Tabata? HIIT? What do these terms all mean?
For people trying to lose weight, the studies now prove that getting onto an elliptical, treadmill, stationary bicycle, etc. for an hour just doesn’t cut it!! A recent study out of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise did an analysis of High Intensity Intermittent Training versus moderate training. The results of the study were surprising. People who do High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) work outs such as functional fitness, P90x, and tabata, as well as others, are losing more weight than the people tying themselves to the elliptical, treadmill, or stair master!
How many times have you found yourself thoughtlessly walking on the treadmill, or, my “favorite,” the elliptical? These exercises are “cardio” machines, and most of the time people will go for a certain length of time and stop. The key to utilizing this type of equipment is to always train with a purpose. Every day we see a new journal article touting the new evidence that HIIT is the most effective way to go.
A simple way to work with a purpose is to hop on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bicycle and do a tabata style work out. These workouts are excellent for maximization of time and benefits, (with rounds lasting a total or 4 minutes) while at the same time not requiring much equipment.
A “Tabata” is 8 rounds, with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For each of the 8 rounds, a specific exercise is chosen to be completed, then you may rest for 10 seconds before continuing with the next round. The key point to remember here is that maximum effort is expected during these intervals. At first glance this seems like a relatively easy rep scheme, but I find that even the most in shape people have difficulty doing this. That’s the beauty of it though – it does not take too long, can be done anywhere and at any level of fitness for great results!
My favorite at home Tabata consists of push-ups, body weight squats, lunges, sit-ups, burpees.. you can complete this with any of your favorite bodyweight or kettlebell exercises. Select 3 to 4 exercises, and do the 8-round scheme with each. With a minute of rest in between exercises, it should not take you longer than 20 minutes!
Try it out! Let me know how you do! A fun goal is to count the reps you get each round, and try to beat it on the next round. This way, you have a way to gauge your intensity and have a goal in mind!
These exercises and eating Healthy by consuming REAL FOODS is the best way to change your life!
Kinesiotaping a.k.a. Deloading tape, Does it work?
Does this tape stuff really do anything? The proposed mechanism of action for this tape is a reduction of tissue (i.e. fascia, muscle, and/or tendon) stress (load) within a taped area. I’ll admit, I was skeptical, and admittedly still am hesitant to endorse this product. However, when I received my most recent issue of the Journal for the American College of Sports Medicine, one article of this issue, “Deloading tape reduces muscle stress at rest and during contraction” provides proof that deloading tape (KT tape, Rocktape, etc.) may be beneficial for relieving some strain applied to muscles.
The article focused on applying the kinesiotape to the quadriceps (specifically the rectus femoris) while using supersonic shear imaging (SSI) to measure the amount of strain. The results demonstrated that a significant amount of strain was removed from the muscle when it was moderately to highly stretched, and when the muscle was contracted on the taped patients. However, muscles that are shortened showed no benefit from the deloading tape. The article stated that more studies need to be conducted, but I believe this is good preliminary evidence that these taping companies are marketing a beneficial product.
I asked a few friends about their experiences with “Deloading tape” and I was able to get AVP Beach Volleyballer Aurora Davis to give me some feedback. She used the tape for some knee pain that she was experiencing.
When asked whether the tape helped her stabilize or take pressure off of the injury? She replied, “Yes I definitely did. I was having a lot of pain in my knee, but I needed to play in a tournament that was only 2 days away. The tape really stabilized my knee and definitely took pressure off of it, taking a lot of the pain away. I was able to play and not worry about my knee.”
I have seen various physical therapists, chiropractors, alternative medicine practitioners, and massage therapists using this technique. According to the study, the proper way to apply the tape is to make sure the skin over the area is bunched together in an “orange peel” appearance. The tape is meant to reduce the amount of strain in the effected muscle, so proper application is critical. This decrease in strain is used with the intention to facilitate injured muscles (strains or sprains), and help distribute load over a greater surface area. By decreasing the pull on the aforementioned injured muscle, there is lower risk in further injury. In theory, this sounds terrific.
This is only one study that points to some potential benefit of this sort of taping, I am working to find more. People using this type of taping must be sure that they are having the tape applied in a proper technique by a trained professional. The issues that I believe need to be developed further are:
1. Will deloading tape cause increase strain to muscles distal to the injured area and could this cause rupture or other strains?
2. This was a small group (n=13).
3. The group was healthy individuals.
Comment below with your experiences of deloading tape!!
Define: “Healthy Eating”
When I see patients in the office we often start discussing “healthy eating,” as if we both are on the same page! However, I follow-up my question by asking “What exactly do you believe is healthy?” The majority of the time, the conversation feels like we are speaking two different languages.
The truth of the matter is, everyone’s definition of “healthy eating” is different!!
Now, what exactly is “healthy eating” or “eating clean?” How can this be accomplished?
Although eating healthy comes in all shapes and sizes, I personally follow a “Personal Paleo Code” as described by Chris Kresser. This isn’t necessarily the only “eating healthy” lifestyle change that exists, but I do believe that a “Personal Paleo Code” is a good basis for people to start on. I have seen excellent results from friends and patients that adhere to the principles.
I believe that “eating healthy” starts on the premise of removing processed foods, sugar, and grains from someone’s lifestyle.
The biggest issue I find when I discuss lifestyle modification is the last part of this lifestyle change – the grains. People look at me dead in the face and say, “Why can’t I have grains?” Well, the short story is that bread, pasta, and any other grain-laden product is easily converted into sugar. Once this process happens (the Krebs Cycle, etc.), the laws of adiposity take hold. Insulin is released from the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. Once insulin is released, sugar is broken down into immediate energy where needed by the body, and into fat stores for the excess. People look at me and say, “Sugar makes us fat?” The simple answer is yes. Insulin is a “fat storage hormone” If our bodies can’t immediately use the energy from food (which is usually the case), we store the sugar as fat. This is the fat most commonly seen stored in our abdomen.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of coming home to Florida, and witnessing my family try and transition to a “healthy eating” lifestyle. I have seen some of the common pitfalls and that I will discuss a few of them in depth.
Juices (yes, even “Naked” smoothies) are a huge pitfall. The best way to tell if the juice is real juice is if you juice it yourself, or you look at the nutritional label to see how much dietary fiber is in the beverage. Most juices will have no dietary fiber – this means the beverage is simply pure sugar water. Avoid all juices unless you can reliably say that they have dietary fiber in them. In theory, fiber slows the digestion of the sugar in the intestinal tract so as to not inundate the pancreas with a huge amount of sugar for processing. Drinking beverages like the ones I described above are the same as, or even slightly worse than drinking a Coca-Cola or Pepsi.
Processed foods are generally laden with ADDED SUGAR. Check out my previous blog for these pitfalls. Take the time to look at the nutritional label, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t eat that item. Companies like to break up the amount of sugar in the ingredients label by using sugar synonyms such as but not limited to:
Brown Rice Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar (just because it is from a coconut doesn’t make the sugar any better for you), Brown Rice Syrup, Sucrose, etc. This concept is discussed extensively in Robert Lustig’s book “Fat Chance”. My summary of his analysis of all the “Diets” of the 21st century breaks down to this:
All successful lifestyle modifications/diets have one thing in common, they eliminate SUGARS and PROCESSED FOODS from them!!
In general, labels with a laundry list of ingredients are usually processed and composed of unhealthy ingredients. The closer from the earth the item is, the better it is for you.
Since I will be publishing this just before we all gobble down a few pounds of Thanksgiving Turkey here is my method to having a healthy, fun, and fulfilling Holiday!
Number one priority: TURKEY (Probably a pound or two for myself… lol)
Number two priority: Veggies
Number three priority: Everything else
Fill up on meat and veggies before you get into the sugar laden sweets!!
Finally, just because the box says “low fat”, “low sugar”, or “low carb” doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you. Always read the nutritional labels on the boxes!! “Low fat” typically = loaded with sugar!! “Low carb” or “Low sugar” may mean that the food is packed with fat. Fats can be good or bad (I will discuss this in a future blog), but sugar is responsible for the epidemic of obesity.
As they say, “Eat to live, but don’t live to eat!!”
Is Crossfit the most dangerous workout there is?
I love hearing that my lifestyle involves the “most dangerous workout” there is! When catching back up with friends from home in Florida we do the usual back in forth of:
“How are you doing?”
“I’m doing great, and you?”
“I’m doing well as well…”
But the next question that I often get is, “What have you been doing to stay in shape?” I tell them I have been doing Crossfit pretty religiously for the past year and a half. Having a background in Olympic lifting (thanks to a father who pushed me to be the best athlete I could be, by starting “oly” lifting during high school) gave me a little bit of a leg up, and being a former division 2 college baseball player I found myself craving the competitive atmosphere a Crossfit Gym delivers.
After I stop babbling about Crossfit, I tend to get the question, “Being a doctor aren’t you worried about getting injured? Crossfit is so dangerous!”
Crossfit has been shown in one study that, Crossfit-Based High-Intensity Power Training Improves Maximal Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition. Currently there are no Peer Reviewed Journal Articles that can definitively state that Crossfit leads to more injuries than other conventional strength training. This is something that could use studying in the future. I’ve thought about this for some time now and here are my recommendations on this:
Crossfit is just as dangerous as someone following their own training program in the gym. The key to staying injury free is finding a gym that really takes pride in coaching perfect form and techinique.
- A good Crossfit coach is going to sacrifice a new personal record (which feels amazing to accomplish) for doing the exercises with correct form.
- A good Crossfit coach is going to work with you when your technique on your squat is just a little bit off (ie: curving your back when driving out of the hole).
- A good Crossfit coach is going to put you through a good warm-up and several mobility exercises to ensure that your muscles aren’t cold and susceptible to sprains and strains.
This is what people should look for when joining a Crossfit gym – coaches and a community that cares. They should find a gym that has beginner classes/elements courses that walk you through all the movements that Crossfit will involve. Every movement in Crossfit can be modified to someone’s capabilities. For instance, if pull-ups are something that you just can’t do, then a good gym and coach will modify the exercise. Generally, they will give you a band to use in order to strengthen the muscles that are weak (I personally think a pull up is a goal that everyone should set to accomplish. You never know when you may be required to pull yourself to safety…)
A coach that you do not want is the one that will encourage you to push through a repetition with improper form. A coach who pays more attention to his phone during the workout, than your curled back as you do a deadlift. A coach who would rather be elsewhere when teaching the class. A coach who just tells you to limber up on your own. These gyms and coaches are few and far between, but as the saying goes “One bad apple gives the whole bunch a bad name!” and I believe this is why Crossfit gets a bad name from time to time.
I believe that if you find the Crossfit gym and/or coach that are right for you, you’ll find that there is a smaller chance of injury than potentially doing workouts incorrectly on your own. The added bonus of finding a good community and friends is also very beneficial to ones overall health!
REMEMBER, Crossfit is what YOU make of it, don’t let other athletes in the gym dictate YOUR fitness goals!
Paleo Grass-Fed Beef!
I hope everyone is seeing great results so far! Only 9 more days to go!
My next recipe calls for ground beef. My roommate and I buy beef in bulk from Bringhurst Farms, and its become a staple in our fridge! http://www.bringhurstmeats.com The variety pack of grass-fed beef from this butcher usually has somewhere between 10-15 pounds of ground beef. We have come up with various different uses for the ground beef: it is not onle a good source of protein and fat, but can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, OR dinner! One of my favorite recipes calls for:
1- one pound package of ground beef
1/2 of an onion (chef’s choice here on type)
Butter or Ghee
Coconut aminos (for some additional flavor)
Feel free to get creative and add any paleo ingredient you want!
Get a mixing bowl and add all these ingredients in. Now, the fun part is using your hands (after you have washed them of course) to mix everything together. Add salt, pepper, and coconut aminos to taste.
Once you’re done mixing this “meatloaf” style mix together, make burger patties to the size of your liking. Set the old iron skillet or pan on the stove with either ghee or butter on high heat. Cook the burgers on this high heat to the internal temperature of your liking.
Brussel Sprouts – these go great with Beef!
Get a bag full of brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s or any other grocer. Rinse the sprouts, cut off the bottom portion, and cut in half. After doing this put the sprouts in a bowl, and pour in some balsamic vinegar and honey (enough to coat the sprouts). Salt and pepper to your preference, then place the cut sides down in an iron skillet with leftover bacon grease or butter. Brown the sprouts on this side until a good carmelization has developed and then flip over.
Place a lid on the pan occasionally to allow the sprouts to steam as well as sauté.
Enjoy this delicious dish, I know that I do!
Paleo Pork for Two: All for $10
This is my first of four blogs about easy Paleo recipes that can be very satisfying, easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. This first recipe will feed two average sized people. I get all of my products in this post from Trader Joes.
1lb of Pork Loin (I get the unseasoned kind, so I can save a few dollars and know that I am staying Paleo)
2- Sweet Potatoes
One bag of organic spinach
Ghee (or Kerrygold Grassfed Butter)
Cast Iron Skillet (preferably one you can put into the oven)
If you cannot put the skillet into the oven, a cooking sheet will work.
One pot to boil water (for the sweet potatoes)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the pork loin with the sea salt and peppercorns. Leave the pork to sit for about 10mins. After about 8 minutes turn the stove onto HIGH heat and place the skillet on top of the stove. Put a copious amount of ghee into the pan that covers the cooking surface. After allowing the pork loin to season for the full ten minutes, place the pork in the skillet and brown all sides.
By this time the oven should be preheated. After browning all the sides of the pork place the skillet into the oven. If the skillet/pan can’t be put in the oven, transfer the pork onto a cooking sheet. Set a timer for approximately 20-25 minutes. If using a cooking thermometer the internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees with 3 minute rest.
Sweet Potatoes Prep:
After you put the pork in the oven you have about 25 minutes to cook sides for your meal. First, I set a pot full of water with a lid with a little salt, on that same burner that was used to cook the pork. I then like to cut the sweet potatoes into either little wafers/chips or I will cut them longitudinally into about 4 strips per potato. After done cutting these into strips or chips I will drop them into the boiling water. I then set a second timer for 10 minutes. After I remove the sweet potatoes from the boiling water I will use another pan or the same pan if I transferred the pork to brown the sides of the sweet potatoes.
Pick a pan and place the whole bag of spinach in the pan with some fresh ground garlic, salt, pepper, and a little bit of olive oil. Sauté the spinach.
So for just about 10 dollars and in roughly 30-40 minutes this whole recipe can be prepared. Enjoy!
Crossfit Aspire and DT1’s Paleo Challenge
For the next 30 days, you will be embarking on a journey that will leave you, and your body thanking yourself for changing your lifestyle for the rest your life. My focus in writing this is for the CrossFit Aspire and DT1 members who are on the verge of making serious lifestyle change. This is meant to be a guide of what is and what is not Paleo. This will not be all-inclusive, and if questions arise feel free to contact me.
Now, what exactly is Paleo? My favorite description that I have come across thus far:
“Paleo is the blueprint for healthy living and is still rooted in the food: Choose sustainable, nutrient dense foods, locally sourced when possible and good for you above all else; eliminate inflammatory foods, avoiding unnatural, heavily processed foods and administering a turn of the back to sugar, gluten, and grains.”
Starchy vegetables (ie: yams, sweet potatoes, Yucca, tapioca, etc.)
Non-starchy vegetables (anything green or colored in produce section)
Traditional fats (coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, Kerry gold butter (for our challenge it is ok), duck fat, lard, etc.)
Sea salt and spices.
Grains (including: “wheat, rice, cereal, oats, pseudograins, and nongluten grains like sorghum, teff, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt, rye, barley, couscous, malt, graham flour, and so on. No bread, pasta, cereal, or PIZZA. And for now, don’t go shopping for gluten-free substitutes.”
Legumes (black beans, etc.)
Processed foods (almost everything in a box or a can!)
Sugar and all sweeteners in all forms
Any kind of soda
Any kind of fruit juice (unless you juice it yourself)
What’s the easiest way to be successful in this challenge? My best advice is to completely rid your homes of non-paleo items. Can’t be tempted if it isn’t there – Out of sight, out of mind!! I will be posting 4 different Paleo-friendly recipes that I regularly enjoy!! Check back next week!
Great Paleo resources:
He has shopping lists available if you sign up for his free registration.
If anyone has any questions about any foods or beverages feel free to email me!! Good luck!
Breakfast…No YOLKING around!!
Breakfast, while being the most important meal of the day, is often the most underrated meal of the day! When working on modifying someone’s lifestyle, my first question is, “What is your typical breakfast?” The response that I usually receive often reflects how little time most people have to prepare breakfast in the morning, since many say they either have a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal.
Although these two options are common, they illustrate extremely unhealthy options for breakfast.
1. A cup of coffee, while not necessarily the worst option, due to the benefits of intermittent fasting leaves most people wanting more. Most commonly after their cup of coffee, I see people picking up something convenient, such as a muffin, bagel, granola bar, or some other carbohydrate laden food item. This adds numerous empty calories plus introducing more added sugars into our “most important meal of the day!”
2. A bowl of cereal, often results in patients consuming excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates, without any real nutritional benefits. If the cereal is at least eaten with whole milk, or raw milk, there would be a minor nutritional benefit. However, since our nation is hooked on reduced-fat milk, there isn’t much in it that would necessarily help provide a satisfying breakfast.
The lack of quality nutrition in the morning had me thinking on my drive into work the other day. I found myself pressed for time and needed to satisfy my belly. I started looking around and I realized just how difficult getting a good wholesome breakfast can be. Every on the go breakfast restaurant will give you powdered eggs (SEE ABOVE or BELOW) or low-grade bacon, with some high glycemic index carbohydrates (ie: Biscuit, English Muffin, Toast, etc.) to go with these options. By no means is this a wholesome breakfast. When I say wholesome, I mean a breakfast packed full of good fats, proteins, and some complex carbohydrates through vegetables.
What I recommend for Breakfast (when time isn’t an issue):
2-3 Slices of good quality bacon: Great source of saturated fat and protein
3-4 organic free range eggs: Great source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and protein.
-Please eat the yolks (All of the 13 micronutrients in eggs are found here!)
Half of an avocado- High in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, especially oleic acid (MUFAs), and naturally low in sugar. Helps rid the body of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Fats, especially saturated fats, along with protein, help stabilize blood sugar throughout the day.
If you lead a hectic lifestyle and are on the go in the morning, or can’t make bacon and eggs, here is my advice. Get a dozen organic free-range eggs from the store, and on Sunday night (or any night you have time) put all dozen eggs in boiling water for 10 minutes. This gives you a dozen hard-boiled eggs for consumption throughout the week. These are great for on the go in the morning!! Unsweetened full fat yogurt is another option for the on the go individual. This not only gives you plenty of active cultures for a healthy gut microbiome, but is full of good protein and fat.
Remember as the Abraham Lincoln once said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years!
Kiddos getting FAT, on LOW-FAT Milk!!
As I’ve been working through a pediatrics rotation, I’ve been able to interact with an exciting and different demographic of patients than usual. My interactions have shown me that our country is in need of more accurate information when it comes to what is healthy for both their body and their children’s bodies. One of the most common complaints pediatricians deal with is about infants who have problems with spitting up. When children are young, their lower esophageal sphincter is immature. This allows for most of mom’s milk (which happens to be the most ideal way to nourish an infant) or formula to be able to come right back up once swallowed. The best way to combat this issue is to make sure you’re holding your infant upright for at least 25-30 minutes after feeding. This allows the digestive process of the little kiddo to start moving along by using gravity to aid in that process. Once new mothers and fathers hear this, their children get better 90% of the time. This small instance proves just how powerful knowledge can be when given to parents!
You might be wondering what prompted me to talk about milk. I know, I know, all you Paleo purists can turn away from this article. However, since the 1990’s, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended transitioning children around age two from whole milk to lower-fat milk. I came across a recent observational study correlating the amount of fat in milk with the predisposition to becoming overweight. It revealed that children who are transitioned off of whole milk to low-fat or skim milk turn out to be at a higher risk of becoming overweight. How so? We have been told that skim and reduced fat milk makes us skinnier for years. Well, milks that have been rid of fats, either partially or completely, deprives us of the fat-soluble vitamins found in whole milk. Fats are required in kids to help with brain and nervous system growth. One study has even shown that kiddos in general have a much higher fat requirement due to the increase in protein and bone synthesis at younger ages.
Often times when whole milk is converted into skim milk, dairy processers will add non-natural ingredients into the milk to make the texture better or boost the vitamin and mineral count. This isn’t the only thing that is added to the milk, most children like to add some chocolate or strawberry flavoring. This instantly doubles the calorie count and adds in more than the recommended value for sugar in one day. I think this quote sums it up best:
“To make dairy products low fat, it’s not enough to remove the fat. You then have to go to great lengths to preserve the body or creamy texture by working in all kinds of food additives. In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol, so food makers sometimes compensate by adding antioxidants, further complicating what had been a simple one-ingredient whole food. Also, removing the fat makes it that much harder for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are one of the reasons to drink milk in the first place.” –Michael Pollan
In previous posts we talked about the link of added sugars to increased weight and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in our population. Our world is full of over marketed, processed foods that have only now caught our attention due to the decreasing health of children. Children require nutritious food to grow properly, and parents can ensure the well being of their child by providing good, wholesome food. The first meal of the day also happens to be the most important one, and giving children cereal with milk is not the answer. So to sum things up, if you tolerate milk, drink it as pure as you can (direct from the cow if possible). My next post will be on a what a nourishing breakfast entails in order to start the day on the right foot.