Fitness News & Views
A Publication of Graham Fitness
Oct. 15, 2015
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

Our Prayers Go Out to the Victims of the Flood

The recent floods in Columbia and around the state of South Carolina were devastating to many people. Many lost their homes and cars and furnishings. Some lost their lives. Families are displaced, some in hotels and motels, others in shelters, and still others living with friends or relatives. Many had to close their businesses indefinitely and hourly workers lost time and income. Roads, bridges, and dams were destroyed and will have to be rebuilt. It will take months if not years before Columbia is back to normal.
Please keep these people in your prayers.
It is wonderful how people here in Columbia have come together to help their neighbors. There hasn't been any looting or crime. Instead hundreds of people have worked tirelessly distributing supplies, helping gut damaged homes, and generously donating thousands and thousands of dollars. Sometimes the worst tragedies bring out the best in people.
I'm very proud of my city and my state.

        For best results, it is important that you keep your workouts from becoming stale. This is one of the things I try to emphasize to my clients. If you don't change your exercise routine around from time to time, your body will adjust to it, and you will be working harder with less to show for it.
     Changing your routine can be very simple. If you're lifting weights and you've been exercising your quads by doing leg extensions for a month or so, it is time to change to squats or lunges or maybe the leg press machine. For every muscle or muscle group, there are several alternative exercises. Find out what they are and how to do them properly and mix them up regularly. Even simply changing from a barbell to dumbbells will shock the muscles and get them growing again.
       Sometimes you can change your entire workout. I recently went to a routine where I do light weights and high reps (15 to 20) one day, then normal weights and 8 to 12 reps the next workout, and finally heavy weights and low reps (3 to 6) the third workout of the week.
            You need to change your aerobic workout from time to time as well. It's usually a good idea to incorporate several different options. For instance, you could run one day, bicycle another, use the elliptical trainer another day, swim the fourth day, and walk the fifth day. If you are like me and only want to run, you can still add variety and keep your muscles guessing. For example, you could run on hills one day, add interval work another, or plug in a longer run or some trail work. 

              There are a lot of misconceptions and myths in the fitness industry. Over the years, I've tried to debunk several of them in this newsletter. Here are a few more it's time to put an end to.
             Myth 1 - Eating fruit keeps you healthy. Most fruits have lots of nutrients and fiber, but they also have lots of sugar. Fruits are good, but vegetables are better.
            Myth 2 - Salt is bad for you. Salt is a mineral which is essential to your health. Without enough salt, you'll die. On the other hand, you don't want too much salt in your diet either. For best results, try to maintain a balanced salt level.
           Myth 3 - Organic food is best for weight loss. Nope, it doesn't make any difference. Organic and non-organic foods have about the same number of calories. Organic foods may be healthier, but that's a whole other issue.
            Myth 4 - Diet sodas make you fat. Diet sodas don't have any nutrients or calories. Without calories, they won't make you gain weight. Whether the artificial sweeteners used in them are healthy or not has not been settled. Personally, I don't think they're harmful, but you can make your own decision on that issue.
            Myth 5 - No-cal products don't cause fat. Something labeled "no-cal" may have up to five calories a serving. That's not much if you only eat one serving, but once you've finished an entire jar of no-cal jam, you've consumed a lot of calories.

            Question: What's the best food to eat to help you lose weight and live longer? Answer: Chili peppers. This was born out by a study done in China between 2004 and 2013 which involved almost a half million people.
             The reason chili peppers are so good for us is because they contain capsaicin. Capsaicin helps control inflammation and as a result, it has been found to be a preventative against many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal ailments, all of which can be attributed to inflammation to one degree or another.
              As for weight loss, it seems that capsaicin can activate the metabolic rate, burn fat, and increase energy levels. You've probably noticed that when you eat a very spicy meal, you often begin to sweat a little above the upper lip or on the forehead. This is the result of the capsaicin activating pain receptors in the mouth, which in turn spike the brain to increase the heart rate. Endorphins then kick in and signal the body to sweat the hot ingredient out. The entire process spikes up the core body temperature, making it work like a furnace to burn extra fat and calories. So eating chili peppers occasionally can actually help you lose weight as well as help you live longer. And all while adding a bit of spice to your life.

           listed 25 healthy snacks for runners. Most of these snacks average 100 to 200 calories and are not meant as meal replacements, but as between meal snacks. I don't have room to list all 25, but here is a partial list, some of which may surprise you:
    • Bananas. No surprise here. Bananas are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6.
    • Chocolate milk. An 8-ounce glass of 1% milk has about 160 calories and contains protein, calcium, and B vitamins. And it tastes good.
    • Prunes. One prune, or dried plum as they are now called, has about 20 calories, so five of them make a good snack. They are loaded with potassium and fiber.
    • Granola bars. A one-ounce bar has between 100 and 150 calories. They have a lot of sugar, but not as much as a candy bar, and they are rich in B vitamins and iron.
    • Oatmeal. This is a good prerace meal or snack because it's carbohydrate heavy, but it's also got lots of fiber, and it helps lower your cholesterol. A half cup serving is only about 150 calories.
    • Rice cakes and peanut butter. Lots of protein and vitamin E provided by the peanut butter. Carbs from the rice cake. Depending on how much peanut butter you use, it's about 200 calories.
    • String cheese. As with all dairy products, you get lots of protein and calcium with only a few calories, only about 80 per one-ounce stick.
    • Gummy bears. Many runners carry these along with them during a long run for extra energy when they need it. A handful of gummy bears has about 130 calories.
         That's only 8 of 25. For the rest of the list, check out the website.

     My favorite sport is baseball and my favorite team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. People sometimes ask me why I'm such an avid fan of a team from Pittsburgh. Well, it's because my dad was from a small town in Pennsylvania about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and every summer when I was a kid we would go up there for our vacation which always included going to at least one Pirates game. I saw some great players in those days - Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and lots more. I got to see several games in old Forbes Field and later Three Rivers Stadium.
      1958 was the first year I followed the Pirates closely. Before then, they were a perennial loser, but in 1958, they finished second in the National League. There were only two leagues then, no divisions. In 1960, when I was at Hand Junior High School, they won the World Series in 7 games against the Yankees. Bill Mazeroski hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. I was in my last period English class when he hit it and my teacher let me listen to my transistor radio until the game was over. I'd brought the radio to school so I could listen to the game whenever I could without getting caught.
        The Pirates won the World Series again in 1971. Again the series went 7 games. I was in the Navy stationed in Spain and I listened to the games on the Armed Forces Network. Then in 1979, the "We Are Family" Pirates with Willie Stargell beat the Baltimore Orioles, again in 7 games. We went to the three middle games of that series in Pittsburgh - Michelle, my wife of one month, and my brother Don, my cousin Vance, and my dad. The Pirates lost two of those three games, but they won the last two games played in Baltimore to take the World Series for the third time in my lifetime.       
          After the infamous Sid Bream slide in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series against Atlanta in 1992, a slide which still causes nightmares, the Pirates went into a 20-year drought without a winning season. But the last three years, they've made the playoffs. This year the Pirates won 98 games, the second most in the Major Leagues, but unfortunately also the second most in their division - the National League Central - where the Cardinals won 100 games. As a result, they had to play a one-game Wild Card game against the Chicago Cubs who incidentally had the third best record in the majors with 97 wins. That meant facing the hottest pitcher in all of baseball - Jake Arrieta. Arrieta is not just a good pitcher, he had the best record in the second half of the season of any pitcher in the history of major league baseball, pitching 11 games, winning 10 of them, and giving up only 4 earned runs total. The Pirates lost the Wild Card game 4-0. It was a tough loss.
         So why did I write all this when I know it has nothing to do with fitness? It's therapy. I figured writing it down and sharing my grief would make me feel better. It didn't really work though. But thanks for listening anyway.

      If your typical 5k or even 10k races don't present much of a challenge to you, you need to travel out to Everett, Washington, for a race on November 8th. This is the toughest race I've ever seen. It's the 5k Burpee Challenge. Your task is to complete 12 laps around the Cascade High School track by only doing burpees.
            A burpee for the uninitiated starts in a standing position. You then put your hands on the ground, kick your feet out putting you into a pushup position, then you bring your feet back, and return to the starting standing position. To move forward, you would need to extend your hands farther in front of you after each completed burpee. It would take thousands of burpees to complete this race. I'll bet a lot of people burpee up their breakfasts on this one.

            An exercise called the clean and jerk is a bodybuilding move where you lift a barbell off the floor, bring it to a rest on your deltoids and clavicle, then lift it above your head until your arms are straight. The clean, or squat clean, is just the first part of the exercise - from the floor to the shoulders.
            Yesterday while working out at a local gym, I saw a pretty girl who was probably 30 years old, about 5'5" and maybe 130 pounds, squat clean 225 pounds several times. I was amazed. I could not do one deadlift with that much weight. Wow!
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7948 Broad River Road
Irmo, SC 29063
Phone: 749-1633

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Harbison Recreation Center
106 Hillpine Road
Columbia, SC 29212
Phone: 781-2281

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:

Wolf's Fitness Center
5432 August Road
Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 356-6400

Wolf's is a total fitness facility offering some great amenities. There's a huge 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, clean locker rooms and showers, 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 spinning classes. Check out their website, for rates and specials.
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Graham Fitness | 106 Hillpine Road | Columbia | SC | 29212