Archives for November 2015

Call Me a Liar #1: Lose Weight Fast (Warning!)

“Call Me A Liar” #1:  Rapid Fat Loss (Warning!)
Understanding Metabolism.  It’s not exactly what you think it is. 

If you want to lose weight fast, and I mean really fast then you NEED to read this!

Let this serve as a friendly warning to those seeking rapid weight loss.  Please before you decide which path you’ll travel to get health, lose weight, speed up your metabolism or reach any other health and fitness goal take this information I’m about to present to you into consideration before moving forward. 

Everyone refers to weight loss as a means of getting healthy.  IT IS NOT!  Look, I’m not telling you you have to be happy with the fat that you’ve accrued over the years, I’m just saying you’re placing blame in the wrong spot.  It’s confusing because we have been told for decades that in order to be healthy we must maintain a certain body fat percentage or BMI (body mass index).  Even as a country we have declared war on obesity.  We listen to the evening news anchor reporting the new highs the our country is hitting as the sickest, fattest country in the world while displaying clips of crowds of fat Americans from the neck down walking down the sidewalks.  
You know the one’s I’m talking about…
obesity on the street

image source http://bbc.com

Now here’s an interesting statistic.  The based on consumer reviews the US is on of the most health conscious countries in the world.  In 2009 over 75% of americans were more concerned about their health when purchasing foods compared to poles in 2007 and it’s only been growing since.  We’ve also been battling Mexico for the #1 spot for the fattest country in the world.  So how does one of the most health conscious countries in the world maintain a status as one of the sickest, fattest countries in the world?  That answer, in my opinion, is pretty simple… WE’RE DOING IT WRONG! Guys, really… we’re doing it wrong.  We’ve being targeting fat as the enemy for years and it’s not.  Fat is a symptom of metabolic disfunction, like low energy, hair and skin problems, and constipation.  If we just focus on the fat, if we only focus on losing weight as the end-all way of measuring how healthy a person is we degrade the quality of our lives far more than you could ever expect.  Fat is the result of when your day to day bodily functions are being fueled improperly and therefore your metabolism has to literally rescue you from malnourishment and low blood-sugar levels.

What is metabolism?
Your body is a giant ball of energy.  How efficiently your body creates energy on a daily basis is what determines whether you’re benefiting from a fast metabolism or suffering from a slow one.  When most people think of metabolism they think of calories in, calories out or displacement of water, etc.  And when these so-called “fitness professionals” discuss metabolism they do so by describing short and easy ways to boost your metabolism.  For example…

“Drink 20oz of ice cold water first thing in the morning and you’ll boost your metabolism by blah-blah percentage for the next 24 hours!”

“Fasted exercise before eating breakfast can speed up your metabolism by over 30% each day”

“Drink green tea and lemon juice by the bucket!”

These methods can be effective in your efforts to lose weight, but here’s the thing… they are also very effective methods of stressing your body out,  driving your metabolism into the ground, forcing you into the dreaded “yo-yo” pattern, and causing long term health problems.  That’s not how your metabolism works!
In the graphic below (fig 1) you’ll see the two means in which your body makes energy.
The 1st and most efficient way your body makes energy is through what’s called oxidative metabolism. Your body uses glucose (sugar) within the cell, combines it with oxygen and so begins the process of glucose oxidation.  The result of this is energy production and carbon dioxide.  It is this process that allows us organisms to co-exist so well on this planet.  We inhale and utilize oxygen to create energy and exhale carbon dioxide which then plant life consumes and through the process of photosynthesis results in oxygen production.  It’s a nice planetary balance we’re able to maintain.Metabolism graphic
When your body experiences stress (which is described in greater detail in another article in this series) the requirement for energy production increases.  Your body will rapidly burn through glucose in your blood stream causing low blood sugar which the medical community refers to as hypoglycemia.  If your blood sugar gets too low you can pass out, go into shock, and possibly die.  Luckily for us we have a back-up system for this.  Your body can actually break down pieces of itself to create more of the nutrients our cells need to replenish sugars in your blood stream and continue making energy.  Most of us know this, yet we take for granted the reality of this degenerative process if we rely on it for long periods of time.
Let’s talk about this degenerative, yet life saving process.  We call it “gluconeogenesis”.  GLUCO = sugar,  NEO = new, GENESIS = creation.  There is a sea-saw like balancing act your body is able to maintain going back and forth between oxidative metabolism and gluconeogenisis.  The problem lies in how much stress we present to our body on a daily basis by eating the wrong types of foods, not eating enough food, eating foods in the wrong macronutrient (protein, fat, carb) ratio, or just not eating frequently enough throughout the day.  Instead of maintaining a happy balance in your energy production your body has to hormonally regulate your blood-sugar. Here’s the process:
Your blood sugar begins to run low and you begin to make the following hormones:
1. Adrenaline – this hormone references your liver for glycogen (back-up sugars).
2. Cortisol – breaks down tissue in your body like muscle and fat to bring them to the liver which acts like a magic machine turning them into sugar.
  • The following hormones, just to mention a few, are designed to inflame and steal nutrients like vitamins and minerals to keep the energy process going:
    • Estrogen
    • Aldosterone
    • Serotonin
    • Prolactin
3.  Parathyroid Hormone – breaks down bone in order to get calcium out of them.  Calcium is also an important piece in cellular metabolism.
Now call me a liar, BUT… if you look up “effects of prolonged, excess (fill in the blank here with any of the above mentioned hormones)” you won’t find many positive symptoms.  
So here’s the moral of the story. 
The rapid fat loss tips people are being fed by these self proclaimed fitness gurus are forcing you into hypoglycemia resulting in the secretion of a boat load of hormones which break your body down.  You’ll lose weight alright, but at what cost?
Think about it.  Just about any method a person uses to lose weight fast is just a series of different ways to make you drop in blood sugar so their body has to compensate by eating itself.  Drinking ice cold water first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast for instance adds stress on your body by making it work hard to warm up the water in your stomach before you can utilize it.  Then take into consideration that you haven’t eaten anything for the last 6 to 8 hours and you have a situation where you have an increased need for energy production (draw blood to your stomach to warm the water) and a decrease intake of fuel (sugar from foods).  Fasted exercise in the morning achieves the same thing.  Eating low carb achieves the same thing.  Eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fat achieves the same thing.  And people do practice such habits to months and even years in belief that they support a healthy lifestyle.  Over time it stresses your metabolism out so greatly that your body’s response to all the stress is to slow down the speed at which is operates.  This is what we call hypothyroidism, or low metabolism. 
How do you know if this has happened to you?  Well here are a few of the symptoms of a low metabolism:
  • Low body temperature (lower than 97.9 F in the morning and below 98.6 mid-day)
  • Low pulse rate (below 75)
  • Feel cold often.  Cold hands, fee, or nose.
  • Low or dragging energy.  Energy highs and lows.  Mid-day energy crash. Tired, but wired at night.
  • Chronic thirst
  • Urinating often (if you’re peeing more that 4 or 5 times per day, it’s a problem, especially if you’re waking up to pee in the middle of the night)
  • Constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea (1-3 bowel movements per day is healthy)
  • Sleep is restless, interrupted, feel exhausted when you wake up
  • Low libido, lack sex drive
  • Overwhelming PMS symptoms
  • Infertility
  • Get sick often (suppressed immune system)
  • Never get sick (overactive immune system)
  • Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, rashes,Hair thinning, falling out, brittle nails, slow growing
  • Anxiety, depression, irritable, sad
  • Gain weight easily
  • Edema, swelling, inflammation issues
  • Difficulty losing weight even with diet and exercise
I don’t know about you, but knowing this makes me mad.  I mean really MAD!  To think that you may have paid someone to teach you how to slowly murder your metabolism… it’s infuriating!  
You’ll only be able to keep this stuff up for so long.  We all know that when we are young our youthful metabolism is very resilient.  What we don’t realize is that our resiliency begins to crap out on us around 25 years old or so; especially if we’re stressing our bodies out from an early age with bad foods, overtraining, lack of sleep, and so on.  
The signs of a healthy and high metabolic rate are:
  • Feel warm all day (not hot)
  • Pulse rate between 75-90 bpm
  • Good energy consistently throughout your day
  • Restful, interrupted Seep
  • Healthy skin, strong nails, shiny hair
  • Healthy sex drive, no PMS, fertile
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Urinating 4 or 5 times per day, not at night
  • Maintain weight with exercising and dieting like crazy
  • Feel calm, happy, relaxed, focused
“So what do I have to know about my IMG_1519metabolism???”
The healthiest way of thinking about metabolism is by asking yourself, “Am I giving my body the right amount of materials, specific to me, that it needs to go through the many processes of metabolism?”  If you’re not, you’re likely on a path of illness, a laundry list medications, and pain problems for the majority of the second half of your life.
Keep this stuff in mind in the following articles.  This is the platform from which we’ll be discussing everything nutritionally.  Whenever we talk about food types, ratios of macronutrients (protein,fat,sugar) or frequency of meals look at it from a perspective of whether or not you’re giving your body the materials it needs to function optimally.  Optimal function may not mean rapid fat loss in the beginning for most people due to the years of damage done to their metabolism so don’t look at it from a weight loss perspective at first.  Depending on the state of your metabolism you may need to do some repair work, but think about it for a second.  What if your were able to have and maintain a youthful, protective metabolism through most of your life?  In a sense just by using food, sleep, and the right amount of exercise you become more effective than your physician at keeping yourself healthy, happy and mobile.    
Main points to take away:
  • 2 Methods of Energy Production:
    • Oxidative Metabolism = efficient/regenerative
    • Glycolysis & Gluconeogenesis = very inefficient/degenerative
  • In the efficient means of making energy your body maintains level blood sugar throughout the day avoiding the overproduction of degenerative (but lifesaving) hormones.
  • Rapid fat loss methods used by trainers far and wide are really just ways of forcing your body into hypoglycemia resulting in loss of tissue to include fat, muscle and even bone density.  THIS IS NOT HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS!
  • Figure out whether or not you need to repair your metabolism before setting out to lose weight.

Member of the Month Nov 2015: Kristi

Kristi McNKristi came to us almost a 6 months or so ago in search of a solution to some mobility problems she’d been dealing with for over 2 years.  She told us of the tremendous knee pain she dealt with for years until finally making the decision to get a knee replacement.  After the knee replacement she knew it was time to regain her strength, agility and mobility, but didn’t know where to start.

She happened to come across an article written about FitLife Fusion in the Las Vegas Review Journal and came in for a consult.  She decided to undergo a Neuro-Flow evaluation and begin training 3 days per week.  Since then she has regained mobility, gained incredible amounts of strength and lost over 30 pounds!  One of Kristi’s goals was to be able to go hiking again.  We think she’s ready!

Kristi mcn bench pressThe word “consistency” comes to mind when we think of Kristi!  No one is as consistent in their training as our Kristi.  She never misses a workout, never late, and never shows an inkling of a desire to give up.  She’s an inspiration to everyone who walks through our doors and we thought it was about time to show our appreciation for her hard work and dedication by making her our member of the month.

Thanks for being awesome, Kristi.  Keep it up!   We love having you as part of our Fit Fam.

You can hear Kristi’s testimonial right on the front page of our website in our commercial.

Training Your Eyes to Reduce Pain and more

Eye Drill Semi private classAt FitLife Fusion we do a lot of things that most would consider… well, um… weird, I guess.  Some of the movement exercises we choose for our members are definitely out of the ordinary, but they have their purpose and they’re usually just the thing a person needs to reduce pain, move better, get stronger, and feel better.   In this blog we’re going to discuss the visual system, your eyes.  Training your eyes could be the missing link to all of your fitness goals.  We’ve seen people who are stuck in plateaus break those pesky plateaus with visual training.  So let’s discuss the visual system, its role in your fitness goals, and a few ways you can train your eyes to break through your plateau.

First off, you have to have basic understanding of what pain is and how it comes to be in your body.  Pain is manifested in the brain.  It is not a physical things.  Although pain can occur in response to physical damage in your body, there doesn’t need to be an injury for pain to exist and nag at you from time to time.  Pain is described as an “action signal” in the world of functional neurology.  It’s your brain trying to get you to change your behavior because it doesn’t feel safe about what your doing (or about to do).  If your brain doesn’t feel safe with a specific movement it will do one of 3 things:

  1.  It will shut strength off in attempt to keep you from moving in a “threatening” range of motion
  2. It will create tension in attempt to limit degrees of freedom in any given joint.
  3. And finally it will send pain signals to prevent you from moving in a way your brain thinks is dangerous.

The amount of neurological threat your body experiences at any given time depends on how well informed your brain is of where you are in the world around you.  You see, within your brain there is a 3D map of your body. It’s being fed information from all of the sensory systems within your body, i.e. movement information, touch/feel, what your eyes see, etc. The more information your brain gets from all of the sensory systems within your body, the safer your brain feels about movement and the less pain, tension, and weakness you experience.

So what are these sensory systems?

You have 3 main sensory systems within your nervous system.  They’re listed below in order of priorityNeurological Hierarchy pyramid to the brain.

  1.  The Visual System – Your eyes
  2. The Vestibular System – AKA “The Inner Ear”
  3. The Proprioceptive Map – All the other information fed to your brain from the nerves that stretch throughout your body.

Your visual system is made up of a bit more than you’d normally think.  Your brain isn’t just getting information from what your eyes see.  Your brain is also getting info based on eye position and eye muscle contractions.  Your eyes work in concert with the other sensory systems to keep you balance and to aid in movement.  For example, eye-muscle contractions are wired neurologically to prime specific muscles for movement.  When our eyes lock on a target our body reflexively begins to follow our eyes.  So, when you look up with your eyes your brain turns on extensor muscles to bring your head up and erect your spine.  When you look down your brain turns on flexor muscles to bend you forward.  While this is happening your vestibular system (inner ear) is telling your brain which way UP is and which way your going in order to adjust muscle tone so you don’t fall over.  It’s a pretty intricate process, but when communications are running smoothly so are your movement and balance.   When communication between systems isn’t running smooth you deal with what we call “sensory mismatch”.  This is no good.

When your eyes tell your brain your in one place, your vestibular says another and your peripheral nerves everywhere else in your body disagree with both of them this is what we call Sensory Mismatch.  If your experiencing this you will always incur some degree of weakness, tension, or pain… in fact usually all of them!  Sensory Mismatch can occur as a result of trauma, concussion, too much computer time, and times of extra stress, amongst other things.

What am I supposed to do if I’m dealing with Sensory Mismatch???

Great question.  We almost always start with the eyes after evaluating people who come to our facility.  The eyes are at the very top of the Neurological Hierarchy.  About 70+ percent of everything is affected by your eyes hence why the information your brain receives from them is so important.

Here are 3 exercises you can do to exercise your eyes.  Before performing any of them it would be a good idea and test a few different ranges of motion to use as measuring points for the drills your about to perform.  Check things like forward bend, shoulder flexion, neck rotation or flexion, and trunk rotation.  While trying out the drills listed below check in periodically and see if you are gaining or losing range of motion.  If your gaining some flexibility that’s a good sign!  If you become stiffer, then that may not be a drill or position your body is ready for.  The eyes drills below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Exercise #1.  Gaze Stabilization

Gaze stabilization is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to keep the eyes still or fixed on a target.  Holding a target in your hand, like the tip or cap of a of marker or pen, hold the target for 10 seconds in each in the 8 directions of the compass.

Eye Positions

Exercise #2:  Smooth Pursuit

Visual Drill gazeSmooth pursuit refers to your eye ability to smoothly track a target in motion without moving your head.  Again you’ll start with a target in your hand centered in front of you.  Then move the target slowly in a straight line in each of the 8 directions of the compass.  Your objective is to smoothly pursue the target with both eyes keeping it in focus.  If you tend to lose focus or in a certain direction or if your eyes begin to tear up, take note of that direction as you’ll probably need more practice with it.

Exercise #3:  Full Eye Circles

Move the target in a circle along the outer limit of your visual field.  Follow the target without moving your head.  Try doing about 5-10 circles in each direction, clockwise and counter clockwise.  This is the most difficult of the 3 drills.

***A couple things to be aware of…

Tearing up or getting slightly dizzy are up signs of fatigue.  Don’t push yourself too hard with these eye drills.  If either of these occur while doing the drills, stop and rest a bit.  Start slow and just perform a few reps here and there.  Work to increase you stamina over time.  If you over do it you could end up nauseous or with a pretty bad head ache, so overtraining doesn’t pay off in this instance.

So try it out and let me know how it goes!  People are blown away by how BIG of an impact eye exercises can have on their strength, flexibility, and pain levels.  And, of course, if you have any questions just reach out to me at Peter@fitlifefusion.com.

If you’re in pain or dealing with nerve issues or neuropathy and you’d rather have a FitLife Professional evaluate you to don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation.  We’d be happy to help.  Learn more about our evaluation process here.

Keep moving!

Home Workout by Jen

Hey there!

Here’s a little workout to try at home.  It’s very simple by design and should be pretty easy to perform at home or out at a park.  Below you’ll find a short set of mobility drills to prime your joints for the workout, a few sub-maximal plyometric exercises like jumping jacks to get your blood pumping, and 5 exercises you can do in a circuit fashion.

Remember to take your time.  Start by trying to get 2 sets in and work your way up to 5 full sets.

Give it a shot for a week or two, and let me know how it goes!  You can reach out to me anytime at Jennifer@fitlifefusion.com.  Go for it!

 

MOBLITIY WARM UP:

Ankle tilts (5 reps on each side)

Knee circles in a 45 degree lunge  (each side and 3 reps in each direction)

Thoracic glide 5 reps

WARM UP:  20 jumping jacks, 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees

WORKOUT:

20-25 squats

15-20 alternating lunges

10-15 push-ups

10 burpees (with or without push-up)

20 sit ups

Rest for 60-90 sec and then repeat set 3 more times

 

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