Blog

Mar
10
Thanksgiving is...

Beth Colucci

Thanksgiving is a great time of year to remember what you’re thankful for, including your body. We all have changes we would like to make to our physiques, but when you take a step back and look at what your whole body is capable of, you realize what a truly miraculous thing it is. It’s time to acknowledge & express a little gratitude for all your body does...

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1. Your legs are powerful…

While you may judge the size of your thighs, don’t lose sight of the fact that your legs are powerful enough to walk, cycle, or run to wherever you want to go. There is someone out there who is struggling to just walk around the block. Never let the size or shape of your legs stop you from enjoying your life.

2. Your arms are strong…

Whether it is your child, grandchild, pet, etc. your arms are strong enough to pick up and hug the things you hold most dear to your heart. Your upper body also allows you to do everyday tasks that you take for granted, including carrying grocery bags or putting items away. The next time you think your arms are too big, imagine a life where you couldn’t pick up what you wanted/ needed to.

3. Your heart and lungs are strong…

You don’t have to tell your heart to beat or your lunges to contract. Without a thought, your heart will beat over 3 billion times in your lifetime, and your lungs will contract ~23,000 times per day. It’s obvious that without these two self-sufficient, yet highly complex organs, you wouldn’t be here.

4. Your body speaks the truth…

We all like to pretend certain things aren’t happening…i.e. aches, pains, etc. These signs and symptoms are your body telling you it needs more love and attention. Listen to your body – its highly intelligent.

5. You remember…

Think of the time you felt most loved, had the best time with friends, or when your child came into this world. Memories exist because your brain stores them without a second thought, no pun intended. Your brain also automatically remembers and tells your body “how” to do countless tasks and movements that we take for granted.

6. And most importantly, it loves you…

When you are feeling down on yourself, your body will always have your back. I was having a hard time coming up with the right words for what I wanted to convey here so I will leave this here… “[your body] will still tell you that you're hungry even when you don't want to eat. It will still make you cry even when you're too proud to show it. It will still tell you you're in love even when you want to deny it. It will love you more than you love it, no matter what.” And if that made you tear up, you are not alone.

Your body is an incredible machine that needs your compassion, love and care. Be grateful for all your body does…don’t wait until you are – heaven-forbid – faced with an illness or injury to appreciate all of the amazing things your body does for you daily.


Mar
09
MAR 10 SKIP BREAKFAST, OPTIMIZE YOUR METABOLISM (Pt.3)

FEELING HUNGRY? THAT’S GHRELIN TALKING.

Not to be confused with gremlins—the nasty creatures that result from feeding a Mogwai after midnight, according to the 1984 film, Gremlins.


Some of you, including my wife, weren’t even born yet and probably won’t get the reference. But let me say, the way many people respond to a spike in ghrelin isn’t much different than how gremlins behave. (Go to YOUTUBE and you’ll see what I mean!)


Mar
08
Nutritional Strategies That work! (Part II)

Mike Lipowski


Last month we looked at ketogenic diets, flexible diets, and low-fat diets. As with part one I won’t be taking a position on which I like most or least but rather just present you the facts. However since I was asked by many of you what my preferred approach to diet is I will release an article soon that will detail what it is and why.


Let's get it on!


Intermittent Fasting:

HISTORY: The concept of fasting dates back centuries and has played a role in almost every religion. Fasting was a way of life for our ancient ancestors who would frequently go days without eating as they hunted their food. However, fasting as a weight loss strategy or a means of improving health biomarkers didn’t gain popularity or garner mu...


Mar
08
YOUR PHYSIQUE UNDERNEATH

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“My name is Mike and I’m a weight training junkie.” What always attracted me to weight training both as a kid and still today is a strong muscular appearance capped off by actual strength and ability to match.

Most of the benefits we associate with weight training reside on the outside. We love looking good in our jeans, comfortable in a bathing suit, and not being startled by the mirror when we’re standing in front of it, naked. (Or did you remove all the mirrors from your house?)

But beneath all this superficial stuff is a regularly forgotten weight training benefit...bone health.

I know I know, it’s not the sexiest of topics but if it weren’t for having a sturdy skeletal system your muscles would be a pile of mush anyway. Think about it. Your ability remain upright through your torso is thanks to your spine, standing up and moving normally is thanks to your hips and the femur and tibia residing below them.

When we suffer bone loss in these areas our quality of living is effectively, screwed. You start looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and moving like a pregnant turtle. The way to prevent this tragedy from occurring as well as reverse it if you’ve started down this path, is weight training.

The effects of weight training on bone density are best observed in studies on post-menopausal women. The reason being, this group is most susceptible to osteoporosis (bone loss). Though men can suffer from osteoporosis too as they age, the percentages are much greater in women.

68 percent of the 44 million people at risk for osteoporosis are women. One of every two women over age 50 will likely have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. That's twice the rate of fractures in men — one in four. 75 percent of all cases of hip osteoporosis affect women. (www.everdayhealth.com)

I’ll save you all the research studies and scientific jargon and just give it to you straight.

The effects of weight training on helping to prevent and reverse the effects of osteoporosis are super-duper significant...so lift.

But don’t just lift. Lift hard and heavy and when you can. Check out the diagram below from a study on the Relationship between tons lifted per year and vertebral bone density.

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However even if you can’t lift heavy because of injury or aging there’s still hope. A study done at Penn State that had post-menopausal women (average age of 48) perform low-load training but working at a high-intensity resulted in a 4-8% increase in bone density after just 27 weeks of exercising 2-3 times a week.

Hmmm, sounds eerily familiar to training done at a place I know of.

So in spite of how much we’re not paying attention to it, all of this weight bearing exercise we’re doing to shape and mold our bodies is actually paying huge dividends on the inside. So long as you remain vigilant you’ll be reducing the likelihood of suffering fractures and breaks in the future that will severely hamper your quality of living.

Ready to get your body and bones healthy and strong? SIGN UP FOR A FREE WORKOUT!


Mar
07
PAIN, NSAIDs, A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE, AND MUSCLE GROWTH

You workout so you can develop more muscle, right? (Even if this is not the reason you say you workout it actually is--here me out.) Maximizing muscle development leads to increased strength, a toned body, more energy, stronger bones, better heart health, improved cardiovascular conditioning, greater functionality and flexibility.


Did I hit on a few reasons you workout!? If so, then muscle development is important to you. But I'm not here to talk about that today. I want to talk about one of the common [negative] side-effects of exercise and a healthier way to handle it.

LET ME ASK YOU TWO QUESTIONS:

  1. When the pain sets in after training or other activities, do you reach for the Advil? Alleve? Or some other over the counter NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug)?
  2. Does “the pain”—be it knee, shoulder, back, elbow, neck, head, or muscle—come around frequently?

IF THE ANSWER TO THESE QUESTIONS IS, YES, THEN YOU MIGHT BE INHIBITING YOUR MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT.

Research over the past 10+ years has shown that high-dosages of NSAID’s blunt hypertrophy in young trainees, while hypertrophy in the elderly is seemingly unaff...


Mar
07
Keto, Not Keto - Part III

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In our last installment, we covered Carb-cycling as just one of the three strategies for deriving keto-like benefits without following a strict ketogenic diet.


INTERMITTENT FASTING OFFERS ANOTHER EFFECTIVE STRATEGY.


In a PREVIOUS ARTICLE, I outlined the various forms of IF. For the sake of discussion (and because many studies use this particular version), I’ll stick with the “Lean Gains” version.


What is it?


16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour feeding window.


For example, if you ceased consuming any calories after 9 P.M. you would not begin eating again until 1 P.M. the following day. When you factor in sleep you’re talking about 8-10 waking hours without eating.


Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of IF on fat-loss, muscle development, blood glucose, insulin and a number of other health markers.


But a RECENT STUDY really brought it home when the IF group and the non-time restricted group followed the same meal and training plans.


The result?


The IF group lost approximately 13% MORE body-fat while maintaining their muscle mass!


Can you say, "Holy crap, Batman!"


It’s been theorized in the past (including by myself) that IF is an effective fat-loss strategy because it naturally encourages people to eat fewer calories. And this is often true.


IF also appears to have an appetite suppressing effect. So, for those who have a voracious appetite, this alone could be a game-changer!


Though IF DOES NOT HOLD ANY STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT PHYSIOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES over standard energy restrictive diets (SERD) it’s primary benefit seems to be in the arena of behavior modification.


Integrating it with the already discussed carb-cycling methods or on its own TWICE PER WEEK can help achieve keto-like results without following a strict ketogenic diet.


EXOGENOUS KETONES ARE EMERGING AS THE EASIEST AND MOST EFFECTIVE MEANS OF ACHIEVING KETOSIS.


Science is, amazing!


After nearly 100 years of experimentation, research, and empirical evidence science uncover that achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis can have positive life-changing effects for nearly the entire population.


But we also have a strong body of evidence proving the “maintaining” part to be extremely difficult. A little bit of apple pie at Thanksgiving dinner and you’re knocked out of ketosis—and it will take several days if not weeks to get back in ketosis.


LIVING LIFE WITHOUT SLIP-UPS OR OCCASIONAL INDULGENCES IS JUST NOT PRAGMATIC.


Enter, exogenous ketones.


As you know, ketones are produced in the body by the liver as consequence of insufficient glucose availability. Ketones essentially fulfill the role glucose in its absence.


Looked at from a slightly different angle, ketones act as a fourth macronutrient.


We have carbohydrates, fats, and proteins—all macronutrients that supply energy needs of the body and its various systems.


If we were to introduce ketones into the body—without going through the arduous process of making them—they would be the body’s preferred source of energy.


That’s what exogenous (defined as, originating outside of the body) ketones are. They are a nutritional supplement that—within an hour—puts your body into the same state of ketosis that would typically take you weeks to achieve.


And it does it, every time!


Regardless of whether glucose is available the body will bypass this energy source and use ketones instead.


The advantages being...

  • Longer lasting energy by unlocking fat for fuel.
  • Improved mental focus (the brain functions 70% more efficiently with ketones).
  • Muscle preservation and improved athletic performance.
  • Appetite control, and
  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY and ANTI-CARCINOGEN properties


THERE’S NOT MUCH TO IT WHEN IT COMES TO EXOGENOUS KETONES—INGEST EM AND WITHIN AN HOUR YOU’RE IN KETOSIS!


Circling back to the very beginning, you don’t need to be in ketosis to derive ketosis-like benefits.


It’s true that nothing beats the real thing.


But if the "real thing" is a unicorn there won’t be many who go chasing after it. And if they happen to chase and catch it, they probably won’t be able to hold on to it very long.


Mar
07
SKIP BREAKFAST, OPTIMIZE YOUR METABOLISM (Pt.2)

THERE ARE SEVERAL HORMONES THAT, WHEN OPERATING PROPERLY, WILL OPTIMIZE METABOLIC FUNCTION.


We’ll start with the more familiar, insulin. The job of insulin is to simply transport glucose (carbohydrates) out of the bloodstream and into either the liver, muscles, or fat.


Your liver is able to store approximately 100 g of glucose in the form of glycogen. The muscles can store between 325-375 g of glycogen on average. And you can safely have 25 g or so circulating in your bloodstream.


So what happens when the amount of glucose coming into your body exceeds the available storage space in the muscles and liver? It gets converted and stored as fat.


However, as I’ve preached for almost two decades—carbs are not the enemy. Crappy carbs in high doses are.


MUCH OF OUR OBESITY EPIDEMIC DIRECTLY CORRELATES WITH THE OVERCONSUMPTION OF REFINED CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGARS WHICH LEADS TO INSULIN RESISTANCE, WHICH LEADS TO OBESITY AND TYPE-II DIABETES.

To demonstrate just how powerful insulin resistance can be. RES...


Mar
07
SKIP BREAKFAST, OPTIMIZE YOUR METABOLISM (Pt.3)

FEELING HUNGRY? THAT’S GHRELIN TALKING.

Not to be confused with gremlins—the nasty creatures that result from feeding a Mogwai after midnight, according to the 1984 film, Gremlins.


Some of you, including my wife, weren’t even born yet and probably won’t get the reference. But let me say, the way many people respond to a spike in ghrelin isn’t much different than how gremlins behave. (Go to YOUTUBE and you’ll see what I mean!)

GHRELIN IS KNOWN AS, THE HUNGER HORMONE.

When ghrelin is secreted by your stomach (because your stomach is empty) it increases your appetite and encourages fat storage.

CONVERSELY, THE HORMONE LEPTIN TELLS US WHEN IT’S TIME TO STOP EATING.

Leptin—which is secreted by our fat cells—tells us that we have enough fat so we can slow down or s...


Mar
12
SKIP BREAKFAST, OPTIMIZE YOUR METABOLISM (Pt.5)

DID YOU THINK WE’D MAKE IT TO THE END OF THIS SERIES?

I was questioning it myself. The deeper I dive into other articles, research, and testimonies on fasting the more I want to say.


However, I realize that not everyone likes to nerd-out on this stuff like I do. I hope those of you that do, have gotten what you came looking for, and those that don’t—I hope you’re still hanging with me.


TO TIE A NICE LITTLE BOW ON THIS BOX LET’S LOOK AT THE ROLE GROWTH HORMONE (GH) PLAYS IN MAKING US A METABOLIC BOSS.


Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland that helps us grow as children and adolescents. As adults, GH aids in muscle growth and preservation, and it also helps regulate our metabolism among other functions beyond the scope of this article.


ONE OF THE PRIME CONCERNS OF ANYONE UNDERTAKING A FAST IS MUSCLE LOSS.

For those of us who have weight trained for years and built an appreciable amount of muscle, the last thing we want to do is, lose all dem ga...


Mar
11
SKIP BREAKFAST, OPTIMIZE YOUR METABOLISM (Pt.4)

WEIGHT LOSS IS ONE THING. FAT-LOSS IS ANOTHER. BUT A CHANGE IN BODY-COMPOSITION IS THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE OF ANYONE WHO WANTS TO LOOK, FEEL, AND FUNCTION BETTER.

That’s because a change in body-composition is not just assuming a loss of body-fat but an increase in muscle.


Does skipping breakfast hold the key?


I wouldn’t go so far to give a definitive, yes, but I’ll explain how it contributes.


All of this talk about skipping breakfast is really nothing more than a conversation around the concept of intermittent or extended fasting.

HERE ARE THE LOGISTICS AND RATIONALE FOR SKIPPING OUT ON “THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY”, AS IT RELATES TO FASTING.

Firstly, people think fasting is hard. Secondly, they t...