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nutrition

Biomarker Reminder

Drs. Evans and Rosenburg are Tufts University researchers interested in the measurable parameters that keep humans healthy and fit over an entire life span.  They have determined that the top four biomarkers are:

  1. Muscle Mass.  The percentage of your body that is made of muscle.
  2. Strength.  Can you use that muscle to push, pull, lift and carry.
  3. Basal Metabolic Rate.  The number of calories your body expends at rest.
  4. Body fat Percentage.  What percentage of your body is composed of fat.

The authors named these top four biomarkers, the decisive tetrad.  They are the prerequisites to maintaining healthy numbers in all of the other essential biomarkers.

  1. Aerobic Capacity
  2. Blood Sugar Tolerance
  3. Cholesterol / HDL ratio
  4. Blood Pressure
  5. Bone Density
  6. Internal Body Temperature Regulation

Drs. Evans and Rosenburg coined the term age related sarcopenia in their 1991 book Biomarkers.  It refers to the gradual loss of muscle mass that occurs as we age.  The keys to aging well, staying durable–no injuries, and maintaining control of all health parameters is maintaining or improving muscle mass / strength and eating properly.  An ongoing program of strength training and nutritional discipline are the foremost components of fitness and health.

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

FAT LOSS NUTRITION QUIZ

FAT LOSS NUTRITION QUIZ

The primary goal of most fitness clients is altering body composition.  They want to lose fat and gain muscle and they know they need to change dietary habits.  Everyone knows the optimal nutritional menu choices.  The stream of weight loss dietary advice has been endless.  Fitness magazines, newspapers, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and hundreds of websites have been serving up dietary fat loss advice for decades.  I like to use my fat loss nutrition quiz to prove my point.  If you can pass this quiz, you know all you need to know in regards to eating for fat loss.  The question that needs to be answered is “What would motivate you to make changes in your eating habits?”

1. Eating a fresh green salad every day.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
2. Eating a fresh green salad with half a bottle of Ranch Dressing slathered on top.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
3. Eating nothing but salad.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
4. Eating a serving of fresh fruit every day.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
5. Eating Fruit Loops every day.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
6. Having a four ounce glass of wine with dinner.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
7. Having a fourteen ounce tumbler of wine with dinner.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
8. Eating breakfast every morning.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
9. Waking up in the middle of the night and eating.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
10. Consuming 120 grams of protein every day.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
11. Consuming 12 grams of protein every day.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
12. Having an apple as a snack.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
13. Having an apple pie as a snack.  
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
14. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time.  
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
15. Eating whatever is in the refrigerator.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
16. Keeping a daily food log.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
17. Keeping Oreos in the house.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
18. Consuming 1600 calories a day-women, and 2200 calories a day-men.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
19. Having absolutely no idea of how many calories you consume in a day.  
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
20. Eating foods of as many different colors as possible.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
21. Eating only brown, beige, and black colored food.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
22. Meals made exclusively from fresh produce.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
23. Meals made from the contents of a cardboard box.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
24. Post training session rehydration with water.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good
25. Post training session rehydration with beer.
Very Bad          Bad          Good          Very Good

I have never had anyone fail this test.  The “What do I eat?’ answer is really that simple.  Do not fret over dietary minutia–clean up your big nutritional mistakes.  Do some planning and preparing and exercise consistently.  The results will follow.

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

Think About This

The Latest Science on the Prevention of Alzheimer’s

Over the last 30 years, more than two hundred experimental drugs have failed to produce any success in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  It does not appear we are going to have a pharmaceutical for the treatment of Alzheimer’s any time in the near future.  A recent *article in the April issue of Scientific American discusses a treatment option that does appear to work.  This is currently our only hope in the fight against this terrible disease.  The good news is the treatment that prevents cognitive decline helps with so many other problems.

The study’s researchers demonstrated that an interventional program of exercise, proper nutrition, and cognitive training produced significant improvements in brain function.  The **Finnish Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER study) enrolled 1260 men and women between ages 60 and 77.  Over the course of two years, participants demonstrated improved cognitive test scores in processing speed (up 150%), executive function (up 83%), and complex memory (up 40%).

The exercise program in this study was not complex or time consuming.  The routines were developed by physical therapists and performed four or five days a week.  The exercise sessions involved strength training, balance skills, and aerobic activities.  As the participants became fitter, their training regimens were progressed–more challenging activities, more resistance, and/or more volume.  The time spent in training was four to five hours a week.

If your goal is to maintain or improve cognitive capacity and remain independent, then the prescription is a consistent routine of exercise.  Take the time to read the article, lace up your sneakers, and make a progressive program of fitness a lifelong habit.

* A Rare Success Against Alzheimer’s, Scientific American, April 2017

** The FINGER study, Alzheimer Prevention. Download the article here: http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEViMTIfZYurkAQNsnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1492554131/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.alzheimersprevention.org%2fdownloadables%2fFINGER-study-report-by-ARPF.pdf/RK=0/RS=fHWCrTAi9LEEDrH5jWfmRvAI7LU-

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

PDFEver wonder how many sets and repetitions of an exercise you should perform? Mike O’Hara, PT helps answer this question in his article “Old School Effective”. Jeff Tirrell discusses the importance of changing only one element of your fitness program at a time in order to determine its effective in “Be The Tortoise”. Exercise description and demonstration of single leg hip hinges are included in “One Leg At A Time”. Don’t forget to check out the youtube video that goes with the article.

 

Download Here

The holidays offer ample opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry with family and friends. Unfortunately, this may not be in the best interest of our health or our waistline. We will continue to feature nutrition tips over the next few weeks to help minimize the damage during the holiday season and avoid feeling so guilty come January 1st.

Bring a dish and skip the condimentsimages

We all know that our family and friends are not always as health conscious as we are. An easy way to take control of what is available at your next holiday feast is to bring something yourself. Opt for something that is traditionally higher in calories and make it using lower calorie alternatives. For desserts, calorie free sweeteners such as Splenda or Stevia can be used. Instead of using butter or oil to grease a pan, use calorie free cooking spray instead. Every calorie you spare on a dish you bring will help to offset your intake. Avoiding condiments and dressings is huge as well. While many don’t contain too many calories in a serving, most of us tend to eat far more than the suggested serving of 1-2 Tbsp. If you insist on dipping or pouring something on your food, opt for things that have mustard or vinegar as a base as these items are both calorie free.

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

The holidays offer ample opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry with family and friends. Unfortunately, this may not be in the best interest of our health or our waistline. We will continue to feature nutrition tips over the next few weeks to help minimize the damage during the holiday season and avoid feeling so guilty come January 1st.

Eat slowly and use a smaller plate

Many of us look forward to Holiday dinners for much of the year. We typically have 1-2 dishes that only come around this time of year and we can’t wait to get our hands on them. There is nothing inherently problematic about indulging in some calorie dense high fat/high carb foods on occasion (assuming we are eating well the rest of the time and a proper exercise routine is in place). The problem occurs when, instead of eating a sliver of pumpkin pie, we opt for half the pie. We can do two very simple things to avoid this: altering the size of our plate and slowing down the pace in which we eat.

Choosing a smaller plate size has repeatedly proven to be successful at reducing caloric intake. Psychologically, we feel like we are getting more food by seeing a full plate. You may still end up going up for that second serving but the overall intake will be less.

Slow down! Actually enjoy some conversation with family and friends rather than shoveling food down your throat as quickly as possible. It takes roughly 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full. Give yourself 25-30 minutes to finish a plate of food before deciding to go up for seconds.

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

Tortoise in Meadow

The holidays offer ample opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry with family and friends. Unfortunately, this may not be in the best interest of our health or our waistline. We will continue to feature nutrition tips over the next few weeks to help minimize the damage during the holiday season and avoid feeling so guilty come January 1st.

Avoid Liquid Calories

When it comes to unwanted weight gain, mindless snacking and liquid calories are probably two of the biggest contributors in the United States. Liquid calories include anything in liquid form that has calories (particularly those devoid of protein and fat) such as soda, juice, alcohol, gatorade, and many non-dairy milk alternatives). These items are full of sugar, do not fill you up, and typically lack any real nutritional value. Research has demonstrated that sugary drinks fail to trigger senses of satiety (feelings of fullness). On the other hand, sugary cakes, and other baked goods actually do a decent job of filling us up (though they are much more calorie dense). If you plan to indulge in high calorie foods over the holidays, cut out the liquid calories. Avoid the egg nog and enjoy a piece of pie instead.

grandmas-pumpkin-pie

 

 

 

Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

The holidays offer ample opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry with family and friends. Unfortunately, this may not be in the best interest of our health or our waistline. Every other week, we will feature a nutrition tip to help minimize the damage during the holiday season and avoid feeling so guilty come January 1st.

When it comes to avoiding weight/fat gain, energy balance is the name of the game. Many of our favorite holiday treats are high calorie/fat/sugar which is what makes them taste so great. One of the simplest things we can do to combat the impulse of overeating is plan ahead by adjusting our eating habits surrounding a given meal accordingly. Ideally, we won’t have more than one holiday party/gathering in a given week. The day of the party, eat a meal that consists solely of very lean protein (extra lean turkey, chicken breast, extra lean ground beef, egg whites, or Whey Protein Isolate, etc.) and lots of fibrous/low calorie vegetables Vegetables(broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc.). Vegetables and lean protein have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to increase satiety (feelings of fullness) and should cause you to eat less later on at the party. Try to consume at least 0.5g/lb of body weight in protein before leaving for the big meal and shoot for 3-5 cups of vegetables. Not only will you be less hungry later, but you will have met your daily protein and vegetable requirements which many people tend to skimp on at large dinners. When making your selections, try to fill at least a portion of your plate with a leaner protein choice and vegetables (if there are any without sauces/cheese on them). Eat, drink, lift, and be merry!

-Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, Pn1

Being overweight or obese is associated with a multitude of health issues including, but not limited to, increased risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes, certain types of cancers, low back pain, and knee pain.big belly

The average American gains 1 lb per year after the age of thirty. They also lose on average 0.5lbs of muscle per year, so the net change in body composition on average is a 1.5lb increase in fat/year, and a 0.5lb loss in muscle/year. This equates to 15lbs of additional fat each decade, and a 5lb loss of muscle during the same time.

Here’s the interesting part: 75% of this weight gain typically occurs during the six week holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Years). During this time, we tend to be less active and are surrounded by a multitude of calorie dense foods.

To help you survive the holidays, we have created the Fight the Fat Support Group series to give you useful nutrition tips along with quick and effective workouts to keep your metabolism ticking during the holidays. Stay tuned for our first segment next week which will feature a 20 minute, full-body workout that offers maximal metabolic impact.

Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

One of the most interesting and enjoyable individuals I have met during my career as a physical therapist was Mr. V. Mr. V immigrated with his wife to America after World War II. He worked in the tool and dye business for over forty years and had been retired for some time when I met him at age 75. His wife had passed away when he was 72, and he had adjusted to living alone. He had three children and six grandchildren who were all a big part of his life.

Mr. V was initially referred for treatment of a cervical pain problem that occurred while on vacation with his grandchildren. Over the span of twelve years, I had the MrVopportunity to treat him two other times for a knee tendonitis and a shoulder impingement problem. All of these orthopedic problems resolved quickly, and I was impressed with Mr. V’s ability to recover for man in his eighth decade. His lifestyle was just as amazing. He kept a busy social life and traveled frequently. He participated in several athletic activities and he had the strength, endurance, and flexibility to outperform many men half his age.

Mr. V was gracious enough to share with me his habits that had produced a long, fit, and active life. Mr. V took a brisk, twenty minute walk every day. On the days the weather was bad, he rode an exercise bike. He performed a series of stretches every morning. Three times a week he performed some “lifting exercises” with dumbbells, a stability ball, and tubing. He slept seven hours a night, retiring and waking at the same time daily. He ate a diet that consisted of many of his favorite Mediterranean dishes, avoided junk food, and limited alcohol. He enjoyed sports and regularly played golf, tennis, and bowled. That was it–no big secrets, no special supplements, no elaborate exercise program—just a long term devotion to a little over three hours of simple exercise a week, enough sleep, proper nutrition, and a rewarding social life. Mr. V was a living testimony that doing these simple things paid big benefits.

The lesson from Mr. V is that staying fit and active over a long life is not a complicated thing to do. An overload of information from the media and “health experts” tend to make it difficult for the average person to know how to begin. You need to start with simple changes. Do not get paralysis by analysis-just get up and get started. You do not need special shoes, clothes, or elaborate equipment. What you need is to be disciplined enough to make these easy changes in your life. The effects of regular exercise, proper nutrition, and enough sleep accumulate over time and can reward you with an active life well into your eighties.

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., O.C.S., C.S.C.S.

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