 10
Easy changes
The easiest and most intuitive change is to increase
weight for 1 exercise, all exercises or a single set. Many
beginners think that whatever weight you choose for
the first set is what you must continue to lift for all 4
sets. Though it seems intuitive, a key way to create
change in the muscle is to vary the weight lifted as you
progress through each set.
Choose a super-heavy weight with which to begin,
since the you’ll not keep this weight for all 4 sets. The
first and second set may call for heavier weight, while
the third and fourth sets can use lighter weight.
In fact, the purpose of using super-heavy weight for
1 or 2 sets only is to force the muscle to respond. If you
do this correctly, you should not physically be able to
continue with this weight for subsequent sets;
mechanical failure is reached and a lighter weight is
needed. Using our basic routine, this change could
create the following workout:
Push circuit: perform 4 sets n this order
Incline barbell press: reps 10, weight 65 to 45-lbs
Push-ups: reps 10
Assisted dip machine: weight 8 to12-lbs, reps 10
Cable pope press-down: weight 40-lbs, reps 10
The weights are varied for the incline barbell press
and the assisted dips, beginning with a heavy weight
and regressing to lighter weights as the sets proceed.
Even though the weight gets lighter, each set is still
challenging because the starting weight pre-fatigued the
muscle. You are encouraged to get creative and change
1, some or all of the weights for the workout. The idea
is to complete a different circuit every time and this is
just 1 example of the endless possibilities.
Changing the rep ranges for each exercise is a great
way to force your body to respond. Repetition ranges
vary based on your goal. Smaller rep ranges such as 1-5
reps are typically better for increasing power and
strength. Power-lifters will take long rest periods and
complete short sets like this with extremely heavy
weight, for example.
Rep ranges of 6-10 reps usually are best for
hypertrophy goals or putting on muscle mass. Rep
ranges of 10-15 focus on muscular endurance.
Regardless of the rep range, you should focus on
reaching near-failure by the last rep to maximize the
muscular response. Using our basic routine, this change
could create the following workout:
Push circuit: perform 4 sets in this order
Incline barbell press: weight 55 lbs, reps 5
Push-ups: reps 15
Assisted dip machine: weight 10 lbs, reps 10
Cable rope press-down: weight 40 lbs, reps 10
Sit on a mediumheight jumping stool,
both feet flat on the
ground. First lift 1 leg
off the ground, your
hands anywhere
except touching the
stool. Then stand
using only the other
leg, hands staying off
the stool. Stand all the
way up, back straight,
and hold a 1-legged
stance for a moment,
then slowly — with
control — lower
yourself back to the
stool, still on 1 leg. Do
up to 20 reps with
each leg; the hovering
leg never touches the
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Joanne Baxter
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Smart training
In this newly revamped workout, some of the rep ranges are
altered based on the goals in mind for each muscle group. The
incline barbell press is now only 5 reps because you want to focus
on strength and power in the upper chest. Push-ups are typically
an exercise that can be completed in the higher rep range since
they use body-weight only. Fifteen push-ups will yield more
muscular endurance in the middle chest and shoulders. For the
triceps exercises, dips and press-downs, you want to put on some
size and thus completes a middle rep range.
It is important to remember that if your goal is to put on
muscle mass, you’ll do 70-80 percent of your workouts in the 6-10
rep range. However, you’ll need to do shorter and longer sets to
break through plateaus and force your body to keep increasing its
muscle size.
The same goes for wanting to tone up. Though it may be
tempting to endure endless reps with the goal of losing inches
and tightening up, the muscles will not react at all if every
workout consists of 15-rep sets and if the weight is not heavy
enough to generate a muscular response. Increase repetitions and
decrease repetitions regularly to spark muscle growth, tone and
Increasing or decreasing the number of sets seems a little
limiting, right? Traditionally, you’ll choose between 3 and 4 sets
depending on goals. If the goal is to increase muscular endurance
or mass, volume is the key, so usually 4 sets are recommended.
And 3 sets are the golden standard. However, several studies show
that for beginners, 2 sets yield similar results to 3 sets. If you
simply wants to maintain the current level of muscular strength
and size, surprisingly, only 1 set is sufficient.
If your on the cutting edge of what is quick and results-based,
perform 1 set to failure of each exercise. Use 1-half-reps, slow
reps, fast reps, pulses and other failure techniques to get the
muscles responsive. Here is an example of using the “1 set to
failure” technique on our basic routine:
Push circuit: perform 1 set in this order
Incline barbell press: weight 55 lbs, reps 5 slow, 5 fast
Push-ups: reps 10 slow, 10 fast
Assisted dip machine: weight 10 lbs, reps 10 full
Cable rope press-down: weight 40 lbs, reps 10
Any seasoned exerciser will tell you the above changes will not
only generate great results but will get you burning! A single set to
failure is tough, but it offers a great change to a mundane workout of
straight sets. Notice that at the top of this circuit, you’ll perform only
1 set of these exercises, making this is a great time saver too. For
beginners, this type of training works wonders, but advanced
trainees cannot get away with doing this type of workout day after
day, as their muscles simply need more sets to respond.
There is something great about circuiting exercises that work
complementary or synergistic muscle groups. For example, all
exercises in our basic push routine (above) work the chest, triceps
and anterior deltoids. The muscles fatigue quicker and the same 3
muscles are taxed over and over again, creating a large volume of
work and a large breakdown of muscle tissue.
The workout is quick and results-driven. However, there is also a
usefulness to working opposing muscle groups or antagonistic
muscle groups within the same circuit. Antagonistic pairings of
muscles include working the chest and back, the biceps and triceps,
the quadriceps and hamstrings or the abdominals and low back
Circuits that work opposing muscle groups allow you to lift
heavier weight, with fatigue setting in less quickly. This also allows
for large muscle groups to be taxed in the same workout, creating a
large caloric response during and after the workout.
For example, the chest and back are the 2 largest muscle groups
of the upper body. Exercising them both in the same workout can be
very taxing, yet very effective at fat burning and muscle building.
Here is an example of changing the order of exercises to 1 that works
antagonist muscle groups:
Opposing muscle circuit: perform 4 sets in this order
Incline barbell press: weight 65 lbs, reps 10
Push-ups: reps 10
Pull-ups: reps 6
Bent-over barbell row: weight 65 lbs, reps 10
The first 2 exercises work the chest and the last 2 exercises work
the back muscles. You were able to increase the weight on the incline
barbell press because not all 4 exercises work the chest. During the
back exercises, the chest is enjoying a rest. It is important to vary the
workout from a push/pull scenario to 1 of opposing muscle groups
now and then. Both are useful for different reasons and will keep the
muscles guessing.
Progressive movements
Over time you’ll get better and better at performing push-ups from
your knees. The natural progression is to try some reps from the toes
and then regress back to the knees when failure is reached.
However, what might not be so intuitive is for a man to begin
performing decline push-ups once push-ups from the toes get easy.
What about a 1-arm push-up? Decline and 1-arm push-ups are
examples of progressive movements whose purpose is strictly to
make the workout tougher and challenge the muscles to react. Many
progressive movements fly under the radar because seasoned
exercisers will stick to the basics.
When was the last time you saw someone do a 1-legged squat?
How about a single-arm overhead triceps extension? Common
progressive movements are unilateral exercises that call for 1 side to
be performed at a time.
Other examples include clapping push-ups, squat jumps with
weights (or other plyometric exercises with weight), staggered-hand
push-ups or single-arm, bent-over dumbbell rows without using a
bench for stability (hello, lower back!). Avoid underestimating the
results that can be obtained by progressing basic exercises into more
nontraditional ones. Incorporating progressive movements, our basic
routine will look like this:
Push circuit: perform 4 sets in this order
Close-grip incline barbell press: weight 55 lbs, reps 10
Decline push-ups: reps 10
Unassisted dips: weight 10 lbs, reps 10
Cable 1-arm triceps press-down: weight 20 lbs, reps 10
Remain in tune with what exercises are becoming easy and
progress them periodically. You don’t have to progress all the
exercises at once like in the above example, but choose 1 or 2
exercises to progress every week.
Changing hand position, performing an exercise with 1 arm or
leg at a time, and changing the incline of a movement are easy
progressions that will serve only to keep the muscle responsive. If a
chest press is performed on a flat bench day after day, not all the
muscle fibers of the chest are being activated; in fact, fibers in the
upper or lower chest may be activated very little and thus will not
respond, grow or get stronger.
Challenge the status quo
When it comes to exercise, change is good. Beginners should
focus on making small, incremental changes each workout and resist
the temptation to make a workout extremely variable. Systematic
changes, like the examples above, in weight, repetitions, sets, order
or exercises will create enough muscle confusion to keep the body
Last, remember to give the working muscles enough time to
recover and build back stronger and bigger: a complete 48-72 hours.
Along with sufficient muscle recovery time and sound nutrition,
systematic changes in the protocol over time will not only keep the
muscles responsive and growing, but will keep the workouts fun and
interesting! Z
Gabriel Bates
If you are looking for something
new to try, then the slow-fastslow workout is your next step.
The slow-fast-slow technique
requires the individual to
complete 10 reps at a slow and
controlled pace, then blast away doing 10 reps at a very
fast pace, then finally complete the last 10 reps at a slow
and controlled pace once again. The exercise known as
the 21’s and the slow-fast-slow technique are very
unique on the type of energy load that they require.
The slow-fast-slow technique is a completely
different concept and comprises several formats of
exercise. It will result in a deep soreness to your
muscles and elevated energy response. Slow-fast-slow is
a technique that has been utilized in professional sports
training for many years.
If you have a child who is participating in football,
soccer or tennis, this is the type of training they should
be doing at a younger age. A good rule to follow is that
a child should never be lifting more than their body
weight until they have reached or passed both parents’
height. According to the American College of Sports
Medicine, the adolescent athlete should focus more on
body-weight exercises. This type of training is very
simple to direct toward calisthenics and will surely
prepare any athlete for soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey
or other similar sports.
If you’re looking to spice up this week’s workout,
slow-fast-slow is your answer. Be sure to use precise
form on the slower reps and explode during the fast
part of the exercise. It is okay to use some cheating
during the speed reps. It is very important to flex and
squeeze your muscle in both the concentric and
Why deload?
If you seem to be
doing everything right
but have noticed that
progress has become
stalled, back off a bit
in your intensity for a
week or 2 and then go
at it full force.
Deloading allows
repair not just of your
muscles but also of
connective tissue,
ligaments, tendons
and cartilage. It will
also help stave off
mental burnout.
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Smart training
eccentric motions during the final 10 repetitions.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to train using a 5-5-5 slow-fast-slow,
and if you’re a power lifter or other strength athlete, then a 3-3-3 is
likely more applicable. Most athletes should start with the 10-10-10
Most sports will require a period of moderate energy that shifts
to a level of explosive energy. This process will repeat itself again and
again throughout the course of any sporting event. Training to
become sports specific is the goal of any good conditioning program.
The slow-fast-slow format of training is directly geared toward
conditioning an athlete to perform better in that protocol. Games are
won by a half step and races are won by a half step, so this type of
training is essential for today’s competitive athlete.
Weight loss and toned muscles are another wonderful outcome
of this type of workout. Because of the type of muscle stress it puts
on your system, it even helps prevent injury by stimulating tendons
and ligaments to thicken.
Getting started
Take a simple curl bar and choose a weight that you can perform 30
reps with. Curl the bar and perform 10 reps at a normal speed of 2
seconds up and then 2 seconds down (concentric and eccentric,
Without stopping, perform the next 10 repetitions as fast as
possible, making sure you perform as much range of motion as
achieved in the previous set.
Finish with a final set of 10 slower reps and attempt to contract
the muscle in both directions as the weight is moved — if you’re a
bodybuilder. If you’re not a bodybuilder, you should do just full
range of motion as usual. It’s even useful to have some athletes freeze
in a particular part of the exercise for 10 seconds. Athletes such as
archers, basketball players, and others who hold positions will
benefit from the core strengthening associated with this type of
exercise protocol. No matter what, the slow-fast-slow is a total of 30
reps that the exerciser does without taking a rest.
Make sure you don’t think you can cheat: 30 reps consecutively
without taking a rest. This type of exercise is easily adaptable to
many different forms of training. It’s possible to use this type of
training with calisthenics, kettlebells, swimming, running, free
weights, machines, water exercises, etc.
Repeat this technique for at least 3 different exercises and do 3
sets of slow-fast-slow for each exercise you choose. Get ready for the
pain train because it will hit you head on. This type of training also
helps bullet-proof muscles against strain-type injuries associated with
sporting activities that require this kind of exertion.
A simple workout can be fitted together as follows: begin with
larger muscle groups and perform 3 sets of each of these exercises.
For a leg slow-fast-slow workout, complete squats, lunges and a
giant set of leg extensions coupled with leg curls. You can even add a
twist for the calves and do 20-20-20, but make sure that you flex
those calves for every single rep and you complete the final 20
This technique can even be used in running, by jogging the long
ends of the football field and then sprinting across the end zone.
This was commonly known as “jogs and gassers.” In most cases, you
will probably find that doing a typical format of exercises at the
beginning of the routine and then leading into a progression of the
slow-fast-slow workout toward the end will work the best for you.
It’s important to realize that various muscle groups need to be
contracted in both directions.
Breathing during these exercises can become difficult for many
beginners. Some individuals will try to hold their breath during the
speed portion of the exercise. It’s important to pant like a dog when
performing the speed portion.
It’s also advised that you should perform only 1 set at a time
utilizing this type of exercise format until you have acclimated to this
form of training.
You can also work on doing this with the same set of dumbbells,
but start off with 10 reps of upright rows and go straight into 10 reps
of lateral raises (performed quickly), followed immediately by 10
reps of slower upright rows. The combinations are endless, and only
your imagination will limit the success of your training.
Be warned that multiple sets of this exercise approach will cause
extreme muscle soreness and maximum conditioning. Z
Thomas Hammer
How is your arm development? And
if you’re a personal trainer, are your
clients happy with their arm
development so far? Made some
progress, perhaps, but want to make
The central issue in building bigger arms is to get
the focus on the right target. And for big arms, that
focus should be on your triceps. Yes, almost everyone
spends most of their arm-training energy on the biceps,
but the true size factor is found with the triceps. The
triceps will determine whether a person has big arms or
not. The triceps make up almost 70 percent of the size
of the upper arm, and increasing the triceps naturally
boosts the size of the arms significantly.
Here is a workout you can use to effectively boost
the size of yours triceps beyond their current state. It
features 3 exercises that will promote nice gains in the
triceps muscles. Put some of that frenzied activity
normally reserved for the biceps into this triceps
training and watch your measurements grow.
Triceps bench press
The triceps bench press is a great
tool for really hitting the triceps
hard. This exercise is similar to the
close-grip bench press, with a slight
modification. In an informal poll,
several bodybuilders indicated that
the close-grip bench press was the
best overall size builder for the
Weighted dip
The next exercise is the weighted
dip. Of course if you haven’t been
dipping for some time, spend a
few workouts on body-weightonly dips. Then start dipping with
weights added to your body. A
weight belt works best, with a
dumbbell or plate weight loaded
on. Initially use a limited-motion
dip, but then gradually work
down to a deep dip, always with a full extension.
Use a close hand placement (if possible, depending
on the design of the bars). Your head and chin should
both be kept up throughout the exercise. Make sure to
focus on an even pace during the routine — no
momentum. Good form is an important area for
weighted dips, particularly with the last few repetitions.
Perform 3-4 sets of 10 or more repetitions with a weight
that challenges you for the final few reps.
Incline extension
One of the best ways to
work the 3 heads of the
triceps fully is with the
incline extension. This
movement is performed on
an incline bench with a
barbell in hand. Lower the weight behind your head,
elbows pointed up, and then raise the weight upward to
a full elbow extension.
Most people find that the EZ curl bar works best for
this movement. Don’t let your elbows drift forward,
drifting elbows remove the emphasis of the exercise
from your triceps. Those elbows must be pointed
straight up and still.
Second, the weight must come all the way down on
the downstroke. This move cannot be short-stroked, as
this will cheat growth. Third, lock out at the top at a
point slightly below perpendicular with your head. This
keeps constant tension on the triceps and doesn’t allow
them to sneak in some rest at the top of the move.
This exercise is a great wrap-up exercise for the
triceps, excellent for a burn-out. So, depending upon
how much gas you have left in the tank, perform 4-5
sets of 10-15 repetitions with this super triceps building
tool. This is the final exercise of the triceps routine, so
it’s crucial to really get in some deep concentration on
the muscle movement as you work through the final
Building big arms isn’t as tough as many make it out
to be. However, you have to set the right foundation —
focus on the triceps. If you haven’t done that yet, then
start right away. Use the triceps bench press, weighted
dip and incline extension to get going. And you will get
going for sure. Z
back routine
Have you ever thought
of supersetting some
back routines? The
first set will be seated
rows on a pulley
apparatus. Use any
attachment, whichever
one you usually use.
Set the weight for an
8-rep max. But before
you begin, set up the
pull-down station so
that it’s ready and
waiting for you.
Attach the rope to the
pull-down station,
preferably a station
that has no seat
before it, because the
routine here is to sit
on the floor. Set the
weight for what you
think will be a 15-rep
max — taking into
consideration that you
will be coming off of
the 8-rep max. This
may take several trials
before you figure out
the weight.
Immediately after you
complete the seated
rows, grab the rope
just above the knobs
and sit on the floor,
legs bent, and lean
back. Now begin
pulling the rope. Don’t
sloppily yank at it.
Doing pull-downs with
the rope will challenge
your grip and wrists.
Ultimately, you want
the weight to be heavy
enough to make 15
superset reps
extremely difficult.
Rest 2 minutes, then
repeat the superset 2
more times.
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The modification to make to this exercise is to allow
your hands a slightly wider placement than what is
typical for the close-grip bench press, and to lower the
bar slightly down on the upper torso. With the closegrip bench press, the traditional hand placement is 6-10
inches apart; for this move, the hands should be 14
inches apart.
Also, allow the bar to come down in the area of the
sternum. These 2 modifications will enable you to really
put some power into triceps action and focus on just 1
thing — pushing. That push will develop those triceps.
Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Smart training
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Gabriel Bates
Believing that as long as you’re moving,
you’re doing enough to get results, that as
long as whatever you’re doing ranks higher
in energy expenditure than watching TV,
you’re getting enough exercise.
It’s this very approach to working out
that keeps an overweight body overweight because this approach
doesn’t consider the concept of forced adaptation. Mere motion
doesn’t always force a body to adapt. When your body is made to
adapt to new demands, it burns excess fat for energy. Movement
must be demanding enough to bring about this change.
Trainees who seem highly resistant to fat-burning must
reevaluate what kind of routines they are performing. Are they mere
movement? Or do they force the trainee to work hard and breathe
heavily? Do you employ scientifically proven fat-burning strategies
such as high-intensity interval training, burst training, compound
weight routines and intensity techniques such as negative training,
drop sets and supersets?
Believing that excess weight hinders cardio effort just because
it hinders cardio performance.
Performance isn’t what gets results; effort is. Very high effort
levels are possible even with the obese body. Do not confuse
performance with effort. This isn’t about expecting a 5-foot-10, 250pound man to sprint around the track like a greyhound. It’s about
putting his body through a routine that drains him in a feel-good
way, even if it’s jogging only 3 mph. He may have to breathe very fast
and hard and sweat buckets to sustain this slow routine, but this is
high effort for this particular body.
Sad-eyed trainees who report that jogging is just too
uncomfortable and that it’s far more tolerable to just walk around the
track needs to figure out what “uncomfortable” means. Does it mean
knee pain or simply being averse to exertion? Fit, smaller bodies
aren’t created by comfort; they are created by a lot of effort. If you
can actually jog without knee pain, then you’re ready to jog.
However, the issue then becomes duration. For how long should
you jog? Be aware of signs that it’s time to stop. Be vigilant about being
aware of any odd sensations that are not a normal part of exertion,
such as knee pain, heel pain or lower back pain. It’s very worthwhile
to jog for only a minute here or there throughout the session.
Believing that it’s unnatural, and even sinister, for a very
overweight body to huff, puff, pour sweat and become exhausted.
If you are plus-sized, you must not fear exercising with vigor and
rigor. I’m not saying go out there and pound your knees on the hard
pavement. You must learn which routines you can do with a high
Load the barbell on
the tracked barbell
apparatus. Place a
bench so that when
you do the squats,
you can sit down, but
sit for just a second.
Then stand back up.
Go up and down like
this, sitting for a
second each time at
the bottom of every
This technique will
enable you to do more
repetitions to get more
of a blasting burn in
your quadriceps.
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sizes, if for no other reason than to generate sales to the gyms
that purchase them. Also, a typical 300-pound person can work
out on a weight-lifting bench without any problems.
I have observed and trained many very large individuals, and
there are only a few pieces of equipment that they cannot work
out with. Explore your options by trying out the equipment. Do
not just blindly make assumptions. Seats on resistance machines
can be lowered and raised. They can also be moved backward to
create more sitting room.
If you’re so large that it’s an impediment to seated routines
with machines, then use this opportunity to train with standing
dumbbell and barbell routines.
Assuming that being very big is a hindrance to weightlifting performance.
When it comes to lifting weights — either free weights or
with a strength-training apparatus — obese folks are on an even
playing field with slim people. In fact, many overweight sedentary
people can lift heavier weights (depending on routine) than their
thinner sedentary counterparts because their bodies have had to
support the extra weight for so long. So if a large person feels selfconscious trying to jog around the track, they can certainly feel
confident when it comes to pushing or pulling weights.
Assuming that weightlifting will add even more size to an
already oversized body.
Women more than men have this unrealistic fear. But science
proves that a strikingly effective way to melt off fat and drop dress
sizes is to pump hard with heavy weights. Even moderate weights
will slim down the thighs, waists and upper arms in the obese or
overweight individual.
Yes, muscle mass will increase. But at the same time, this new
muscle mass will eat up surrounding fat tissue for sustenance.
The net result will be a much smaller, tighter body! Z
level of effort and which ones you must do
with caution. This will take experimentation.
There are numerous routines that a very heavy
body can do with high intensity while
maintaining safety. One of the safest routines
for very heavy people (and all individuals) as a
seated routines with weights (free weights and
Two more perfectly safe venues for large
people to put their heart into are the stationary
bike and the elliptical machine. And many big
people indeed use these. But often they only
go through the motions. Again, think effort,
not mere movement.
Though heavy trainees should perform
routines that make them huff and puff, they
should never perform gimmicky, showy
routines such as jumping, hopping, bearwalking, duck-walking, even lunge-walking,
or other such drills that can harm joints in
deconditioned bodies.
It’s no more torture for a significantly
overweight person to pant heavily and feel the
“burn” from serious muscle fatigue than it is
for a 130-pound person to endure the same
experience. Exercise should be uncomfortable
(but not painful), challenging and tough in
order to generate results. That lean, buff
individual is just as uncomfortable working
their butt off as any obese individual would
be. The only time “results” come before
“work” is in the dictionary!
Refusing to lift weights due to
“intimidation” or self-consciousness.
Not all people in the free-weight area are
built like Tarzan or Jane. And you can be sure
that Tarzan and Jane couldn’t care less about
your thighs or waist; they’re too busy fretting
over their own bodies. Yes, they are. Even if
you think someone has the perfect body, do
not assume that they aren’t just as selfconscious as you may be about your own
It’s still a pervasive phenomenon: few
obese trainees go into the free weight area. Is
this because they are intimidated? It’s
important to realize that the workout
environment is not threatening.
However, some things just need to be
realized, such as the wonderful virtues of
training with free weights. There are some
routines that cannot be duplicated with
selectorized equipment (resistance machines).
Imagine all the fat you’d lose if you were
trained to perform barbell squats, deadlifts,
declined leg presses, bench presses and
dumbbell presses.
You can still train with machines for
smaller muscle groups and for leg extensions,
leg curls, and lat pull-downs and rows, but
don’t let intimidation keep you from training
in the free weight area.
Assuming that strength-training and
weight-lifting equipment won’t accommodate
a very large body.
The truth is, very few machines won’t fit
an obese body. All the rest will. Manufacturers
of these machines want profit. The machines
are designed to accommodate people of all
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Muscle Science
Not all women want to “bulk
up.” This is understandable.
But over the years, there has
been a change, not only in
the research showing why
building muscle is more
metabolically effective but
also in society’s perception of
women who exhibit a strong
physical look. More and
more, the look of tight, toned
muscles is being seen as the
height of femininity and
attractiveness; think Jessica
Biel or Jennifer Garner.
Women who build muscle
can guard not only their own
safety but also their health.
Why build muscle?
The amount of lean muscle mass that a woman
possesses is directly related to the favorability of
her body composition. For example, take 2
women who each weigh 150 lbs. One woman is
20 percent body fat, while the other is 40 percent
body fat. The woman with the lower body fat
possesses more lean muscle mass and is therefore
the healthier and more fit.
Having a body fat percentage above 30
percent means an increased risk for diabetes,
heart disease and hypertension, not to mention
it’s considered “obese.” Increasing lean muscle
mass is the perfect way to combat obesity.
Furthermore, muscle tissue burns calories at rest;
it’s very metabolically active. Muscles use calories
to maintain existence, and to burn even more
calories when active.
Fat tissue, on the other hand, is fairly
sedentary, burning a scant 2-5 calories/day/lb as
opposed to muscle’s 30-50 calories/day/lb at rest.
With a significant amount of muscle tissue, a
woman’s basal metabolic rate can be significantly
increased, not to mention skyrocket during
activity since more muscle is available to do
work and therefore burn more fat and calories
for fuel.
Why weight train?
Many gym rats are drawn toward cardio
equipment and will spend hours on the elliptical,
treadmill or bike in last-ditch efforts to lose weight.
Cardiovascular activity can certainly be useful in
calorie burning, but typical steady-state,
endurance-based cardio does not impart a
Hot hams
A great time to train
your hamstrings is
directly after a sprint
workout. The sprinting
works the hamstrings
and they will be
warmed up for the
resistance training
session. Sprinting
works the hamstrings
and quadriceps in
tandem, a unique
aspect, as most
training does not.
After a sprinting
workout you can
crank up the weight
and give the leg
biceps a challenging
workout. It’s important
to consistently work
the hamstrings to
balance the legs.
Often the quadriceps
are trained much more
than the hamstrings,
and the imbalance can
lead to injuries.
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Jill Coleman
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Muscle Science
metabolic boost or build muscle or tone. For example, not
only have long-duration jogging and cycling been shown
to be inferior modes of weight loss, but they also maintain
a person’s former version of themselves: a smaller pear
shape rather than a large pear shape. Without weight
training, a person’s frame and shape will remain the same,
with little muscle, definition or cut.
Furthermore, the calories burned during longsustained aerobic exercise are absolute. Once you get off
the machine, there is relatively little afterburn. But
weight training has been shown in research to be the
best way to increase the number of calories burned postexercise. The metabolic effect (or excess post-exercise
oxygen consumption) that’s earned through a single,
intense weight-training bout has the potential to keep an
individual burning fat and calories at an accelerated rate
for up to 24 hours post-exercise! Following a weight
training workout, your body uses calories and fat to
replace fuel stores lost during exercise and shuttle blood
and metabolites around for tissue repair, all of which are
ongoing post-workout.
Lifting weights also improves bone mineral density.
Lifting a weight forces muscles to contract and pull on the
muscle’s insertion points that attach to bones, creating joint
movement. It’s this pulling that actually activates new bone
growth. Thus, lean muscle mass is invaluable for women
of all ages – and oh, it looks good too! Weight training,
along with sound muscle-building nutrition, is the only
way to build significant muscle mass.
Your muscle-building workout
It’s not enough to simply pick up some weights and lift
them. There are certain protocols and programs that
work best for women simply because a woman’s
hormonal environment only allows her to build so much
muscle. Testosterone and growth hormone are important
metabolic messengers that, when released during intense
weight training, can have a significant effect on muscle
By nature, women have much less testosterone than
men. High testosterone production allows for significant
increases in lean body mass. Because women have less
than men, they must weight train a certain way to
increase it naturally and harness its power into muscle
building. Growth hormone is also an anabolic (musclebuilding) hormone that is released in response to intense
weight training and contributes not only to muscle
building but also to fat burning, mineralization of bone
and immune system function.
Building muscle size, or hypertrophy, is a science that
requires 2 types of exercise protocols, as well as
progressive resistance. The first exercise protocol called
myofibrillar hypertrophy, involves using relatively heavy
weight and performing sets of 2 to 8 repetitions to
increase the quantity and size of the muscle’s contractile
apparatuses, developing a larger limb. A person should
reach close to the point of mechanical failure by the
seventh or eighth repetition; in other words, the weight
should be too heavy to lift.
This provoking of failure increases testosterone
release and increases microtrauma to the muscle fibers.
Microtrauma is the generation of small muscle tears
during weight training and is the basis for hypertrophy.
When this occurs, the muscle repair process effectively
replaces the damaged muscle with stronger and larger
tissue so that the tissue can withstand that same stress
load in the future. Progressive resistance, or increasing
resistance as the workouts progress, allows for the
muscles to handle increased workloads and continually
The second useful protocol elicits sarcoplasmic
hypertrophy, an increase in sarcoplasmic fluid within
muscle cells, allowing muscles to grow and appear
larger. This type of training yields the greatest strength
gains in beginners and is used to prime one’s
neuromuscular system, leading to fast gains in strength
within the first couple weeks of training.
The sarcoplasmic hypertrophy protocol calls for 1215 repetitions per exercise, 4 sets total, with 1 minute or
less of rest in between sets. This is an extremely
voluminous workout that moves quickly and yields an
aerobic component as a result. The best way to do this
program is to choose 3-4 exercises and perform them
back to back in circuit fashion. You may work
synergistic muscle groups (increases workout difficulty)
or opposing muscle groups. Here’s an example of a
typical circuit for an intermediate female trainee:
Incline dumbbell chest press: 20 lbs, 15 reps
Incline dumbbell chest flye: 20 lbs, 12 reps
Bench dips: bodyweight, 15 reps
Dumbbell side raise: 15 lbs, 12 reps
This type of training does not induce mechanical
failure as quickly, but instead elicits a muscular burning
that signals a rise in lactic acid that needs clearance,
eventually inducing failure that way. This type of failure
(metabolic) releases more growth hormone, likewise
necessary for muscle building.
The final aspect is the rest needed to repair and
build larger, stronger muscles. Many fitness experts
advise 48 hours. However, for best results, allow at least
72 hours between these intense weight training
programs outlined here. Longer rest days between
workouts will allow muscles to fully recover, as well as
help the trainee push even harder the next workout. Too
many workouts in a row will ultimately lead to muscle
overtraining, which inevitably leads to muscle
Your muscle building diet
Building lean muscle mass is impossible without correct
nutrition. Interestingly, it’s fairly easy to eat for muscle
gain since both calories and carbohydrates are needed in
large quantities. However, to prevent fat gain while
building lean muscle, a specific nutrition plan is
needed: Maximize muscle building and minimize fat
storing. Preworkout (60-90 minutes prior), consume a
small meal containing both carbohydrates and protein
(close to a 50-50 ratio). This type of snack will make
energy available to assure an intense workout, but will
limit fat-storing potential. An example is a small bowl of
natural oatmeal with 1-half scoop of whey protein
powder and 1-2 tbsp of natural peanut butter.
The art of hypertrophy, however, lies mostly in an
individual’s post-exercise nutrition. Post-exercise,
carbohydrate intake is critical, ideally within the first 30
minutes after weight training. During intense exercise,
Other factors affecting muscle building
Many women claim that they bulk up quickly, but not
surprisingly, it’s actually not all that easy for women to
put on substantial muscle because of our hormonal
makeup. In addition to exercise and nutrition, there are
other tools and techniques that assist the body’s ability
to build lean muscle mass. Sleep is powerful in releasing
growth hormone. In fact, growth hormone levels cycle
up and down throughout the day, and 1 of the peak
times of growth hormone release is within an hour after
falling asleep. Get at least eight hours of sleep every
night to maximize growth hormone’s muscle-building
Consumption of dietary protein outside of pre- and
post-workout meals is beneficial in maintaining muscle
mass. Certain supplemental complexes have been
shown to increase muscle size and strength, including
creatine, glutamine and arginine. Cribb et al. showed
that a creatine and carbohydrate supplement
significantly increased muscle fiber size in participants
performing resistance training over a carbohydrate-only
supplement (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,
vol. 39 [2007]).
Along with stimulating the release of growth
hormone, glutamine is an anabolic amino acid whose
muscle stores limit the amount of muscle mass that can
possibly be generated. Anyone trying to build muscle
will need to make this amino acid available to the
muscles (0.5 mg of glutamine per kilogram of body
weight). Finally, the amino acid arginine has been
shown to trigger the release of somatotropin upon
supplementation. Somatotropin is an insulin-like
growth factor stimulating protein (i.e., muscle)
synthesis. It likewise facilitates growth hormone release.
“Just right for a woman”
Weight training and smart, sound nutrition form the
cornerstone of a woman’s muscle-building potential. No
supplement, amount of sleep or endless aerobics classes
will do the trick if these measures are not in place. Once
they are, however, liberal consumption of lean protein
maintains healthy muscle tone and mass. Remember to
train heavy, train to failure and use both exercise
protocols outlined here to ultimately reap big, bulky
benefits in building lean muscle tissue and, in effect, a
stronger, healthier, leaner you! Z
Staying in
the groove
Occasionally your
body is not as full of
energy as normal. If
you’re sick, it is wise
to skip the workout.
However, if you aren’t
really sick but instead
are simply feeling
sluggish, the best
response is to
downgrade your
workout activity level.
For instance, if you
typically perform 4-5
sets of squats, cut
back to 2-3 sets. Do
this for each of the
exercises you perform.
By cutting back on
your routine instead of
totally skipping it, you
keep your body in the
training groove
without pushing it too
hard when you are
slightly below par.
When you aren’t sick
but simply a bit
sluggish, a little
training is better than
no training.
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Flat bench barbell press: 75 lbs, 6 reps
Barbell bent-over row: 85 lbs, 8 reps
Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 25 lbs, 6 reps
Dips: body weight, as many as possible up to 8
Dumbbell biceps curl: 20 lbs, 6 each side
Hanging leg raise: body weight, 8 reps
blood glucose and usually glycogen stores are depleted
and need to be replenished. At the same time, muscle
breakdown occurs, which merits substantial protein
intake also.
The goal of a post-workout, muscle-building meal is
to deliver protein to muscles for repair and
reinforcement while also replenishing muscle glycogen.
Exercise itself is a catabolic act, breaking down muscle
and using up fuel reserves; consuming lean protein and
high-quality carbs post-workout will allow the body to
remain anabolic.
Immediately following exercise, the body is in a
depleted state and muscle tissue will devour anything that
can be used for fuel: muscles are sponge-like at this point
and careful consideration should be given to food choices.
Whey protein is 1 of the most quickly absorbed types of
protein. Other options include egg whites, ground beef
and even milk. A carbohydrate source should be
insulinogenic, since insulin accelerates protein uptake by
the muscles and facilitates muscle growth. Good
carbohydrate sources post-workout include simple-sugarcontaining foods such as honey and bananas.
create micro-tears in the muscles to increase mass. To
perform a myofibrillar hypertrophy protocol, perform 46 sets (2-8 reps each) and rest 1-2 minutes in between
sets. Here’s an example of an upper-body workout for an
intermediate female exerciser:
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Muscle Science
Fraser Quelch
The walking lunge is a tremendous foundational
movement that is key to human functionality.
Demanding integrated strength, balance and
coordination, this exercise is a valuable
contributor for many athletic movements and
provides the base on which many progressions
can be built to challenge anyone of almost every
Most importantly, the walking lunge is based on the gait pattern
and, as such, supports the development of the most basic of human
functions: locomotion. In this compound movement, we are
vertically oriented to gravity, we have to contend with ground
reaction force and momentum, and the action is a contralateral 1 that
is influenced heavily by subtle movement tweaks that result in
different forces and proprioceptive reactions, all of which map to the
functionality of moving in life and sport.
To truly appreciate the power of walking lunges, we first need to
understand what real muscle function is. In other words, what the
muscles are actually doing as they relate to the gravity, ground
reaction force and momentum from the upright position that is
associated with movement.
The walking lunge is a complex movement with a lot going on
muscularly. A broad strokes synopsis follows: as the foot hits the
ground, the majority of the musculature in the leg is activated to
resist and reverse the effect of ground reaction. This includes an
eccentric deceleration of ankle eversion and dorsiflexion, internal
rotation of the tibia and femur, knee flexion and hip flexion.
This eccentric effort switches on the peroneal and calf group, the
quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes in concert. The muscular loading
experienced at impact not only serves to reverse the effect of ground
reaction, but also sets all of these muscle groups up to concentrically
explode out of the bottom of the movement. This facilitates
coordinative propulsion and drives the pelvis through the action and
into the following stride. The lunge is further influenced by the
movement of the trunk above.
By accentuating and loading this gait-like action with more range
of motion, added resistance and/or speed of movement, we begin to
build some incredible strength and power that will pay big dividends
to our general abilities.
So how should the walking lunge be performed?
The first thing to consider here is that there is not 1 right way. There
are literally hundreds of variations, each 1 with advantages and
disadvantages. Traditionally the walking lunge was thought to be
performed with your shoulders directly over your hips, being sure to
keep your knee tracking over the second toe and keeping shoulders
square. This is indeed the root technique for the motion, but it is not
without its limitations.
Consider that in gait the thoracic spine is rotating in the opposite
direction as the pelvis in order to properly load the abdominals to
facilitate efficient and coordinated movement. Why then do we
traditionally not allow or even emphasize this rotation in the walking
lunge? This is a missed opportunity to integrate abdominal reactivity,
strength and function with the conventional technique.
Another example: as was discussed earlier, the standard “picture
perfect lunge” is performed with no bend at the waist. If we consider
the variations in which we use a lunge in life (picking up our
laundry or kids, running to lunge, bend and reach for a tennis swing;
or running and lunging to stop a ball from going out of bounds in
sport), we could in many ways reconsider the industry’s general
exclusion of lunges with reaches and its emphasis on the simple
sagittal plane version of the movement.
Performing a walking lunge with a low forward reach can drive
our body to give us some tremendously strong reactive contractions.
This, too, goes back to an understanding of real muscle function. As
our hamstrings and glutes are perfectly positioned to decelerate hip
flexion, a lunge with a forward reach to knee height or lower will
drive the pelvis into anterior tilt, accentuating hip flexion, and cause
the hamstrings and glutes to activate at an increased level to
decelerate this action. Purposefully integrating the reach, varying
degrees of momentum and/or increased resistance accentuate this
muscle loading and will lead to tremendous strength gains and
neuromuscular development in the hip complex.
The variations are virtually endless, and none of them are
necessarily incorrect, depending on what you are trying to accomplish:
lunge and reach, lunge under load, lunge with a single dumbbell (at
shoulder height or held overhead), lunge with various lifts, etc.
The best way to view the integration of these technique tweaks is to
The walking lunge
is based on the gait
pattern, and as
such supports the
development of the
most basic of
human functions:
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Are walking lunges for everybody?
The lunge is a foundational element to human
movement, and the walking variation will provide
significant benefits for just about everyone. If you’re
unable to perform a walking lunge because of a lack of
strength or the presence of pain, addressing this
dysfunction should be of the highest priority because of
the importance of the motor pattern.
If it’s a weakness or neuromuscular issue such as
that in a deconditioned, older, or post-rehabilitative
individual, there are many ways to regress the
progression and unload the lunge to find an appropriate
starting place from which you can build this
functionality back up. To regress the standard lunge to
an assisted step-back lunge or even further to an
assisted static lunge, grasp the handles of a suspension
trainer that will allow you to assist, support and control
the exercise with your upper body while still providing
freedom of movement.
In some cases, poor technique and pain can be due
to a lack of flexibility up or down the chain. When you
address these issues, the pain or technique faults will
often disappear as flexibility increases. In other cases
such as experiencing knee pain caused by arthritis, the
walking lunge may be a contraindicated movement.
Before taking a broad stroke and throwing away the
lunge or walking lunge, experiment with different
angulations of the exercise. For instance, sometimes
those who experience pain in a forward lunge may be
pain-free in a lateral lunge. This is only 1 strategy by
which you can apply a tweak that can help increase
functionality and make the movement and all of its
benefits accessible. Z
first master the basic technique. With the lunge, learn the
static motion first. Then progress to forward, back and
side lunges. When you shows strong mastery of these, it is
time to progress to the increased coordination and
momentum of the walking lunge before integrating the
use of some of the functional movement tweaks described
above to enhance the functionality, challenge and
effectiveness of the exercise.
One way to really hit
your upper arms hard
is with supersets.
However, mix it up a
bit this time — use a
superset. This does 2
things — it keeps the
pump localized and it
pumps the arms up to
their maximum
because having both
triceps and biceps
pumped at the same
time stretches the
tape as far as
Start with the triceps
and then follow up
with a set that hits the
biceps without any
rest between sets.
Perform 4 of these
supersets, allowing
some repetition
decrease as you
progress through 4
supersets (start with
10 repetitions on the
initial superset and try
to finish with at least a
level on the fourth
Example: parallel bar
dips to failure,
immediately followed
by standing dumbbell
curls to failure. Do not
get careless with form.
Have the dumbbells
right there at the
dipping station so that
minimal time lapses
during the transition
from dipping to
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Muscle Science
Why building muscle is different for everybody
Lorraine Page
What is the best way to build muscle? If you are a
personal trainer or experienced exerciser, then chances are
you know the answer to this question: lift moderately
heavy weights for 3-4 sets and 8-12 repetitions. This is the
protocol that countless trainers and exercisers have lived
and died by for decades. The problem is, this protocol
does not work for all people.
Building muscle is the key to changing the metabolism
for good. Men and women alike seek the tight, firm and
shapely bodies only muscle can deliver. When it comes to sustained
fat burning, muscle is the most important element. But what
happens when the standard exercise prescriptions to build muscle
don’t work? Is there another way to build muscle? Do people
respond differently to exercise? And if so, is there a way to find out
what would be the best way to build muscle for each individual?
Testosterone and muscle
Whether you’re male or female, the hormone testosterone is the
limiting factor in building muscle. Testosterone is the reason men
naturally have more muscle and less fat than women. Women, too,
are beginning to realize that testosterone is key to developing the
tight, shapely bodies they want. The problem is everyone is uniquely
different in their ability to release and benefit from this hormone.
Not only that, but there are other hormones that work against
the action of testosterone and can negate its positive effects. Excess
stress hormones, especially cortisol, are notorious for breaking down
muscle tissue.
Individualized metabolism
Finding the proper balance between cortisol’s muscle-burning effects
and testosterone’s muscle-building effects is of vital importance when
training to develop the tight, muscled physique we all want. This
means that it’s not only the workout protocol that is involved, but
also how that exercise regimen affects the unique hormonal makeup
of the individual doing the training that matters.
Every single exerciser is as different on the inside biochemically
Scientific muscle building
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to determine the
best approach for each individual to build muscle?
Something that was based on science and not left up to
trial and error? Two studies in the Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research suggest there is.
These studies, published in the March 2008 issue by
Dr. C. Martyn Beaven, usher in a new era in our
understanding of what it takes to build muscle. In the first
of these 2 studies, professional rugby players were given
different exercise protocols that included the exact same
exercises. The only difference in the protocols was that
they involved different set, rep, weight and rest schemes.
One protocol (the “muscle-building protocol”)
involved 4 sets of 10 reps with moderately heavy weight
and 2 minutes’ rest between all the exercises. Another
protocol (“strength protocol”) involved 3 sets of 5 reps
with heavy weight and with 3 minutes’ rest between
Individual response to muscle growth
After seeing these results, the authors did a second
study and stratified each individual into the protocol
that delivered the maximum testosterone release for that
person. When they looked at the results from the
second study, they found that a significant majority of
participants were able to increase both size and strength
on their particular protocol.
This was seen whether the protocol was an
endurance protocol using light weights and high reps or
one with heavy weight and low reps. Taken together,
these 2 studies show a few very important facts about
muscle gain. First, muscle gain is unique for the
individual and is dependent on the individual hormonal
response to the exercise protocol. Second, when
someone uses a protocol that suits their individual
metabolic tendencies, they are much more likely to get
the results they seek.
Real-world application
Obviously these studies were able to use fancy scientific
tools to measure hormonal responses to exercise
protocols, but the average trainer and fitness enthusiast
do not have this luxury. However, it’s fairly easy to
determine how an exercise protocol is affecting
someone through asking several questions. First, how
sore are they after the workouts and for how long?
While some soreness is useful, soreness that is extra
intense and lasting more than 3 days may signal an
imbalance in the cortisol-to-testosterone ratio, meaning
results will suffer.
By the same token, are the strength gains in the
protocol going up, going down, or staying the same? If
the gains in strength are not being achieved, chances are
this is not the ideal protocol for muscle building.
Energy, hunger, mood, and sleep are also important. The
first signs of lowered testosterone and elevated cortisol
are a drop in energy, cravings for sweets, dramatically
increased hunger, irritability, restless sleep and waking
not feeling rested. These measures act as biofeedback
tools for trainers and fitness enthusiasts alike on how
their chosen protocols are affecting the muscle-building
hormonal metabolism.
By using these feedback tools, it’s easy to find and
stick with the exercise protocol uniquely suited to an
individual. This new method and understanding not only
answers the question about how best to build muscle, but
will deliver the best results in minimum time. Z
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The truth about building muscle
Here is the truth about building muscle. It’s different for
everyone. Personal trainers who have been in the
industry awhile and who strive to deliver results to their
clients have already figured this out. When someone is
not getting the results they should, good trainers will
switch up the program. And if they still are not getting
the results they want, they switch it up again. Finally,
after several attempts, they will find the exercise
protocol that works best for that particular client.
Smart exercise enthusiasts will do the same thing.
They will alter their workout until they find the 1 that
seems to work for them. We never understood why this
was needed in some people until now.
It turns out that everyone is different in their release
of testosterone. Some people release testosterone on
protocols that involve lifting heavy weight for very low
reps. If you ask 1 of these people how to build muscle,
they will undoubtedly tell you to lift as heavy as
possible. There are others who do wonderfully on bodybuilding-type protocols where the weight is somewhat
heavy and the repetitions vary from 8 on the low end to
15 on the high end. Then, believe it or not, there are
some who build muscle on endurance protocols where
the weights are lighter and the reps are higher. Up until
now it was hard to predict which protocol an exerciser
might respond to.
exercises. The next protocol was an endurance protocol
with lighter weight and 5 sets of 15 reps. The rest
period lasted only 1 minute. The final protocol involved
light weight and low reps with a 1-minute rest between
each exercise.
Based on the above description and the common
beliefs about muscle building, the 4 sets of 10 reps
protocol should have excelled at building muscle, and
the 3 sets of 5 reps should have been best for strength
gains. However, the results of the study did not show
this at all. Every single protocol seemed to favorably
alter testosterone production in at least some
participants. This study showed that each individual in
the study had a unique hormonal response to the
exercises. Each protocol was able to create maximal
testosterone release above and beyond the other
protocols in a subset of the participants. Some
participants saw maximal testosterone release in the
endurance protocol, some in the strength protocol and
some in the other protocols.
as they are on the outside physically. This is a concept
that medicine has realized. However, it’s a concept
fitness ignores. In the world of fitness, everyone is
treated as if they are the same. If someone wants to
build muscle, there is a protocol for that. If someone
wants to burn fat, there is a protocol for that, and if
someone wants to get strong, there is a popular wisdom
about how to achieve it. But this 1-size-fits-all concept
does not work for every body.
Go into any gym across the country and you will see
personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts doing the same
style of workout, 1 after the other, over and over. Some of
these people look great and seem to thrive on these
protocols. But others struggle to put on even 1 ounce of
muscle and are confused about why it does not work for
them. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to look past
our old beliefs to see there may actually be another way
to derive the same result.
It’s convenient to blame poor results on genetics or
chalk it up to a poor work ethic, but the bottom line
that some people respond to the common wisdom on
muscle building and some do not.
Trap attack
Are you having a hard
time building up your
trapezius muscles?
For some people this
can be a tough
muscle group to train.
One way to get this
muscle going and
growing is to put
some heavy weight on
the traps. This can be
accomplished in an
unconventional way
with the standing calf
raise machine. The
calf raise machine
allows you to stack on
a huge workload. And
instead of raising all
that weight with your
calves, keep your
lower body still and let
the traps do all the
lifting. You can pump
them up quickly with
this maneuver.
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AreYou Fit Enough
Mixed martial arts
fighters are regarded
as some of the fittest
and strongest
athletes on the
planet. They should
have the endurance
and the power to go for 5-minute rounds, 5
times, with a little bit still left in the tank at
the end.
Therefore, it’s no secret that mixed martial
arts conditioning routines are among the
most sought-after. The typical mixed martial
arts training routine will force the trainee to
develop superior conditioning through
strength, power, quickness, endurance,
flexibility, agility, balance, coordination and a
sheer amount of mental toughness.
Here is an mixed martial arts full-body
conditioning and strength routine that will
put your clients in the best shape of their
lives, physically and mentally.
30 minutes of workout hell
The mixed martial arts routine
David Dack
The mixed martial arts routine
This 30-minute mixed martial arts full-body
conditioning routine is composed of 5 5minute rounds. Perform as many reps as
possible of each exercise for 1 full minute.
Between each round, take a minute to rest
before transitioning into the next round.
Round 1
Side push-ups: (1 minute, right side) Get into
a push-up position and places both hands
together in the center of the ground below
your chest. Next, move your right hand out
wide to the right side while lowering your
chest to the ground. Then press back up to
the starting position and repeat.
Side push-ups: (1 minute, left side)
Same movement on the left side.
Wall sits: (1 minute) Stands with your
back flat against a wall. While holding your
arms across your chest, bend at the knees
and slides your back down the wall until
your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold
the position for 1 minute.
Weighted Swiss ball crunch: (1 minute)
Grab a plate and lie on a Swiss ball with
your lower back firmly pressed against the
surface of the ball. This is your starting
Next, bring the weight to your chest and
contract your abs by flexing your waist and
raising your chest up slightly forward in a
crunching motion, pause, then slowly return
to the starting position.
Sprawls: (1 minute) While standing tall
with feet about hip width apart, drop down
vertically and place both hands on the
ground on either side of your toes.
Next, in 1 clean motion, explosively kick
your feet behind you until they’re straight in
a plank position. Then, bring your feet back
between your hands and immediately press
back up to the starting position.
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Are You Fit Enough
Round 2
Barbell push presses: (1 minute) Grab a
barbell with an overhand grip, then, while
bending the knees slightly and dropping
down, explosively presses up through your
heels to drive the barbell overhead until your
arms are straight. Then slowly lower the
barbell to your chest before repeating. Keep
a neutral arch in your spine throughout the
Spiderman-style push-ups: (1 minute)
Get into a standard push-up position. Then,
as you lower down to the ground, bring
your right knee up to your right elbow,
keeping it off the ground the whole time.
Next, push back up to the starting position
and alternate sides.
Medicine ball sprawls: (1 minute) Get
into the push-up position with your hands
on a medicine ball. Next, explosively bring
your knees up to the chest and then jump
off the ground, lifting the ball overhead.
Next, squat down, place the ball on the
ground and then explosively kick your legs
behind you to return to the starting
Russian twists: (1 minute) Grab a
medicine ball and sit on the ground with
your knees bent and heels in contact with
the ground.
Next, while engaging your core and
leaning back, rotate your torso as far as
possible to one side and touch the ball to
the ground. Next, move the load to the
other side without stopping.
Box jumps: While using a box that’s high
enough to be challenging, slightly squat
down, and then jump onto the box. Make
sure you land on the box as softly as
Round 3
Explosive push-ups: (1 minute) Assume a
standard push-up position and lower down
to the ground while keeping your whole
body in a straight line. Next, explode up
from the down position so your hands
momentarily leave the ground.
Drop back down onto your hands and
immediately lower back yourself back down
for the next explosive push-up.
Single-leg sprawls: (1 minute, right side)
Stand tall on one foot. Next, bend your
knees and lower down while placing your
hands outside of your toes.
Next, kick your other leg back until it’s
straight and gets into a plank position. Then
immediately reverse the movement back to the
starting position while keeping the other leg
off the ground the whole time.
Single-leg sprawl: (1 minute, left side)
Repeat the same movement on the left side.
Pistol squat: (1 minute, right side) Stand
holding your arms straight out in front at
shoulder level, parallel to the ground. Next,
raise 1 leg 6 to 12 inches off the ground and
hold it there.
Then, while engaging your core and
keeping the other leg off the ground, push
your hips back and squats as far as you can.
Pause, then push back up to the starting
Pistol squat: (1 minute, left side): Repeat
the same move on the left side.
Championship round 4
Wide-grip pull-ups: (1 minute) Grab a pullup bar with an overhand grip that is spaced
out at a distance wider than shoulder width.
Next, pull your torso up until the bar
touches your upper chest. Last, lower down
to the starting position and repeat the
Front squat: (1 minute) While standing
tall with your feet shoulder width apart and
toes turned out slightly, rest a barbell on the
front of your shoulders.
Then, while keeping your back straight
and your core engaged, squat down until
your thighs are parallel to the ground. Next,
push back up through your heels to the
starting position.
Medicine ball slams: (1 minute) Start off
this exercise by holding a medicine ball
overhead. Next, reach back as far as you
can, then explosively slam the ball just in
front, using your entire body for the
style push-ups:
get into a standard push-up position.
Then as you lower down to the ground,
bring your right knee up to your right elbow,
keeping it off of the ground the whole time.
Next, push back up to the starting position and
alternate sides.
Bear crawls: (1 minute) Get on all fours
with your hips up and knees bent at a 90degree angle; only your feet and hands are
touching the ground. Next, start crawling
forward on your hands and feet for 15
yards, pause, and then bear crawls
backward to the starting position.
Jumping lunges: (1 minute) Get into a
lunge position, then jump up and swap legs
in mid-air while keeping your torso straight.
As soon as you land in the opposite-side
lunge position, go straight into the next jump.
Championship round 5
One-armed sprawls: (1 minute, right side)
Stand tall and raise one arm out to your side
at shoulder height. Next, bend your knees,
lower down and place the other hand on the
ground just under the center of your chest.
Next, explosively kick your legs to end
up in a balance plank position with the outstretched arm off the ground. Last, reverse
the motion and press back up to the starting
One-armed sprawls: (1 minute, left side)
Repeat the same movement on the other side.
Plyo box push-ups: (1 minute) Step in
between 2 boxes of equal height and get
into a push-up position with your hands on
the boxes. Then, while breathing deeply and
engaging your core, quickly remove your
hands from the boxes and reach for the
As soon as your hands make contact
with the ground, quickly push up off the
ground with explosive force back to the
starting position.
Alternating medicine ball push-ups: (1
minute) Place a medicine ball under 1 hand,
lower down until a slight stretch is felt in
your chest or shoulders, then immediately
push up.
Next, rapidly roll the ball to the opposite
hand and repeat the push-up on the other
side. Carry on by alternating between sides.
One-armed single-leg sprawls: (1
minute) Perform as many 1-armed single-leg
sprawls as possible to finish the mixed
martial arts routine strong. Z
Joseph Grassadonia
Surfers are a
strange breed.
different from
most other
hardcore athletes,
surfers exemplify
a monomaniacal, obsessivecompulsive need to be in or near
the ocean, riding waves when (and
if) the occasion arises.
It’s an unrequited love affair,
never totally consummated, only
partially fulfilled. That’s what keeps
us enthralled, endeavoring moment
to moment, day in and day out,
season to season, year after year —
once and always coming back for
more in a state of constant
Stranger still among this
curious breed are the so-called
“wave riders.” These zealots are the
most committed, the most
passionate and apparently the most
crazed of all those who love to surf.
They pursue the most intense, the
most dangerous, and certainly the
most beautiful and sublime of
aquatic experiences.
Essentially there are 2 types of
wave riders: the “human
cannonballs,” as I call them
deridingly, and, in contrast, those
who are in it for the long run.
Neither type is “normal” in any
sense of the term. Both remain on
the literal and figurative edge of
social and psychological normality.
Indeed, both types are in every
sense abnormal, not least because
they are willing to devote an absurd
amount of time, energy and effort
toward the pursuit of something
that is so fleeting and otherwise
But what of the reckless,
careless and often thoughtless
“human cannonballs” who are all
too willing to hurl themselves into
anything that comes their way, over
the ledge into oblivion in pursuit of
an intense rush and perhaps also
some fame or glory? We’ve all seen
the type. They court fear and
danger with wild abandon.
Every thrill sport has them in
droves. These seemingly fearless
thrill-seekers tend not to last very
long, however. Inevitably, they bite
A new study on varsity
athletics has found
otherwise. Type of
sport and gender
seem to be more
important than preseason conditioning.
Women get injured
sooner than men
during a season, and
certain sports, such as
volleyball, also lead to
injury more quickly.
University of Alberta
researchers assessed
preseason fitness for
six varsity sports using
a vertical jump test, an
agility test, push-ups,
sit-ups and an
evaluation of shoulder
flexibility. Practice and
game time were
tracked. Over 2/3s of
the athletes suffered
injury. Women playing
volleyball suffered
injury less than 20
percent of the way
through the season,
while men made it to
35 percent before
injury. Men’s hockey
was safest. The only
association between
preseason fitness and
injury? Upper body
strength, as measured
by push-ups.
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affects risk
of injury?
Are You Fit Enough
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To be attuned to nature in this way — as a
wave rider — presupposes both spontaneity
and patience.
On land or in the ocean, the ebb and flow
— the flux — remains constant and eternal.
One can adapt to the way of things, in that all
of us glide from moment to moment.
Surfing becomes a metaphor for life, a
crucible of an eternal cosmic principle. Here
and now one is reminded of this existential
truth as often as one is confronted with a
glorious, big, blue wave.
The wave rider workout
Ever wonder how these big wave surfer
athletes train and prepare themselves for the
onslaught of punishment they get surfing
the big Hawaiian waves?
If you want a physique that is better than
the body you have now, you need workouts
that do more than the ones you’re using.
The training approach below will give you a
new super fitness level.
< Running underwater
Running underwater carrying a 40-pound
rock at 10 feet for a minute is a challenge.
This workout is key to building breath,
oxygen capacity and confidence underwater.
It’s basically a HIIT workout underwater that
builds fast-twitch muscle fiber and
supercharges endurance levels. An average
person can do this in a pool with light
dumbbells to start.
off a little more than they can chew or they
run out of luck; they get injured or they get
scared. At some point — sooner rather than
later — they disappear.
I have seen scores of these guys come
and go over the years. Some might have a
couple of outstanding waves or sessions, even
a season or 2; but, without exception, they
do not last long. Some drown.
On the other hand, there’s the “longrun” type of wave rider I mentioned. This
athlete is perhaps more thoughtful,
reflective, alert, calculating — and careful.
It’s not about fear or courting death or
danger. I don’t search for fear or things that
scare me. Being out of control scares me
more than anything. Rather, I seek out
experiences that fascinate me, that get me
closer to the divine.
So, when conditions get serious, the
overwhelming sensation (for me) is one of
intense concentration: a curious mix of
exhilaration and fascination. Surfers call this
“pure stoke!” I might think twice, but I’m
rarely scared. If one knows one’s limits and
has developed enough confidence to push
them in extreme situations, then fear doesn’t
come into the equation that often.
Observation and experience teach that it
takes a certain attitude — a consistent,
sustained manner of thought and feeling,
indeed a peculiar kind of equipoise. We
might be bold and appear to the distant (or
not so distant) observer to be “crazy” risk
takers, yet we are extremely deliberate,
careful, measured and, in some cases, also
As in any enduring relationship, one
cultivates certain habits (of mind and body)
that are conducive to the realization of the
highest of psychophysiological possibilities.
With this perspective, attunement to
nature and the essential flux of things is
essential. Awareness develops over time into
instinct. Complete and total commitment,
whether it’s a mile out in the ocean or
dealing with the myriad hassles of everyday
life, exemplifies this attitude.
These declarations sound intense and
extreme. Such is the nature of the
extremities of natural human possibility. In
practice, however, living, exercising and
surfing are rather more a matter of flow: a
delicate, balanced, concentrated effort
involving a reciprocal process of give-andtake, positioning and timing, a proverbial
corresponding with or mirroring of the
world itself.
Consider that waves are a fluid
manifestation of the cosmic spiral. Our
planet rotates on its axis in space, resulting
in the friction between earth and sky, which
produces oceanic swells — progeny of the
sway of ether over the earth’s liquid surface.
Bikram yoga
Stretching is key to being limber and
constantly loose in the surf, which helps
prevent serious injuries. Also Bikram can
teach you to focus better when working out,
which helps to intensify the workout. In
addition, there are many positives to the
meditation aspect of Bikram: mentally,
emotionally and physically.
Barefoot sprinting
Sprinting on soft grass builds strength,
speed and endurance as well as fast-twitch
muscle for explosive power.
Explosive whole-body workouts
Do lots of squat work to build the core and
an explosive and fast powerful lower body.
Push-ups, core work, bench press, and chest
and shoulder work to build powerful lean
muscles and power for paddling and to
prevent serious injuries. Lean muscle mass
helps protect against broken bones and
ripped joints, muscle tissue and tendons.
Good nutrition is essential
Eat lean meat and plant-based protein. Eat
food that allows you to digest easily and
quickly such as plenty of greens, avocados,
quinoa, beans and fish, as well as lots of
garlic. Most important, eat foods that can
digest quickly that offer ample energy. Drink
large amounts of water daily, which big wave
riders believe is the fountain of youth. Z
The key to power and athletic capability
Dwayne Hines II
There are 2 fundamental movements to practice in order
to improve athletic performance: running and jumping.
Of the 2, running is implemented and practiced in far
more fitness regimens than are explosive movements such
as jumping.
While we often see children bounding through
hopscotch games or turning jumping ropes on the
playground, as we age, we tend to challenge our bodies less in this arena. By
incorporating this type of explosive movement into our regimens, we open
Platform jump
One of the most integral jumping
exercises is the platform jump.
Platform jumping provides you
with a significant marker in terms
of height and allows you to easily
gauge your progress by the
changing heights of the platform.
The platform jump, like almost
all explosive jumping, provide your
body with the key elements of
plyometric training movements,
including power and speed.
This movement is performed by
squatting down, pulling your arms
back, and then exploding up onto
the platform, using your arms to
propel you forward. An excellent
way to add a challenge to this
move is by incorporating a dual
Place 1 bench or box of
moderate height in front, then
another higher bench or box
further back, with space between
the pair. Squat and leap up to the
first box, drop down and then squat
and jump to the higher box. When
one uses a dual platform, the
movements focus on speed, as the
time between leaps is minimized
because of the second platform.
This platform-to-platform
jumping can be performed several
times initially, and eventually work
up to a point of being able to
perform an advanced 20-25
You can also add mircro-cycles,
or small changes of increased
intensity into your jump training
routine by setting up an even
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our bodies up to a whole new level
of performance.
You can keep your ability to
jump alive by adding in some
focused jump training to your
routine. It doesn’t need to take
significant time or replace other
components of your program to get
significant results. You simply have
to be consistent in your jump
Training explosively when
practicing plyometrics, or jump
training, is key to improving
vertical, lateral and forward-moving
jumps. Engaging and training your
body’s fast-twitch muscle fibers will
aid you in these movements and
promote speed and strength.
There are several jumping
exercises and drills you can employ
to train your body for this
particular skill. These movements
are all meant to be explosive in
nature, focusing more on power
than on volume.
Ascending to
Mountaineering is
gaining more attention
as an extreme sport,
and it requires multiple
strengths to ascend a
Keeping the
cardiovascular system
strong by completing
both endurance-based
and interval training on
hills is key for building
up the body’s V02
max capabilities,
allowing the body to
acclimatize to the high
elevations of climbing.
Completing a workout
such as this 5 times a
week is sufficient,
along with focusing on
functional, posteriorchain exercises such
as squats, lunges,
deadlifts, hip thrusts,
leg extensions and leg
By strengthening
these muscles, the
body will be primed to
handle the intense hills
and rough, and
unstable terrian of the
Descending the
mountain also puts a
lot of strain on the
joints of the ankles
and knees, so having
a strong posterior
chain protects these
important areas.
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Are You Fit Enough
higher, third platform
and using the same
form, leaping up and
onto the platforms for a
low-volume set, such as
5 reps.
Standing long jump
The standing long jump
is a simple but supereffective jump to add to
your program. Perform
this move by squatting
down, swinging your
arms back and springing
forward as far as
possible. The goal is to
be able to increase
distance over time.
You can perform this
jump anywhere,
although it is often best
to perform the
movement in the
environment that most
closely matches the
sport or area that you
usually train in.
Squat jump
The squat jump, also
known as the vertical
jump, is almost selfexplanatory — squat
down and explode up as
high as you can. At first,
just use body weight,
but after a few sessions
you can graduate to
jumping with weights.
Use a weighted vest,
hold a weight plate to
your chest or hold a pair
of dumbbells in your
hands, and leap straight
up. Perform several
repetitions of this
weighted jump and do
so on a surface that’s safe
for your knees, such as a
mat, insulated gym floor
or even grass. Surfaces
such as concrete should
be avoided.
Jumping to new
Jump training is often
ignored, but it provides
fantastic conditioning for
your body and is a very
challenging workout to
perform. Add jump
training to your routine
and add another
dimension to your
physical capabilities in
the gym or on the
playing field. Z
Why understanding this will jump-start your athletic progress
Daniel Meyer
One of the questions I get a lot as a
professor and strength coach is
whether going to failure is
important for muscle strength and
hypertrophy. I usually reply with
my typical response: it depends.
Certainly the goal of a resistance training program (i.e.,
hypertrophy or strength) will determine the importance of going
to failure during work sets. Simply put, if you want to gain
mass, you should go to failure. Notice I didn’t say you had to,
but going to failure will be more effective.
Strength gains, on the other hand, come from a combination
of failure and not going to failure. A lot depends on a lot of
factors, including your training background.
First, hypertrophy is a pretty simple concept, but there are 2
approaches. One approach is the repetition method, wherein
muscle fibers are fatigued by becoming exhausted. Smaller fibers
fatigue and then bigger fibers take over and fatigue as a result of
a lot of things including hypoxia in the muscle.
The process of sequentially fatiguing fibers by robbing them
of oxygen leads to gains in muscle cross-sectional area. Gains
are not just from contractile proteins but from the guts of the
cell too (mitochondria, etc.).
The other approach to hypertrophy is lower rep/higher
weight. With high loads, hypertrophy is slower and
produces less cross-sectional area, but the increases
are due to contractile proteins primarily. Hypoxia is
not that big of a problem because there is not that
much of a “pump.” Neurological factors are
primary — pretty simple.
Strength gains are a little different. If you want
to gain strength, it really does not take too
much. The simple, tried-and-true 3 sets of
10 to failure each are a fantastic way to
see rapid gains in strength and
muscle mass over 10 weeks.
However, after the
honeymoon is over and 3 sets
of 10 lose their steam, and
you start to get tired of
the same old routine,
more careful
planning will
Incline bench
pull Lie facedown
on a bench set to a
30-degree incline;
position your feet on
either side for stability and
hang a barbell beneath you
using a neutral grip. Keep your
head up and bring your
shoulder blades together as
you row the weights toward
your chest under control.
be necessary to improve strength. That is
where the question of whether to go to
failure or not comes in, whether you’re
intermediate or advanced.
Ahtiainen and colleagues did a nice
study showing that strength-trained
individuals have the ability to recruit more
motor neurons, but in turn pick up more
fatigue when doing forced repetition sets as
compared to just maximal sets.
Participants who were not strength
trained did not see the same fatigue with
just maximal sets. I realize that maximal vs.
forced sets is a different issue from failure or
not, but the idea of pushing the muscle near,
to or beyond fatigue is the same.
Another interesting study by Izquierdo
and colleagues analyzed the pulling power
(bench pull) of rowers over the course of 8
weeks of a linear periodized bench pull
The rowers were divided
into 3 groups. One group
did repetitions to failure
over 4 exercises; 1 group
did half the repetitions
over the same exercises; a
third group did half as
many reps as the first
group and only 2
exercises. The control
group did not resistance
Over the course of 8
weeks, the well-trained
rowers saw increases in
rowing performance
even as they were
endurance training.
Only the control
and failure groups
did not see an
increase in all the
measured specific
rowing performance assessments.
Bench pull 1-repetition strength and
power was increased only in the group who
trained not-to-failure and with all 4
exercises. Additionally, when bench pull
power was plotted over the 8 weeks of the
study, both nonfailure groups saw increases,
but the reps-to-failure group did not.
Interestingly, changes to body mass and
fat mass were similar for both groups (a
reduction for both because of all the
Missing piece
So on the surface it looks like not
going to failure is the way to go
with strength training. However,
there is 1 piece missing from the
study by Izquierdo: a taper.
Instead of testing pre- and post-8
weeks, the researchers could have
allowed for a 2-week taper, which
may have shown that going to
failure was superior after the
athletes had a chance to dissipate
fatigue and see the fitness gains they
had been accruing over 8 weeks.
Nonetheless, for most clients
and athletes who want results
immediately and might be spending
training time doing other work
such as conditioning or sportsspecific practices, the importance of
not going to failure is obvious.
Results from another study by
Ahtiainen and colleagues sheds
some light on the hormonal
response to failure again when
analyzing maximum and forcedrepetition sets (concentric assisted)
in men.
While testosterone was
increased for both repetition
schemes, cortisol and growth
hormone were greater with the
forced-rep group. Therefore, forced
repetitions might produce greater
reductions in fat mass and increases
in connective tissue thickness
because of the greater growth
hormone response.
When we take all the cited
studies into account, it appears that
the closer to forced reps a set
becomes, the greater the potential
increase in muscle size (from
connective, contractile and
metabolic sources), along with a
decrease in fat mass.
Additionally, cortisol must be
managed with proper meal timing
to avoid a catabolic state as a result
of sets including forced reps.
Unfortunately, recovery from
failure schemes can take up to 4
days or so, which can make the
planning of training tough for the
typical 4 day split routine done over
7 days. Not-to-failure sets appear to
allow recovery during the week
because of the lower fatigue
accrued and allow for more
frequent quality work.
So here is the question: which
type of training is better? The
answer is that it depends. If an
athlete is early in a training cycle or
wants mass, then they should
spend most of the time training
with moderate to high volume tofailure sets for connective strength,
muscle cross-sectional area,
improved metabolic machinery and
fat loss.
If an athlete already had 2-6
weeks of to-failure type training, or
is interested in immediate and
consistent strength gains,
employing a not-to-failure strategy
weekly might be best.
Understanding what is a better
set structure, to-failure or not-tofailure, misses the point. Instead,
the question should be when should
you use sets to-failure or not-tofailure?
With an appreciation of the
physiological adaptations that will
occur and the amplitude and
duration of fatigue from each, an
effective training program can be
generated to meet your goals. Z
Use karate to
lose weight
Whether you throw
kicks or punches at a
heavy bag, use your
whole body instead of
just an extremity. Also
focus on constant
movement between
the punches and kicks
and use some
bobbing action as well
and it will take your
calorie burn rate even
8 9 W W W. O N F I T N E S S M A G . C O M | V O L 1 8 N O 6 | 2 0 1 8
endurance training). Fat mass was
reduced only in the to-failure and
nonfailure groups who used all 4
exercises — probably because of
increases in growth hormone, as I
will discuss later.
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Are You Fit Enough
One of the
top trainers
in the world.
Known as the Picasso of celebrity
trainers, Danny Musico can paint the
body any client envisions on them. It’s
no wonder he has been asked by Bruce
Willis and Clint Eastwood to help
them train their stars. His Beverly Hills
gym has had the sweat of Sylvester
Stallone, Hillary Swank and Demi
Moore, and athletes such as the Rams football players
undergo his interval training program based on the
principles of boxing. Boxing got the ball rolling for his
training career. Musico’s boxing titles show his “get it done”
mentality. Talk about resiliency … Musico achieved his IBC
Super Middleweight Champion title after a paralyzing New
York taxi cab accident. He looked at the doctor who told
him no more and said, “You don’t know me”.
His training methods involves interval work which is
customized for each client based on their injuries, fitness
levels, and what masterpiece his artwork of the body needs
to portray. For example, a client might do 3 minutes fast on
the treadmill, head over to the chest press, and then
continue this intensity in order to burn fat. He generates
this level of explosiveness from the average client who
walks through his doors the advanced athlete, and the
celebrities he trains.
Musico’s calling for training actually came from a
request by Bruce Willis. His first client was Demi Moore for
her role in G.I. Jane. This was the start to his career after
boxing. His job well done led to another call, this time from
Clint Eastwood, who needed to get Hilary Swank ready for
Million Dollar Baby. Musico initially said no because he
wanted to focus on his own training again, but it was his
mother who said he would be foolish not to take the
opportunity. On 2 conditions Musico accepted: the first
being that Eastwood have dinner with his parents and the
second being that they work out in New York where he was
training at the time for his own fighting. Some 18 months
later, after 8 or 9 hours of training per day, Eastwood took
Musico’s parents to dinner, celebrating the movie’s Oscar
nomination. Musico said that it was Swank’s open canvas
that allowed him to teach her all the mannerisms of a
boxer, even the walk and talking with the hands, that led to
the successful role.
His philosophy is that boxing can apply to any client’s
needs. Hand-eye coordination is beneficial for any athlete,
and the speed and endurance of boxing challenges the
cardiovascular system.
At 49 years old, Musico is also a motivational speaker.
He understands that the body is never 100% and everyday
demons from lingering injuries are present for most clients.
But you have to “get it done,” which is actually his
trademark slogan. His new clothing line from Hylete will
hit stores with the motto on every piece. His motivational
speaking demonstrates his appreciation for life after his
accident and his drive to be successful and prove that he
can change people’s lives. He has many endorsements that
he incorporates with this training including from Celcius
and BioSteel. Moving forward he has partnered with the
LaTerra development group and is currently selecting elite
trainers to run his facilities. This is a “turn-key”
opportunity to work with the celebrity trainer.
This Italian puts the 1-2 punch in training to get
results. His artwork of celebrity clients’ results speaks for
itself, even when the camera adds 15 pounds. From the
average person, model, athlete or celebrity, if you want to
“get it done” step into Danny Musico’s ring. Z
Climbing the
ladder to
To maximize foot
speed and
coordination for sports
that require quick and
tight body rotations,
such as volleyball and
soccer, drills that
focus on directional
movements are
Practice lateral shuffle
drills that require fast
movements in
alternating directions
around cones, along
with shuffle race drills
that alternate time and
Also incorporate a
component of the
various sport. For
example, at each cone
during a lateral shuffle
drill, have a partner hit
a volleyball at you to
pass, or dribble a
soccer ball between
You can also use
ladders to practice
various foot patterns,
which increase
coordination and
strengthens the
connection. All of
these components are
important for attaining
an edge in sport
specific training.
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Megan Johnson McCullough
Weights & Measures
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Realize that true happiness lies
within you. Waste no time and
effort searching for peace and
contentment and joy in the world
outside. Remember that there is no
happiness in having or in getting,
but only in giving. Reach out. Share.
Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume
you cannot pour on others without
getting a few drops on yourself.
Don’t neglect training your legs, even if you hate it. Some people
neglect their legs, especially men, who tend to focus on the upper
body, wearing tank tops and then long pants that hide their legs.
Working the legs will boost your calorie burn and help in
weight loss or weight maintenance. Leg workouts will also lower
the chances that you’ll 1 day need a cane, walker or scooter. Legs
are the most important part of the body to work. After all, if you
have to escape from danger, you’re certainly not going to do it
walking or running on your hands!
And nothing looks better on a body than a fit, strong pair of
legs! Lower body workouts should involve both cardio and
weight lifting. Stretching and jumping routines are also very
important. A fit, strong pair of legs will be more highly resistant
to cold weather.
A recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that 2 servings a day
of yogurt cut risk for bladder cancer by up to 40 percent. The study involved 82,000
people and ran for 9 years. Choose yogurt that contains only natural ingredients.
Doing just 10
minutes a week
of jumping drills
can make a
difference in your
fitness by making
you faster and
more agile.
The time to start training a
muscle group after a
previous workout is not
something set in stone. You
may react differently to
training than does the next
person. Too many people get
stuck on a particular
training rotation — often
without putting a lot of
thought into it. The key
issue to be aware of is
muscle soreness. This is the
best indicator of whether or
not you are ready to work
out again. If your muscles
are still sore, they haven’t
totally been repaired yet, and
training on impaired
muscles is not a good idea.
With a straight barbell, you’ll be doing
biceps curls. Figure out the weight
that you can do only 7-10 reps with.
Immediately after those reps, do
another set to muscle failure that’s 2/3s
the weight of the barbell in the first
set. Finally, without rest, grab 15- or
20-pound dumbbells and hold them
with neutral wrists (hammer-curl
style), and do 20-30 hammer curls.
Rest and repeat.
Drinks with artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger. Instead, drink more water, organic juices and herbal teas.
yak on a cell phone while sitting on a piece of
gym equipment. Someone else is bound to be
waiting for the equipment. Even if you think
nobody is around, a person could be eyeing
you from a distance, waiting for you to exit.
REP GAUGE Getting the weight load correct is important, as it’s a
major element in the equation for growth. Some people are overeager and move up too soon. On the other hand, if you wait until
you can hit your targeted rep range for 3 or more sets, you may be
waiting too long to move up. Instead, use the second set as the
measuring stick. When you can perform the first 2 sets for the
targeted rep range, you’re ready to increase the weight load.
BIKING is a great sport, and you can get involved in it fairly quickly.
However, mastering the sport is another aspect altogether. Cycling requires
strength and endurance that can takes years to develop. Most people don’t
even peak until they’re in their mid-30s. The slow buildup to conditioning
makes it a great long-term training tool. You should supplement your biking
with yoga, which will help keep your hips fluid and open.
KARATE In between
your upper-body
segments, practice some
karate kicks: front, side
and behind.
One strange workout phenomenon seen lately is the use of occlusion
training. Occlusion training comes over from Japan. It involves partial
vascular occlusion — occlusion to block the venous return. This involves
putting a wrap above the muscle
that is being worked.
One of the effects of this type
of training is to allow a much
lower level of intensity to be
used to build the muscles up.
The pressure from the wrap is
not super tight — a
low pressure seems
to do the job.
However, this is a
relatively new
technique and it
would be wise to let more
studies be performed on
this type of training to
make sure no negative
side effects occur.
rows, keep your
shoulders relaxed. And in
between your rows,
rather than just sitting
there, use the bench to
knock out some sit-ups.
One of the fastest-growing
sports in the nation is lacrosse.
In fact, lacrosse has the fastest
growth rate of any high school
sport during the past decade.
How do you train for this
enjoyable and challenging
sport? Lacrosse combines a lot
of quick sprinting action along
with staying out on the field for
extended periods of time.
As a result, mixed training
applies. Speed work and change
of direction drills are a must,
but so is some endurance
conditioning. And resistance
training in the form of weight
training is also employed by
trainers to get the athletes in
top condition, including front
squats, power cleans, incline
presses and 1-arm rowing
when doing lat pull-downs, use
a gripping attachment in which
your palms are facing each
other. Make sure that if you use
a bar, it’s straight, not crooked,
as you pull down and release.
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Weights & Measures
Overtraining is not a symptom of workout burnout, but it can
lead to it. Thus, be on the lookout for signs of overtraining: an
unexpected drop in exercise performance and general fatigue as
well as not recovering from workouts, mood changes, disrupted
sleep, injuries that don’t heal, rapid resting heart rate, slower
recovery of exercise heart rate, persistent soreness and
suppressed appetite.
Consider hiring a certified personal trainer. You need not sign up for a ton
of lessons at first if money is tight. A quality personal trainer can teach
you a lot in just a few sessions. See if your gym offers small training
packages that, per session, cost less than purchasing 1 session at a time.
Four sessions can go a long way as far as empowering you with
If you can’t afford even the most economical personal training
package, at least take the opportunity to ask an available trainer for some
advice. Many trainers have free time when in between sessions.
Participate in a group fitness class that includes strength training. The
names of these classes often have the word “sculpt” or “strength” in them.
Start off using both resistance machines and simple dumbbell
exercises. Instructions are printed right on the machines. Don’t be fooled
by the size or appearance of some of this equipment. They are very easy
to use and understand, and offer as few as 10-15 pounds of resistance.
Finally, consult with a friend who’s experienced with weight
Don’t forget to include your forearms and wrists in your weight-training
regimen: do barbell forearm curls plus supinated and pronated wrist curls
with dumbbells.
To expedite
strength gains
when it comes to
concentrate on the
negative aspect of
the exercise. Don’t
just let gravity drop
you down. Lower
yourself carefully
and slowly so that
the muscles have
plenty of time to
get their butt
If you use the 45pound plates on an
Olympic bar for
deadlifts, realize
that these plates
add height to the
bar, so that you
don’t have to lower
yourself as much to
reach it. Instead,
load the bar with
no heavier than 25pound plates. This
way, the bar will be
closer to the floor,
requiring you to go
deeper into the lift.
Learning to hold
your stomach in
while you train
offers the dual
ability of also
training your
abs, but it also
acts to help
train the deeper
muscles. This is
more important
as we age since
the lower abs are
pulled by
When doing Smith machine
or barbell squats, always
keep your feet flat on the
floor. Never use a platform
that elevates your heels.
If you’re 26 pounds overweight,
you have nearly 5,000 extra miles
of blood vessels through which
your heart must pump blood.
To strengthen your fingers, do pull-overs and cable rows with just 2 or 3 fingers instead of gripping the apparatus with your entire hand.
BUYER BEWARE Beware of little gadgets
that work an isolated body part, namely abs,
but claim to transform the entire body. That
abdominal rocker isn’t what morphs the whole
body; it’s the diet and full-body exercise plan
that come with it.
the resistance so that you can barely do 8-15 repetitions. If you can
do more than 15, increase the load. Beginners may want to aim for
20 reps at first, but eventually should increase the workload as
their joints become more conditioned.
Wear light clothes
for more freedom of
movement and more
aeration, and you’ll
be able to work
harder, and thus
burn more calories.
Many people look down while running
due to concern about tripping. Neck
pain, headaches, midback pain and lower
back pain all can be caused by looking
down while running. The correct
position to maintain while running is
keeping your eyes and head directed
approximately 20 yards in front of your
feet. It isn’t a problem to look down
occasionally, but constantly keeping your
toes in view is hard on your back and
makes your stride too short.
Your heart becomes the main issue
as you age. One of the best exercises
for people over 65 is power walking.
What is power walking? It’s a form
of cardiopulmonary exercise
consisting of fast-paced walking and
exaggerated swinging of your arms.
Walking at a brisk pace burns off fat
and gets the blood in the heart
flowing strongly. And power walking
helps strengthen the bones. Power
walking also allows for an increase
in the work capacity of your body. If
you’re over 65 and haven’t been
getting much walking in, start at a
moderate pace and slowly build up
Exhausted? Depressed? No
diagnosed medical conditions?
Gee, perhaps it’s because you
haven’t been exercising.
Connect the dots: no medical
disease, a lifestyle
characterized by inertia, and
frequently feeling run-down
and exhausted. It’s because
there’s been no exercise in your
life. Exercise is just as
important as good sleep, fresh
water and loving relationships.
Work it out!
Exercise is not
enough; you
need to include
healthy eating
Success does not
come from the
quantity of
exercises you do,
but rather from
the quality. You’re
much better off
just doing a
couple of sets
really well than
doing a ton of
sets with less
focus and
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The consumer response to the
economic crunch has been mixed in
the realm of fitness. Some trainers are
noting an increase in activity as people
deal with the stress through exercise.
On the other hand, many people are
starting to work out at home, most
likely to keep expenses down. If
you’re a personal trainer and want to
reach this group, you may have to
start making “house calls” on an
intermittent basis, with an occasional
“checkup” instead of a steady training
schedule. This may be the model
some trainers will have to employ
until the economy picks back up.
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Weights & Measures
How much of a rest should you take
between sets of bench presses? This
depends upon your goal. For heavyduty training, where the goal is to
boost strength, 3 minutes of rest
should be taken to avoid a decrease in
repetitions from 1 set to another. If
lighter weight loads are being used, a
1- 2-minute rest period works fine.
Many people like to run on the sand at an
ocean beach, lakefront or riverside or on a
sandy trail. However, running on sand is
not the same as running on a typical
surface. When you run in sand, your feet
sink into the supporting surface. And the
sand itself is an unstable surface.
What this does is put extra pressure
on your hamstrings, your calves and the
front part of your lower leg. These areas
really get involved when you get into the
sand. It would be wise to stretch these
areas out significantly both before and
after running on sand to help alleviate
painful day-after recovery issues.
Use Olympic-style weight-lifting exercises as a
primary tool to pick up your ability to jump
farther and higher. Olympic weight-lifting
exercises such as the snatch produce power in the
body — they build up the body’s capability to
deliver force and velocity.
The more powerful your body is, the better
you can explode and jump higher. Other
complementary exercises for boosting your jump
include the squat, weighted jumping and regular
jumps such as the long jump. Olympic weightlifting paired with that group will significantly
improve your jumping.
To strengthen
your fingers,
do pullovers
and cable rows
with just 2 or 3
fingers instead
of gripping the
apparatus with
your entire
source of vitamin E and zinc, and
contain protein. They’re low in
carbohydrates and have a tendency to
suppress hunger. They contain a
relatively high amount of fat, but most
of this fat is the “good” kind of fat, the
healthy kind that benefits heart health.
As for calories, yes, they are high in
calories, but at the same time, it usually
takes only 2 or 3 tablespoons to satisfy
hunger. They are filling and more
satisfying than the same calories’ worth
of potato chips.
A study of road cyclists compared several test groups to find out. One
group did no warm-up, another performed an easy warm-up and the third
group did a hardcore warm-up. The Strength and Conditioning Journal
notes that both of the warm-up groups outperformed the no-warm-up
group. The 2 groups who did warm up performed similarly on the test, so
the takeaway is that it’s better to warm up than not to warm up prior to
exercise, but the degree of difficulty of the warm-up makes no difference.
Before diving hard
into your weight
routine, warm up
first with light
weights to safely
screen for any
injuries you may not
be aware of.
If you’re walking outside after a rainfall, don’t step around puddles; leap over them instead. Have fun at it!
to estrogen increases breast cancer risk.
Thus, eating conventional (as opposed to
organic) produce gets tacked onto this
lifetime exposure.
ABDOMINAL WHEEL Have you seen the abdominal wheel style of
exercise equipment? This little wheel training tool has a handle that
runs through the wheel that allows hand placement for the movement.
This type of ab training was recently tested against the ab crunch, side
bridge and double leg thrust. Surprisingly, the ab wheel was
comparably effective with the other exercises and did effectively
activate the abdominal musculature.
Many people stretch before they do anything else. If their plan is to walk on a
treadmill, they first stretch the legs. If their plan is to take an aerobics class, they
stretch the legs first. If they lift weights, stretching comes first. However, stretching
should come after you’ve been exercising. Though often stretching is done in the
name of injury prevention, another good reason to stretch is to permanently increase
More flexibility means less injury risk anyway. Increased lower limb flexibility
doesn’t just involve muscle. It involves tendons, which can be very stubborn when it
comes to exercise response. Tendons respond when their temperature is elevated. The
response can be a permanent increase in length (i.e., more flexibility). Connective
tissue such as the tendons is more pliable when warmed up — as in literally a higher
Thus, before stretching, increase the temperature of connective tissue by walking
briskly for 5 minutes or jogging, stepping, cycling or doing a variety of lower body
movements such as jumping rope, jumping jacks, kicking or light weight lifting.
Set weights heavy enough
for an 8- 12-rep max. If you
can do more, then weights
should be heavier. Do highintensity interval training,
rather than steady-state.
Include brief bursts of allout effort every few minutes
during your cardio session
by pedaling super-fast, using
higher pedal tension, using
an incline, etc. If you use a
treadmill, don’t hold on.
Several studies have
proven that running
backward provides a
stimulus to the parts of
the knee that are often
weakened by running or
various injuries. It’s
simple to walk
backward, and then
eventually jog backward,
on a slow-moving
treadmill, and although
you may feel
uncoordinated, learn to
reach back with your
toe and then roll your foot toward your heel.
It’s only necessary to walk or jog (backward) for
a few minutes on a treadmill. Over time, you will
see a reduction in the pain associated with many
knee conditions.
Note: Start out very slowly and don’t hold on to
the rails. This won’t be intimidating if you start at 2
mph and work up from there. Holding on defeats
the purpose and will encourage poor posture and a
disrupted gait and foot-strike. Swinging your arms
will encourage correct posture and force the
muscles in your legs to do all the work.
W W W. O N F I T N E S S M A G . C O M | V O L 1 8 N O 6 | 2 0 1 8
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