Health Tips

Tips (articles)

The Truth About Cardio

Cardio exercise has many definitions. The American College of Sports Medicine (Garber et al. 2011) describes it as “exercise that uses large muscle groups and is done for 30-60 minutes.” Some designate cardio as any long, slow, or endurance-related exercise, and still others categorize cardio as any exercise which elevates the heart rate to a certain level. What all these definitions are describing is called moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).

While fitness professionals and leaders in the fitness industry agree that MICT is an important component of training, there are still questions about its overall efficacy when compared to other less time-consuming options.

Many health authorities including the American Health Association, ACSM, the American Diabetes Association, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all recommend a cardio/MICT program of at least 150 minutes per week and small additions and/or differences. However, evidence that, for some people, MICT training may be ineffective or even slightly detrimental to their health has been around for a while (See Bouchard et al. 2012 and Bouchard et al 1999). The conclusion being that while MICT is certainly beneficial for some—perhaps even arguably, most—people, for others it does not fare quite so well.

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Free weights vs. machine exercise

A study conducted in 2016 (Pimentel, I. et al) discovered that when comparing a barbell bench press, shoulder (overhead) press, and close-grip bench press to the same exercises performed on a Smith machine, that there was no significant difference in the level of muscle activation and involvement.

Electromyographic (EMG) data was collected during the exercises for the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps and biceps. The data lead the researchers to conclude that muscles cannot distinguish sources of resistance and therefore, will respond in the same way regardless of source.

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The Importance of Timing in Nutrition and Exercise

In an ideal world, the capability of coordination your nutrition with fitness efforts would be a breeze. Eating 5-7 times throughout the day to maintain proper blood glucose and energy levels with regular exercise to burn off the consumed calories. However, the story plays out a bit differently in reality; life has a habit of getting in the way of even our best intentions to lead a “healthy lifestyle.”

There are many fitness systems out there that attempt to “hack” the impact timing has on your training and results, like fast-and-burn (intense activity on an empty stomach). But the safety and efficacy of these tactics is debated in the fitness community, as this approach can cause the body to get too depleted after exercise any lead many to overeat after. A more widely accepted point-of-view is to adequately fuel before any exercise.

Nutrition is one of the most important ways you can prepare for a big sports or training event. The pre-event meal replenishes glycogen (short-term carb energy) to “prime” the metabolic system. While carbohydrates are a pre-workout staple, protein should also be included in limited amounts along with marginal quantities of fat and dietary fiber. Fluids are also an essential part of the process to stave off dehydration. Athletes should drink enough water that their urine is a pale yellow color.

As you can see, timing is very important, especially if you want to get the most out of a workout and see steady results.

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What You Don’t Know About Potatoes and Weight Gain

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap the last few years as being the likely culprits in the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. As a result, there have been many studies seeking to explore the relationship between this hearty vegetable and weight gain. Two notable studies unearthed no significant relationship, while two others found only small, statistically insignificant results. One study, which focused on the consumption of French fries, did find that by increasing potato intake by 1 serving per day would result in a 1.28lb gain over four years.

The conclusion? Potatoes are fine in moderation and can certainly be included in a balanced diet, especially boiled, baked, or mashed.

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Sugar, Duckweed, and Other Food Facts

The smoking gun for the sugar industry has been uncovered. Internal documents, historical reports, and statements gathered from the Sugar Research Foundation have illuminated a research program set forth in the 1960s-70s to sow doubt and uncertainty regarding the hazards of increased sucrose intake while demonizing fat as the primary culprit for coronary heart disease. Unsurprisingly, despite the mounting evidence, the Sugar Association (formerly SRF) maintains its ignorance surrounding any correlation or link between sugar and cardiovascular disease.

Duckweed, an aquatic plant that doubles its biomass in 24-48 hours, is currently being analyzed for its suitability for human consumption. The average protein content for the six species of duckweed currently in consideration range from 20-30% per dry weight. This unusual protein source is gaining traction via a few companies already developing products and uses for the plant.

In the not too far off future you may be able to purchase “cultured” coffee from your local grocery store. The culture comes from the elimination of certain microbes during a controlled fermentation process while adding different microbes to address the digestive discomfort coffee sometimes elicits. This means the possibility of a smoother, less astringent, less bitter, and more aromatic coffee.

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The Times They Are A-Changing: Joint Replacement and Pilates

Joint replacement procedures (or total joint arthroplasty) have become much more common in recent years. The procedure helps patients by reducing their pain, increasing mobility, and allowing them to return to normal activities and exercise, although the recovery time varies according to the joint. However, integrating Pilates exercise techniques and routines into the rehabilitation process have yielded promising results.

Pilates, founded in the 1920s by Jospeh Pilates, is based on precise movements that focus on the body’s core before branching out to strengthen and elongate the body. The practice, often used in the rehabilitative practice of dancers and athletes, improves muscle elasticity and joint mobility.

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Meal Plans (articles)

Managed nutrition is available in an incredibly affordable and convenient meal plan from your strategic partner Carmines Catering.

Eighty percent of the results you see from any exercise program comes from nutrition. Don't allow your hard work to be sacrificed by tight schedules that don't always allow for healthy eating.

Have your proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables pre-prepared and portioned for you. Conveniently delivered to your home, office, or workout appointment.

Athletic Training

CFASM also has a licensed athletic trainer in our network for dealing with degenerative muscle diseases or high-end athletic needs, as well as a nutritionist. Ask your trainer for details.