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Beyond The Weight Room With Melissa Leier: Compeition Nutrition

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 7, 2012 19:50
How Dieting Impacts The Body And Mind

HOW WE FUEL OUR BODIES and our brains has a significant impact on what we can achieve during a major physical transformation as well as how we function day to day. Athletes who train for physique competitions fuel up for a purpose and have specific goals in mind to reach the desired outcomes. Nutritional plans are different for short-term phases, like a leaning-out phase of preparation for a physique contest, also called the “diet down”, and longer terms, such as building lean muscle mass in an off-season. When it comes to the sometimes extreme practices of contest preparation nutrition, there can be negative impacts on an athlete’s body and mind.

What We Do And How We Do It

Competition preparation varies from athlete to athlete, but generally starts 16 to 20 weeks before the contest date. To sculpt that chiselled, competition- ready physique, competitors do more than adhere to a gruelling workout schedule. Following very specific nutrition protocols makes all the difference while preparing for a contest. The goal of competition preparation is to reduce body fat while preserving muscle.

Food selection, meal timing and calorie intake vs. expenditure each play a role in achieving winning physiques for competitions. The right nutrition plan essentially helps eliminate subcutaneous fat, making the skin appear thinner and allowing muscle striations to emerge, showcasing your lean physique. Then competitors can show off the art of a muscular physique resulting from all their hard work in the gym.

Competition nutrition plans aim to trim away fat and this is only done by burning more than you’re consuming to create a calorie deficit. During contest prep, frequent meal times, clean eating and sufficient protein content help preserve lean mass. This allows athletes to reach body fat percentages as lean as six to eight per cent for women or two to four per cent for men without a significant loss of muscle mass.

It Works, But…
Although following an exact and strict plan will achieve the desired physique results for a contest, it should be considered temporary and should change post-contest. A contest prep diet does restrict or limit certain food choices and it may not be wise to eliminate nutrients our bodies may need in the long-term. Some physique athletes go two to three months without fruit or dairy, with limited essential fats/oils, high-sugar foods and starch carbohydrates. All athletes are impacted differently. Some will breeze through a contest preparation and not have anything change with their systems during the different phases of nutrition. However, others may experience dry skin or hair, irregular digestive systems or even emotional ups and downs as a result of a restricted content prep diet.

Carb Depletion And Mental Fog

Reducing certain carbohydrates in the short-term runs the risk of producing a metabolic condition of ketosis, which can potentially cause an athlete to feel lethargic, sluggish and tired. The problem with this is that it can decrease the intensity of training and activity level, which is needed to burn calories. In addition to the physical impact, some athletes report that the lack of carbs creates a “mental fog” or an impact on cognitive performance. The mental fog could result in little things like forgetting where you set your keys down or putting the dry oatmeal back into the refrigerator and the eggs into the cupboard. Therefore, it is important to find a healthy balance of nutrition with sufficient macronutrients to fuel workouts and brain function, while allowing your body to burn more calories than you’re consuming.

Appearance

Some athletes find that having nutrition plans high in protein and low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates, while avoiding excessive sodium and dairy, can lead to the body storing less water. This can reduce the appearance of bloating and help with showing muscularity striation, but sometimes the skin can look less full, showing wrinkles and looking dry. This tends to be even more apparent the day of the competition when water intake is reduced. Often you’ll see athletes with “shrunken in” cheeks or more apparent shadows under their eyes. I find that this look leads to some people’s perception of the bodybuilder athlete as looking “unhealthy,” but this effect usually only lasts a day or two.

Digestion Regularity And The Cheat Meal

The temporary reduction in certain nutritional options can also impact some athletes’ digestive systems—bowel regularity in particular. I recommend staying well hydrated and consuming sufficient fibre from celery, cucumbers, asparagus, spinach and more. I describe it as a reduction rather than an omission because many have found that a strategy that includes a “cheat meal” once in a while can be helpful. This can not only get the digestive system moving again, but can refuel the body full of energy when certain things have been limited. Having one cheat meal every few weeks throughout contest preparation or as needed means you’re not depriving yourself of cravings, making it more do-able to go the distance with super clean eating over the course of several months and not feel like you’re missing out.

The Houdini Abs Effect

The post-contest period can be disappointing to those new to the sport of competition. When an athlete has unrealistic expectations of maintaining the look of the physique they had on stage, it can seem like the weeks of work they put in to lean out can all disappear within one to two weeks. But they are not necessarily “gaining it all back.” It can be the body’s skin cells filling back up with water content from post-contest nutritional and hydration changes, which creates a softer look on top of the muscle. I call this the “Houdini Abs Effect”—there one day, gone the next! For me, it takes several months to shed the body fat to have my abdominal muscles showing, but within three days of re-hydrating they’re gone. Don’t let this play mind games with you. As long as you practice regular exercise, clean eating and healthy lifestyle practices year- round you are doing great, whether you have defined, chiselled abs or not!

Positive vs. Negative

Yes, there are some potentially negative impacts on the body in the short term from the strict dieting necessary for competition. However, more often than not, the positive impacts outweigh some of the negatives. Emotionally, endorphins released from exercise will boost our mood and we will feel great. Regular exercise paired with a clean eating nutrition plan is the key to vitality.

Why We Do It

So, with all of the potential downsides for athletes during contest preparation, why do we do it? Well, it is the personal challenge, experience and sense of achievement that we love. It is the visual confirmation of our hard work. You get to see the curves, cuts, striations and bulk of muscle hypertrophy built up in the gym. It is the sense of accomplishment that we’ve taken our fitness to the next level and the personal motivation that separates us from those who don’t compete. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!

 

Photos by Tyler Harris

Sweat The Technique: A Few Words On Weight Training

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 6, 2012 12:41

Here is Our Favorite Article from the October Issue of Saskatoon Wellbeing Magazine.

Saskatoon Wellbeing’s debut issue back in January featured professional bodybuilder Kai Greene, a noted positive thinker, in a piece we called Kai Greene and The Power Of Mind. As an inspiration to the magazine, we thought it was time to revisit the man, who, aside from being the master of his thoughts is also the master of his physical movement inside the gym. As he likes to say, “The physical you is a walking manifestation of your mind.” So it’s time to focus, all of you men and women who lift weights.

Proper form is essential. It allows you to load and maintain the stress of the weight on the muscle you are attempting to build. Instead of perfecting their form on each exercise, many people add more weight as soon as their strength progresses and then their form begins to fail. That’s assuming they had any to begin with. When the stress is diverted from the targeted muscle area to the joints and the joints start to assist that muscle group, muscle becomes stubborn to grow, even if you are still taking sets to failure and staying within the correct rep range. You may get a bit stronger. You may even see positive changes at first. But, over time, you will not see the gains in the mirror that you could be seeing.

As much as anyone in the world, Kai Greene has made the most out of his physique through an intense and focused connection between his mind and his body. The biomechanics, form and almost three decades of increasing poundage has allowed Greene to generate complete fibre recruitment of every muscle in every workout. No action goes to waste. Every contraction of the muscle is deliberate and a by-product of intense visualization. It is a fluid orchestra of movement.

 > When Greene is doing t-bar rows or seated pulley rows he visualizes not just on the pull toward his chest, but on meeting his hands with his chest halfway through the movement. The result is more lat recruitment and space for contraction. If you can imagine pulling your elbows with your back instead of pulling the weight with your elbows you will begin to understand his visual process.

> When Greene is doing lat pulldowns, he is not just going through the motions of keeping his elbows forward and pulling the bar down to his chest with his lats. He is subtly rolling his scapula back at the same time and rolling it forward on the way up. This creates maximum recruitment and full range of motion, also helping him stay loose and impingement free.

> When Greene is doing a bench press or narrow grip press he is pressing the weight with an arc, driving it back and slightly over his eyes, while maintaining a slight arch between his shoulder blades and glutes. All of these actions contribute to taking the stress out of his front delts and moving it into his pecs.

> When Greene is performing straight-legged deadlifts he is focusing the tension on his glutes and away from his lower back, something that is very difficult to accomplish. He pushes the outsides of his feet laterally into the floor, flexing his entire lower body, then commences with the stiff-legged movement.

> When Greene is walking on the treadmill during his daily warm-up, he is flexing his glutes and hamstrings on the back end of each step. This consistent, detailed focus enhances his mind to muscle connection, creating pathways that allow him to more efficiently stress his muscles with the resistance to come.

        Read more of this article from Kai Greene at http://www.saskatoonwellbeing.com

The Anti-Aging Agents of Exercise and Weight Training

posted by Fitness Focus    |   October 2, 2012 23:00

Questions from around the gym: Working out helps me shape and tone my body, what are some of the health benefits of weight training?

The Anti-Aging Agents of Exercise and Weight Training

By the time you finish reading this article, you, like every other person alive on the planet, will have gotten a bit older. From the moment we are born, we begin to mature but naturally, we don’t really pay any attention to getting older until we start actually seeing and feeling all the tangible signs of the passage of time on our body. We are living longer than ever before mostly due to advances in medical technology and improvements in living conditions.  In fact, by the year 2030, there will be over double the amount of North Americans over the age of 65 than in the year 2000. Unfortunately, we have been  influenced once again into viewing the aging process as an illness that we must treat and reversed.  Increased body fat, significant loss of muscle mass and strength to the point of infirmity in addition to the slew of age associated conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis are erroneously seen as an inevitable consequence of growing older. However, studies of older individuals who regularly engaged in weight training and bodybuilding have always challenged the idea that such infirmities come more as a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of inactivity and poor dietary choices than a fate that we are all destined to suffer.  This article is going to take a look at the physiological aspect of aging and how weight training and exercise can create what gerontologists nowadays refer to as successful aging; basically getting older with a low probability of disease or physical disability, maintaining high cognitive and physical function and having an active engagement with life in later years.

Understanding The Mechanisms Of Aging
Start by understanding just how exactly does aging occur. It is easy to recognize the results of aging, however there are certain biological mechanisms at work that we are often unaware of. The number cells that make up our body are kept at a relatively steady number through the process of mitosis (remember back to hisgh school biology, cells dividing) typically even with the number of cells that are dying. This balance is know as homeostasis, and it is utterly necessary for optimal health and body function however this equilibrium cannot be maintained indefinitely.  In what is called the Hayflick limit, all animal cells have a limited number of times that they can reproduce. As we get older, senescence sets in- which is a decline in the ability of our bodies’ cells to divide. This usually starts in our early thirties and continues on throughout our lives. One prevailing theory is that the everyday occurrence of cellular reproduction leads to cumulative damage to our DNA and cells begin to die or not function correctly. This process, called apoptosis is actually beneficial as it acts a way of ‘cleaning up’ that benefits the healthy remaining cells. Taken as a whole, aging thus is nothing more than our bodies decline in being able to deal with stress. Maintaining homeostasis becomes more and more difficult until a point is reached where the organism dies.

The Role Of Weight Training In The Prevention of Muscle Wasting

 Building muscle however through the use of a well executed weight training program of sufficient intensity is a way of increasing our bodies’ potential response to stress. As we get older, one of the main aspects working against us from being as strong and as built as we were in our younger years is sarcopenia. Sarcopenia which means literally ‘poverty of the flesh’, refers to the loss of skeletal  muscle mass that comes with aging which in turn leads to weakness and frailty. For the average member of the population, as much as 50% of your skeletal muscle mass is lost between the ages of 20 and 90 years resulting in in a corresponding reduction in muscular strength. Such loss of muscle mass is usually associated as well with an increase in overall body fat. However as normal an occurrence this might be for most of us, studies suggest that lack of exercise- or more specifically weight bearing resistance exercise (like weight training) may be one of the overriding causes of sacropenia.

We don’t have to lose such large amounts of muscle mass as we age, but without an active lifestyle that incorporates some form of resistance exercise over the course of time our bodies will indeed fall victim to the syndrome of ‘use it or lose it.’ While it would be absurd to think that weight training can allow you to be strong and muscular as you were in your twenties, preliminary research shows that those who engage in intense weight training over the course of their lifetime are able to demonstrate physical qualities and abilities on par with if not exceeding that of untrained individuals in their twenties while well into their fifth decade of life. With most of our medical anti-aging focus resting on the shoulders of pharmaceutical companies trying to find a pill form solution to the combat the effects of the march of time, comparatively little is invested in researching protocols that are far less potentially lucrative such as weight training. Nevertheless, short term studies thus far do indeed show that resistance exercises like weight training increase the ability of our muscles to synthesize proteins and thus minimizing the advent of skeletal muscle decline over the years.

Getting Older- A Detailed Look At The Physiology

As we get older, it is not only our muscles that get significantly weaker without physical activity but also our bones. Increased bone porosity and reduction in bone mass can lead to the debilitating effects of osteoporosis. Which as we know can be both reversed and prevented by the implementation of weight bearing activities such as weight training. There are some aspects however that are beyond our control, as with the advancing years comes a natural decrease in the speed of nerve conduction, reduction in peak cardiovascular ability as well as a decline in kidney and other organ function. As mentioned earlier in an explanation of the Hayflick limit, our cells have a limited number of reproductions; and as you get older the motor units (motoneurons) in your fast twitch muscles begin to die. You don’t immediately notice it, as our bodies have a remarkable system of compensating. Consider that a muscles in  your leg may have 250 motor units with each motor unit having as many as a thousand muscle fibers under its control.

This ratio of motor units to muscle fiber is known as an innervation ratio and in this case would be 1,000 muscle fibers per motoneuron.
Over the course of time, those 250 motor units in your leg muscle may drop by as much as half to 125 by the time you are 70 years old, and you would think that this would make you only half as strong, but it isn’t that straightforward. You see, we lose muscle fibers at a much slower rate than motor units so you would have only lost 10% of the muscle fiber in that leg muscle by the age of 70. However, the remaining 125 motor units sprout new branches to the muscle fibers that have lost their motor units to activate them and do more work than they did before. As a result, there is a higher innervation ratio, in this example it would be let us say 1,500 muscle fibers per motoneuron as our motor units take control of more muscle fibers as a way of helping us retain our strength as we get older.

Our nervous system also slows with the passage of time and so the mechanisms of muscle contraction slows down as well. Despite these natural declines, regular resistance type exercise and an overall active lifestyle can help minimize and offset the effect of these changes in our bodies. The more muscle mass built up over time, the more strength, coordination and motor skills you will have as you get older. A point lost sadly on the millions of women who invest most of their time pursuing aerobic type exercises and lower impact activities like yoga out of a misplaced fear of developing man-sized muscles and thus curtail their involvement in weight training- the very exercises that will help them stay looking and feeling younger as the years go by.  

Hormone Replacement Isn’t Always The Answer
Our hormones also play a role in the reduction of our muscle mass as we get older. Testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) help our bodies’ build and maintain muscle mass but there is a marked reduction in production as we get older. High intensity weight training has been shown to increase all three hormones naturally and within standard human parameters. It might sound like a good idea to forgo weight training and instead turn to hormone replacement therapies but research shows that this reduction in hormones may be a key mechanism that allows us to live longer. Mammalian models with reduced growth hormone (GH) and/or IGF-1 appear to live longer and while the administration of testosterone replacement therapy for men has become a lucrative and fast growing industry here in the United States, presently available data do not justify the broad use of such hormones for anti-aging purposes.

Effects Of A Lifetime Of Weight Lifting On the Aging Process

While it is established that there is a natural decline in our bodies from the age of 30 or so due to the processes mentioned above- there are also many examples of individuals who defy the narrative of decline for far longer than one would expect. In 1987, Dr. Fredrick Hatfield- (or Dr. Squat as he is affectionately known) set a world powerlifting record squatting over 1,000 lbs at the age of 45- more than any human being in history had ever successfully lifted in competition. A feat he was able to continue well into his fifties. My good friend and natural bodybuilder Kenny Hall started competing in his twenties and kept on winning titles for the next half a century. His greatest accomplishment was winning the Pro Mr. America in 1969 but he maintained a level of muscle mass and definition that allowed him to easily best other competitors decades younger than he was until he retired in his 70’s so that others would have their chance to win as well.

The science of Gerontology has only just started to pay attention to the amazing examples set by those engaged in a lifetime of weight training and drug free bodybuilding and research reveals that involvement in such activities can ‘create possibilities for people to age positively and reconstruct what aging “normally” means.” Such studies also highlight the self fulfilling prophecy that our society’s acceptance of advancing age as a time of disengagement, dysfunction and disease goes a long way in our not taking action to prevent it from being just that.  As long as we see aging as a downward trajectory of physical and mental deterioration, we are doomed to experience it as such. One of the common perspectives of men and women involved in weight training activities over the course of their lives and who exhibit remarkable physicality into the later sixth decades of life is what was termed a ‘mondadic styled’ body. In short, they focused on who they were and what they were doing as opposed to being influenced by what society expected them to be or the examples of their peers whose aging process tended to follow the narrative of decline that we are so used to hearing. Without turning to hormonal solutions that can often cause more problems than they solve, these individuals centered themselves on following a lifestyle. A lifestyle that allows them to significantly offset the impact of aging and achieve what we are all looking for- twilight years that aren’t defined by disease and disability but by engagement with life on all levels. We don’t need drugs or DeLeon’s fabled fountain of youth, we just need to make certain forms of exercise a part of our lives at all times.

Trusted Fitness Tips with Trustedsaskatoon.com: The Perfect Squat

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 27, 2012 16:13

At Fitness Focus, the goal is to offer a fitness center with a welcoming,fun and safe environment that all ages can enjoy. They are a forerunner in the fitness industry in Saskatoon . With the ever changing fitness demands of new and improved classes, training; and nutrition. They are your TRUSTED SASKATOON FITNESS EXPERTS!  

Here Kristen helps Heather do the perfect squats - to get the booty in shape!

Print a Free 2-Week Trial Membership for you and your friends. If you're looking for a gym in Saskatoon and have never tried Fitness Focus, this pass is for you to come experience the great atmosphere, people and all the major ammenities Fitness Focus offers. For 2 weeks you will have access to The Weight Room, Cardio Theatre, All Group Fitness Classes, Unlimited Tanning, Free Towel Service, Free Lockers and more... click HERE to print yours

Find Fitness Focus Health & Athletic Centre at 1250 Ontario Avenue, or check out their listing here in the Saskatoon Fitness & Gyms Category on THE Saskatoon directory of excellence. They are YOUR Trusted experts right here in Saskatoon!

 

Fitness Focus is your Trusted Saskatoon Gym

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 26, 2012 14:53

See this article that www.trustedsaskatoon published about Fitness Focus.

At Fitness Focus, the goal is to offer a fitness center with a welcoming; fun; and safe environment that all ages can enjoy. They are a forerunner in the fitness industry in Saskatoon . With the ever changing fitness demands of new and improved classes, training; and nutrition. They are your TRUSTED SASKATOON FITNESS EXPERTS!  

This Fitness Focus Trusted Tip is about GYM memberships..

Starting a gym membership can be exciting but also intimidating. Here are some Trusted Tips on taking that first step and finding the right gym for you

• Whether you have tried a fitness regimen before or you’re starting at the gym for the very first time, before you choose a fitness centre, you have to start with a goal. Without a goal you’ll have nothing to work towards, making the effort you put in seem like a total waste. Make your goal reasonable, attainable and specific; and make sure you know the route to attaining it.

• It’s important to find a gym with an atmosphere that suits you. If you’re not comfortable in the gym, you won’t enjoy your experience, and then it won’t be long until you start to abandon your routine and your goals. See if the gym will offer you a trial pass or “test drive” that gives you enough time to feel it out and see if it’s the right fit for you.

• Pay attention to the not-so-obvious amenities when you’re looking into a new club. Big windows for natural light, what kind of music they play, and cleanliness of the facility including: washrooms and training area, a wide variety of equipment and knowledgeable staff. Sometimes it’s these subtleties you might not have noticed at first but they can be the difference that makes it a club you want to make your home for years to come.

• Convenience! Is the club close to your house or work? If your gym is not easy too get to, you might not use it as much as you had planned. A gym within a stone’s throw of your home can be great, but also consider one that’s close to your workplace. This gives the option to get your workout in during your lunchtime or to avoid the traffic on the commute home after work.

• Once you have made your decision to join, make sure you read your membership agreement form. There are a lot of standard points on a membership form but many disclosures can change from gym to gym. First, pay attention to membership cancellation policies, sometimes these can be very strict which might not be a problem if you plan to be there for a few years. Watch out for unexpected annual fees; these should be explained in your membership. Ask if there is a membership freeze option and the cost of it. This allows you to suspend payments of your membership in the event you can’t use it due to injury or inability to make use of your membership for a short period.

Print a Free 2-Week Trial Membership for you and your friends. If you're looking for a gym in Saskatoon and have never tried Fitness Focus, this pass is for you to come experience the great atmosphere, people and all the major ammenities Fitness Focus offers. For 2 weeks you will have access to The Weight Room, Cardio Theatre, All Group Fitness Classes, Unlimited Tanning, Free Towel Service, Free Lockers and more... click HERE to print yours

Find Fitness Focus Health & Athletic Centre at 1250 Ontario Avenue, or check out their listing here in the Saskatoon Fitness & Gyms Category on THE Saskatoon directory of excellence. They are YOUR Trusted experts right here in Saskatoon!

 

Beyond The Weight Room — Melissa Leier At Nationals

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 17, 2012 00:08

Beyond The Weight Room — Melissa Leier At Nationals

After winning Saskatchewan Figure Provincials (see excerpts from my journal in the May issue of Saskatoon Well Being Magazine), I went right into contest preparation for Canadian Nationals four months later. As I start this journal, it’s two days to show time. During the last few days leading up to the competition, I really have to make the best use of my time, at home, in the gym and in my leisure time. Oh wait! There isn’t any leisure time at this point!

 

This time around I have the opportunity to compete at the same show as my boyfriend, Chris! We’ve each done our share of competitions in the past and supported each other through a few, but this was the first one we both were able to do together. Not only am I lucky to have him along with me to help me out with my suit, competition colour, motivation and support, but I also am extremely excited for him to compete in the Men’s Physique category and I can’t wait to see how he does. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to rock it on stage!

Read more about Melissa at Well Being Magazine

Yoga in Saskatoon, Have You Tried Fitness Focus

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 9, 2012 23:17
Have you tried Yoga at Fitness Focus?  We encourage all experienced or beginners to come check out our Yoga classes.  No need to book a spot, our studio is large enouge to accommodate classes up to 25 people at a time. Check our Group Fitness Schedule for class times.
 
You know that yoga is good for you, but here are some benefits and information about Yoga you may not know! 

Physical Benefits

Flexibility: Stretching your body in new and different ways will help your joints and muscles to become more flexible, giving you better range of motion. Over time, you will gain flexibility in your legs, back, shoulders, and midsection which can all prevent injury and aid in your resistance training.

Strength: Many poses in yoga require supporting the weight of your own body in new and different ways, including balancing on one leg or supporting yourself with your arms. The slow movements through the poses also develope strength.  You can also expect to see improved muscle tone, better shape and long lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increasing flexibility and strength will help prevent certain types of body pain. For example, many people who suffer from back pain can usually trace it back to spending much of their time sitting or high impact activity all day. That can cause spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga will also improve your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

 

Stress Reduction

: Physical activity is a great method for eliminating stress; this is particularly true in yoga.  Yoga provides a much-needed break from the stressors in your life, as well as helping put things into perspective.  The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started.

 

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

 

Saskatoon Well Being: Our Favorite Article for September

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 7, 2012 17:37

Here is our favorite article chosen from the September 2012 issue of Saskatoon Wellbeing Magazine.  This month's article is about sleep.  Most of us take this luxury for granted; we don't realize how important a good night sleep really is to what we do the following day.  It can affect your work, relationships with people and even be the deciding factor of whether to make it to the gym or not.  This article touches base on a side of sleep deprivation we might not be acknowledging.

Sleeping Separately: Why More Couples Are Going To Sleep In Different Beds

by Sarah Stefanson

She needs complete silence to get to sleep. He likes the white noise of a fan in the background. The fan also keeps him cool, but she likes to be nice and warm. She needs darkness and he can fall asleep in a fully lit room. He tends to go to sleep early and wake up early, while she’s just the opposite. He twitches in his sleep. Oh, and he snores.

They have tried different tactics to solve their sleep differences. She sings the praises of her sleep mask. They tried having different blankets for each of them. Schedule adjustments. Earplugs. No matter what they attempted, the glaring truth was staring them in the face: they were not meant to sleep in the same room.

Many couples are experiencing similar dilemmas and most are hesitant to resort to separate bedrooms, but it is a growing trend for partners to split up at bedtime. From 2001 to 2005, the National Sleep Foundation found that the numbers of American married couples that sleep in separate beds rose from 12 per cent to 23 per cent. The Sleep Council of England reports that 1 in 4 Brits habitually spend their nights in spare rooms or on sofas. Want more proof? The National Association of Home Builders says there have been more and more requests for homes built with two master bedrooms. In fact, they estimate that by the year 2015, 60 per cent of all custom-built homes will have his and hers bedrooms.

Proponents of separate bedrooms have several good arguments to back them up and even some scientific evidence.

Sleep specialist Dr. Neil Stanley revealed at the British Science Festival in 2009 that couples that sleep in the same bed may experience 50 per cent more sleep disturbances than those who sleep separately

Vince Wawryk - 2012 IFBB Muscle Heat Pro

posted by Fitness Focus    |   August 24, 2012 17:34

A true inspirations to everyone around the gym!  We want to say Good Luck to Vince Wawryk, IFBB Pro and Head Trainer at Fitness Focus.  Vince has headed off to Greensboro, North Carolina this weekend at the IFBB Muscle Heat Pro. Vince has been competing at Professional level bodybuilding since 2008 and has made us proud and impressed us every year he takes the stage.

For more udates on Vince's progress and this weekend's contest contest result keep in touch with Team Wawryk at http://www.facebook.com/teamwawryk and http://www.teamwawryk.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1283822844.

Fitness Focus is Saskatoon's No Contract Gym

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Cleanse And Detox for The Purpose of Weight Loss

posted by Fitness Focus    |   August 24, 2012 00:18

Questions from around the gym: Do Cleanses and Detoxes Work?

This is a hot topic at all gyms; as discussed in the previous cleanse and detox blog entry; cleansing which is interchangeable with fasting, is certainly not a smart choice in terms of promoting good health. Fasting is also far from a effective method for weight loss, yet it still one of the oldest methods for fast weight loss. It doesn't involve a whole lot of understanding or any drastic changes in your lifestyle.  it just requires starving yourself, then it won't be long until you start to see the numbers on the scale starting to drop.  For people desperate for answers, it doesn't help being bombarded by all the New Age products on the market that claim to help them get the most out of their weight loss fast.  Fasting is an easy and non-invasive method of losing weight and is hyped up by some self-appointed experts as the best method to deal with weight loss and obesity, when used in combination with their products and services.  When you do a detox, you do lose some weight temporarily, but most of the immediate weight loss that occurs is just a result of the lack of fluid retention that naturally happens when a person does not eat. So, the weight that is lost is short lived is short-lived at best, and it inevitably be regained after a couple days of returning to your normal eating habits.  Previous in the blog you read about detoxes and cleanses and their unrealistic role of detoxifying your body  The main reason people incorporate a detox into their lifestyle is for the purpose of weight loss,

Fasting & Weight Loss:  Understanding the Mechanisms Of Short Term Fasts
This section will explain a bit more of what fasting really does to our bodies and what impacts it has on leading a healthy lifestyle.  One important aspect of understanding what happens during a cleanse is to have a clear picture of exactly what is happening in your body when you decide to stop or restrict your nutritional intake. Sugars that are broken down and stored in your body the form of glucose is the main source of fuel for your body and is necessary not only for our muscles to work but also for our brain to be efficient.  When your food intake is limited, the low blood sugar levels in your body trigger an increase in the two hormones glucagon (which is a for of glucose - sugar found in your liver and muscles) and epinephrine. One function of these hormones is the stimulation of the conversion of glycogen into a useable fuel by means of a process called glycogenolysis. The human liver and muscles have enough glycogen to last for two to three days; this is one reason that brief periods of fasting, say for a medical procedure, are usually harmless for healthy individuals.

Fasting and Weight Loss:  The Effects of Long Term Fasting

When you decide to limit or completely remove most foods from your diet as most cleanses require, there will be a brief period when your body will start to use your stored body fat as a fuel source. During this period, the change in body weight will not be noticeable by any means.  Too long of a period without proper nutrient intake, such as protein, carbohydrates and to a lesser extent fats, your body will go into a catabolic phase which basically means you will actually start to loose muscle mass.  So, losing muscle mass might take the numbers on the scale in the direction you want, but that doesn't mean that it was kind of weight you wanted to lose. Muscle is what gives a person the hard or in shape look once they achieve desired body fat levels. A long period without food has another negative and

undesired effect on the body.  When your body is deprived of calories for fuel it goes into a survival mode, so when the calories are reintroduce when you eat again your body will use what is immediately needed and store the rest as,you guess it, bodyfat.  So a cleanse that last for 30 days, 10 days, or even 3 days will ultimately lead you back to where you were a the beginning.

So you see, a cleanse as a method of losing unwanted body fat is really not the answer.  If anything it will make you more tired and less capable of living your daily life, including work and exercise.  As stated in the previous article, depriving yourself of nutrients is not doing your body any favors.  There is no substitute for proper, healthy eating.

 

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