Fitness News & Views

A Publication of Graham Fitness

March 15, 2016

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20


Fitness Quiz

See How Many You Can Answer


I did this in last month's newsletter and got good response on it. I may make it a regular feature. All the correct answers can be found in the newsletter.


1. Stretching before exercising loosens the muscles and helps you have a more efficient workout.

  • True
  • False

2. Which of the following is a type of dieting known as intermittent fasting?

  • 5:2 diet
  • Jenny Craig
  • Weight Watchers
  • Paleo Diet

3. Which is the biggest cause of death in women each year?

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Drowning

4. According to, crunches are the best exercise to build six-pack abs.

  • True
  • False

5. Owning a pet contributes to which of the following?

  • Overall good health
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Laziness
  • None of the above




       If you are into racing, this is the time of the year for it. From March to May, the weather is perfect for running and the events are ubiquitous. So here are the "10 Commandments for Race Day for Runners" compliments of

  1. Thou shalt not carbo load to the extreme. Too much fettuccini Alfredo the night before a race may not be a good thing.
  2. Thou shalt layer. In March, you may want to heed this advice, but by April and May, shorts and a t-shirt will probably be sufficient.
  3. Thou shalt not wear your race shirt during the race. Only rookies do this. You have to earn the shirt by finishing the race before you can wear it.
  4. Thou shalt not arrive late. Nothing like sprinting to the start line seconds before the gun goes off.
  5. Thou shalt know the course and elevation map. This helps in pacing yourself. If you know you've got a killer hill at mile 5 of a 10k, you better have something left for it.
  6. Thou shalt not be intimidated. So what if you can't catch up to the girl pushing the stroller, just keep running.
  7. Thou shalt not take off like a bat out of hell. Use the first mile to warm up. Let 'em pass you. You'll catch 'em later.
  8. Thou shalt not feed or hydrate differently during the race. Do what you are used to doing on your training runs. Experimenting during a race is rarely a good idea.
  9. Thou shalt make a post-race plan. You should enjoy the post-race experience not be frantically searching for the party you came with.
  1. Thou shalt not forget to have fun. Each race is different. Enjoy the sites and the people around you, and don't forget to smile for the race photos along the way.



            Is stretching beneficial? The answer is not as simple as it may seem. We know that stretching before exercising is not a good idea for a couple of reasons. First off, stretching temporarily weakens muscles, so stretching before a workout can actually diminish the effectiveness of your workout whether it is strength or cardio. Perhaps even more important is the fact that stretching cold muscles increases the risk of pulling something. An analogy is a stick of chewing gum. Put it in a refrigerator and try to bend it and it will break, but a stick of gum that is warm if very flexible. The same is true of your muscles
             But what about stretching after a workout? Here's where the controversy arises. Many people feel it decreases muscle soreness after strenuous exercise, but the research indicates that this is negligible at best. Others maintain that stretching increases their overall flexibility. It's true that your range of motion is greater after stretching, but only for about 30 minutes, and then it returns to normal. Generally, our flexibility is determined by genetics more than anything else. I've seen people who are very overweight who can touch their toes with ease and others who look to be the epitome of athletic health who can't come within six inches of touching their toes. Personally, I fall into the latter group, and no amount of stretching has been able to change that.
            So here's my take on the subject: If you like to stretch, by all means do it, but only after your workout. If you don't want to stretch, don't. For my older clients, I recommend some stretching in order to at least maintain current levels of flexibility. For clients under 40, I leave it up to them.

            Well, we're less than a week into Daylight Savings Time, and while most people love it, I am in the minority. For one thing, DST means kids are waiting for the bus at 6:30 in the morning in total darkness. If we must have the time change, it seems that at least for the sake of the school kids, we could wait until May to implement it. But personally, I like shorter days for other reasons as well. For instance, in the winter, when I finish my workday, I often come home and put on my pj's. You can't do that in the summer when it's still light until 9:30.
              Of course, there are advantages to longer days. You can go for a run after work or a walk after dinner. That's nice. And if you want to do some grilling, you don't have to guess if the steaks are done enough, which is often the case when you're grilling by the dim glow of a single light bulb. But like it or not, it's here, so no need to complain one way or the other.


         If you're trying to lose weight, here's an idea that's catching on. It's called intermittent fasting. You can do it a couple of different ways. One way is to skip breakfast and lunch and consume all of your daily calories in the evening. Dr. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging in Maryland, has been doing this for 35 years. He says that once you get used to it, it's not a big deal.

          Another type of fasting diet is called a 5:2 diet. You eat all you want five days a week, but only eat 500 calories two days a week. Jimmy Kimmel has been on this diet for two years and credits it for his considerable weight loss over that time.
           Whether or not fasting as a form of weight loss is healthy is a matter of debate, but whether healthy or not, about 10 to 20 percent of the people who try it don't last very long. They stop after only a few days. However if you can hang in there for a few rocky weeks, it seems your body adapts, and hunger ceases to be an issue.
             I'm not advocating fasting as a form of weight loss. I'm just telling you what I've read. Try it if you like, and see how you do on it. You won't starve to death, and it probably won't hurt you.

            I saw some fascinating statistics recently regarding our fears versus reality.   Our fears, it seems, are not based on reality. For instance, we are more likely to be afraid of flying than we are of driving. Yet our chances of getting killed in a car accident are 19 times greater than those of going down in a plane crash. In fact, our odds of getting killed in a car wreck are 1 in 242, making driving or riding in a car one of the most dangerous things we can do. By comparison, the odds of dying in a plane crash are only 1 in 4,608.

             Most people have an inherent fear of spiders even though the likelihood of dying from a spider bite is only 1 in 716,010.

            For the record, here are the odds of dying in a few other ways:

                     Drowning          1 in 1,028

                     Lightning           1 in 71,501

                     Dog attack        1 in 137,694

          In the case of diseases, we find similar trends. Most Americans say they fear cancer more than heart disease, yet nearly twice as many men and women die of heart disease each year. Ask a woman which she fears the most - heart disease or breast cancer - and most say breast cancer, yet heart disease is 12 times more likely to kill her.

           Drive carefully. Don't smoke. Eat and drink in moderation, and get regular check-ups, and stop worrying about it. After all, we're all going to die of something. All living things do eventually.

 published an article rating the best exercise for 10 individual body parts - the chest, glutes, abs, upper back (lats), hamstrings, triceps, quads, waist, hips, and shoulders. Here's what they came up with:

            Best chest exercise - Pushups. When you do a pushup, you are lifting about two-thirds of your weight, So if you weigh 150 pounds, you're lifting about 100 pounds.

            Best glutes exercise - Squats. Squats work most of the muscles in the lower body which makes them one of the best of all the exercises. As for the glutes, nothing works them better.

             Best abs exercise - Bicycles. This exercise works both your abs and obliques, and surprisingly it is even more effective than crunches in developing the six-pack.
            Best upper back exercise - lat pulldowns. The latissimus dorsi (lats) are fully engaged with this exercise. When you do this one, pull the bar down in front of you, not behind the neck which can stress the shoulders and neck.
             Best hamstrings exercise - Step-ups. You can use stair steps or, better yet, a bench. To really work the hams, add a dumbbell to each hand.
            Best triceps exercise - Triceps kickbacks. This article doesn't pick an exercise for the biceps. They actually call this the best exercise for the upper arms, because the triceps are larger than the biceps. After all, three muscles comprise the triceps and only two the biceps. They rate triceps kickbacks just ahead of dips.
              Best quads exercise - Squats or Lunges. Here it's a tie, but since you may already be doing squats for your glutes, why not do lunges this time?
            Best waist exercise - Side plank. You might start out holding these for 15 or 20 seconds and try working up to 30 or 45 seconds. They are great oblique strengtheners, but don't expect to lose inches simply by doing planks.
                Best hips exercise - Single leg squats. My guess is you won't be able to do this one. Very few people can, so you might want to stick with hip extensions.
              Best shoulder exercise - lateral raises. The shoulder cap or deltoids are divided into three sections - anterior, medial, and posterior. The lateral raises target the medial delts.
             Generally, I don't have any qualms with these selections. I may have made a few different choices, but this article is not meant to be a critique. I'm just passing along information from the Realbuzz website.

       Did you know that owning a pet is good for your health? Here are just a handful of facts I ran across while researching this newsletter:

  • Owning a pet is good for your heart health. It can actually lower your blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
  • Owning a pet decreases stress levels.
  • Owning a pet helps you get more exercise.
  • Owning a pet makes you a more social person


Graham Fitness
Tim Graham

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Certified Nutrition Specialist



Phone: 803-447-8557

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