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BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warning WEDnesday: You might not be getting enough enzymes!!

I have been reading a lot about enzymes lately. What it does for your body in terms of muscle growth and why our body needs it. In fact, enzymes are the MOST important growth nutrient there is, without it, protein cannot be broken down. What that basically translates to is:

Enzymes can be considered even MORE important than protein itself!

Whether you are trying to bulk up or lean out, muscle is the common component that needs to be worked for that equation to work. So how do you make it all add up? Naturally, you pound back as much protein packed foods as possible to help with muscle break down during the workouts and muscle repair during the rest days.
Sometimes its hard to prepare lean protein cooked meals everyday so there will most likely be protein shakes (also, it helps cut out some of the unnecessary animal fat…) –

But let me ask you this…

Are you getting enough enzymes?

Because remember, all that protein you have consumed could just end up being flushed down your toilet bowl… or even worse, sitting in your belly somewhere…just accumulating into gunk- while very little of the benefits have been extracted into your body.

So what is so special about enzymes?

Enzymes are what make everything in your body function optimally and properly. Enzymes digest the foods, breakdown the protein into amino acids, stimulates the brain, provide cellular energy and repairs all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body. They are the building and repair blocks that make everything happen within your body and without them, proper muscle growth cannot happen. You could very well be accelerating your aging process by the lack of enzymes you have right now!! And all this time you thought you were keeping yourself younger by hitting it hard at the gym and eating protein enriched foods… hmm, interesting thought to consider.

As you get older, your body naturally depletes its enzyme storage. Combine that with pollution, toxins, stress, drugs, alcohol, eating dead foods… all that dips deeper into your enzyme supplies!

You are now probably going to start packing more enzyme enriched foods right? Great idea! Unfortunately, if you go to your local supermarket, I bet you won’t be able to find much foods that will fit the bill. In produce, enzyme levels are killed off once they are sprayed with chemicals and preservatives. And cooking food? Don’t even think about it. Anything that is cooked over 115 degrees will lose ALL of its enzymes.

Not all hope is lost.
There are other ways to keep your enzyme levels high to maximize your muscle growth.

*Juicing- this has been gaining more popularity with the mainstream fitness enthusiasts. Juicing your veggies and fruits make delicious and easy drinks. And you won’t have to worry about getting in your recommended daily intake of either! Also great way to rid your body of toxins.

*Supplementation- nothing new to the health and fitness industry. Mind you, if you take this route, make sure you get the facts on the products you wish to invest on before making a purchase. There are a lot of pills out there that will make big flashy promises and claims to be the best, it would do you good to do some homework.

*Raw food plan- for the extremists!! This would require a complete 180 makeover in what you eat and how you prepare it. Raw food generally means to eat the food in its most natural form. (this would include any raw meats of course) Raw food is rich in enzymes. Don’t be surprised if you actually start to enjoy some of the foods. Because they are not altered, the foods natural flavours shine and because they are not cooked, dinner is so much quicker to prepare and clean! (no pots and pans!)

Until next time team, take an inventory of your diet right now… if you are looking to really build more lean muscle, re-ask yourself this: Are you getting enough enzymes??

Health respect & happiness

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WARNING WEDNESDAY: Mono-Sodium Glutamate AKA MSG (a slow poison) – very interesting & a must read!

I found this article in my naturopath’s office…I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I read! This is basically written word for word of what was printed.. be prepared to be freaked out and disgusted!

The food additive MSG is a slow poison. MSG hides behind 25 or more names, such as “natural flavoring”. MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton’s and Starbucks!

Ever wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic? John Erb was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going though scientific journals for a book he was writing called ‘The Slow Poisoning of America’.
In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists had to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.
The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans!) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: “MSG-treated Rats”.

Shocking isn’t it? Now head to your kitchen and check your cupboards and fridge. MSG is in everything—the Campbell’s soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavoured potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the “healthy low-fat” ones.

The items that don’t have MSG marked on the product label may have something called “Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein”, which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.

It’s pretty shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everything are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don’t catch on. (such as: “accent”, “aginomoto”, “natural meat tenderizer”, etc)

But it doesn’t stop there.

When dining out, start asking the restaurants what menu items contain MSG. Many employees, even the managers, will swear they don’t use MSG. But when you ask for the ingredient list, which they will grudgingly provide, sure enough, MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein will appear.
Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, every restaurant—even the sit down eateries like TGIF, Chili’s, Applebee’s, and Denny’s—use MSG in abundance. KFC seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was in every chicken dish, salad dressing and gravy. No wonder people love to eat that coating on the skin—their secret spice was MSG!

So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative, or a vitamin?
Not according to John Erb. In his book, The Slow Poisoning of America, he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body. Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more!
A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us??

Betcha can’t eat just one,” takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!

MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their products over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn’t added. Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substanace. Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals, soups, snacks and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.
The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it’s safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it’s safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these:

“The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity”. Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT, Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002

“Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats”. Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.

“Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors”. Iwase M, Yamamoto M, lino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima. Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar.

“Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity”. Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K Kusunoki. Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct.

No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978. Both the ‘medical research community’ and ‘food manufacturers’ have known about the side effects of MSG for decades.

Many more of the studies mentioned in John Erb’s book link MSG to diabetes, migraines, and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even alzheimer’s.

Top-level government officials refuse to tell the public what they know. The big media doesn’t want to tell the public either, fearing issues with their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin. The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it. Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive.

But what can you do?

The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone. With any luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation protecting those who are poisoning us.

If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and you don’t believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the National Library of Medicine at www.pubmed.com. Type in the words “MSG Obese” and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.

Until next time team, Blowing the whistle on MSG is our responsibility, so GET THE WORD OUT!

Health respect & happiness,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TIP TUESday: Hitting the streets could actually improve knee joint heatlh

We have all been told that if we want to save years to our knees, we should do less running outdoors or less high impact exercises and we have believed this warning have we not? (I am guilty) And if you should feel sore knees, rest-not more exercise- is the recommended remedy for recovery.

It is time to squash this outdated way of thinking. More and more research is supporting the fact that EXERCISE is actually good for the knees. In fact, exercise is sometimes exactly what is required in order to get rid of chronic knee pain.

Stanford University researchers tracked the knee health of 98 runners and non-runners between 1984 and 2002. Imaging scans compared the joint at the start and end of the study which revealed the runners’ knees were no worse than those of the non-runners.
Another long term study (subjects were followed for 40 years) showed no difference in knee health between runners who logged 40 miles a week vs. those who ran 20 miles a week.
Science daily reported on a Dutch study that monitored 2 groups of knee pain sufferers. One group went through a supervised exercise program as part of rehabilitation while the other was given a sheet of standard exercises to be done alone at home. After 3 months and 12 months into the study, the group in the supervised exercise program showed a greater reduction in joint pain and a greater degree of improved function than the other.

I will even go as far to say that exercise is imperative in not only rehabilitating injured knees, but also in reducing the risk of further injuries. The stronger leg muscles you have (including the smaller stabilizing muscles of the knee and hip), the more you can withstand physical stress than with weaker legs. This in turn will protect the weak knee joint (now, doesn’t that just sound like common sense?). Weight bearing exercises and sport specific exercises that are intended to protect the knee are required for long-term health. And so is running! (great news for all you avid runners subjected to fear of their knees giving out under them..or the ones who want to start up running but haven’t!)

You know, even starting running later in life reaps many benefits rather than hazards. Joints, like muscles, are made to move. Movement brings with it strength, not weakness. The most important thing is to keep the training monitored and gradually build up the intensity levels. And for you runners who DO have knee pain, don’t take this as an excuse to ignore it. You need to consult a sports medicine professional. The knee joint is one of the most vulnerable joints in your body, so exercise wisely and safely.

Until next time team, lace up those runners and get pounding on the pavement!

Health respect & happiness,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mommy Monday: Pregnancy hormones and Gestational diabetes

Pregnancy Hormones

During pregnancy, it is your hormones that is the reason for just about everything that happens. Here is a list of the different hormones produced while pregnant and an overview of their functions.

Relaxes and softens cartilage and ligaments that support your joint. This will make your joints looser to prepare it for your delivery but it also causes your balance and coordination to wane. Exercise helps prevent injury by improving joint stability and body awareness.

This is a male hormone that promotes energy and strength as well as a higher libido. This should help get you through the days that more energy and strength is required.

This is the hormone that maintains the pregnancy. It supports the growth of the fetus, uterus, and the breasts, and speeds up the metabolism. It will reduce your muscle tone, relax your bowel muscles, and make your heart and lungs work harder.
It also causes your body to accumulate fat in the 1st and 2nd trimester which is to cushion the uterus and then later stored to be used up in the last trimester when the fetus needs fat for brain development. This extra fat is normal and necessary so DO NOT try to lose this weight.
Progesterone also makes your retain fluid, up to 8.5 liters of water during your pregnancy. At the end of pregnancy, the drop in progesterone helps initiate labor.


Just like progesterone, estrogen helps maintain the pregnancy. (If you’re too skinny or malnourished, estrogen production is reduced, often resulting in irregular or absence of periods, which can affect your ability to become pregnant) Estrogen makes the uterus more elastic, allowing it to stretch and grow. This helps it contract at labor. Estrogen also contributes to softening of the joints, fluid retention, and growth of the breasts and uterus. High levels of estrogen could be one of the reasons for experiencing “morning sickness”.

or human chorionic gonadotropin, is produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. It stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone.

This hormone permits blood sugar to enter muscle cells, where it is converted into energy. In a diabetic person, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin resulting in high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. Without medical attention, it can lead to blindness and kidney failure. In pregnancy, gestational diabetes can increase your chance of having a very large baby and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
In the case you produce too much insulin and too little blood sugar, you have hypoglycemia. This normally occurs in athletes or anybody exercising a lot because exercise causes your muscles to use glucose better. This is easier to remedy, should you feel any of the symptoms (blurry vision, sweating, disorientation, dizziness, weakness, shakiness, and headache), eat something containing carbohydrates, and you should feel better almost instantly. Report any such symptoms to your physician.

Gestational Diabetes

About 3 percent of women who did not have diabetes prior to becoming pregnant may develop diabetes during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes. It usually occurs after the 24th week. Obese women have the highest risk of becoming diabetic during pregnancy. This can be controlled with regular exercise and a special diet designed to control blood sugar levels. Exercise will make your muscles more efficient at utilizing blood sugar for energy, thereby lowering your blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, long-term follow-up has shown that 50 percent of the cases will become diabetic again within 15 years after pregnancy. Maintaining good exercise and nutritional habits can deter this from happening. If you are diabetic before you become pregnant, it is essential to exercise and normalize your blood sugar levels prior to becoming pregnant and for the first 8 weeks of pregnancy when the fetus’s organs are developing.

Until next time mommys, it is wise to know what is going on inside your body so you can understand why you are feeling and changing the way you are from the outside!

Health respect & happiness,

Friday, May 7, 2010

FOODY FRIDAY: 10 Cancer Fighting Nutritional Heroes

Cancer awareness is at its all time high and seems to not look like its going to go away anytime soon. It’s great to know we have all this newfound technology to beat it but what can we do for OURSELVES to PREVENT it? You should take a lot of pride in knowing that YOU have a lot of power in how you can keep your health away from this disease and that it doesn’t have to be the inevitable.

Did you hear that? It does not HAVE TO BE the inevitable (just because it is ‘genetic’ or whatever).

I came across this list while reading our local Alive Magazine. It is always better to have as much ammunition in your pocket as you can to fight against this disease to prevent you from ever having to worry about it. And here it is…

*Always choose organic when stocking up on your cancer-busting foods. Not only are certified organic products better for the environment, free from chemical sprays and genetically modified organisms, they also contain higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants*


Target: colon cancer, the second leading cause of male and female caner-related deaths in Canada.
The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reports antioxidant-loaded cranberries may prevent colon cancer by decreasing inflammation.


Target: uterine cancer, the most common caner of the female reproductive organs.
Researchers at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey reported that increased intake of beta carotene and vitamin C, two potent antioxidants, may reduce uterine cancer risk in women. Kale is well endowed with both.


Target: breast cancer, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer.
A 2008 study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine found the risk of developing breast cancer was 24% lower among women who had the highest intake of choline, a nutrient needed for normal cell function. One egg, specifically the yolk, contains roughly one-quarter the recommended daily intake.


Target: skin cancer, the rate of this disease continues to increase among Canadians.
Higher blood levels of antioxidant selenium may reduce skin cancer risk by about 60%, according to a 2009 study by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Brazil nuts are natures richest source of selenium.


Target: pancreatic cancer, which has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers.
A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests people who consume two or more daily servings of fibre and whole grains such as quinoa have a lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those who consume one or fewer servings.


Target: prostate cancer, the most common cancer in Canadian men.
Edamae are young green soybeans endowed with genistein and daidzein. According to a 2009 study in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, these plant-based compounds mimic estrogen, reducing the risk of prostate cancer by up to 30%.


Target: lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in Canada.
A 2009 analysis conducted by Chinese scientists found 2 cups of green tea daily reduced the risk of lung cancer by 18%. This ancient beverage contains, among others, a mighty cancer-fighting antioxidant, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).


Target: Bladder cancer, smoking is the number one risk factor for this cancer since cancer-causing chemicals collect in the bladder.
A 2010 Australian study reported higher intake of vitamin E (at least 193 mg per day) may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by about 35%. Sunflower seeds, along with nuts and vegetable oils, are an excellent source.


Target: cancer of the esophagus, more common in men, is particularly deadly. Major risk factors include smoking, acid reflux, and drinking very hot beverages.
Scientists at the International Epidemiology Institute in Maryland discovered individuals who consumed the most vitamin D were less likely to develop esophageal and oral cancers. Sockeye salmon is brimming with the sunshine vitamin as well as omega-3 fat, another tumour tamer.


Target: stomach cancer, a diet high in salty and smoked foods boosts stomach cancer risk.
Broccoli sprouts are a stellar source of sulforaphane. This powerful antioxidant can fight Helicobacter pylori stomach infection, a significant risk factor for stomach cancer, says a 2009 study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Until next time team, remember what we put in our grocery carts and on our dinner plats can slash the risk of several kinds of cancer!

Health respect & happiness,

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mommy Monday: Pregnancy and your disposal/endocrine systems

Disposal System

Heat dissipation is a way your body disposes waste. It transmits heat to the skin, where it radiates and evaporates with the help of your dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin. While pregnant, this process is exhilarated by all the extra blood, harder working sweat glands, and increased surface area of the skin. Because of this, the danger of overheating is minimized, especially during working out-unless it is very hot or humid.

The fetus doesn’t have the ability to sweat by itself, so overheating is quite harmful. When you are too hot, the fetus is too hot. Overheating in the early stages of pregnancy can cause birth defects; towards the end, it can cause fetal distress. Overheating also causes dehydration, which may then cause you to premature labor.

If you are exercising during the summer months, its best to do it early in the morning, in the evening or in a well air-conditioned area. Modifying the program or shortening the time of the workout is a good option. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Make sure you are wearing breathable clothes. A good idea is to wear layers so that you have the option to remove them as you warm up.

Endocrine System

The glands that produce and secret hormones, such as the pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenals and pancreas, get very involved during pregnancy. A cyst on the ovaries produces the pregnancy hormones for the first two months. After that, a new hormone gland is produced, the placenta. It takes over and becomes the main hormonal gland for the remainder of the pregnancy. It’s job is to deliver all the oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to your baby, as well as dispose of its wastes. Because anything you consume into your body needs to go through the placenta to your baby, it is best to stay away from highly toxic foods, drugs, cigarette smoke, and medication.

It is a good idea to keep up with your exercises as it promotes growth in the placenta. And this growth should help increase blood supply to the fetus.

Next week, we will talk a little more in depth about pregnancy hormones and gestational diabetes.

Until next time Mommys, stay cool and think twice about what you put into your body since you’re not the only one taking it in, your baby is too!

Health respect & happiness,