It also should be noted that the same principles apply to purchasing seafood. Realize that any fish caught at sea is most likely kept frozen on the boat, sometimes for several days. The fish is then defrosted and often spends several more days in transit before appearing on the store display shelf as “fresh” fish. Bottom line: unless you are catching the fish yourself or buying it directly from a fisherman who has just returned to port after a day’s catch, you’re probably better off buying the fish frozen. As with fruits and veggies, frozen fish uses a process of flash freezing at temperatures below 40 degrees Celsius that maximally seals in nutrients. Simply thaw out the fish in the refrigerator a day before you’re ready to cook it and you’ll have a nutritious, great tasting meal!
Here is an inspirational video of a 72 year-old woman, Ernestine Shepherd, who is in amazing shape–not just for a senior citizen, but for someone of any age! Ernestine recently won the Guinness World Record Award for the oldest female bodybuilding champion. She is a true fitness inspiration and reinforces just how beneficial exercise is for everyone, no matter their age.
I continue to hear various fitness pros profess that it’s best to work out first thing in the morning. I’ve heard some go as far as to state that if you’re not in the gym early you’ll miss out on half the benefits of exercise. Unfortunately, none of these “experts” ever provide a shred of peer-reviewed evidence to support their claims.
Fact is, research has failed to show any superiority for working out at a particular time of the day, be it morning, afternoon, or night. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reinforces this fact. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a morning or afternoon training group. After 10 weeks, no significant differences were found in muscle development between the groups. Interestingly, the afternoon group actually showed slightly better results, but the findings did not reach statistical significance.
So what’s the real scoop? For all practical purposes, the most important consideration about when to train is to pick a time when you will be at your best. If you’re a morning person, then an early workout will optimize your results. But if you do better in the evening, you’ll only end up sleepwalking through a morning workout. Certainly this will be counterproductive to achieving your best gains. It’s simply common sense that you’d be best off training later in the day.
Bottom line: Don’t be swayed by the hype about morning workouts being best. Let your biorhythms dictate when you work out. Remember, the effort that you put into training will dictate what you get out of it.
Sedliak M, Finni T, Cheng S, Lind M, Häkkinen K. (2009). Effect of time-of-day-specific strength training on muscular hypertrophy in men. J Strength Cond Res. 23(9):2451-7.
I will be giving two seminars this October at Clay Fitness in New York City. Here is a description of topics along with the dates and times:
Monday 10/4/10 2:30-5:30pm: Maternal Fitness: Safe and Effective Strategies for training the Pregnant and Post Partum Client Exercise is one of the most beneficial things a pregnant woman can do for her body – provided proper guidelines are followed. This workshop teaches you how to address the biomechanical and physiological changes that occur in the pre and postnatal period, and develop sound training programs tailored to the unique needs of the maternal client. Programming for strength training, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training is covered in detail, with insight provided on how to modify exercise based on the individual needs of the client. Contraindications to exercise are addressed with respect to each trimester.
Wednesday 10/6/10 11am-2pm: Program Design for the Hypertrophy Client Muscle development is of primary interest to those who lift weights. This workshop will elucidate the science behind optimizing muscular hypertrophy. It will detail the effects of manipulating intensity, sets, repetitions, and rest intervals on growth, as well as exploring the roles of factors such as exercise modality, training to failure, speed of movement, and recovery. The significance of acute hormonal fluctuations and lactate production as to their effects on increasing protein synthesis will be addressed. Sample routines are offered in the context of a periodized approach to help the practitioner with perfecting program design.
The seminars are part of the “Applying Exercise Through the Lifespan” series hosted by Innovative Wellness and are eligible for CEU credit. Below is the link to register. Hope you can make it!
I will be doing two book signings at the CanFitPro Consumer Show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada this Saturday, August 14, 2010. The first signing will be at 11 am at the Human Kinetics booth, and the second signing will be at 12:30 pm at the Chapters Books booth. Look forward to meeting everyone! Here is a link to the event:
There is a common belief that the treadmill is the best cardio modality for burning fat. This belief seems to be supported by various books and internet sites that post charts showing a greater expenditure of calories associated with the treadmill when compared to similar time spent on alternative cardio modalities.
A recent study by Brown and colleagues (1), however, provides evidence that this might not be the case. Eighteen subjects (9 males and 9 females) were assessed while either exercising on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. The results might surprise you. Researchers found that when exercising at the same rating of perceived exertion (a measure of how hard one is training), there was no significant difference in the number of calories burned between the two modalities.
Fat burning as it applies to aerobic exercise can be boiled down to two basic factors: intensity (i.e. how hard you are exercising) and duration (how long you are exercising). The key point is that with respect to training intensity, it doen’t matter whether you are running, biking, stair climbing, etc.; provided you are putting in the same relative effort, fat burning will be basically the same.
The take home message here is that if you don’t like to run, don’t force yourself to slog through a treadmill workout in hopes of burning a few extra calories. As long as you train at a comparable level of intensity, the differences in fat burning between modalities will be negligible. Given that the most important aspect of any exercise program is adherence (you can’t get results if you’re not training, right?), you should choose a cardio modality based on your goals and preferences–not because it purportedly burns more fat.
1) Brown GA, Cook CM, Krueger RD, Heelan KA. Comparison of energy expenditure on a treadmill vs. an elliptical device at a self-selected exercise intensity. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jun;24(6):1643-9.
In a previous post, I wrote about the recent Consumer Reports study that found various protein supplements contained potentially unsafe levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Now comes another study on the subject, this one conducted by Consumer Labs The following three products did not pass the Consumer Labs test:
1) Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein Vanilla was found to contain 12 grams of sugar as opposed to 8 grams per serving claimed on the label. It also contained 26 more total calories per serving (125 calories versus the 99 claimed on the label), which was attributed to the increased carbohydrate content as well as some additional dietary fat.
2) NutriBiotic Rice Protein Vanilla was found to contain 6 mcg of lead per scoop (18 mcg in the maximum daily serving of 3 scoops) which is considered above tolerable limits.
3) Metagenics® UltraMeal® Rice Natural Chocolate Flavor was found to be contaminated with 5.9 mcg of lead per daily serving.
It should be noted that the products receiving a failing grade were all either soy or rice based, and high lead levels were found exclusively in the rice based proteins. This is understandable given that lead is known to accumulate in rice. All of the whey based protein powders were given “approved” ratings (although Consumer Labs did not test for levels of arsenic or cadmium, which were evaluated in the Consumer Reports study).
As always, remember that supplements are not regulated and quality can be spotty depending on the manufacturer. To help ensure that you get what you pay for, opt for brands that bear the that bear the “USP Verified” seal signifying independent testing for quality, purity, and potency.
“Toning shoes” are the new big thing in the sneaker business. Sketchers, the manufacturer of Shape-ups, call them “…a great way to exercise while you go about your busy day!” and profess that “…walking in Shape-ups can help burn more calories, tone muscles and more.” Sounds like a great concept, right? Reebok (Easy Tone), New Balance (TrueBalance) , and other sneaker companies have jumped into the market with similar products that claim to help you get into shape without ever setting foot in a gym.
I was recently provided with a pair of toning sneakers to test out. On the surface, the theory behind toning shoes seems reasonable. The shoes are designed with a curved sole. This creates somewhat of an unstable environment, which should theoretically require users to increase muscle activation to facilitate balance. Question is, do these sneakers really live up to the hype? Sadly, the answer is not much, if at all.
While toning shoes do provide a measure of instability during walking, the overall effect is very slight–certainly not enough to have a meaningful impact on muscle development, posture, balance, and other fitness parameters. Other than those who are rehabbing a lower ankle sprain or are very unfit, I can’t imagine they would provide any additional fitness benefits at all. A recent study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) backs up this view. The study compared the exercise responses and muscle activation between walking in traditional athletic shoes versus toning shoes. The results? Neither exercise response (as measured by ratings of perceived exertion, oxygen consumption, and caloric expenditure) nor muscle activation (as measured by EMG) showed significant differences between the two groups.
Moreover, given their unusual design, it is possible that toning shoes may alter normal gait patterns. This could potentially increase the possibility of injury to soft tissue structures, particularly in those who have existing joint problems in their lower extremities. Thus, someone rehabbing from a lower ankle sprain (seemingly a target consumer for the product), should think twice before purchasing a pair.
That said, injury associated with wearing toning shoes should be of little concern to otherwise healthy individuals. I actually found the shoes to be quite comfortable once you get used to them. The additional cushioning produces an airy feel, and absorbs ground reaction forces nicely. Thus, while they might not provide any additional fitness benefits, they can be considered a viable alternative to traditional sneakers if you’re simply looking for walking comfort.
Bottom line: Don’t expect to get fit simply by walking around in a pair of toning shoes. When something sounds to be too good to be true, it usually is. That’s the case here. If you want to shape up, you’re going to have to work out. There are no shortcuts.