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Melissa Leier’s Beyond The Weight Room: Whipping Santa Into Shape

Mrs. Claus wrote to Saskatoon Well Being Magazine and, much to their surprise, it wasn’t about a lack of a chimney at the publication’s office. Apparently, Mrs. Claus has enjoyed reading the first eleven issues and has especially enjoyed my column on getting in elite physical shape. She said that she and Santa were planning a beach vacation in the spring and thought Santa might better tolerate the heat and humidity if he dropped a few pounds between Christmas deliveries and the trip. So the Well Being honchos called me and said they had an assignment that was big, red and essential. “Santa? That’s a little preposterous,” I said. “Hasn’t he heard of Jillian Michaels?” A week later they called me again. “We need you to whip Santa into shape,” they said. So I said, “Yeah, probably not. You try to get him off milk and cookies without a television audience to hold him accountable!” The owners of Well Being can be rather persuasive though so I finally agreed.   -Melissa Leier-

Wow, this was going to be a challenge! Well, maybe more of an opportunity; an opportunity to tackle supporting a lifestyle change for someone who has been comfortable with a pattern of behaviours for years. Based on the initial inquiry from Mrs. Claus, I had to wonder if Santa himself actually wants to make a lifestyle change and what that might look like in his eyes. I thought that I had better find out.

Starting off with a readiness assessment and to establish a baseline for Santa, I learned that he has been contemplating becoming more active for a while, but hadn’t taken the next step. Recently, his annual physical check-up indicated a good level of overall wellness and, with some recommendations, he was not only medically cleared to become more active, but encouraged to do so.

When I asked what he had in mind for long-term goals, he replied that, yes, he knew he should exercise and eat better. When I asked him what that meant to him, it turned out that he really wasn’t sure.

Rather than just telling him what to do based on my knowledge and expertise in health and fitness, and then hoping he bought into the ideas I suggested, I decided that I would take more of a collaborative approach to help him establish his own plan. Ultimately, as a fitness coach, I need to remember that these are his goals—not mine— and my role is to guide him to where he wants to be. I needed to find out what was important to him and what was going to motivate him toward a positive lifestyle change.

Santa explained that what was really important to him was to be able to be healthy enough to play catch with his grandchildren, go hunting and fishing with his son, to have many years to come of vacationing with Mrs. Claus and to have fun without excessive stress on his body during the busy hectic times of the holiday season.

I asked him what it would look like for him six months down the road if he was achieving his goals and he said that he saw himself sustaining a habit of regular activity three to four times per week in combinations of cardiovascular, strength activities and recreational sports with his family. He also hoped to have developed a better understanding of fuelling the body effectively to feel great and satisfy his taste buds.

We discussed what kind of opportunities might exist to incorporate changes right away and he told me that he has a local community centre with a walking track that he had been curious about trying out, especially when it is too icy outside to risk slips and falls. The facility also has a variety of classes to take part in, from circuit training to swimming and yoga programs that he thought would give him some variety. Mrs. Claus was interested in a couples’ cooking class every Sunday that was focused on recipes for heart health. There was also a Saturday night dancing group and he did like to put on his dancing shoes and hit the town two-stepping!

Getting started with Santa, I asked him to keep a journal of his nutrition intake for a week, including amounts and portion sizes, as well as timing. I encouraged him to balance each meal throughout the day with fairly similar content and volume, rather than one large meal at supper. Another suggestion was to try to balance each meal with a lean protein source, low-sugar carbohydrate source and many fibrous vegetables. I also asked him to track his water intake.

Just starting a journal alone is a great way to bring a new self- awareness of what it is we are putting into our bodies and to recognize patterns. It also helps keep us accountable to fuel our bodies with better nutritional choices.

Melissa Leier SaskatoonPhoto by Tyler Harris
The second step was to examine patterns that his journal revealed and to develop action plans. Some quick fixes we found to help clean up his daily nutrition included:

• No need to add salt to meals. Most of the time, we actually get enough sodium from the salt that occurs naturally in foods such as meat, eggs, milk products, fruit and vegetables. A high salt diet increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. Herbs and spices, blends like Mrs. Dash, lemon juice, onion, garlic, etc. can be used to flavour foods instead of adding salt.

• Drink more water. Skip the pop and fruit juice since they’re empty calories and basically just all sugar.

• Learn to prepare meals by planning time to grocery shop and buy fresh produce and lean cuts of meat, rather than packaged, canned and processed foods.

• Use the right cooking methods. Use non-stick pans and non-stick cooking spray when needed, instead of dumping in oil or margarine.

These changes would help reduce his blood pressure and decrease his risk of diabetes, which would allow him to enjoy the odd cookie or treat once in a while, rather than possibly having to avoid them completely. This was also a chance for Santa to learn to prepare delicious meals with his family, using creativity with spices and flavours. Don’t forget about the cost savings of preparing his own food instead of ordering take-out. More money for that vacation with Mrs. Claus!

Regular activity goes hand in hand with nutrition. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and Health Canada suggest that the minimum guidelines for older adults, age 65+, would be to take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. No, this doesn’t mean once a week Santa should run a marathon and he’s good—that would not be beneficial or safe. This activity is best done spread out into sessions of 10 minutes or more throughout the week. In addition to the cardiovascular activity, it is also imperative to add muscle-strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week to help support bone health and improve posture and balance.

So, if Santa goes dancing Saturday evenings, walks for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon after his strength training circuit and then takes a swim or goes to a yoga class on occasion, he’s doing great! With his strength training circuit, he should target the major muscle groups of the legs and gluteal muscles, back and chest. Exercises to start with could be body weight squats and walking lunges, kneeling push-ups and a pull-down or row exercise. To add in some core and shoulder stability, he can include an opposite arm and leg raise from a kneeling and palms-down position on an exercise mat. Strength training can have a profound effect on improved bone health, arthritis relief, increased metabolic rate and reduced risk of heart disease.

I’ll make sure to check in with Santa in a few months. It will be no surprise at all to hear that Santa has experienced a significant improvement in his blood pressure and has lowered his cholesterol levels. He may be down three notches on his belt and he should be able to load up his sleigh full of packages and presents with ease and sleep like a baby at night. Most importantly, he will achieve a new self-awareness and establish enjoyable healthy lifestyle habits that will put him on track to being in great shape for Christmas 2013!

Do You Know What Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Are?

Studies now shows that celiac disease and gluten intolerance, affect around 15% of the North American population.  It is possible that you are one of these people. It is important that you are able to identify gluten intolerance symptoms?

We first need to identify the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an immune reaction. It is a sudden and severe onset allergic reaction to the wheat protein called gluten. Gluten can be found in several different but very common grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. Celiac disease is initially a disorder of the auto-immune system, it is also a disease of malabsorption because essential nutrients are not able to absorb into the body. One of the most devastating symptoms of celiac disease going undiagnosed is malnutrition.

Typically, gluten intolerance often has a much slower onset than celiac disease, and tends to be harder to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms and the many sources in which it is hidden.

Imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms; celiac disease would be found at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions. There are people with celiac disease that may not immediate symptoms, but internally the malabsorption of all these essential nutrients can erode one's health over many years. It is important to note that both celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be exacerbated by infection, surgery, emotional stress pregnancy and childbirth. Not everyone with a gluten intolerance or allergy will experience the exact same symptoms or to the same degree.  This creates a great challenge for medical practitioners trying to do a diagnosis.

    Here are some of the symptoms but not necessarilly limited to gluten intolerance and celiac disease.

  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Nutritional deficiencies, example: low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Body Pains
  • Stiff and Aching joints
  • Eczema and Skin Irritations
  • Depression
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health

If Gluten intolerance remains undiagnosed for a long enough period of time, conditions have been found to contribute to diabetes, cancer of the bowel, anemia and osteoporosis.

So, why are the symptoms of gluten intolerance so varied?

Much about gluten intolerance and celiac disease is still unknown.  Gluten intolerance can affect anyone from children to adults in a variety of ways, but one thing that has been found is the less stress the better for the affected person.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that emotional trauma and stress play a large role in amplifying the symptoms. Several studies have findings that show that the longer a baby is breastfed and the further it's delayed that they start eating gluten rich foods, it will creates a lower chance of developing celiac disease.  Completely avoiding gluten through a pregnancy and in a child’s younger years of development may also raise the possibilities of an allergic reaction, as the child's developing digestive system cannot recognize the substance at all.  Researchers remain unsure but perhaps a more moderate approach is best when attempting to preventing celiac disease, especially if the parents know that there is a genetic predisposition to the disease. Mothers might reduce but not eliminate gluten foods when pregnant, breastfeed for a longer than average period, and start introducing low gluten grains as first foods for baby.

How to diagnose celiac disease and gluten intolerance?

Until recently it was somewhat of a challenge to diagnose celiac disease because it does have such a wide variety of symptoms and are quite similar to a few other common diseases. Some examples of these are Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, iron deficiency as well as intestinal infections can all have similar symptoms. There may be in fact a relationship between gluten intolerance and some of these conditions.  An person may have a combination of issues that become worse by food choices that do not agree with their body.  Doctors now know to test for raised levels of certain auto-antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are produced when the body senses a dangerous allergen, such as gluten. If the results indicate an allergy to gluten the doctor may perform a small intestine biopsy. This will reveal the damage to the villi in the small intestine. It is important to eat an ordinary diet including gluten, before being tested.

Look For The Gluten Free Symbol

Another method is to self test for gluten intolerance.  This requires a complete modification of a person's diet. It's a relatively simple thing to do, but does take a little bit of commitment.  For it to work properly a person needs to remove many normal things from their diet and resort whole/natural foods without wheat gluten such as rice, fruits and vegetables, and any fresh meat.  You can trust packaging that has a "Gluten Free" symbol on it.  Foods that contain gluten will have ingredients on the packaging that include Maltodextrin, caramel color, and wheat flour.  At this point it becomes important to understand how to read a food ingredients label.  If a person is feeling any of the possible gluten intolerance symptoms at the start of this process, they should begin to recede within a week or two.  At the time when the symptoms have all subsided, other foods can start to be introduced back into the diet a little bit at a time. It then takes a conscious effort to be aware if and when the symptoms begin to return.

Fitness Focus Gift Certificates For Christmas

Fitness Focus Saskatoon

Its cold outside, the snow is blowing, and the cabin fever is likely starting to set in. Get to the gym and bring a friend! Gift certificate for a membership at Fitness Focus are a perfect gift for Christmas; especially since winter means that most of us are stuck at home waiting for summer to get active again.

Gift Certificates are available for nearly any denomination. Start a new membership for someone or you can add some time to someone's existing membership.

 

Pick up a gift certificate at Fitness Focus today 1250 Ontario Avenue, or purchase over the phone.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions: info@fitnessfocus.ca

Beyond The Weight Room: Standing Straight With Back Basics

by Melissa Leier

STRENGTH TRAINING YOUR BACK MUSCLES
can help create a nice, shapely V, but aside from the muscular definition, developing these muscle groups effectively can have a significant impact on your posture.
Melissa Leier Fitness Training SaskatoonWe’re constantly moving in a forward direction or using pushing movements in day-to-day activities and there are rarely any backward or pulling movements to balance it out. Gradually, your upper back posture will suffer as your shoulders become rounded forward, you slouch or develop a head-forward posture. This posture can then lead to tension in the upper spine, shoulders and neck.
A little fun fact for you: every inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.

 POSTURE AND SYMMETRY

Frequent forward movements in daily activities or even exercising pushing movements in a strength training program, such as chest presses or push-ups, without the balance of exercising the muscles that create pulling movements, can cause strength development to be disproportional anterior to posterior. In addition, the chest muscles can become very tight and start to pull the shoulders into this rounded forward posture, which not only looks less than aesthetically pleasing, but can also cause discomfort. This can even result from the constant or frequent movements we do day to day, such as pushing doors open, working at a computer, driving a car or relaxing into the couch watching TV.

Slouching and head-forward posture can lead to long-term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis and pinched nerves. Long-term sustained posture like this can lead to bones moving position and losing range of motion, creating a more permanent hunchback posture.

So what can you do to improve your posture?

Strength training exercises, such as deadlifts, lat pull-downs, barbell or dumbbell rows, wide pull-ups, rear delt lateral raises; all done properly, of course.

Chest stretches and lots of them! Even doing a ‘chest in the doorway’ stretch every hour would help. Extend your arms out to your sides at a right angle and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Place both of your forearms against a doorjamb and lean forward. You can stagger your stance with one foot forward if it feels more comfortable. Hold the stretch on each side for about 30 seconds.

Exaggerating perfect posture and always being aware of your posture, including trunk alignment and chin position.

 CHECKING MY ASSUMPTIONS

There was a time in my training history when I was boxing competitively. Aside from throwing hundreds of punches, I was doing hundreds of push-ups daily. When I would consider my own posture, I thought, “Of course it’s great. I’m young and I’m an athlete.” But then why was I starting to get a lot of stiffness and feeling the need to be constantly stretching to feel at ease? I looked in the mirror sideways in a standing posture that I had thought was relaxed and neural, and it was not even close. My chin wasn’t tucked back where it should be and my shoulders were quite rounded forward. Not only did the muscular tension cause discomfort, but also my posture was nowhere near looking tall, poised and confident, the way I wanted it to be. I decided it was time to make a change.

 LESSONS LEARNED

1. Mind-Muscle Connection

To balance out my physique, improve strength and correct my posture, I started strength training my back with twice the frequency of my chest workouts, stretching regularly and using frequent postural awareness. I started to increase strength by increasing the weight I was using somewhat, but felt my lower arm and bicep muscles taking over and fatiguing before I felt my back really engage.

Working with my professional coach, I learned to use little grip strength in my hands and to pull from the larger muscle group (lattisimus dorsi) in the back while visualizing the muscle I was actually using through its range of motion. In less than a year, I had made significant progress to balance out my physique and it did wonders to reduce my muscle stiffness.

The concept of the mind-muscle connection means getting to know your own anatomy and connecting the feeling of specific muscle contraction with a visual for yourself. You should be able to know you’ve contracted a certain muscle with your eyes closed without having to look in the mirror. The more in touch you can get with your own body, the better.

 2. Patience And Persistence Pays Off

Progressing from an exercise using the cable lat pull-down machine regularly, I went on to try the body weight wide grip pull-up. I started off barely able to do one body weight wide pull-up and an ugly one at that! It was difficult and frustrating trying to do these, but I stuck with it and over several months worked my way up to more than 20 at a time for several sets. Not only did this feel great as the muscles grew stronger and the exercise became a smoother movement, but what a sense of accomplishment to motivate me to continue!

 3. Practice Perfect Posture

You need to purposefully think about your alignment, not just in back- specific exercises, but all exercises. Don’t let your back or shoulders round forward when sitting in the leg extension machine or doing a bent- over dumbbell rear delt raise. Even at home or when you’re going to be working at a desk, before you even dive into the activity, take the time to set yourself up first. Even small and light activities throughout the day count towards your overall spinal health. Focus on maintaining neutral spinal alignment when bending to pick something up, when setting up your pillow for sleep and while driving, keeping your chin tucked under and shoulder blades tucked back.

 Put Your Excuses Aside

I once heard someone say, “Well, I don’t exercise my back. It’s sore already.” I would challenge anyone to question themselves on the decision to not exercise the back. Often, a sore back is the result of a lack of effective utilization and exercise of the back muscles. As long as you are medically cleared to exercise, the back should be one of the most important muscle groups to work to improve!

Here Are a Few of Our Favorite Charities

ROCK 102 “COATS FOR KIDS” KEEPS HUNDREDS OF SASKATOON CHILDREN WARM THIS WINTER

Hundreds of children in Saskatoon do not have winter coats. For a child, a warm winter coat means getting to play outside at recess with their friends instead of staying inside on a cold winter day, or building a snowman in their front yard instead of staying in the house.

Rock 102 and Frontline Furniture took action in 2003 and announced the “Coats for Kids” campaign. Since then we’ve been busy collecting gently worn coats to ensure that our children stay warm each winter. This year, with help from Frontline Furniture, The Centre Mall, Market Mall, Confederation Park Mall, and The Mall at Lawson Heights, hundreds of coats were collected from October 12th to November 4th.

Care & Share provides various programs to the children in Saskatoon's 17 community schools. These programs include sports, culture and supplying children with basic needs. “A warm coat for our cold winters is one of those basic necessities and with the help of ROCK 102 and Frontline Furniture, hundreds of less-fortunate children are going to receive something many of us take for granted.” says Sandi Meldrum, Executive Director for Care & Share.

We will be at Market Mall on Thursday, November 5th with the help of a few children from our community, picking up the mountain of jackets we have collected. Rock 102 wants the chance to thank Saskatoon and draw awareness to the need in our community

http://www.rock102rocks.com/events/community-event/rock-102-coats-kids

Disaster Management

Disasters can strike any time and anywhere and when they do those in need can’t wait; their needs are urgent. The Canadian Red Cross helps vulnerable communities in Canada and around the world affected by emergencies and disasters—situations ranging from individual housefires to natural disasters like floods that can disrupt an entire region. Following a disaster, the Red Cross works with governments and other humanitarian organizations to provide for people's basic needs including shelter, family reunification, assistance finding support, first aid, information, food and clothing.

Saskatoon Charities

International

From conflict zones to communities destroyed by devastating disasters or debilitating health issues, the Canadian Red Cross responds to the needs of vulnerable communities around the world.

Refugee Services

Many refugees arrive in Canada with few resources and minimal knowledge of the services that can provide help. The Red Cross provides services from assistance securing employment to family reunification through our global network.

Restoring Family Links

The chaos and confusion that accompany war and natural disasters can separate families when they need each other most. The Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links program helps people in Canada to re-establish contact with immediate family members after separation due to war, internal conflict, natural disaster and other humanitarian crises. Whether the separation from a loved one happened fifty years ago or more recently, the Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links program may be able to help.

www.redcross.ca 

Cardio Secrets That Can Help Maximize Fat Loss

Questions from around the gym about cardivascular training; here are your answers

Many people do their cardiovascular training in the gym, not just for improving their endurance or for health reasons, but most people also train with the goal of losing weight and burning fat. Unfortunately most people are not aware that there is more you can do to get the full benefits of your cardio.  There are tricks of the trade that you can use that will help maximize fat loss when doing cardio; and if you are one of the many people that do your cardio training primarily to lose fat, then you might want to try these cardio tips to maximize your fat loss:

To maximize your body's ability to burn fat, perform two cardio sessions.  The first one in the morning and the second after you train in the afternoon or in the evening. This technique works well because of a cool effect that occurs after you do cardio. After your cardio session your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is higher and your body will actually burn extra calories for several hours after you have finished. The calories that your body burns literally while doing nothing, will probably exceed the calories initially burned during your cardiovascular exercise.

 Cardiovascular training in the morning before you eat breakfast, or carbs, is beneficial because your body's glycogen levels will be lower in the morning.  This is especially true if you last ate at dinner time and have fasted for 8 to 10 hours while you slept.

Doing your cardio without eating causes your body to mobilize more bodyfat because the glycogen in your blood is unavailable, and because your blood glucose levels are also lower after an overnight fast so you will burn more fat which your body will use for energy.

After fasting overnight your insulin levels are their lowest. When you eat, especially carbohydrates, your body (or pancreas to be more specific) releases insulin, which will interfere with the mobilization of body fat. Sinse there is less insulin present in your system before you eat after 8 to 10 hour fast, more body fat will be burned when cardio is done in the morning. You should also note that this is also why many "fat burning" products contains several ingredients, which reduce or regulate the blood insulin levels.

If you are eating immediately before cardio, this can also inhibit the fat burning process because your body will first have to burn off the calories from the food you ate before it will burn the fat stored in your body. Doing your cardio in the morning, your metabolism will stay raised for a period after the cardio training is finished.

Doing you cardio in the morning will also give you better circulation throughout the day and give you an energy boost.  Training early can also regulate your appetite thoughout the day which will help in controlling cravings and binging later on.  Adding an afternoon cardio session will elevate your metabolism for a second time for another period of a few hours. Again, your body will be burning extra calories while doing no extra work. This is similar to the calories that will be burned by extra lean muscle you develop. Once you add the muscle you burn more calories without doing any additional exercise. These are those little tricks that most people don't know about; and all without the help of taking diet pills or fat burners.

Written by Jeff Behar

Fitness Focus, Saskatoon's No Contract Gym 

New Research Suggests Brown Rice Can Offer Cardiovascular Protection

Nutrition questions from around the gym; here are your answers!

Typically, rice is thought to be a healthy addition to the diet because it is a source of fiber. However, not all rice is equally nutritious, and brown rice might have an unique advantage over white rice by offering protection from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”), say researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center and Department of Physiology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

New research by Satoru Eguchi, Associate Professor of Physiology, suggests that a component in a layer of tissue surrounding grains of brown rice may work against angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is an endocrine protein which causes blood vessels to constrict and known culprit in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Brown Rice and Angiotensin II

The subaleurone layer of Japanese rice, which is located between the white center of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, is rich in oligosaccharides and dietary fibers, making it particularly nutritious. However, when brown rice is polished to make white rice, the subaleurone layer is stripped away and the rice loses some of its nutrients. The subaleurone layer can be preserved in half-milled (Haigamai) rice or incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) brown rice. These types of rice are popular in Japan because many people there believe half-milled (Haigamai) rice and incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) are healthier than white rice.

The Temple team and their colleagues at the Wakayama Medical University Department of Pathology and the Nagaoka National College of Technology Department of Materials Engineering in Japan sought to delve into the mysteries of the subaleurone layer and perhaps make a case for leaving it intact when rice is processed. Because angiotensin II is a perpetrator in such lethal cardiovascular diseases, the team chose to focus on learning whether the subaleurone layer could somehow inhibit the wayward protein, angiotensin II, before it wreaks havoc.

First, the researchers removed the subaleurone tissue from Kinmemai rice (incompletely-milled rice). Then the researchers separated the subaleurone tissue's components by exposing the subaleurone tissue to extractions of various chemicals such as ethanol, ethyl acetate and methanol. They then observed how the subaleurone tissue affected cultures of vascular smooth muscle cells. Vascular smooth muscle cells are an integral part of blood vessel walls and are direct victims of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

During their analysis, the team found that subaleurone components that were selected by an ethyl acetate extraction inhibited angiotensin II activity in the cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. This suggests that the subaleurone layer of rice offers protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. It could also help explain why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where most people eat at least one rice-based dish per day, than in the U.S., where rice is not a primary component of daily nutrition.

“Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice [subaleurone] that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Eguchi. “We hope to present an additional health benefit of consuming half-milled or brown rice [as opposed to white rice] as part of a regular diet.”

New Research Suggests Brown Rice Can Offer Cardiovascular Protection  -  Written by Jeff behar

Warning Signs Of Primary Immunodeficiency

Approximately 13,000 Canadians suffer from Primary Immunodeficiency.

Your Immune System is a vast internal network of cells, tissues and organs whose job it is to protect your body from harmful invasion by foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria and toxins. Primary immunodeficiency (PI) refers to an immune system that is either broken or completely missing from birth. It is not acquired after birth from infection or accident. It is a genetic malfunction, unique to an individual. Early diagnosis is crucial. Untreated PI can lead to serious damage to organs, physical disabilities and, in the most severe cases, death.

There are warning signs of PI, like recurrent infections of the ears and skin, pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis. For some, the first infection will be serious and life- threatening—a definite red flag that there may be a problem with their immune system. Some will suffer recurrent infections from infancy. However, some infants with PI will not show symptoms early on due to Immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity. Babies receive IgA through breast milk from the mother or from antibodies that cross the placenta in the womb and remain in the infant’s body until four to six months of age when normal infants start to make their own antibodies. In some cases, warning symptoms will not show up until later in life, sometimes as far along as middle age.

Diagnosis begins with the understanding and recognition of the warning signs. Are there more infections than normal? Do infections recur after treatment with medications? Do infections not respond to usual medications? The infections involved differ for adults and children. Please see the charts to the right. All too often the significance of the warning signs is overlooked, sometimes because they may seem quite mild.

 

Trusted Saskatoon Gym, Fitness Focus: The Perfect Arm Curl

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!  

Chris from Team Wawryk Pro Trainers who are only based out of Fitness Focus Shares a Tip on doing the perfect Arm Curl -

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 With Melissa Leier: Compeition Nutrition

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

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