Fitness News & Views

A Publication of Graham Fitness

April 15, 2016

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20


Fitness Quiz

Before reading this newsletter, see how many of these questions you can answer. All the correct answers can be found in the newsletter.


1. What percentage of Americans have body fat within acceptable levels?

  • 20%
  • 40%
  • 10%
  • 30%

2. The size of your kitchen is an indicator of whether you are overweight or not.

  • True
  • False

3.   Which of these is not a true statement?

  • We are likely to eat more when a restaurant is loud.
  • We are likely to eat more when a restaurant is dark and quiet.
  • We are likely to eat more in large groups.
  • We are likely to eat more when we use larger plates.

4. Which exercise works your lower body the best?

  • Leg extensions
  • Leg curls
  • Hip raises
  • Squats

5. When doing pushups, if you want to work your pectorals (chest muscles), you should do what?

  • Lift your butt.
  • Lower your butt.
  • Keep your hands wide apart.
  • Place your hands closer together.

6.   Squats can damage the back, so you should wear a back brace when doing them.

  • True
  • False





          Next to water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Most of the rest of the world prefers tea, but in America, coffee is king. So you might say tea is to coffee as soccer is to football. Or you might not. It's up to you.

        Green tea, in particular, has a reputation as being a very healthy drink. But coffee also has lots of health benefits. So which is better for you, and for that matter, which drink has more health risks? Let's see if we can answer that question. Below are the health benefits of coffee:

  • Inhibits depression
  • Decreases risk of stroke in women
  • Enhances long term memory
  • Decreases the risk of gallstones
  • Decreases the risk of skin cancer
  • Helps prevent kidney stones
  • Decreases the risk of gout in men
  • Decreases the risk of type II diabetes
  • Increases energy
  • Decreases the risk of liver cancer
  • Helps prevent cavities
  • Decreases the risk of prostate cancer

That's a pretty impressive list. So how does green tea stack up? Here are the benefits ascribed to green tea:

  • Decreases the risk of type II diabetes
  • Increases energy
  • Decreases the risk of liver cancer
  • Helps prevent cavities
  • Decreases the risk of prostate cancer
  • Helps prevent food poisoning
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Is an excellent source of antioxidants
  • Increases metabolism
  • Helps protect against heart disease
  • Helps prevent bad breath
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Helps prevent dementia

That's 12 benefits for coffee and 13 for green tea. Five of the benefits overlap. So how do the health risks stack up? Let's take a look first at the risks of coffee:

  • May cause heartburn or acid reflux
  • Acts as a laxative
  • Increases the risk of ulcers
  • Increases the risk of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Increases hydrochloric acid
  • Increases acrylamide (a carcinogen)
  • Increases the heart rate
  • May be a pregnancy risk
  • Increases the risk of an upset stomach
  • Increases the risk of diarrhea
  • Increases the risk of nausea
  • May cause insomnia

That's 12 risk factors for coffee to go along with its 12 health benefits. So what about green tea? Here are the health risks of green tea:

  • May be a pregnancy risk
  • Increases the risk of an upset stomach
  • Increases the risk of diarrhea
  • Increases the risk of nausea
  • May cause insomnia
  • May interfere with some medications
  • Increases the risk of liver toxicity
  • Lowers testosterone levels
  • Increases the risk of iron deficiency

Nine risks here to go along with 13 benefits. And what does all this tell us? It tells me that you should consume whichever one you prefer. There's not much difference. And, by the way, don't spend too much time analyzing these benefits and risks. I got this information from a website called and they don't cite a source for their information. I am just presenting the information here, because I found it interesting since I drink both coffee and green tea.





             Are you a non-smoker? Do you get a moderate amount of exercise, eat right, and keep your body fat within acceptable levels? Less than 3 percent of Americans answer "yes" to all four of those questions.

            A study of 4700 men and women undertaken by Oregon State University, the University of Mississippi, and UT-Chattanooga found that only 2.7 percent identified positively with all four health behaviors.

            Seventy-one percent of those surveyed did not smoke, 38 percent said they ate right, 10 percent had normal body fat, and 46 percent said they exercised regularly.

            Eleven percent said they did not exhibit any of the healthy lifestyle behaviors, 34 percent had one, 37 percent had two, 16 percent had three, and only 2.7 percent had all four.

            Those are not unreasonable criteria. It's not like they were looking for marathon runners. The most striking number, to me, is that only one in ten of those surveyed was within the normal body fat range. About the same percentage of the group met none of the criteria. They smoke, eat poorly, don't exercise, and are too fat! Good luck with that lifestyle.

           A study conducted in Syracuse, NY, supplied some interesting revelations about what a slim person's kitchen looks like compared to that of an overweight person.

            The first question the study looked at was whether the size of the kitchen was a factor in being overweight or not. Turns out, it not the size of the kitchen that matters, but what's in the kitchen.

            The researchers found that women who kept crackers or chips on their counters were likely to be 8 pounds heavier than women who had these items stashed away somewhere. Cookies fared even worse, representing a 9 pound difference. But cookies, chips, and crackers were by no means the worse items. If you keep cereal boxes on your counter, you are likely to weigh 21 pounds more than your neighbor who doesn't. And if you have non-diet soda out in the open, you could weigh 29 pounds more! Incidentally, diet soda didn't help much. Women with diet soda sitting out tended to be 24 pounds heavier. But women with any kind of fruit on their counters weighed on average 7 pounds less than those who had none.

            When food is sitting out and easily available, we tend to eat more of it, so simply keeping these high calorie snack items in the pantry or in a cupboard could save you several pounds. You could try keeping these items out of the house altogether, but if nothing else, at least hide them behind a closed door.


        Researchers have discovered four factors which affect the amount of food we eat. The first one is pretty obvious. Larger plates and portions cause us to eat more. The more food that's in front of us, the more we will eat. The obvious conclusion is that serving yourself smaller portions on smaller plates will help you eat less. Since this isn't possible when you dine out, you might want to eat out less often.

         The remaining three factors are less obvious. For instance, did you know that your altitude dampens your ability to taste food? Fortunately this doesn't affect many people, because most of us don't eat a lot of meals on airplanes, but it may explain why airplane food always seems a bit bland. At high altitudes our perception of saltiness is 20 to 30 percent less than at sea level, and 15 to 20 percent less with sweets.

         Factor three is loud music makes us eat faster and drink more alcohol. Bars and restaurants that want faster table turnover have long known this, but it applies at home as well. If you watch TV while eating, you'll eat more than if you don't. And that also explains why we can down a huge box of popcorn at a movie. For a more relaxed dining experience, try a restaurant where the lights are dim and the music is soft. You'll eat less and enjoy the food more.

       Finally, there's this factor: Eating in a group makes you eat more than you normally would. Studies have shown that the average person will eat a third more when eating with one other person than when eating alone. And the larger the group, the more the consumption. You'll eat about 70 percent more when four, five, or six people are in the group, and a whopping 96 percent more if there are seven or more people around the table. Of course, dining with family and friends is a hallmark of a healthy happy life, but if you are with a group, you need to make a conscious effort to control your tendencies to eat more.
      There you have some helpful tips to keep you from over-indulging. Bon appétit!



          Here's a workout consisting of four exercises that will work virtually every muscle in your body and burn a ton of calories at the same time. But before you tackle these, make sure you know how to do them properly. The four exercises are pushups, squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

         Almost everyone has done pushups at one time or another. Pushups work all the muscles in your arms as well as your shoulders, your core, your chest, and most of the muscles in your back. When you do pushups, make sure to keep your back straight. Your butt shouldn't sag or stick up in the air. The wider apart you keep your hands, the more you emphasize the pectorals, or chest muscles. The closer you place your hands, the more you work the triceps.

         Squats work the back and core and all of the lower body muscles. When doing squats, make sure to keep your back flat. If you bow your back, you're risking injury to it. It's best to start with no weight to make sure you are using correct form before graduating to squats with weight. To add weight, you can use a barbell or dumbbells.

            Lunges work the quadriceps, the glutes, and the hamstrings and like squats can be performed with or without weight. For weighted lunges, use dumbbells. To perform lunges, step forward with one foot and dip your back knee as low as you can, then stand up. You can do stationary lunges or walking lunges. This is perhaps my least favorite exercise, but one of the best in the arsenal.

       Finally, we have deadlifts. Like squats, you must perform deadlifts properly or you can risk a back injury, so make sure you know what you're doing. Deadlifts are similar to squats and work most of the same muscles, but because you are lowering the weight to the floor with each rep, you are often working through a wider range of motion than you do with squats.

           If you are not thoroughly familiar with any of these exercises, get some instruction before attempting them. By performing only these four exercises, you'll get a great workout in about 20 to 30 minutes, and you'll leave the gym wiped out.

Graham Fitness
Tim Graham

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Certified Nutrition Specialist



Phone: 803-447-8557

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