Fitness & Wellness

How Sleep Affects Your Weight And Performance

How Sleep Affects Your Weight And Performance

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that lack of sleep affects your weight and performance. If you’re tired, you not only reach for those jelly donuts to give you a sugar boost, but also drift off during work, expending more energy on staying awake than actually accomplishing anything of importance. There are other reasons that aren’t quite as obvious that cause sleep deprivation to affect both weight and all aspects of your life.

Besides the urge to eat a box of Ding Dongs, sleep deprivation affects your weight in other ways.

Your body needs adequate sleep to keep all systems going full force. You need it to make repairs in the body and prepare it for your next day’s tasks. When you’re sleep-deprived your body creates more cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol also makes you hungrier. With your brain already foggy, it’s hard to resist anything sugary or excessively fattening.

Sleep deprivation messes with other hormones besides cortisol.

Lack of sleep causes your ghrelin levels to rise. Those are the hormones that tell your body that you’re hungry and need to eat. To make matters worse, it lowers your leptin hormones, those that tell your body that you’re full. If you don’t get enough sleep, it starts shutting down the mitochondria, the little furnaces in the cells. In turn, not all the sugar is processed and you end up with higher blood sugar levels. That can be the start of insulin resistance, the start of type 2 diabetes.

Lack of sleep affects your work and your workout.

If you’re finding your memory is not as good as it should be, don’t blame it on aging if you’re only getting a few hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep slows your cognitive thinking processes, affects your memory and lowers your desire to accomplish anything. That can’t be good on any type of job. Not only does it affect your work and your desire to work, it affects your workout in the same ways, plus other ways. Your body heals best during sleep, so recovery after exercise is thwarted. One study showed that sprinters increased their sprinting times over a three week period when they improved their sleep patterns.

  • It doesn’t take much to be sleep-deprived, either. Just getting a half hour less sleep five days a week can dramatically increase your risk of both diabetes and obesity.
  • When you lack sleep, your body goes into survival mode. That means it slows your metabolism and burns calories slower. That’s a huge reason to get plenty of ZZZs.
  • Lack of sleep is linked to many serious conditions, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and many cognitive issues.
  • Exercise can help you have a better quality of sleep, but getting into the sack on time is still the responsibility of each person. Turning off any devices, like TVs and creating a dark environment helps.


Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascinating Facts About Fascia

If you aren’t sure exactly what fascia does or know and facts about fascia, you’re not alone. Fascia is an intricate network of sheaths that surrounds all parts of the body, including organs, to help protect it. While many professionals that study the body often overlook this covering, there’s a lot of information today about how important it is. It aids in movement and lets the muscles move freely and allows them to slide against organs and other muscles smoothly, without causing damage. This soft connective tissue is everywhere in the body and surrounds all bones, muscle, organs and nerve fibers.

Fascia is a three-dimensional matrix.

While that might sound like it was taken from a sci-fi movie, it’s really simple to explain. There are trillions of cells in the body that work together to create the working machine we know. The fascia is what holds them together. It’s has a 3 dimensional spider web pattern to bind them together. The fibers act like the glue and provide stability while still allowing movement. It weaves itself through the body, not just outside the muscle tissue.

Your fascia is emotional.

There’s a belief that fascia holds onto emotional memory. If you hold in your emotions and don’t face them, it can cause changes in your posture. On the short term, it’s easy to see someone who has gone through the wringer by the way they slump as they walk. Emotional trauma can be locked into the fascia until it’s released and the emotion is faced. Many massage therapists find when they’re working with tight fascia, the client will suddenly have an emotional reaction and not know why. Upon reflection, it may be traced back to a powerful incident from the past. When you first feel a strong emotion, you feel it in your body. If you’re not ready to face it, the fascia lock it down and that’s how it all begins.

Fascia helps prevent injury to muscles and bones by transmitting force.

The perfect example of fascia at work is the trained athlete or stuntman that jumps from a second story building, rolls and runs. It’s more than just how he or she holds their muscles, it’s fascia at work. The muscles provide inner force and gravity, plus the ground are the external force, the fascial network, disperses the throughout the body, so it’s not all at one point. That minimizes the stress on one or two bones or muscles and spreads it to protect those bones or muscles.

  • Repetition, including sitting, causes the fascia to stiffen at the line of stress. It also leaves it weaker in other directions. That can cause immobility of a joint or boost the potential for tears in the fascia.
  • Fascia has the ability to contract, but there’s little understanding how the fascia manages to contract in concert with muscle contraction.
  • Since fascia is a web of continuous coverage for bones, muscle and organs through many layers, it helps move the whole body seamlessly. It also means that whole-body movements during training will help maximize the functioning.
  • You have ten times more sensory receptors in fascia as you do in muscle tissue. What may feel like a sore muscle may actually be sore fascia.

Symptoms Of Sugar Withdrawal

Symptoms Of Sugar Withdrawal

Most scientists believe that sugar is addictive. It releases opioids and dopamine, so expect some symptoms of sugar withdrawal. However, you may have other issues that can cause problems when you give up sugar. Those include a potential fungal problem too! It’s amazing, but some estimates say there are ten times as many non-human cells in each person’s body as there are human ones. So you can imagine how changing the balance of these microbes can affect your body.

You’re not the only one that loves sugar.

Some fungi—such as yeast—may thrive on sugar. So when you give up sugar, you’re no only having withdrawal, you’re killing off yeast. That also can create symptoms. Major changes to your diet that include elimination of processed foods or a boost in probiotics can initially set off problems. You’re disrupting the growth of pathogens like candida by starving them to death or battling them with good bacteria.

You may experience some of the following symptoms of sugar withdrawal.

Of course, craving sugar, and even binge eating, will probably be at the top of your list. There are other symptoms you might recognize, too. Anxiety, headaches, depression, lightheadedness, irritability, exhaustion or tiredness and aches and pains in your muscles can be part of the withdrawal symptoms. If you’re experiencing die-off, scientifically known as the Herxheimer reaction that comes from the toxins created by dying microbes, such as candida, you may have even more symptoms for about a week. These include muscle aches, chills fever, brain fog, elimination problems—diarrhea or constipation, skin rashes and even chills and fever. Needless to say, you probably won’t feel great for three to seven days after a big change in your diet.

The actual withdrawal symptoms may last longer than just a week.

While the “die-off” of unhealthy microbes may create a problem the first week, the actual withdrawal symptoms may last a bit longer. Be prepared for the first week to be the roughest, however. Symptoms will suddenly rise like a wave and then disappear. You’ll notice most of them will go away, returning occasionally for the first month or two of a sugar free, low carb diet. You might even see an onslaught of symptoms at first, which reduce or go away as each day passes. Expect to get cranky. Your body wants the fix and so do the many microbes that feed on sugar.

  • When you’re giving up sugar, it may be easier to do it slowly. Start with actual sugar products, like candy and table sugar.
  • Give up processed foods as step two on your sugar free list. Processed foods are not only loaded with sugar, they contain fewer nutrients.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day and at least a full glass of water before your meals.
  • Exercise can help you overcome the withdrawal. Increase your physical activity if you aren’t already exercising and don’t miss a workout session if you are.

Could Fermented Foods Make You Healthier?

Could Fermented Foods Make You Healthier?

Whether you include a side dish of sauerkraut with your meal or a helping of kimchi, you’ll be doing your body a favor. Fermented foods make you healthier because it boosts your digestive system and ultimately, that creates a stronger immune system. The process of fermentation is part of the reason. The bacteria in fermentation takes the starch and sugar from food and changes it to lactic acid and acetic acid. The lactic acid and alcohol that fermentation produces preserves the food and nutrients by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi. In the process, it makes the phytonutrients more bioavailable. Everyone that owns a television has heard commercials lauding the benefits of the live bacteria in yogurt, but there are other fermented foods that are even better for you.

You’ll get some great benefits from fermented foods.

Whether you want to get your digestion tuned or boost your immune system, chomping down some sauerkraut, or other fermented food, may help you do it. It can help people with either IBS or constipation. A strong elimination system with a healthy balance of bacteria helps the body in more ways that reducing the bloat of constipation or reducing the need to find a bathroom everywhere you travel. It helps rid the body of toxins and waste while making absorption of nutrients better. It boosts antibody production, thus creating a stronger immune system. The antibodies can also help control appetite, lower cravings for sugar and help you lose weight!

Drink some of your fermented food.

Kefir is a fermented milk product. It has a long history of keeping people healthy. It’s created from using a starter, called kefir grains, to ferment milk. The origination was in the Northern Caucasus Mountain are in what was once in the USSR that’s known for its long lived population. Kefir grains are gelatinous clumps of bacteria and yeast that are held together with a polysaccharide, making it look like little clumps of jelly. Kefir is like drinkable yogurt. It provides vitamins B12, K2, magnesium, calcium, biotin, enzymes, folate and probiotics.

Sauerkraut is a well-known fermented foods.

Whether you’re eating sauerkraut or even Kimchi, you’re eating fermented vegetables. While sauerkraut originated in Germany, Kimchi is a fermented Korean dish. Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage and is high in vitamins A, C, K and multiple B vitamins. It provides copper, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and sodium. Like kefir, it’s good for digestion, boosts circulation, improves bone health, lowers cholesterol levels and fights inflammation. Kimchi recipes vary. Cabbage is one of the ingredients, but it can contain everything from radish, scallions and carrots to shrimp. It’s a spicy dish that is high in antioxidants, boosts digestion and cardiovascular health.

  • Pickles are fermented cucumbers and contains high amounts of vitamin k, plus loads of other vitamins and minerals. Pickles also have antioxidants and boost friendly bacteria.
  • Miso is created from fermenting brown rice, soybean or barley. It’s good for healthy skin, the immune system, bone health and the nervous system.
  • Natto and tempeh are both from fermented soybeans. Natto is high in vitamin K and is an antioxidant, while tempeh provides quality protein and vitamins B5, B6, B2 and B3.
  • Raw cheese and yogurt are both excellent sources of probiotics. You need to choose varieties of yogurt that live bacteria, comes from milk from pasture raised goats or sheep and is organic.

Some Amazing Science Using Your Own Stem Cells

Some Amazing Science Using Your Own Stem Cells

At one time, only the use of fetal stem cells were used, until scientist found stem cells in adults. From there science advanced and in 2012, John Gurdon from the British Gurdon Institute in Cambridge and Shinya Yamanaka from the Japanese Kyoto University received the shared honor of the Nobel Prize for Medicine with their studies that found ways to use those adult stem cells act like embryonic stem cells. That created some amazing science using your own stem cells to repair the body without the potential of rejection. There are all types of studies now, including stem cell for tooth replacement that is undergoing human testing next year. There are tests being done on using stem cells to repair everything from the heart to boosting hair growth. With all this science now available, there’s even more evidence why a healthy lifestyle can help you live longer.

You’ll boost your stem cell production by eliminating sugar.

A specialist in regenerative medicine and Interventional Orthopedics, Chris Centeno, M.D., wrote about the things people can do to boost their production of stem cells and improve their quality. The first on his list was to cut out sugar. He recommends going on a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet or Atkins diet to help get your sugar under control. Giving up sugar is one of the hardest things most people have to do. Not only is addictive, it’s in everything that’s processed.

Pump iron and get fit aerobically to boost stem cell production.

There is mounting research that shows that lifting weight is good for reversing osteoporosis, but now there’s also research that shows active older people and animals have healthier stem cells that help create more bone. It also shows that when you exercise you boost your muscle stem cells. Chris Centeno says he requests people coming to his clinic for orthopedic use of stem cells get slightly more exercise than the average American who exercises regularly to help boost the production of stem cells.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if there were life giving alternatives or life improving alternatives you couldn’t use.

When reading the article on stem cell, it crossed my mind that there may be a large block of Americans who won’t be able to use the new technology when it comes along. Why? The answer is simple, they won’t have healthy stem cells or enough stem cells. While we know that exercising regularly and eating healthy is beneficial for keeping the body in optimum shape, it’s interesting that it also helps keep your stem cells building for the future use in the body. It’s just one more reason to make lifestyle changes now.

  • Intermittent fasting and lowering caloric intake help boost the production of stem cells. One animal study showed that fasting for as short as 24 hours could boost the growth of stem cells.
  • Get plenty of vitamin D3 and vitamin C. One animal study showed that feeding an elderly rat a mixture of blueberry, green tea, vitamin D, and carnosine made the stem cells as viable as a younger rat.
  • Sleep helps boost the health and production of stem cells. Studies show that like mechanisms that influence your sleep cycle also influence stem cell production. The division takes place in a rhythmic night and day cycle.
  • We now know that not only do the things that protect cells and create a healthy lifestyle, also promote the growth and proliferation of stem cells. When you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you’ll be boosting your health and the health of the future you.

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

How much is too much protein? That’s a fair question. There have been numerous diets that called for minimal amounts of carbs, with just a bit of healthy fat and the rest protein. The Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet and the Stillman Diet are a few examples of these. They promise fast weight loss, but often fail to tell you about some of the side effects of the diet. Investigating faddish diets thoroughly, before starting is important, even if your neighbor said it worked great for them.

The effects of too much protein start with the nutrients you’re not getting.

There’s nothing wrong with having protein in your diet, unless it’s at the cost of omitting other foods you need. Fresh fruit and vegetables can supply a wealth of nutrition, add fiber and don’t boost your calorie count up in the process. Luckily, you can get quite a few veggies in your diet, while still maintaining a moderate percentage of the overall calories. The problem comes when reducing the carbohydrates to zero and excluding fat. You need all three types of foods for a diet that’s healthy.

Watch out for signs of dehydration when you eat a high protein diet.

When you burn protein, it forces the kidneys to work extra hard to eliminate the residue left. It’s one reason a high protein meal leaves you feeling thirsty. Not only are your kidneys working harder and you’re eliminating more, you’re also losing valuable nutrients in the process. Magnesium, sodium and potassium are just three. Healthy carbs like fruits and veggies contain a higher water content and provide extra nutrition, including those lost in urine. If you’re reducing carbohydrates while boosting your protein, you miss out on the fluids and extra nutrition.

Say What? You have smelly breath.

A high protein meal that’s lower in carbs and fat can bring on ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body exists in the fat burning stage. It comes from the

chemicals that are released and no matter how often or how diligently you brush your teeth or even scrape your tongue, you’ll still end up with stinky breath. The good news is that you’re burning fats and proteins for your energy. Hopefully, some of it will be body fat.


Boost Your Motivation By Making Fitness Fun

Boost Your Motivation By Making Fitness Fun

Seriously, you shouldn’t dread going to the gym and your program should be varied enough you don’t find yourself checking the clock every time you workout. That’s what making fitness fun is all about. It means you have a program that you do for more than just getting into shape, you do it because you like it. Let’s face it, when you look forward to doing something, you’re far more apt to participate. Adding variety to your workout is important. That’s just one reason personal trainers ensure variety in their workout. The other reason is to prevent plateauing.

Add a social element to your workout.

There’s a lot to say for group training, especially if you have other friends in the group. Not only does it make working out more fun, it also tends to hold people more accountable for their workout. Let’s face it, if you know people in the group, they’ll wonder why you didn’t come. Group workouts can turn a tough personal challenge into fun or provide the motivation to continue on to success.

Try exercising outside instead of always in the gym.

You may not spend every day in the gym. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean you can get healthy exercise elsewhere. Working out beyond the walls of the gym can include doing a workout in the backyard, close to nature, taking a hike or swimming at the beach. There’s so many ways to enjoy the out of doors and some extra benefits, too. You’ll be able to soak up some vitamin D from the sun rays—always do it wisely and use sunscreen smartly to help build your tan to protect the skin. You can also take off your shoes and get the benefit of grounding, which some say brings a peaceful loving feeling.

Find activities that are physically demanding and that you love. Then do them.

Physically demanding doesn’t have to mean hard or excessive. It can be a walk in the park, but definitely doesn’t mean chatting online with others—unless you’re trying to build finger muscles. Dancing, playing games with the kids (I especially love) and swimming are activities that help you build your muscles, boost your endurance and add flexibility. They’re fun, so you don’t feel like you’re exercising, but you’ll find you sleep far better that night. That’s proof you got a good workout.

  • When you associate your workout with fun, you’ll eliminate procrastination. Go to the playground and have fun like you did when you were in grade school.
  • Finding healthy food that tastes good, also makes you look forward to eating healthier. Remember, celery sticks and rice cakes aren’t the only lower calorie foods. There’s some delicious recipes that can add zest to your meal planning.
  • If you have children or pets, exercising with them can boost the bond, provide health benefits for them and be a great asset to your workout program. Walking the dog, B-ball with the kids and having the cats chase a feather on a string gets everyone moving.
  • Visit some of the parks and scenic sights in our area. Taking a bike ride or walk in the Greenbelt in Boise, Idaho is as good for the soul as it is for the body. The Kathryn Albertson Park and the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial are also places to go to walk and contemplate your blessings.

Getting A Workout On Busy Days

Getting A Workout On Busy Days

Fitting in a workout on busy days isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it seems absolutely impossible to find an hour you can set aside, no matter how important it is. There’s great news to help you on those busy days. It isn’t a solution you’d want to use all the time, but it is a way to fit in exercise on those days that are simply too packed to do a full gym workout. Best of all, you can do these things throughout the day and the longest it will take you is ten minutes at a time.

Consider the four-minute Nitric Oxide Dump workout from Dr Zach Bush.

Nitric oxide is in the blood vessel inner layer called the endothelium. It’s made by the body to help send signals, which dilate blood vessels and allow a more robust delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Normally there’s only about 90 seconds of it stored, so if you work each muscle group for 90 seconds, you can get an efficient workout in just four minutes. Of course, you have to do this shortened type of HIIT several times throughout the day at least two hours apart. You start with three sets of ten repetitions of four exercises; squats, tin soldier, snow angels and military press. Gradually, increase the repetitions to 20 each set. You must remember to breathe through your nose.

Break up your exercise to ten minutes each session.

According to a study that was published in the Journal of the American Heart association, adult need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. That time was reduced to 75 minutes a week if the exercise was vigorous or intense. The study noted that the bouts of activity could be as short as ten minutes to get benefits. The study showed that people who got about 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each day lowered their risk of death by 33.3 percent over sedentary people. Another study showed just 21 minutes a day (150 a week) did the same thing. Increasing activity also reduced the risk of death. It slashed it by 50% for 60 to 90 minutes a day and for those who worked out over 100 minutes, by 75%.

Walk 10,000 steps a day.

I love gadgets that help you get fit and a pedometer is one of those. It’s a constant reminder to get moving and boost your health. For those with a desk job, boosting your footsteps to 10,000 a day can help extend life, shed pounds and add to your overall fitness. Just keep moving. If you’re in a sedentary job, get up and move about more to get the extra exercise. Pace at your desk while mulling over a concept…it will also boost the oxygen to your brain and help you think better. It becomes a game that reaps big dividends.

  • Take the stairs as often as you can, rather than riding the elevator. If you’re not fit enough to tackle going up several flights, either take the elevator for a few floors and the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Take a few minutes to boogie. Turn on the radio or your favorite DVD and boogie down to the music periodically. It only takes two to three songs (they average three to five minutes) to get a ten minute workout. Do it throughout the day.
  • Get help from your personal trainer. Trainers are always glad to help you develop an alternative workout for days you can’t make it to the gym. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
  • Make sure you laugh a lot. Laughter boosts your immune system, increases cardio capacity, aids breathing and actually increases pain thresholds. While you might feel silly, try laughing while you’re working out alone and you’ll actually feel the benefits it offers.

Make Walking A Priority

Make Walking A Priority

Are you frustrated at only getting three days in the gym when you’d really like to workout at least five. You can get exercise other places. In fact, I often recommend it. It helps lead to a more active lifestyle that isn’t sedentary between gym visits. Many of my clients find that increasing walking not only boosts their energy level, it also helps shed pounds more quickly and can be done anywhere and any time. When you make walking a priority, you find opportunities that add to your workout time, a few minutes at a time.

Walking can be done by almost everyone.

If you’re just starting to get back into shape, your personal trainer will create a workout designed specifically for your needs. If you don’t have access to a trainer and want to be on the safe side, start walking daily to begin your regimen. It will boost your energy and improve your endurance. Walking can help your efforts for weight loss and prevent or manage diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

You need to walk briskly to maximize the results.

If you’re completely out of shape, walk fast enough to get your heart pounding but not so fast that you wear out quickly. You’ll soon build endurance to walk a little faster for a little longer. Start focusing on ways to increase your walking. Shopping at a strip malls and walking from store to store or even window shopping at a large mall can boost your walking time. Parking further from the store and walking or taking the staircase instead of the elevator boosts your heart rate and walking time.

Walking does many things, but isn’t the total answer.

While walking is heart healthy and does provide some weight bearing exercise to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, it doesn’t do everything. You also need regular strength training and flexibility training to help prevent injury. The strength training will also help you shed pounds faster if that’s your goal. Even though walking is a weight bearing exercise, you’ll boost your protection from osteoporosis by adding even more strength training to your workout schedule, too. Walking is a good place to start and can get you more active and ready for more difficult workouts.

  • You have to walk briskly to get the most results. You need a minimum of thirty minutes of brisk walking a day, with 60 to 90 minutes boosting your weight loss efforts.
  • Some people find that alternating a day of walking with a day of working out in the gym helps them get into shape faster and also reduces the risk of injury by giving their muscles a day of rest from the gym.
  • Even though you walk frequently, always start with a few warmup stretches before you begin a vigorous walk.
  • When you’re walking, always start more slowly, about half of your maximum effort and gradually move the pace up to about 75%. You can even use HIIT by varying the speed from slow to rapid and back again.