Sunday, March 25, 2012

Harvard Meat Study: Will red meat kill you?

A lot of media outlets have hyped the Harvard study on red meat.  Many bloggers more qualified than me have already addressed this issue, so I won't bother going into too much detail here.  Let's just say that this is an observational study based on food frequency questionnaires updated every 4 years.  Can you remember exactly what you ate last month?  Do you think these people could?  And remember this is an observational study, which means that it's is only capable of showing an association, not causation.  If you don't know what I mean by that, watch this video.  Below are some links to other blogs addressing this study.

Denise Minger "The lead researcher Frank Hu claimed the study "provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death," despite the fact that the study is innately incapable of providing such evidence." 

Gary Taubes "every time in the past that these researchers had claimed that an association observed in their observational trials was a causal relationship, and that causal relationship had then been tested in experiment, the experiment had failed to confirm the causal interpretation — i.e., the folks from Harvard got it wrong. Not most times, but every time. No exception. Their batting average circa 2007, at least, was .000."

Peter Attia, MD "This is one irony of enormous observational epidemiology studies. Not only are they of little value, in a world of finite resources, they actually detracts from real science being done."

Zoe Harcombe "This study can at best suggest an observed relationship, or association. To make allegations about causation and risk is ignorant and erroneous."

Robb Wolf "Confounders galore. The higher meat consumption group tended to be overweight, smoked and was less active."
He also talks about this on his podcast.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Setbacks Are Only Temporary

I've been sitting on the sidelines lately.  I had to go back to the doctor a few weeks ago to have my back and shoulder re-evaluated.  Late last year I sustained a work related injury and, after a couple of months of physical therapy, I thought it was getting better.  The pain was less and the therapist and doctor told me that it would continue to get better with time, unfortunately they were wrong.  The pain never went away completely but slowly started increasing again.  I returned to the doctor and he thought that I should go see a chiropractor.  The chiropractor found that I had two rotated vertebrae and a rib out of place.  He also is recommending that the doctor send me to get some pictures of my shoulder, which the doctor is reluctant to do.  While all of this was going on I was told not to do my P90X or Insanity routines.  I've been staying on track with my nutrition and so far I haven't lost any muscle mass or gained any fat.  I'm sure I've lost some of my cardio endurance, but I can get that back.

Now I told you all of that to catch you up and tell you where I'm at now.  I've just been told that I can go back to doing P90X with limited weight and no pull-ups.  I am planning on starting slow with strength routines one day a week, cardio one day and stretching and yoga at least one day, but probably more.  I hope to be in shape for the Pacific Northwest Spartan Sprint in June.  Hopefully they won't find anything serious wrong with my shoulder that requires surgery.  That would be the only thing that could keep out of the race, unless I could out it off until after the race ;-)

Setbacks are only temporary, never give up on your goals!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blog Consolidation

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post.  I've been keeping myself busy with work, family and my studies. I don't know what ever made me think that I could keep up with three blogs.  I think that it's best if I drop back to one blog and suspend the other two.  Going forward I will only be updating Current Fitness, the other two blogs will be suspended indefinitely.  I'll continue to write about both fitness and nutrition, but all the posts will appear on Current Fitness.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Week In Fitness 2/12/12 - 2/18/12

Last week I experimented with my diet and was able to improve my performance slightly.  I've been eating mostly fat and protein during the day and saving my carbs for after workouts.

This was the last week of the 2nd phase of my P90X/Insanity program and now it's on to another recovery week.  I'm already trying to decide what to do when I finish with this program.  I will probably do 10 Minute Trainer for a couple of weeks to let my body rest and recover before starting Les Mills Pump.

I'm going to buy myself a set of PowerBlocks for my birthday.  My current weights are a miss matched set of plates and I'm really getting tired of spending excess time doing mental math and swapping plates between routines in P90X.  Right now it takes me about 1.5 hours to complete a 60 min video.  Also, my old weights aren't heavy enough now and I would rather buy a good set than spend more money buying plates for the old ones.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Week In Fitness 2/5/12 - 2/11/12

I started this week a couple of days behind in my workout schedule due to last weeks unplanned break.  Skipping my rest day on Sunday put me only one day behind.  I continued to do the workouts on schedule, until Friday night.  When I got home from work on Friday I was exhausted and just didn't have the energy to do a workout.  Saturday morning I woke up feeling like I had a cold, congested, sore throat and a little nausea.  The funny thing is, by the time I got to work I felt fine.  After work I decided to skip the Yoga and go on to Legs & Back so I would stay only one day behind.

Next week I will be playing with my diet a little and seeing how that affects my workouts.  You can read more about that on my other blog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Week In Fitness 1/29/12 - 2/4/12

This week I started the second phase of my P90X/Insanity program.  I pushed really hard doing Back & Biceps and my arms felt like jello when I was done.  After that workout I used the Results & Recovery Formula and I wasn't sore the next day.  Considering how hard I pushed and that it was a new routine, I expected to be more sore than I was.  I can't say for sure that it was the recovery drink that kept me from getting sore, but I think it helped.  My existing back injury was hurting this week so I took the last couple of days off to rest.  I don't plan on skipping workouts, I'll just be a couple of days off in my schedule.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mental Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients

A guest Article by Liz Davies

Many people who have cancer may be inclined to rest and avoid strenuous activity, but recent studies suggest that cancer patients should increase, not reduce, their levels of physical activity. Researchers have examined the relationship between rehabilitation, quality of life, and exercise in cancer patients and reported positive findings.

People suffering from cancer have a difficult time getting their energy back and strengthening their self-confidence. Exercise has both mental and physical benefits. Regular physical activity lowers the risk of cancer, diabetes and stroke by up to 50 percent. Studies indicate that exercise can also boost self-esteem, sleep quality, mood, and energy, and reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, stress, and dementia.

The Psychological and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Physical activity has many of the same benefits for cancer patients as it does for healthy people. Some of these benefits include leaner body mass, greater muscular strength, increased energy, and less weight gain. Exercise reduces fatigue and boosts self-confidence. During cancer treatment, it helps prevent the decline of physical function without increasing fatigue. After treatment, exercise helps the body recover faster.

Exercise Promotes Well-Being

Exercise helps ease depression and anxiety by releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins. These chemicals released by the brain act as natural painkillers and help reduce pain. Physical activity increases body temperature, which may have calming effects. The physiological benefits of exercise are also caused by increased blood flow to the brain. Cancer patients who exercise regularly are able to find meaning and importance in their lives.

Types of Exercise That Can Help Cancer Patients

Every person's situation is different. Cancer patients should do flexibility exercises, aerobic exercises, and resistance training. Types of cancers like lung cancer and mesothelioma causes patients to look towards these types of exercises to work on their lung capacity. The most popular types of aerobic exercises include swimming, walking, and jogging. Flexibility exercises help maintain mobility. Many people diagnosed with cancer lose muscle and gain fat during treatment. Some cancers can lead to body wasting and increase the risk of bone fractures. Resistance training helps patients maintain a healthy weight and reduce muscle breakdown. Yoga and meditation can help them achieve optimal levels of mental health.

Just like healthy people, cancer patients should do at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. This amount of exercise has a potential role in reducing cancer recurrence and increasing survival. Animal studies have shown that physical activity increases the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It also helps brain cells survive longer and protects against Alzheimer's disease.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My week(s) in fitness 1/15/12 - 1/28/12

It's been a good couple of weeks.  My P90X challenge group is going strong and seeing results.  I am really proud of my challengers, they're doing great and I can hardly wait to see what their 90 day results will be.  This is one group that is keeping their resolutions this year.  My own performance is improving steadily and I am going to need to buy a heavier set of weights soon.  I had a couple of bad days this week, I was feeling a little weak and low on energy luckily this was our recovery week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Working out in public

My wife had company over the last couple of days and I was too uncomfortable to workout.  I still have a problem with working out around other people.  I feel very self conscious about my performance.  I guess that is still the shy part of my personality showing itself again.

So the question is, what do I do about it?  I probably just need to face it head on.  I could force myself into working out in public at the local YMCA, I do have a membership now.  I could record my workouts and post them on my YouTube channel, which might also be a benefit to my challenge group.  I will think on this and probably let you know my decision in a future post.

If you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Anti-SOPA Blackout

All blogs on the domain will be observing an anti-SOPA blackout on January 18th, 2012.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Week in Fitness for 1/8/1012 - 1/14/1012

Well, it's been a good week.  My Beachbody Challenge group is really working out well, we are really helping keep each other on track with our fitness and nutrition.

We are two weeks into the new year and I have measurable results.  I have gained 3lbs and the measurements show the increase is in my muscle.  I ran my measurements through 4 online calculators and 3 of them list me at approx 9% body fat, the 4th shows me at 12%, down from approx 14% last month. I know that these calculators aren't that accurate but I don't currently have any other method of checking.

My workouts are getting easier and I haven't been as sore afterwords as I was last week.  I 've noticed that I need more weight for some of the routines, I have been increasing reps to compensate.  I purchased some new weights this weekend and will be using them this week.  In addition to the weights, I purchased a balance ball and yoga mat.  The balance ball was a suggestion by my physical therapist to help with recovering from my back injury.  The yoga mat is something I have needed for a long time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Week in Fitness 1/1/12 - 1/7/12

This is the first in a series of posts in which I'll share with you what I've been doing and what I've learned about fitness every week.  This is a late post for the week of 1/1/12 - 1/7/12.

First off, I started a Beachbody Challenge group on the 2nd.  I decided to get a few people to join a challenge group committed to doing P90X and getting in shape for the new year.  Some people dropped out before we even started but the others have been doing a great job.  We post daily in a private Facebook group and let each other know how the workout went and how we are feeling.  I love having a small group of people that I can talk to who are sharing the same fitness journey as I am.  I have experimented with P90X in the past but hadn't really kept to a schedule, partly due to my odd work schedule.  Having others to keep me accountable keeps me on track and motivated.  I would love to have a few more people join the group, if you are interested email me.

I'm doing a P90X / Insanity hybrid program that is listed on the Team Beachbody website.  The main difference is replacing the cardio P90X workouts with similar Insanity workouts.  So far I'm on track and haven't missed a workout.  I did postpone one for a day because we went camping over the weekend but I did it as soon as we got back home Sunday night.  I've also been experimenting with nutrition and supplements while doing this program and you can read more about that here.