|Fitness News & Views
A Publication of Graham Fitness
|March 15, 2014
||1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
In This Issue of “Fitness News & Views”
Why the Atkins Diet and other low-carb diets work and why they may be a good way to jump-start your weight loss program.
Running outdoors versus indoors on a treadmill – which is better?
What′s the best weekly mileage and pace to run for optimal health?
A new unisex test for US Army combat trainees – what′s my opinion?
Is the 5-second rule reality or urban myth? A new study shines new light on an old question.
The 5 top walking cities in the U.S. according to Prevention magazine and me.
A quick review of a must-read book – maybe the best book I′ve ever read. And no, it has nothing to do with fitness or health.
The other day, as we were waiting for an order of Chinese food, a friend of mine asked me why a low-carbohydrate diet like the Atkins diet is so effective. I tried to explain it to him, but I′m not sure I did a very good job. So let me give it a try again here.
First off, it′s necessary to understand a little basic physiology in order to understand how a low-carb diet works. When you eat any carbohydrate, your body converts the sugar in it to glucose which begins to circulate in the blood. In response to the increased blood sugar levels, your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a key to unlock the cells so they can absorb the glucose. As long as everything is working correctly, your fasting blood sugar levels should be between 70 and 110 mg/dL. You gain weight when you are overloading your system with glucose, because the excess which is not immediately used for energy is stored in fat cells for later use. Unfortunately later use is rarely necessary, because you continue to eat more and more carbs producing more and more glucose which is stored as more and more fat.
When you eliminate or severely reduce your carb consumption as you do on the Atkins diet or any other low-carb diet, your body is not storing excess glucose as fat, because there isn′t any. But your cells still need an energy source. They obtain this other source of fuel primarily from fat. When the body lacks its primary energy source (carbohydrates), it will naturally turn to its next source (fat) to burn energy. When the body breaks down fat, it uses ketones produced by the liver and your body is said to be in a state of ketosis.
Simply put, the Atkins diet enables your body to switch from a machine that uses carbohydrates for fuel to one that uses fat for fuel. Therefore, a diet with little or no carbs forces the body′s storage of fat to become its main energy source.
I used to be strongly against low-carb diets, but I′ve moderated a little and now have no problem with cutting out the worst carbs in order to jump-start weight loss. I even recommend to my clients who want to lose weight that they eliminate rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, and sweets for a while. When they do, they usually see radical weight loss in a short period of time. However, as is the case with any diet, it is very difficult to sustain a low-carb diet over the long-haul. The best way to lose weight is still to eat a healthy mix of foods and eat smaller portions. The main reason Americans are overweight is because we eat way too much food at every meal and we eat too much junk.
March is the beginning of spring in South Carolina. That means it′s time to take your aerobic workouts outside. I can′t understand why anyone would prefer to run or walk on a treadmill when they could get outside in the fresh air. Unless it′s lightening, I run outside all year, but that′s just me.
Running out of doors is a little more difficult than running on a treadmill. Outdoor surfaces are generally harder than treadmills, especially concrete and asphalt surfaces. So when transitioning from indoor to outdoor running, you might want to cut back on your mileage for a week or two in order to avoid shin-splints and other ankle and knee aches and pains.
Running outside exposes you to other obstacles you don′t experience in the gym. Wind, sunshine, hills, potholes, and traffic all come into play, as well as different surfaces. If you′re running on trails, you′ll also encounter roots, limbs, rocks, and mud, none of which you′ll find in a gym – unless it′s a really lousy gym. But these factors are what make running outside more interesting, at least to me.
Outdoor running is more stimulating. You may encounter an occasional deer. Birds are singing and trees are budding. Nature is far more interesting than a TV show. Getting outside now also acclimatizes you to the hot weather that will soon be here. Your body adjusts as the weather gradually warms up, so that by the time it′s 95 degrees outside, you′ll be ready for it. We′ll talk about running in the heat in a future newsletter, but you certainly will not be able to run outside in a South Carolina summer unless you start now.
Of course, you don′t forego the gym completely. We don’t have any outdoor weight rooms or Muscle Beaches around here that I know of, so you′ll have to do your lifting in a stuffy old gym, but as for the cardio, do yourself a favor and take it outdoors starting now while the weather is perfect.
American financier and philanthropist Diamond Jim Brady was known to eat six giant lobsters, dozens of oysters, clams, and crabs, two ducks, steak, and desserts at a single sitting.
Louis XIV of France, affectionately known as the Sun King, was another big eater. His sister-in-law claimed he ate all of the following at one meal: ″Four plates of different soups, an entire pheasant, a partridge, a large plateful of salad, mutton cut up in pieces with garlic, two good pieces of ham, a plateful of cakes, and fruits, and jams.″ These guys would fit right in with the crowd down at the Golden Corral, wouldn′t they?
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Ten or 15 years ago, I used to run 25 to 30 miles a week. But now at 66 years old, I run about 15 a week – about three miles a day, five days a week. My pace is much slower too. Where once I could average 7˝ to 8 minute miles, my times are nearer 10 minutes a mile these days. As a result, I was pleased to come across a recent study of over 52,000 American adults which found that those who ran under 20 miles a week at an average pace of 10 to 11 minutes per mile lived longer, on average, than both sedentary adults and the group that ran more than 20 miles a week.
A similar study in Sweden found that overweight men lost more weight when they ran 30 minutes a day than another group that worked out twice as much. The lesson here is that more is not always better. With exercise, as with most things in life, moderation is the key
I just finished reading a great book that I′d like to recommend to you. It may be the best book I′ve ever read. It has nothing to do with fitness or dieting. The book is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the story of Louis Zamperini.
Louie was part of the crew of a B-24 in the Pacific theater during WWII. On one mission, his plane was shot down and he and Allen Phillips, the plane′s pilot, spent 47 days on a life raft before drifting onto an island over 2000 miles from the crash site. Unfortunately, it was an island held by the Japanese. He and Phil were taken as prisoners of war. They spent over two years as POW′s, and what they and all the other POW′s had to endure is hard to comprehend. You will come away changed after reading this book.
Unbroken is sub-titled A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. You′ll have to read the book to understand how ″redemption″ comes into play, but that may be the most important part of the story.
The US Army is developing a unisex test for combat trainees. These tests involve performing tasks considered critical for troops serving on front lines. No more pushups, sit-ups, and two-mile runs, these tests include dragging a wounded soldier to safety, loading 65-pound anti-tank cartridges, and scaling a six-foot wall in seventy pounds of gear, as well as other strenuous tasks combat troops might be called on to perform.
All this seems like a good idea to me. Although I might normally be against sending women into combat, if they can execute the required tasks the same as the men, then why not?
Great news! The five-second rule is legit. Well, sort of. You know the five-second rule: It says if you drop food on the floor, germs don′t transfer to it for at least five seconds. I lived by that rule for years, and then I was told it was just an urban myth; that, yes, germs hopped onto my dropped food immediately. Now a new study out of Aston University in England has found that food really doesn′t pick up as many bacteria as previously thought if it′s been on the floor for less than five seconds.
The researchers dropped food on three different floor surfaces – carpet, laminated, and tile – and checked for the transfer of E. coli and staph bacteria from the floor to the food. They found that germs don′t jump onto food at jet speed. In fact, it takes about five seconds for a major transfer of them from floor to food, leaving the five-second rule in tack. Good news for all of us prone to occasional bouts of clumsiness.
However, the type of floor surface does play a role. Food dropped on carpets has less bacterial transfer than food dropped on either laminated or tile surfaces. Personally I don′t eat food dropped on carpets. It′s not the germs that bother me, it′s the fuzz transfer.
Now, mind you, I′m not advocating that you should eat food dropped on the floor; I′m just passing along the new research. As for me and my house, the five-second rule lives again!
I just ran across Prevention magazine′s 2014 list of the top walking cities in the United States. I wasn′t too impressed, although I′ve only been to one of the cities they listed, so I can′t make a valid judgment. Here′s their top 5 in order from five to one: Berkeley, San Francisco, Jersey City, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Just for the fun of it, here′s my personal top 5 from five to one: Pittsburgh, Charleston, Savannah, New York, and Washington, DC. Just for the record, perhaps the worst walking city I′ve ever been to is Atlanta.
With vacation season just around the corner, you might want to plan a vacation to a city that allows you to see a good bit of it on foot.
We′ll close with a quote from NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka: ″Here′s what I tell anybody and this is what I believe. The greatest gift we have is the gift of life. We understand that. That comes from our Creator. We′re given a body. Now you may not like it, but you can maximize that body the best it can be maximized.″
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Harbison Recreation Center
106 Hillpine Road
Columbia, SC 29212
The Harbison Rec Center offers more facilities for less money than anywhere else in town These are just some of the features: a new weight room with all new machines, free weights, treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes; a 25 meter junior Olympic size indoor heated swimming pool; sauna; whirlpool; racquet ball and tennis courts; a basketball gym; and miles of traffic-free trails for walking or jogging
. There are classes for seniors as well as summer camp and after school programs for kids. Also newly remodeled locker rooms and an all-purpose room for large gatherings. All for only $315 a year for singles or $600 a year for families
Check out their website: http://www.harbisonhoa.com/rec
Wolf′s Fitness Center
5432 August Road
Lexington, SC 29072
Wolf′s is a total fitness facility offering some great amenities. There′s a huge recently expanded weight room
featuring free weights and machines. There is a cardio area with treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, stair steppers, and the cardio theater. Other amenities include an indoor walking/running track, sauna, child care facilities with an attendant, tanning beds, showers, locker rooms, and sports supplements
. Prices are very reasonable and there are no enrollment fees ever
. Wolf′s also offers a full slate of fitness classes including kickboxing and pilates, as well as all new spinning classes
Check out their website, www.wolfsfitness.com