5 Best Exercises

Yoga

Yoga is an exercise form from the ancient healing activity from the Ayurvedic healing tradition. Yoga combines movement with mindfulness, breathwork, and flexibility. A person who practices yoga regularly gains strength, mobility, mental and emotional clarity. With rare exceptions, anyone can practice Yoga.

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COVID 19 Update: Supplements that Help Boost Immunity

William Curtis, MD
Covid 19 MO

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

Dorothy Thompson
LISTEN HERE

I was recently asked which supplement I thought might be most beneficial for boosting immunity and preparing to fight viral illnesses during the recent COVID 19 Pandemic.

So often, I believe people get overwhelmed by differing opinions–take this take that.

This post represents my attempt at helping people who trust my opinion to prepare themselves.

Though I will discuss supplements, let us not forget how the human body builds immunity, repairs, and rejuvenates itself

Sleep

Research is very clear, 7-9 hours of sleep is essential. Anything less and inflammation, immune function, cancer prevention, stress, and hormone balance decline. Please, turn off cell phones, TV’s, media fast, and give yourself the opportunity to take the important step of allowing yourself 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Diet

Sugar, Soda, Alcohol, fruit juice, pastries, candy and all forms of processed, carbohydrate laden foods suppress immunity. Give your body the best chance against viruses by limiting these addictive and harmful foods. As best as you can, eat vegetables, meat, and good fats. These are the foods that help us repair, defend, and win against outside bodily invaders. A strong immunity requires minerals, vitamins, proteins, and good fats.

Exercise

Movement and exercise have shown to have massive influence on heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and yes immune function. Regular aerobic exercise is fundamental to keeping our immunity maximal. During this pandemic, consider walking or light calisthenics 5-6 x per week. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Remember any physical activity helps. Sedentary people get sick more, have more chronic ailments and die more frequently. Get Moving!

Supplements

First, I tend to recommend food based supplements. Better yet, get most of your vitamins from food if you can. But, circumstances may limit access to quality food.

I recommend, in order of importance, the following supplements to help prevent illness during flu season and to prevent or reduce effects of COVID-19

Each of these have a therapeutic rationale for improving health, thereby boosting bodily immunity.

Multi-vitamin

When in doubt, take a quality food based multi-vitamin. These were designed to fill in the gaps in the modern diet. My favorite is CATALYN. Made by Standard Process, I typically recommend this product to everyone. I normally recommend 3-6 tablets daily.

Probiotics

“Good Bacteria” serve as the first line of defense in our body. A tiny layer of bacteria live in the lining of our digestive tract. Introducing probiotics builds a healthy layer of defense against outside invaders. Combined with a health diet, may be the most powerful way to fight outside invaders.

My favorite pro-biotic, though there are many high quality pro-biotics, is ACIDOPHILUS 4×6 Billion, made by NOW PRODUCTS. I normally recommend 1-2 daily.

Zinc

This key mineral shortens the course of viral illnesses and helps prevent them. This is especially true when taken within 24 hours of the onset of a virus (Like COVID 19). This is a Category A recommendation based on 13 randomized controlled trials. It works, use it.

Personally I prefer ZINC LIVER CHELATE (Food based version of zinc from Standard Process) 3 daily recommended

Summary

Do the little things– they matter.

Maintain a positive attitude.

Maintain social-distancing until we receive the all clear.

Protect and support older friends and family.

Do with less, serve others and we shall all get through this situation.

IF you would like more information or my team to mail you the supplements suggested, call 361-387-3500.

Periodization: Role of Cycles of Rest in Youth Soccer

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5-Point Friday October 30, 2015

I hope your week finds you strong and moving towards better health, productivity, and fitness!

1)Thought of Day:

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others. 

~Robert Louis Stevenson

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5-Point Friday–October 2nd, 2015

Happy Friday, I hope you enjoyed last weeks 5-Point Friday post!  I’m still playing with subjects week to week.

I hope your week finds you strong and moving towards better health, productivity, and fitness!

1)Positive Thought:

“Think simple” as my old master used to say – meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.”
       —Frank Lloyd Wright

2)Health News:  Cumulative research on exercise, as related to human health, suggests regular aerobic workouts 5 days weekly for 30 min gives most of the physiologic, hormonal, and disease prevention benefits reported for exercisers.

“Aerobic” target heart rate can be found by first subtracting 220-Age = (Max Heart Rate)

Aerobic zone = 50-60% x Max Heart Rate.  Your goal would be to keep your heart rate in this zone near 30 minutes, five days weekly.

Additional gains can be obtained from balance, strength and flexibility training, but max overall benefits come stem from the base recommendations….

Like the old NIKE ad…JUST DO IT!

3)Laughable Moment:  Earlier this week I decided to pickup barbecue.  After giving my perfectly paleo order (Chicken, green beans, slaw, un-sweet tea), the teenage attendant, grudgingly asked with a sigh, “Would you like to add a slice or whole pecan pie with your order?”—I politely declined–and then overheard a manager distantly chastising the teen for her tone when offering the pie…The teen quickly retorted, “Jeez, they’re trying to eat healthy!”

Good to know the message is rubbing off on the masses!

4)What I’m Listening To: Mozart!  Driving from Farm to Clinic, Clinic to Soccer, Soccer to Farm consumes 2 hours of each day.  I’ve often found choosing the right music can set mood and attitude for each day.  I’ve recently found Mozart my muse of choice early morning.  I’m not picky but find generally his music increases focus, soothes my nerves, and clarifies my thoughts.

What gets you in the groove?

5)Health Nugget:  Regarding artificial sweeteners:

  • Blue Pack (Saccharin) = Associated with Cancer
  • Pink Pack (Aspartame) = More addicting than crack cocaine + Neurotoxic
  • Yellow Pack (Splenda) = Diarrhea + Stomach distress

Pick your poison carefully!

 

PS:  I’m still working on the video editing from the last three Health seminars (Poly-pharmacy, Beneficial Bacteria, and Autoimmune Causes).  Hope to have these available in the coming week!  I also had several requests for pro-biotic suggestions after the Beneficial Bacteria talk…Click Here for my typical recommendations (1-2 daily as maintenance).

As always, leave comments, ask questions, share ideas!

Let’s Connect!

Twitter (@nrgtribe)

Facebook

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend!

W. Curtis, MD

Performance Tips: Benefits of Post-workout Gratefulness

I am intrigued by human performance.

I believe we are capable of 20x more than we give ourselves credit for.

Recently I noticed how awesome I felt after a strenuous cross-fit workout.  Sweaty, good-tired, I felt calm, almost “Zen-like.”  I managed to achieve the desired “Runner’s high,”  that perfect state of endorphins, blood-flow and mind-body interface bliss.

Near the end of my normal cool-down routine which included a brief series of Yoga stretches and Box breathing exercises, I noticed a recurring thought….

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Fail Forward Fast

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.  

C.S. Lewis

 

My topics often focus on motivational themes, fitness, proper nutrition and general higher function living. We all secretly want to be high performing goal crushing machines.

But sometimes that doesn’t happen. [continue reading…]

Why Exercise Makes Us Harder to Kill

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.

John F. Kennedy

Why do you think we feel good after intense exercise?

Endorphins of course!  The physiologic adaptation providing a buzz of “Feel Good” hormones often after torturous physical activity.

Modern research (See Spark / Habits) suggest human genes code for hunting/gathering behavior.  We were literally built to chase fast animals across extreme distances, steadily wearing down our quarry.  Exercise physiology suggests we are aerobic machines with the added bonus of explosive anaerobic ability.  This permits intense bursts of strength or speed enabliing the ability to “pounce” for a final kill.

Dynamic brain imaging, mapping of radioactive neurotransmitters, and mountains of exercise physiology reveals the human body maintains and performs best when physically mimicking our ancestors.

Benefits of Exercise

Consider the following exercise related facts:

  • Children learn 40% faster when physically active
  • Intense exercise increases brain cell regeneration
  • Exercise is a “Keystone habit”  Start Exercising and other good habits naturally follow
  • High blood pressure, Diabetes, Obesity, and Heart Disease all improve with regular exercise
  • Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzhiemer’s patient’s all show benefit with regular exercise
  • Exercise has been show to be as effective as medications for depression, anxiety and related mood disorders.
  • Weight lifting increases testosterone and improves libido.
  • Weight bearing exercise improves bone density and decreases fall risk
  • Excercise decreases food cravings and helps with addictive tendencies

So nature provides endorphins, natural morphine, to encourage our physical activity.

The “Runner’s high” really reflects a “Hunter’s high.”

Our genetics provide the subtle reminder and encouragement that to survive one must be able to “Go the distance.”

Though modern man relies less on the day to day physical survival skills of our ancestors, we are still more strong, clever, adaptable, and hard to kill when we embrace what our genetic design intended.

There’s too much research now to ignore the obvious.  Doctors should stop suggesting exercise and start prescribing exercise.

What Style of Exercise Works Best?

My patients sometimes roll their eyes or sigh when I mention exercise.  “I’m too busy, no time, work, school, kids, arthritis, weather, mosquitos, gym fees, over-weight”….you name it, I’ve heard it all.

I recently began shifting my approach.  I now prescribe very specific types of exercise designed to maximize our hunter/gatherer genetic skill set.

This now includes some form of aerobic exercise 5 days weekly, building up to 30-45 min of steady aerobic work….channeling the inner hunter chasing antelope.

I also add 1 to 2 days of more intense exercise activities weekly such as weight training, stair climbing, body weight calisthenics or sprinting.  Even a few minutes of high intensity provides the needed physiologic triggers to gain many more dynamic benefits of exercise…enhancing our ability to perform in survival moments.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Teddy Roosevelt

 

Listener Feedback Podcast 2/26/2015

Welcome to the next installment of the NRGTRIBE Podcast. 

In this episode we will answer YOUR questions!  

Covered Topics:

  1. How do I NOT “Fall apart” after being an athlete my entire life?

  2. How safe are artificial sweetners? (24′)

  3. What’s a good age to begin weight training? (26’50)

  4. Is rice healthy? (29.30)

LISTEN HERE! 

 

Related Links:

Start somewhere…Basic Fitness Primer
More Inflammation caused by food

Supplements Mentioned-SPECIAL OFFER!!!

 

Links to Competitive Outlets!

Go Ruck 
Spartan Race
Crossfit

Daily Motivation from Mark Divine

The god-given potential for this human machine of ours is unbelievable. There
is an athlete and a warrior in everybody. It’s essentially part of our DNA. It’s
hard-coded. But we’ve been kind of brought up in a society that has led us
to believe that hard work is really not for everybody, it’s only for a few select
people, like first responders, and it’s okay to kind of just get by and go to
the gym, or to eat all that junk food and not take responsibility and blame it
on society. That background, or that belief system, is really dangerous and
needs to be rooted out and eliminated.

–Mark Divine…Former US Navy Seal

Listener Feedback Podcast 11/10/2014

You asked the questions….finally got out the answers.  I spent part of the week away from the office learning permaculture techniques for sustainable food production.  I met some talented individuals and learned a great deal about how to produce my own food.

It was inspiring to see how so many of the workshop participants utilized home food production to improve their health.

Thanks for the show questions…keep them coming.

SHOW NOTES:   Listen Here

1) 1’23”  –Pros and Cons to NSAID usage

2) 6′ 33” –Is an elliptical machine good for use when suffering plantar fasciitis?

3) 10′ 10″–Ebola–Observations on US cases and “How concerned you should be?”

4) 18′ 02″–Weight loss Tips….Resource = NRG Diet & Lifestyle Compass

5) 23’44” –Exercise Benefits for Elderly (And everyone else for that matter).

 

Fitness Motivation: Final Update on Major Christopher Story

In previous posts see here and here, I shared with you a motivational story about my friend and NRGTRIBE contributor Major Christopher Story.  As I described in previous posts, this Marine Corps Major was preparing to perform his yearly PFT on or near his 40th birthday.

Major Story set a personal goal to acheive a perfect 300 score on his Marine Corps personal fitness test.

As mentioned this was no small feat and at age 40 he boldly shared his vision and goal as motivation for his men and readers on the NRGTRIBE.

Over the first two posts we explored his training approach, challenges, and expectations.

What unfolded during the months since I shared this journey is truly remarkable.

PFT Results

Total Points= 250/300

Pullups= 14 

Situps= 100 / 2 min

3 mile run @ 21 min

Each event was performed back to back.

For those unaware anything over 200 is considered FIRST CLASS for a 40 year old Marine Officer!

The Rest Of the Story

The results speak for themselves.  Major Story made lofty goals, applied strong work ethic, and acheived excellent results. But I share this triumph not merely for the athletic motivational aspects but for what Chris accomplished while “Life happened.”

Life happening included a car accident (Back / Neck strains), elbow hyperextension injury during hand / hand combat training, and a sprained ankle while trail running.

“Life” also included helping raise 3 kids under six years of age and serving / leading 700 marines as their Executive Officer.   And, physical and normal social challenges aside, Chris stood by his wife who is recieving treatment for and overcoming a cancer diagnosis.

As a physician I deal with illness, trajedy and various human woes on a daily basis.  I’m amazed by the range of response to adversity both good and bad.  Regardless of age, the human experience and the personal response to “Life Happening” varies tremendously.  I can attest from my interactions with Major Story, despite obvious opportunities to make excuses or bow out from his initial goal, he never waivered or complained about his plan, his personal situation, or the challenges he still faces.

Major Story, his wife, and family serve as an example to each of us facing challenges in our lives.   I thank them for sharing a small inspiring part of their life’s journey.

Ponder some of the key lessons:

1.  Life Happens

2. Attitude shapes our experience and outcomes

3. Goal setting is essential for success

4. Flexibilty and adaptation are key life skills

5. Sometimes we don’t reach our ultimate goals…perseverance is both necessary and noble

6. Even as we age, our bodies are capable of 20x what we imagine

7. Personal Faith, belief in mission, and integrity can move mountains

8.  The only easy day was yesterday

I thank Chris for his service to our Country and for the example he sets for each of our readers.

Hoorah!

 

Tips for Healthy Kids

Summer time got me thinking about children.  With school ending the calender fills up as we seek activities to keep our kids happily busy during their break from regular class.

Sorting through the various options I began wondering about how to define “Healthy” in children.

Is health merely the absence of disease or more?

Health in my opinion implies balanced physical, mental, and emotional states.  I further believe health implies a general sense of wellbeing, stable energy, quality sleep, and a absence of ailments which limit growth, exploration, curiosity and learning.

Read on to explore the pillars of health for children and ways to encourage “Health.” [continue reading…]

Personal Growth / Renewal

Spring and summer seasonally means re-growth and renewal.  Rebirth, vigor, vitality, hope, and abundance come to mind.  New Year’s resolutions come in the dead of winter.  Some resolutions stick and many  do not.  I find spring and summer seasons the best time to work on oneself.

The warmer weather and energy from the sun naturally compel us change–hopefully grow.

Periodically I re-set myself by focusing on my general purpose in life.  I re-define goals and overall take stock of my mental, physical, and spiritual health. Modern life has so many complications and distractions that years can pass without attention to rebooting.

Spiritual Renewal

In my experience whether one is “Religious” or not, spirituality plays a role in not just our health but the quality of our existence.  Finding a peaceful, centered place within one’s own mind can pay huge dividends.

Do you know what you want?  Does your current direction in life fit with what your inner voice requests?  How often do you stop and focus on which way your going at all?  Do you have a purpose/mission?

Many never contemplate these deeper questions.  We often blindly make the coffee, drop off the kids at school, and punch the clock but never stop to ponder the bigger picture.

I find solace in refocusing my efforts and reconnecting with my spiritual side.  I feel more balanced, creative, and energetic when I keep a steady connection with my inner voice.

Prayer, meditation, studying philosophy, and goal-setting are my primary tools.  A focused, happy spirit is the first important step to health, productivity, and quality in my daily life.

Renewing the Mind

I love bookstores and learning.  Every Spring/summer I find myself searching out new areas of interest.  This behavior reminded me of a huge factor in maintaining health–keeping the mind active and engaged.

Renewing the mind means constantly exploring new concepts and expanding our understanding.  Of course as a physician I explore medical, health, and nutrition topics a great deal, but I also enjoy history, current events, and agricultural topics.

Having interests and hobbies allows the mind to creatively work problems, gain greater skill, and generally make us more interesting people.  I am surprised by how many of my patients never read.    Even those who don’t like to read can still renew the mind through audio/video podcasts, cable/television documentaries and free educational programs.

But renewing the mind need not center on academic approaches.  Engaging with interesting people, traveling, and participating in community activities can serve the same purpose.  From the dawn of time we learned through oral tradition–that means talking to each other!

Now more than ever society is both more connected but simultaneously disconnected.

I think renewing the mind, charting new areas of learning, and continual growth are important ways to maintain vitality.  Social connectivity (Not FACEBOOK) can spur us to new heights of understanding and growth.

Spring is a great time to explore.

Physical Renewal

Like checking the oil and tire pressure during a long trip, the physical body deserves a check-up periodically.  I think spring also reminds us to take inventory of our physical reserve.  Energy, mobility, strength, flexibility, appetite, mood, and libido all give us indicators of our current physical status.

Waning energy?  Gaining weight? Poor stamina or flexibility? Low sex drive?

Answering yes to any of the above can indicate advancing disease or at least serious warning signals underscoring the need for correction.

The human body was meant to move 12 miles daily.  For optimal health, aging, mental function and immunity our physical body requires activity.

Regardless of limitation, some activity is better than none.

I enjoy resetting physical goals each spring.  All ages and levels of ability can make new goals.  Examples might  include:  eating healthier, increasing my hydration, beginning a strength or flexibility program, eliminating extra stressors,  completing a detoxification program and improving sleep habits.

A couple years back I went all out pushing myself through a brutal exercise regimen to determine how far my body would progress (Olympus Project).  One doesn’t have to go that far…but our body demands renewal, proper fuel (food), and consistent activity for optimal performance.

Conclusion

Mind, body, spirit.  The triad of being.  The trinity of health.  Ignore one and unbalance the others.

What have you done to renew any or all of the three?  Are you making the most of your ability?  Have you taken the time to plan where you’re going, what you want in life, and how you will maintain your physical vehicle?

I look forward to learning how others renew.  Feel free to submit comments and encourage others…I think that’s why we’re all here.

Podcast # 6: Osteoporosis

Today’s podcast covers an important and common problem…osteoporosis.  

Pathologically weak bones affects millions.   

Outline:

1.  What is osteoporosis and why do I care?

2.  Screening for Osteoporosis?

3.  Who gets osteoporosis?

4.  Common drugs that cause weak bones

5.  Statistical shannigans drug companies play

6.  Natural treatments

 

Listen HERE (Approx 16 min)

 

Show Links:

Dr. Susan Brown’s Link

Natural Treatments for Heartburn

NRG DIET & LIFESTYLE COMPASS

Tribal Feedback (Podcast #4)

Ok…took me a bit to get organized with this process but I think the format works.  I hope you enjoy the answers to YOUR questions.  Feel free to comment back, make suggestions or offer up more questions for future episodes

DOWNLOAD HERE (Approx 10 min)

Tribal Feedback Podcast Topics:

  1. Does taking lipase as a digestive aid improve fat burning?
  2. I have arthritis and torn meniscus, can I still perform weight bearing exercise?
  3. Do inhaler steroids affect blood sugar in diabetics?

 

LIKE THE NRG TRIBE?  

Spread the word, share on FB, Twitter, and consider picking up a copy of my lifestyle manual…The NRG Diet & Lifestyle Compass.  Thanks again!

Fitness Motivation Series #2: Update On Major Christopher Story

As promised I’m updating the progress of Major Christopher Story.  Major Story previously set a goal to make a perfect score on his Marine Corp Personal Fitness Test (PFT).  (See Part One of Fitness Motivation Series)

No small task at age 40.

Major Story sought to challenge himself and motivate his men.  He additionally agreed to share his PFT goals with the NRGTRIBE.com readers so we could explore his approach to fitness, mental preparation, and techniques for reaching big things.

People make excuses why they can’t lose weight, accomplish a goal, or make habit changes that lead to greater success.  Major Story serves an incredible example of someone who continues to strive for excellence in his life.  I was inspired to write about his attempt at a perfect PFT because I thought the challenge offered several opportunites to explore concepts related to fitness.

Fitness is a relative term.  For an Ironman Triathlete, swimming 2.5 miles, Biking 112, and running 26.2 miles back to back could define fitness.  However, fitness does not always mean the ability to perform super human endurance events.  Many of my patients have busy lives.  Fitness could mean the ability to play ball with their kids, mow their yard, paint their house, paddle a kayak, hike a trail, etc.  For elderly, fitness might mean the ability to walk without falling, climb stairs, or transition in/out of a car on their own.

One of the fundamental keys to maintaining (or developing) basic fitness starts with a consistent approach and intention to become more fit. I call this becoming an Everyday Athlete.  The remainder of this post picks up with my ongoing Q&A with Major Story as we continue to we delve into his approach to training for the upcoming PFT.

Major Story has valuable insight as a Marine committed to a lifestyle of fitness. [continue reading…]

Everyday Athletes: The Case for Daily Fitness

What does an everyday athlete look like?

An everyday athlete is strong, flexible, and physically resilient.  He/She can carry groceries to and from their car, weed a garden, plant a tree, mow a yard, and enjoy a hike in the park.

An everyday athlete confidently stands in a rocking boat, or jumps across a puddle or muddy patch at the soccer field.  The everyday athlete can throw a football, shoot a hoop,  or toss a horse shoe.

The everyday athlete looks for opportunity to maintain basic physical fitness.  The everyday athlete strives for enough fitness to perform daily activities without fear of a sudden injury or nagging soreness for weeks.

Benefits of Basic Fitness

Physical activity has mountains of research showing benefits in nearly all conditions human’s suffer  such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancer, Congestive Heart Failure, Obesity, Depression, Anxiety, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and dementia.  Beyond diseases, everyday athletes have greater emotional stability, better sleep, better sex, more creativity and productivity in other areas of life.

The everyday athlete enjoys better health because commitment to an active lifestyle fits with normal human physiology.  The human body was built to move up to 12 miles daily.  Our cardiovascular systems (heart/lungs) and brain thrive, adapt, and improve functionally with increasing activity.

The human body adapts to physical demands by improving strength, sharpening balance, and maintaining and improving blood flow. [continue reading…]

Fitness Motivation Series: Major Christopher Story

This month the NRGTRIBE focuses on the value of fitness.  I had the unique pleasure interviewing my friend and NRG contributor, Major Christopher Story. Chris serves his country as a United States Marine and has a unique fitness challenge in the coming weeks.

This year Chris turns 40.   A big landmark for many, but for a Marine, it also means taking another yearly PFT (Personal Fitness Exam).

Marines of course have high fitness standards, Chris thought this year he would attempt a perfect score on the test.  A perfect score is no small feat for any Marine but Major Story knows at 40 he will need to focus his efforts, build on his strengths and smartly prepare his mind and body for the event.  I think this venture will provide great discussion for readers while we explore his approach to the PFT.

Chris will take the PFT in the coming weeks so leading up to that expect a series of posts exploring his approach to training and nutrition.

Keep reading to see Part#1 of my Q&A with Chris as we discuss his motivations and plan to earn a perfect score on his PFT.

[continue reading…]

3 Triggers for Mental Health Disorders

Health is the condition of wisdom, and the sign is cheerfulness, — an open and noble temper.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my clinical life mental health disorders weigh heavy.  Each day a huge percentage of my daily practice centers on sorting through emotional issues and the havoc mental health disorders wreak on the human body.

Diagnostic considerations often  include depression, anxiety, and combination diagnoses like bipolar, eating, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

By far most of the cases stem from social, nutritional, and lifestyle choices–not some genetic inborn disorder.   [continue reading…]

The Essence of Competition

 

In the recent months, I had the incredible honor of coaching my daughter on her  U14 Girls soccer team.   This team, expertly trained by Giraldo Elite Futbol, recently won the Texas State Title in their age division. Eight of the 13 players also qualified for the State Olympic Development Pool, a select training program intended to identify and prepare players for a shot at the US National soccer teams.

I began thinking…

What can I pass to the them and others that may help them succeed at the highest level of soccer?

Answer = The essence of competition.

In what seems like a former life I was a NCAA Division 1 sprinter for Baylor University.

I had the unique opportunity both to compete and train with numerous storied world class track & field athletes.   Personally, I enjoyed success at the highest levels of my sport and have seen how the best in the world train and behave.

So how does a player / runner look and behave at the elite level?

[continue reading…]

Soccer: Hydration for Performance

 

Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure….

Confucious 

As a former competitive athlete, physician and coach of U 14 Girls competitive soccer I’m constantly searching for health, fitness and nutritional ideas reduce injuries, enhance performance, and aid recovery. Unfortunately, female soccer players are frankly understudied.  What little research does exist lacks practical advice.

Proper hydration for soccer training and match day is extremely important.  

Research has shown that lack of proper hydration leads to a decrease in stamina, strength and even skill performance on game-day.  

Research has also revealed that elite players often begin match-play and training under-hydrated and re-hydrate at only about 50% of losses immediately after training.

The remainder of this post will explore the role of hydration in the training and match environment as well as provide practical tips and protocols for hydration.

[continue reading…]

Fenugreek: Testosterone booster?

Fenugreektestosteronepic

 

In keeping with my goal of providing “real” nutritional, supplementary or medical information,  I was recently asked to comment on the pros and cons of Fenugreek.  

Specifically, does Fenugreek effectively raise testosterone?

Anti-aging enthusiasts, body builders and athletes frequently seek “natural” ways to boost performance or even “tweak” hormone production.

With so many sites talking about Fenugreek (most of which are selling some version of it) I hope you will appreciate this quick informational post.

[continue reading…]

Weight Loss: Roadblocks & Answers

 

 

What are the essential ingredients to successful weight loss?

What factors must be addressed to safely and permanently lose weight?

Isn’t there just a pill I can take?

 Get REAL answers

[continue reading…]

Olympus Project: 12 week review

For those who followed our experiment in fitness, nutrition and lifestyle, this marks the last post in the 12 week process.  The final 3-4 weeks we decided to post in a single composite post.

Overall the process was enlightening.   We started with the premise proposed in Tim Ferris’ book (The 4-Hour Body) where working in conjunction with cross-fit endurance guru Brian Mackenzie he wrote about a workout program that boasted the ability to run a 5k or 50k by following the 12 week program.  We added the criteria that we would follow a whole-food, low-carb diet approach as taught in the NRG Tribe- Lifestyle Compass.

Woodlands finish line

We took that challenge and measured our results.  We made some initial goals.  Some were met.  Some were not.  We started with specific ailments and limitations and finished with others.

I find myself uninspired by the process.  I did notice improved physical stamina and a small drop in body fat.  I found the intensity of workouts difficult to deal with.  I’m 40 years old and in my younger years an accomplished athlete.  However, the intensity and repetition of some of the workouts led to an elbow injury and a tendency towards strains of both muscles and ligaments.

I think trying to do too much in 12 weeks was the key.   Drawn out over a longer period I think the cross-fit-endurance type workouts are ideal.  I think I overestimated my level of fitness and likely should have prepared my flexibility and strength more gradually prior to launching into such an ambitious workout program.

I don’t want to sound like a wimp.  I finished the workouts.  I completed the program.  I’ve got a few battle scars but I’m glad I accomplished the 12 week trial.  I fell short of my running goals.  I hoped to run 3 miles in less than 24 min.  I instead ran 26.5 min.  I hoped to gain more muscle mass in my arms, I gained 2 cm diameter in my biceps.  I hoped to run 800 m in less than 2:00 min.  Didn’t happen…not even close.  I was surprised to fairly easily run 9-10 miles after the first 8 weeks of the program.

My partner and NRG TRIBE contributor David Francis set an ambitious goal of running a marathon.  After all, the program boasted the ability to run a 50 k.  David was a strong runner as a baseline, but upon completion of the 12 weeks he did complete his first marathon.  Though no records were in danger he did survive and enjoy the sense of accomplishment a marathon warrants.  However, as we suspected, he felt early on the training program did not condition his legs adequately to “really” run a marathon.

I’m a big picture guy.  The original program as described by Tim Ferriss was designed to catch headlines.  It has merit and the approach is sound.  However, intensity of the workouts requires one carefully listens to their body.  If going from relatively low levels of fitness one might better spend 12 weeks preparing with lessor workouts prior to jumping in the level we attempted.

From a nutritional standpoint, the diet was fairly easy.  Eating whole foods felt natural although sometimes difficult to accomplish every meal while traveling and working a busy schedule.  I could definitely tell eliminating processed sugar, alcohol and fast foods, that my body responded better to exercise.  I felt leaner and more fit.  My energy levels generally were much higher, except after a few points when the workouts were simply too much.  (2-3 day periods / once or twice during the program)

In the end, I hope the Olympus project inspired others to get busy.   David and I both realized about 3/4 way through the program that it didn’t matter how many pounds we gained or lost.  It didn’t matter if we hit our time or finished the marathon.  The point was we were really trying to inspire others to reach a little higher themselves.  We spend all our clinical lives trying to improve the health of others.  Exercise and proper nutrition provide the platform from which health grows.  David and I are better for the process.  We learned a great deal about ourselves and the process of change many of our clients/patients face.

Raising Testosterone Naturally

 

 

 

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H.O.S.S. of the Week #2: the Brian Chontosh

It’s that time again! Time to “get some” and honor one of America’s Finest, Major Brian Chontosh. His citation speaks for itself…read below and be in awe….workout follows citation:

 

ChontoshNavyCross

The President of the United States
Takes Pleasure in Presenting
The Navy Cross to
TBrian R. Chontosh
First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps

 

For Services as Set Forth in the Following Citation:

 

For extraordinary heroism as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 25 March 2003. While leading his platoon north on Highway I toward Ad Diwaniyah, First Lieutenant Chontosh’s platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.

 

He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, First Lieutenant Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

 

He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, First Lieutenant Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.

 

When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, First Lieutenant Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

 

By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Wow, every time I read this I can’t believe it. He expended all of the ammo from his rifle and pistol and then proceeded to pick up the weapons of the enemy he killed and continue to clear the trench. Semper Fidelis…and now for the workout…

 

10 MINUTE WARMUP OF YOUR CHOICE (ANYTHING TO GET YOUR CORE BODY TEMPERATURE UP AND INCLUDE ALL MAJOR MUSCLES)

 

CONTINUOUSLY FOR 15 MINUTES DO AS MANY REPS AS POSSIBLE OF THE ROUTINE BELOW AND KEEP TRACK OF REPS…IF YOU CAN OR HAVE SOMEONE COUNT FOR YOU

 

1 MINUTE ALTERNATING LEG LUNGES (WITH OR WITHOUT WEIGHTS, IF YOU USE WEIGHTS WOMEN USE AT LEAST 10 POUND DUMBELLS IN EACH HAND AND MEN USE AT LEAST 15 POUNDS IN EACH HAND )

 

1 MINUTE STANDING ALTERNATING SHOULDER PRESSES WITH LIGHT WEIGHTS (WOMEN USE 5-10 POUNDS AND MEN USE AT LEAST 15-20 POUNDS AND UP TO 30)

 

1 MINUTE ALTERNATING SIDE PLANK (10 SECONDS EACH SIDE) WITHOUT WEIGHT

 

1 MINUTE AIR SQUATS

 

MAX PUSHUPS

 

POST REPS TO COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS ARTICLE…GOOD LUCK!

 

Athlete Nutrition: Top Four Performance Killers

 

Athlete Nutrition

Athlete Nutrition

 

 

“The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.”
-John Wooden

 

 

Here at the  NRGTRIBE.com, and certainly in my clinical work, I spend a great deal of energy discussing lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.  However, much of that tends to be directed to those who have a long way to go.  I enjoy the victories won through counseling overweight, inactive or disease-riddled patients to better health, often by helping them realize that FOOD and basic inactivity causes most of their health problems.

But what about the aspiring athlete?  What about the high-school track star or premier soccer player looking to get an edge through proper nutrition?  This is certainly a worthy topic given that food represents fuel to the body.  Just like an Indy car, if you want to go fast or you want to go far, you better have the right fuel!

In this first posting on sports nutrition, I will focus on primarily what NOT TO EAT.  As a formal collegiate sprinter, physician and student of  sport / health / fitness, I strongly believe that these foods almost never belong in a competitive athlete’s diet.

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Motivation for the Weekend

I saw this and thought of the Tribe and Dr. Curtis. The woman featured in this video is a medical school student and a Crossfit Games competitor. For those of you who don’t know, the Crossfit workout program has an annual competition where they crown “The Fittest on Earth” and have made the Sport of Fitness a professional/competitive event. The dedication, courage, and fitness prowess exhibited is extraordinary. It’s amazing to see how a woman can be in medical school and maintain an elite level of fitness! Hmmm, maybe there is something to these high-intensity, low volume workout programs….Enjoy the weekend and find a way to do a short, intense workout!

 

Crossfit Games Open 13.1…workout #1 on the road to qualifying for the 2013 Crossfit Games:

 

http://games.crossfit.com/video/open-workout-131-demo?autoplay=true

Olympus Project Week 8: Progess and gun fire

David and I both agree that in the past few weeks of our experiment in fitness and nutrition, our work-out program often left us wiped out and sore. In the past 1-2 weeks. I believe we both reached a plateau of sorts where our bodies finally adapted to the rigorous cross-fit endurance program originally crafted by Brian Mackenzie.

 

We notice soreness after workouts but not soreness that hampers activity the following day. Some workouts, depending on the type, one or both of us actually excel.

 

For instance, during a recent sprint workout, both David and I covered the 200 meter sprints x 10 without difficulty. In fact, the final 2-3 sprints felt strong and we pushed our pace.

 

I’m impressed with the gains in both strength and stamina thus far.

 

Nutritionally speaking our NRG Diet (Whole – food, low carb approach) has helped focus our efforts on foods that will both provide ample energy but also, in my case, help me lose belly fat.

 

No major set backs this week.

 

Our only real excitement this week came from what we call our “Rambo the river idiot.” While on a long run near a remote part of the Nueces river, some guy on the far bank decided to level his rifle and take a shot at David. Fortunately he was about 150 yards away, but clearly leveled his rifle in David’s direction. I doubt it was a mistake as we both wore bright neon shirts that day.

 

David noted the bullet crack in the air above his head which helped him realize this wasn’t a joke.

 

We quickly diverted our path and moved away from the edge of the river, thereby using the brush to cover our escape.

 

I know it sounds weird but we laughed off the event later. What an idiot. Clearly he doesn’t fall into the majority of responsible gun owners I know!

 

So, I think we’ll avoid the river trail in the future. (Or bring our flak jackets next time)

 

As always, I hope this encourages others to seek opportunities for better health!

H.O.S.S. of the Week #1: the Chris Kyle

HOSS chris-kyle

Christopher Scott “Chris” Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in American military history, with 160 confirmed kills (out of 255 claimed kills). Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq war, and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Star medals multiple times. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and offered an increasing bounty for his head. He was shot twice, and was involved in six IED attacks. He remained in the spotlight during retirement, and wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle was shot and killed on February 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas. read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Kyle

The life of Chris Kyle is an inspiration to all who know his story. For those of us who serve, we realize that the role of sniper is not necessarily that of a heartless killer as portrayed in movies and other folklore. A sniper is a protector to friendly troops on the battlefield and often acts as a guardian angel from above. Kyle was asked if he felt remorse or guilt for the people he killed. His response was that the only remorse he had was that he did not save more friendly troops through his actions. Chris was shot while trying to help a fellow servicemember through struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

The Workout

To honor Chris and prepare our bodies and minds for the challenges of life, complete the below workout today as fast and as hard as possible!

 

10-15 minute warmup (walk, light jog, elliptical and then stretch upper/lower body)

SET #1: 21 Thrusters with barbell (up to 75 pounds), dumbells in each hand, or other weighted items that you can handle for up to 21 reps. Barbell demo video here http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_BBThrusters.mov
21 pushups

Hold plank position for 1 minute or as long as you can if less than that.

 

SET #2

15 Thrusters
15 pushups

Hold plank position for 1 minute or as long as you can if less than that.

 

SET #3

9 Thrusters
9 pushups

Hold plank position for 1 minute or as long as you can if less than that.
OK to breakup sets if you cant do prescribed #. Record total time it takes and this is your PR for the Kyle!

What is a H.O.S.S. ?

HOSSUnless you have been hiding under a rock, or possibly very young, then you have probably heard the name Hoss thrown around. You may not completely know the origin so here I go…A popular western TV show called Bonanza ran from 1959-1973 and was one of the most popular TV shows of all time that still runs in syndication. One of the main characters, Eric “Hoss” Cartwright, was a six foot four and over three hundred pound beast of a man. His larger than life appearance and pop culture poplularity of the show made the name Hoss synonymous with everything cool/large/manly, etc. The urban dictionary defines HOSS as, “one who is a beast that can basically do what he wants. He is usually loved by all and a ladies man. He could break anyone or anything in half. Hoss is a compliment.”

 

I am lucky enough in my military job to be surrounded by Hosses everywhere and be exposed to stories of extreme Hossitude! So I am going to start posting a challenging weekly workout named after a specific military, law enforcement, or civilian Hoss to inspire us with their story…and since we love acronyms in the military, H.O.S.S. will stand for Honor Our Service and Sacrifice. Tribe input and suggestions are strongly encouraged, so I will accept nominations for HOSS of the week if anyone has ideas.

Define Stress – Pitfalls and Prevention of Chronic Stress

Stress Now and Then

Stress Now and Then

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone seems obsessed with stress.  But how do we actually define stress?

Define Stress:

Obvious stress triggers  include: deadlines at work, screaming kids, financial woes, and similar modern life emergencies.

But what is stress…..really?

I define stress as a emotional, physical and hormonal response to a REAL or PERCEIVED threat.   Essentially stress is the complete human response we often call the “FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE.”

Do you have:  Neck pain, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, fatigue, insomnia, low libido, anxiety, depression or panic attacks, chronic joint pains, and even heart disease?  Protracted stress plays a role in the development of all these vitality, joy stealing scenarios.

Read on to understand this important topic.

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Olympus Project Week Five: Gains and Blowouts

Divinci
For those following our 12 week experiment in fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle modification, David and I hope our quest has encouraged you to seek out your own fitness and lifestyle goals.  We sincerely hope our masochistic endeavors have prompted our patients and readers to re-evaluate their own ideas about health and vitality.

 

We all have different strengths and weaknesses.  We start at different points of ability, fitness, and motivation.

 

David and I had slightly divergent experiences during week 5.

 

Check out our latest installment…..

 

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Goal Tending: 6 Week Basic Fitness Plan

This Goal Tending fitness primer is intended for those trying to get active again.  Maybe you are dramatically overweight or have ailments that limit mobility.   The idea behind this post is to give a detailed starting point.  You can modify the activities slightly if necessary including decreasing repetitions or sets depending on your capability.  The point is to give some structure, some goals, and GET MOVING.

The Olympus Project

Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

 

Numerous studies over the last several years describe the incredible benefits of even light exercise 2-3 days weekly.  Cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, back pain, and all cause mortality all yield statistically to light regular exercise.

 

Researchers such as Cardiologist James O’Keefe have gathered significant data about both the benefits of routine moderate exercise on longevity and the hazards of exercise extremes.  Those who do not find time for physical activity have increased health problems and those with extreme endurance exercise patterns have nearly as many health problems, statistically, over time.

 

More is not necessarily better.

 

 So here would be some reasonable goals for this program:

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Olympus Project Week Four: Plague, Pain, Perseverence

 

Week 4 of our experiment in extreme fitness, lifestyle and nutrition began with mixed results and some drama!

The Olympus Project

Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

 

On the bright side, David noticed increased muscle and weight gain (2.5 pounds) and maintained his body fat percentage.

 

He felt strong and weathered our workout plan and diet activities like a “Sherpa-Ant.”  (Term coined during oxygen debt=small human with ant-like ability to lift way more than seemingly possible!)

 

Personally, despite feeling physical stronger, somewhat

more fit, and certainly less fragile, the last half of week three  was marred by a serious upper respiratory infection.

 

I had to carefully weigh my ability to continue given the severity of my symptoms, productive cough and severe sinusitis.  I’m rarely sick but this has been a real set back.

 

I analyzed my situation and tried to determine if over-training may be the culprit.   However, as David had no particular issue, and we’re only four weeks into our program I decided against that theory.

 

Overall, I suspect I simply got unlucky.  I am a actively practicing family physician and  frequently come in contact with numerous sick people on a daily basis….a real job hazard.

 

While reflecting on my personal misery, I came up with a salient point for those following this experiment.

 

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Goal Tending: First 5 Steps to Better Health

quotes_about_goals

 

Goal tending is a term I use not to describe an aspect of sporting passions such as soccer or hockey, but to describe the necessary skill of breaking down desires into distinct digestible parts.

By identifying and breaking down goals into specific “sub-parts” one can begin to visualize and plan small steps that culminate into a larger accomplishments.

As a physician, I routinely use sharp, specific goal setting as a tool to help my patients make necessary health or lifestyle changes.

I share the following experience in hopes of helping my readers and patients find new ways to overcome illness, achieve success, and find everyday brilliance in life……

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What are your top 10 barriers to better health and fitness?

In my quest to optimize health options for my patients and encourage proper nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle choices, I came to the realization that many have substantial barriers to making optimal choices leading to success.  Numerous barriers exist such as time, kids, work, finances, injury, momentum, etc.  Like all scientific processes however, I want to collect specific data.  I’d like your help in determining the top 10 barriers to better health and fitness.

 

I counsel patients a great deal on specific goal setting, or as I call it, GOAL TENDING.  I believe that if we can identify a problem, we Divincican develop and implement specific small goals to overcome stagnation.

 

Achieving goals builds momentum.

 

Momentum leads to change.  Change leads to improvement if the goals are so intended.

 

Please forward to as many friends, family, and co-workers so we can gather as much data as possible.

 

Remember it’s a scientific process, I’m going to catalog the responses, sort and determine trends.   Thanks in advance!

Olympus Project Week # 3–Experiments in Fitness and NRG Diet

 

With three weeks under our belt, you’re reading the third installment of an experimental journal in strength/ endurance training

Olympus Project:  Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

Olympus Project: Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

combined with whole food nutrition.  Our goals outlined in week 1 were personal and our outcome uncertain.   Sharing our weaknesses and flaws, we move forward NOT knowing if our bodies will stand up to the challenges.

 

We press on hoping to encourage YOU, our patients and readers to design your own Olympus Project, reclaiming lost health, strength and vitality or  moving to higher levels of wellness than you’ve ever known!

 

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Olympus Project Supplemental: Lift Techniques

The Olympus project uses cross-fit style workouts which combine many dynamic weight lifts, gymnastic exercises, as well as classic IMG_1454[1]exercises like running, cycling, etc.

 

Very important, as eluded  to in Olympus Project Week #3, proper form reigns supreme when trying to progress through these workouts.  If you can’t do the form properly, one must perfect that technique before adding weight or excessive repetitions.  Taking the time to sharpen form makes all the difference and avoids injury during these high intensity programs.

 

For those interested, check out common lift techniques.

 

Techniques

Several of the lifts that we have been performing over the past few weeks are either brand new to us or lifts we haven’t done in many years. Here we’ve collected some videos from around the web demonstrating how to properly perform many of the key Crossfit lifts.

Clean Jerk

Back Squats

Good Mornings

Kettlebell Swings

Thrusters

 

 

Back Pain? Try Core Strengthening

th_low-back-pain

I get lots of questions of back pain in my daily practice.Here’s a few tips to “cure” not simply cover the symptom.

 

Nearly everyone experiences back pain now and then. Some have more problems than others and some problems are very significant. The vast majority of back pain comes from muscular weakness or de-conditioning. (= YOUR OUT OF SHAPE)

 

In my clinical experience many patients have less back pain when they focus on strengthening their core muscle groups. These areas include abdominal and lower back muscles. In addition to strengthening, focusing on flexibility can make a difference in muscular related pain. (As a side note….both core strengthening and flexibility activities BOTH decrease tendencies toward injury, back strain, or more serious long term back problems.

 

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Olympus Project Week Two – Soreness with a capital “S”

 

Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

Experiments in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.

With two weeks under our belt, you’re reading the second installment of an experimental journal in strength/ endurance training combined with whole food nutrition.  Our goals outlined in week 1 were personal and our outcome uncertain.   Sharing our weaknesses and flaws, we move forward NOT knowing if our bodies will stand up to the challenges.

 

We press on hoping to encourage YOU, our patients and readers to design your own Olympus Project, reclaiming lost health, strength and vitality or  moving to higher levels of wellness than you’ve ever known!

 

Your personal Olympus Project doesn’t have to be the exact place we started, but should begin where your personal ability and goals lead you.  

WEEK TWO:

 

This week the Olympus Project proved considerably more difficult than week one.  We both struggled finding time for each workout despite the typically short duration but high intensity of each day.  I’m a full time physician and David is a full time administrator and clinical nutritionist.  We both have kids and lives outside of work.  We’re not professional gym rats or unemployed idealistic vagabonds.  This is as Real World as it gets.

 

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Training Tips: Should I exercise when I have a cold?

In my daily medical practice, I’m often asked a very common question, “Should I exercise when I have a cold?

MC_sportsMedicine_sick-athlete-iStock_000005387766XSmall.1

First, when describing a “cold,” I’m talking about a minor self-limited upper respiratory infection,typically of viral nature.

What’s that?

 

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The Olympus Project – Experiments in Fitness, Nutrition and Lifestyle

What started as a conversation about the audacious claims of almost unthinkable physical feats made by Timothy Ferriss in his book 4 Hour Body, became the plan of two men to see just what the human body is capable of…

 

 

Today begins a 12 week journey of physical and nutritional experimentation.  In my quest to inspire my patients and readers to pursue positive life choices, I’ve decided to share mine and my associate David Francis’ experiments with fitness and nutrition which have affectionately become known as The Olympus Project.

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Benchmarking for 2013…One Example

Tribe…

There are many ways to begin a journey, but if you don’t know where you are on the map then it makes it difficult to get to your intended destination! The same goes for fitness and lifestyle changes. It’s important as you start your journey to set a Benchmark or Starting Point in the beginning. Below is one example of how to do one for your fitness level. It has a little upper body strength, lower body strength, a little cardio, and core body strength to gauge where you are in key measures of fitness.

 

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Can you cure diabetes?

As the New Year season approaches I have begun contemplating next years resolutions.   I also think a lot about my diabetic patients.   In my ongoing quest to find the perfect message that will convince all my diabetics to shape up, change diet, and seize the opportunity to conquer their disease, I came across an interesting article that got me thinking….

Can Diabetes Be Cured?

Can diabetes be cured?

In a recent study presented in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) entitled

Intensive Weight-Loss Intervention Linked With Increased Chance of Partial Remission from Diabetes

I came across the term Diabetes Remission.  I discovered that I liked that term because it conveys a sense of cause and effect, action and result.
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Train Like You Fight

  

In the military, we train in a similar climate doing similar things that we are likely to be called upon to do in combat, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, etc. So how do we train to be prepared for our daily lives? Good question, which is why there is epidemic of obesity, lower back problems, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, etc…Most people either don’t know what to do or don’t make it a priority in their lives until they wake up one day and pain or other severe health issues force their hand.

 Here are some basic recommendations of how to train your body to be prepared for the unexpected things in life that can cause you to be injured and/or prevent you from maintaining a high quality of life:

#1….Core Body Strength-Do exercises that focus on your abdominal region, lower back, hip flexors.Having a strong core will prevent many common injuries that occur lifting things around home and work. Core strength keeps you from losing your balance and when you lift odd shaped items at odd angles without getting injured.

#2….Functional Exercises-Do exercises that mimic natural movement patterns. How often do you lie on your back and lift up something very heavy straight up and down? Not that traditional weight lifting is bad….it’s just that for most people there are better things you can do. Namely, use your own body weight for exercise. Pushups, air squats, pull-ups, dips, etc are more functional and are compound movements using your core body strength in conjunction with other muscle groups. Getting used to moving your body as the complex system of bones, muscles, and nerves that it is will help you in the long run.  

#3….Do Functional Strength and Cardio Together If Possible-Do workouts that combine strength and cardio for multiple benefits. The stress that you put on your body by combining strength and cardio will help you exponentially in both areas. Your body will continue to burn calories hours after you workout and you will adapt quicker in terms of fitness and weight loss. If you can learn to use kettle bells, the TRX suspension trainer, and do Crossfit/P90X type workouts then you will be better off in being prepared for anything life can throw at you!  

Prepare yourself so that you have a reserve level of strength, fitness, and flexibility to deal safely with both mundane and exotic circumstances that life can throw your way.

Can exercise prevent or cure diabetes?

 

Like the old Nike ad, a recent article got me thinking.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253899.php

The article reveals that moderate physical activities several days weekly reduces this incidence of diabetes.

But wait…..isn’t diabetes genetic?

Aren’t we doomed by our parents to inherit poor health and diabetic related consequences?

This article suggests otherwise and fits with my view of diabetes and the best prevention/cure strategies.

Lifestyle vs. Genetics

Diabetes does have a genetic component.

However, in my clinical experience those diabetics willing to change lifestyle habits often improve or even cure diabetes.  Instead of more medications and more complications, these diabetics instead decide NOT to adhere to the same old diet regimens and they ADD physical activity.

When you exercise, glycogen (storage form of sugar) gets utilized, thereby requiring replacement.  When the muscles become depleted of sugar they become very receptive to reabsorbing (restocking) their glycogen stores.  Net effect=lower blood sugar, improved insulin resistance, lower body fat, less reliance on medications, or RESOLUTION OF DIABETES.

It’s almost cliche’ but JUST DO IT.  You don’t have to wait for your doctor to prompt you.  Diabetics, pre-diabetics, folks wanting to lose weight…..exercise is a key.

Start basic, don’t go out and do so much you injure or impair you ability to walk the next day!

Build the habit.  Set simple, easy goals, build as you progress.  If you are a diabetic, carefully watch your sugar, if you tend to experience low spells, consider talking with your doctor about decreasing medications….

If you think your injured, get checked out.

Basic walking, flexibility, and strength training are the best areas to start.

For more exercise motivation see any blog written by the Tribe’s own Chris Story.

Motivation to exercise

Pre-Diabetes Diet….Can it prevent Diabetes?

For the record, I’m referring to Type 2 Diabetes, adult onset diabetes, or the kind of diabetes most often related to diet and lifestyle issues.

Can Diabetes be prevented or even, dare I say….CURED….through diet?  I believe the answer is true.

Just today I spoke with a diabetic patient that lamented their struggles with nutrition.  Genetics as a cause of diabetes was brought up, but in the same breath they mentioned how they buy “special” foods–read junk foods–when their grand kids come to stay.  In this scenario genetics aren’t at play….cultural food choices are.

So what is a “Pre diabetes Diet” anyway.  In my opinion we must look at physiology (The combined chemical and metabolic processes in our body) for the answer.  When you eat sugar, starches or carbohydrates (Those are all synonyms by the way) during the digestion process insulin is released from your pancreas to help move the sugar your digesting away from the bloodstream.  

The insulin helps you store the energy as fat or helps it into cells to power them further.  

In folks prone to diabetes, this mechanism doesn’t respond optimally.  Eating foods that require insulin secretion only put more demand on your body.  High levels of insulin, driven by high carbohydrate dieting, drives fat production, especially in the mid-section.  

In a “Pre diabetes diet, one would avoid these foods like the plague.  One would want to avoid fruit juice, candy, sweets, pastries, rice, potatoes, and starchy snacks.   Fruit would also be limited if your doctor recommended a pre diabetes diet.   The operative word here is limited.  I typically recommend that on a weight loss or pre diabetes diet, the patient should severely limit fruit but part-take in fruit if severe sugar cravings arise.  After all, fruit is a carbohydrate but a slower release carb.  So in effect it doesn’t hit your system as hard as say….a soda.  THIS DOESN”T INCLUDE FRUIT DRINKS!  Not a good choice for me, you, or the pre diabetes individual.  Fructose is a sugar the body doesn’t handle well…..look for topics in the coming weeks along this line.

Clinically I have had good results with patients who combine light regular exercise and at least the basic changes mentioned above.   It’s not about medicine, it’s about what your putting in!!  Diet changes, simple ones, make the biggest difference….way more than medication.  

I’ve seen diabetics get off of insulin, lose weight, stop medications, etc. by simply eliminating excess processed carbohydrates as I’ve suggested in this pre diabetes diet treatise.

Feel free to shoot questions this is a huge topic.

Preparing for War…or Life

I recently saw and uploaded to The Tribe some powerful photos of Marines departing to Afghanistan and saying goodbye to their loved ones. Having been in that same spot myself, I can relate to the powerful feelings that you feel during those times. I remember leaving my 6-month old daughter and wife at the airport and thinking, have I done everything I can to prepare myself? Have I given myself the best chance possible to come back safely to the people and country that I love? Am I strong enough mentally and physically to return from war the same person that I left? War is the most extreme of human experiences, but everyday life can throw similar challenges at you when it comes to health and safety. After you leave for work or drop your children off at school, are you doing the things necessary to remaining healthy and strong in your life? Sometimes eating the right things, getting exercise, and managing stress seem like a nuisance or less important than other daily pursuits…but are they? Just like preparing for combat requires dedication and “hardening”, so does preparing for life.

 

Don’t wait until disease, obesity, or injury force you to be proactive about life and health. You impose your will to be healthy and present for your family upon life, don’t let it be the other way around because inertia can be a deadly weapon once you start heading in the wrong direction.

You Shouldn’t Need Any Other Motivation To Workout But…

Everywhere you turn…newspaper, magazine, TV, and internet you see news about how exercise helps your heart, blood sugar, mood, life expectancy, etc. Sometimes when “life happens” we have a million other things to do other than workout. Then you see a story that makes you go, WOW! The article linked below did that for me and I get paid to stay in shape for work! To think that this little girl is alive only because of the great shape she started out in is amazing. A valuable lesson to ALL, don’t put off your FITNESS. God forbid that we get a diagnosis of a terrible, chronic disease but remember that the better shape you are when it hits, the better chance you will have to LIVE!

 

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Foster_Beers.pdf

8 Myths about food and health that MUST be destroyed

MYTH Gaining weight is your fault because you are weak and constantly over eat.

TRUTH All low fat, low calorie diets (most popular weight loss programs) set you up to fail because they cause metabolic disorders, food cravings, and emotional distress which all lead to more weight gain in the long run.

MYTH Calories dictate weight gain/weight loss.
TRUTH The human body is a biochemical, hormone balanced system that stores or burns fat based on the quality of food you eat not the quantity.

MYTH Over consumption of fat is the primary cause of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
TRUTH Refined carbohydrates and over consumption of processed foods are the basis of weight gain and other degenerative disease.

MYTH Cholesterol causes clogged arteries and should be avoided.
TRUTH Cholesterol is a natural, life sustaining substance present in all cells of the body and is the structural basis for cell membranes, many hormones and brain functions and should be consumed daily. There is no scientific link between cholesterol and heart disease.

MYTH Exercise is required to lose weight.
TRUTH While exercise does provide many health benefits, it is secondary to the quality of food eaten.

MYTH Health claims on food packages are accurate and well intentioned.
TRUTH Health claims on food labels are a marketing ploy designed to boost sales as much as possible and are either false or negated by the processed nature of the food product.

MYTH All dietitians and nutritionists give scientifically backed dietary advice.
TRUTH Most dietitians and nutritionists operate on 50 year old assumptions and political policies and are trained by food processing companies to dispense imitation health foods with extreme profit margins.

MYTH Starvation occurs only when there is not enough food.
TRUTH Starvation occurs daily at a cellular level when nutrient poor, refined foods are chosen over nutrient dense real food.

MYTH The FDA and USDA have your best interest in mind.
TRUTH The FDA and USDA serve the pharmaceutical and food processing lobbyists with the intent to guarantee profits despite failing American health.

These are just a few of the commonly held beliefs regarding the “politically correct” diet and nutrition information that has become embedded in our cultural psyche.  In order to break the cycle we are in we must begin to bust these myths and awaken to the truth behind what really works when it comes to health and wellness.

Have any questions about the claims I’ve made? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Very little time for a workout? No problem…

Many recent studies in exercise physiology have concluded that short, intense exercise can have equal or better effects on both muscular and cardiovascular conditioning! Great news for those, like most of us, who have busy lifestyles and cannot afford the time to take 2-3 hours a few times a week to go to the gym. Also, the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training can last hours longer than tradional “slow and steady” workouts. The attached link below from The Journal of Physiology has all of the science behind several studies that prove this to be the case. If you are medically fit to do so, this type of training can provide a jump start to a new exercise regimen or breath life back into one that has become monotonous!

 

Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance

 

 

The Scale is NOT your Friend

People get wrapped around what “the number” on their scale is. While your weight should be monitored, there are other factors involved that you should consider before getting wrapped around just the number. Here is a great article I ran across that explains some of the factors to consider about your weight.

http://blog.gsprushfit.com/reapyourcomposure/

Be Prepared for LIFE!

The lifestyle required to be fit and healthy gets bad publicity sometimes. The books, “Eat This not That” translates for many people into, “I will never be able to have a real potato chip or ice cream again”….or the TV shows, “Biggest Loser” may speak to some by saying, “I have to do extreme weights, cardio, and have a psycho trainer to get REAL results”. The movies, magazine covers, etc, etc may tell some, “why shoud I even try to measure up to the beautiful people”. Health and fitness to most people should mean what lifestyle is realistic for ME that also enables me to feel well, enjoy the things I like to do, avoid disease, and truly LIVE LIFE!

 

In reality, you can and should eat REAL WHOLE FOODS that satisfy your hunger, provide nutrients for an active lifestyle, and protect you from whatever challenges come your way. In terms of activity and fitness, no one program, gym, video, etc. speaks to all people. You have to choose a fitness option that truly works for YOUR LIFE not what looks cool or what the “in” fitness craze currently is. That fitness option can be joining a big or small local gym, buying a set of videos, buying basic equipment for your home, or just getting a plan and doing all bodyweight exercises in the backyard. With the proper base of knowledge and resources anyone can be Prepared for Life and the NRG Tribe is a great support system for whatever your goals are!

 

The Everyday Athletes group on the NRG Tribe will be the space to be when it comes to planning and achieving your fitness goals.