Feel the Burn

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Typically, when someone is talking about , ‘Feeling the burn’, they are referring to the euphoric high of an intense workout. The one that makes each breath of oxygen fuel your muscles, so that you can continue to get in one more set, one more rep, or maybe just one more step. The burn is the production and build up of lactic acid.

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High intensity exercise can cause an endorphin rush much like the intake of Capsaicin, which is an active component in chilie peppers and is said to promote weight loss. It is also an anti fungal.

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I am known as a chili head. I enjoy the burn of hot peppers, sauces, seasonings and all things chili. I have been busy grinding dried Mulato, Ancho, Ghost, New Mex., Chococlate Habanero, and Fatali chilies. I mix this with a few seasonings and use it as a topical addition for eggs, soups, meats, you name it.

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These Fatali peppers are one of my favorites for their citrus like flavor. I am wearing gloves due to the oils that are present on these chilies. The vast majority of the heat is not in the seeds, as some people think, but in the membrane or placenta, that holds the seeds.

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I recently took a stab at making my own pepper sauce. It turned out rather well. I made my first batch with Jalapenos and Poblanos. These were fermented in a brine solution with yogurt culture to help create the process. After about six weeks, I added vinegar, a few final seasonings, ran half the batch through a berry strainer, and my first bottle of hot sauce was born.

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There was a point where we had to vacate the premises and air it out, due to the overwhelming fumes. This gave us ample time for some great Mexican food at my favorite restaurant.

Whether you choose to explore the use of capsaicin as a topical for pain relief, the ingestion of more spice for health reasons, (circulation), or just grab a bottle of chipotle sauce for flavor, I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I have enjoyed sharing mine with you.

Feel the Burn!

In fitness, Bob

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Is Milk Your Friend or Foe?

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I am not a proponent of a large consumption of milk. Antibiotics that are added are one reason, another is that we are the only species to consume milk beyond our early developmental stages. The milk being consumed is not the mother’s milk that provided us with the vital nutrients our young, fragile bodies needed for growth. While this needs to be researched further, I believe there are better sources of calcium.
Strength training is very beneficial for the formation of calcium deposits, promoting bone growth, even in the elderly. Numerous studies have proven that the risk of osteoporosis can be reversed by strength training. This does not say you have to join a gym or lift massive amounts of weight to reap the benefits. Strength training helps the body retain calcium. Calcium supplements alone will not prevent osteoporosis. Running, dancing, stair- climbing, and weight lifting are considered impact exercises. These exercises also incorporate muscles that build balance skills, something that declines as our bodies age. With falls becoming more prevalent in later years, and the injuries we can sustain to our bones increasing, it is a good reason to protect ourselves.                        The  benefits can begin at any age and it is never to late to start a weight training regimen. Muscle and bone mass can be regained even as we age into our 70’s and 80’s. Why wait?                                                             Did you know that 9 out of 10 hip fractures result from falls? Men and women both can benefit from a bone and muscle building workout. As little as 15-30 minutes, two times a week will produce benefits.

Our Better Health

Instead of reduction in fractures, study suggests higher risk of heart disease, cancer

WebMD News from HealthDay      By Dennis Thompson     HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) – Drinking lots of milk could be bad for your health, a new study reports.

Previous research has shown that the calcium in milk can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. These benefits to bone health have led U.S. health officials to recommend milk as part of a healthy diet.

But this new study found that drinking large amounts of milk did not protect men or women from bone fractures, and was linked to an overall higher risk of death during the study period.

However, the researchers said the results should be viewed with caution.

Women who drank three glasses of milk or more every day had a nearly doubled risk of death and cardiovascular disease, and a…

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Weight Loss Plateaus

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Have you ever started a diet or weight loss plan, only to hit a plateau or hump that you just couldn’t get over? Were the goals that you set for yourself reachable in the time frame you allotted? Did you find yourself cheating occasionally or skipping workout days.

Some of you may know that in order to lose weight you must expend, or use, more calories than you take in. You will need to workout a little more to get rid of the extra weight that you have put on as well.

When beginning an exercise routine, most people experience their best results, however the body adapts to the exercise routine and is no longer challenged the way it was before. If all you monitor is the scale, you may not even see the results. This is due to the fact that you are burning fat and losing mass. You may even see an increase in your weight because you are building muscle. This new muscle growth will help you achieve the results you want.

You must hold yourself accountable with every bite you take. If you consider how much movement is required to burn the food energy you ingest, you may achieve greater results. This is not to say that you should starve yourself either. In a starvation mode, your body will adjust by storing the food it takes in as fat, so that it does not burn it as fuel. You will actually begin to lose muscle mass.

Try to keep an honest journal of what you consume and how you were feeling at the time you ate it. Were you angry, happy, with other people or alone? Condiments and drinks will add to your intake of “invisible” calories quickly. I love eggs, but at 70 calories each or 17 for the white only, sometimes I sacrifice a yolk or two. This helps my cholesterol as well.

Change up your workout routine. As I said, the body will become accustomed to the exercise, and your nutrition needs will change. Do you fidget? Maybe you should. Movement uses energy. Sing to yourself and tap your foot, or get up for a quick walk to a friends cubicle, the restroom even if you don’t need to use it, just start moving more. And if you increase your water intake, (hint hint), you will have the need to get up and move.

Don’t fall for for rapid weight loss pills, gimmicks, machines, or diets of whoever is famous at the time. If you do not make this a lifestyle change, then you won’t have a life changing event. Consider hiring a Certified Personal Trainer that will help guide you through your journey. Stay motivated, accept that you may have setbacks, and overcome them.                                                                          In fitness, Bob

Breakfast Matters

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1)                                    Do you ever skip breakfast or grab something from a fast food place, only to be left unsatisfied or feeling ready for a nap within a few hours? You have heard it before and probably more than you wanted to. Breakfast matters! The fact is that your body needs fuel to recover from the nights rest you had and to prepare you to start your day. A good plan is to have some form of breakfast within a minimum of two hours after waking and preferably within the first thirty minutes.

You don’t want your body to start going into a starvation mode and eating muscle. When you start skipping meals, your brain tells your body to store food as fat as part of a self preservation strategy. Breakfast need not be elaborate, a certain percentage of your daily intake, (depending on your activity level or timing for a workout), or standard breakfast menu fare. Leftovers are fine as long as you have a healthy blend of macro nutrients. Just a hard boiled egg, banana or handful of trail mix first thing will give you an edge before you finish your breakfast.

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I recently discovered refrigerator oatmeal, or summer porridge as it is called. I stumbled upon it through theyummylife.com and am glad I did. The fact that oatmeal helps keep cholesterol levels in check and keeps you feeling fuller longer due to a high satiety level are bonuses.

Using a one pint canning jar with a plastic screw on lid or similar container makes this portable as well. These can be packed to work for breakfast, midday snack or a lunch alternative. The variations are limited only to your taste.

The use of steel cut oatmeal instead of rolled oats is a texture preference for me.  I add chia seed to these recipes since discovering that they are an excellent source of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed. Another healthy addition is PB2. This is powdered peanut butter without all the extra fats and sugar. I also sprinkle in ground cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar. (Grapefruit and sweet potato are good breakfast choices for low sugar spikes as well)

The first recipe I tried uses 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats (quick cook), 2 Tbs chia seed, 2 Tbs PB2, 1/2 banana (quartered), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbs agave (or sweetener of your choice). Simply pour the milk into your jar, add the banana, oats, seeds, sweetener and shake. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. You can stir the fruit in after refrigeration if you prefer or even add more.

The other variation I have tried uses Qi’a seed, (chia, buckwheat, hemp), oatmeal, walnuts, pure maple syrup, almond milk and cinnamon. This one came out moister than I liked, but I think it was due to the lesser amount of chia seed. Chia expands to 16x it’s size. Next time I will cut the almond milk back 1/4 c.

For this recipe I mixed 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbs chopped walnuts, 2 Tbs Qi’a seed mix, 2 Tbs pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon in the pint jar, shook and set in the fridge overnight. The flavor of this one was outstanding as a cold cereal. I like banana, however this one edged it out.

Try adding in some yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds or a couple tablespoons of your favorite protein powder to switch it up. The key point is to start your day off fueled up. Pair this up with just five minutes of exercise and see what a difference it makes in your day. You will think clearer and feel less stressed.

In fitness, Bob

Isometric Exercise

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A great addition to anyone’s fitness or exercise routine can and should be Isometrics. Using your own body against itself as resistance, or applying pressure to a stationary object will challenge and activate your muscles and increase circulation. As I write this, I am sitting on a stability ball instead of the office chair to engage my core.

It is believed that Isometric exercise dates back thousands of years to Yoga and Martial arts practitioners. It was also the precursor to body building. Chiropractors and Physical Therapists often instruct patients and clients on the use of isometric exercise to engage their muscles for corrective posture and rehabilitation. Dr.Chris Steidinger of Maximized Living, at ProActive Health and Wellness in Columbus, Ohio, prescribes and recommends isometric exercise  to many of his patients regularly.

Isometrics can be applied almost anywhere at anytime. While at work, watching TV at home, sitting in the car, flying on a business trip, or anywhere it would be safe to do so. Leg isometrics would be a bad idea sitting at a stop light in your car while driving. I do however twist my grip on the steering wheel while sitting at a stop light. This works the hands and forearms.

Standing in a doorway, you can push against both sides of the door frame at head, shoulder, waist and thigh height, for a full range of motion exercise. All you do is apply pressure against the frame as if pushing it apart. While seated, you can press down on your upper leg while trying to raising your leg against the resistance. To work the shoulder and back area you can put your hands together in front of you and apply pressure towards the palms. This can be reversed by locking your fingers together and trying to pull them apart. While keeping your head straight, you can apply pressure against it with your hands to strengthen the neck muscles. This is good for releasing tension in the neck area.

These are just a few of the many variations of Isometric exercise that are simple and require no special machines to perform. Do these at work, home, or on the go to tone your muscles.              Keep moving and stay fit.

In fitness, Bob