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Understanding Gluten Foods and Gluten Free Diets

A very common term that you might have heard recently is "gluten-free diet".  It is a relatively new term, meaning a diet that is structured around excluding foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), rye, malts and barley. It is commonly added to foods in the processing phase in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing, and thickening agent. Gluten free diets are the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy.

Gluten free eating might also exclude oats. Medical Advisors are divided on whether to exclude oats or not; it is questionable as to whether they are an actual allergen to celiac disease sufferers or whether it is a matte rof the oats becoming cross-contaminated in milling facilities or in transport by other allergens. Contamination is even possible when oats are grown in rotation with wheat when wheat seeds from the previous harvest sprout up the next season in the oat field and are harvested along with the oats.  A growing body of evidence suggests that a majority of people with celiac disease that follow a gluten-free diet can safely consume oats in small, conservative amounts.

The term gluten free is typically used to indicate a seemingly harmless level of the gluten protein rather than a complete absence of it. The precise level that gluten is harmless for anyone with celiac disease is unknown as well as controversial.  In 2008, a systematic review tentatively conducted and concluded that consuming less than 10mg of gluten for celiac in one day is not likely to cause any physiological abnormalities, as it is still a relatively newly discovered disease few reliable studies had been conducted.

There are however, certain starches and grains that are considered to be acceptable that can be included in a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are rice, corn and corn starch, potatoes, quinoa, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupin, sorghum (jowar), taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Sometimes various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber.

An unrecognized substitution is Almond flour.  Almond Flour is a conciderably low-carbohydrate alternative to flour, it also has a low glycemic index. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat isn't related to regular wheat. Buckwheat, for the most part, is generally acceptable for gluten-free diets.  Commercial buckwheat products on the other hand are mixtures of wheat flour and buckwheat flours, and therefore can't be included in a gluten-free diet. Gram flour, not to be confused with Graham flour, is derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free.  Graham flour is not gluten-free as it is made from wheat.  With such similar names, this is why it is important to thoroughly read your food labels. Gluten is used in foods in some very unexpected ways; sometimes added as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products that need to maintain consistency like ice-cream and ketchup.

People that must maintain a completely gluten-free diet must also be aware of the ingredients of certain over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins.  Again, check for a gluten free symbol or the words "gluten free" near the product information on the back of bottle. Women should be aware that cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip gloss may contain gluten.  Even these trace amounts can cause gluten related reactions, so these products should be investigated before use.

Cross-contamination issues

Restaurants have started recognizing the growing trend among patrons and now offer specific gluten-free menus. People who are gluten-sensitive must always be aware that there are a variety of cooking procedures used in kitchens and grills that increase the likelihood of cross contamination between foods. This especially is the case in buffets where utensils typically are used in different food bowls by customers.

Trusted Saskatoon Presents Talk to the Experts on Newstalk 650 Saskatoon

This latest show we are featuring is the TRUSTED SASKATOON  HEALTH & BEAUTY SHOW

On December 15, 2012, Newstalk 650 Radio and Trustedsaskatoon.com presented to you, Talk to the Experts with 3 local Trustedsaskatoon.com businesses, Spa Ahava, Hairstyle Inn and Fitness Focus. The 3 experts on the panel were answering questions asked by the trustedsaskatoon.com fans on the topics of beauty, health and fitness.  All of the Trusted Facebook Fans who entered a question had a chance to win a prize package from the 3 Trusted Businesses worth over $500 as host, Brent Louks chooses the best question!

This episode's' Trusted Saskatoon Experton the topic of fitness is Garret from Fitness Focus a Trusted Saskatoon Gym There were over 100 questions submited and the 3 partners will answer all the questions in later trustedsaskatoon.com blogs..so If your didn't hear you answer on the show they will still be answered by the experts...enjoy!

Click here to check out the full show

 

1. Becky Laliberté - In terms if fitness and health, what are some ways for an almost 40 year old woman to help improve flexibility and strength without having to spend hours at a gym. Are there instructor led classes that might be better for this? Or is weight lifting and stretching enough?

Stretching is always a good thing to practice for your overall health and to prevent injuries in day to day activities. Stretching is incorporated into every group fitness class but is also something you should learn to do on your own.  For such a vital part of ones wellness, the benefits are well worth the time spent; and it really only takes 10 to 20 minutes to get a good thorough stretch. Remember, it’s something you can do at home too; either in the morning before you start your day or in the evening to help unwind and relax.

It is recommended to stretch after a light warm up, before you begin your workout; but stretching throughout your workout between exercises can be very beneficial and time saving.  As blood gets pumped into your muscles as you use them, a good stretch will help push the blood out and make way for fresh oxygenated blood. You can also improve your flexibility by weight training with proper (full) range of motion through the exercise.

 

2. Laura Ellis- Fitness Focus: As a female who is not an avid "gym rat", I find the gym can be an intimidating place. Insecurities about not being in as good of shape as I would like to be to start tend to keep me away, along with all of the new types of equipment and my lack of knowledge in using them. I tend to feel lost in the midst of everything. Short of personal training, what do you recommend for someone who wants to get in better shape, but is reluctant to take on a gym membership?

It’s important to remember that everyone is at the gym for the same reason, because they want to improve themselves in one way or another.  One way to overcome the intimidation factor is to have a workout partner, everyone feels better when they have a friend with them. Having a workout partner is also a good way to stay on track and accountable, to make sure you show up on time for your workout everyday.  You may also feel a little less intimidated if you choose a workout time when the gym is a little less busy.  The majority of people try to get their workout done immediately after work around 4:30 – 6:30.  If you prefer the gym to be on the quiet side try to avoid these busier times, at least until you’ve become more acquainted with the equipment.

 

Your health does take a certain degree of dedication, but before committing yourself and your money to a gym, take the gym for a test drive.  Look for a facility that won’t pressure you and that offers a free-trial period that’s yours to test the waters, find your comfort zone and see if it has all the amenities that meet your needs.  A trial period is the perfect time to ask questions about equipment and get familiarized with the gym; staff should always be willing to give you some direction to get started out in the weight room.

 

3. Neils Thor- Fitness Focus-I use interval training to keep in shape. What other methods maximize my time to keep fit?

The idea behind interval training is to keep it is fast paced.  This same principle can be applied to a traditional style of weight training by increasing the intensity.  Lower the rest time between exercises will keep the heart rate up, thus working your cardiovascular system.

 

4. Holly Stasiuk Fitness Focus- Please explain what is a spin class? Costs? Also, how much does a personal trainer cost?

Spin Class is an instructor-led group class on stationary bikes.  The instructor takes the group through a 45 minute to one hour workout at varying paces and difficulties.  It’s a very thorough workout and great class for anyone from beginners to experienced class-goers because the user chooses their own difficulty on their bike.

 

5. DeAnne Robblee-  Fitness Focus: I have arthritis in one knee which makes squats, running and even walking very difficult sometimes. What kind of equipment do you have that I could still get a good cardio workout without killing my knee?

When it comes to arthritis and some of the major movements such as squats, progression is the best way to go.  Start doing the exercises with virtually no resistance/weight. For cardio, keep things very low impact.  Stationary bikes are one of your best options, we have upright style and the recumbent (laid back) style, as well as spin bikes. We have elliptical cross-trainers are a close simulation to running combined with skiing and have very low impact.  There are also steppers that don’t involve much impact; a person would have to try to see if that would work for them.

 

6. Fanterra Fisher- What kind of training is required by your staff to have to work at the spa? Please comment on standards of cleanliness as well. Thanks

There are several different areas of expertise at Fitness Focus that all have their own required skills. Most importantly, all staff is CPR and First Aid Certified.  Main Gym Staff are knowledgeable about the layout and mechanics of the gym to make your time here as convenient as possible.  Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors have years of experience with proper certifications and insurance in their respective fields.

 

Cleanliness is a very important part of the gym; a dirty environment can dramatically affect a member’s experience. All staff takes part in our daily cleaning routines of the exercise areas, front end and washrooms.  There are several hand sanitizing stations for members to use. We also have after hour cleaners working to sanitize the washrooms and commons areas from top to bottom.

 

7. Kimbrolina Linke -Fitness focus: what are your memberships?

Details about different membership types and prices are all available on the website (www.fitnessfocus.ca).  Membership types are very flexible and you can set a membership up either on a biweekly payment plan with No Contract, or purchase a term membership.

 

8. Jessalyn Monette - As a Saskatonian I am always looking for the best places that will give me the best results. For the three trusted Health and Beauty Partners what makes your establishment unique to Saskatoon?  I am someone who not only looks for good quality, but I want to ensure my money is spent on a good experience, atmosphere and creativity. Does your establishment offer these qualities?

In an industry that is becoming dominated by corporate gyms, we feel that as a locally owned fitness facility we hold many of the same values and standards as our members. We understand the importance of a comfortable and friendly gym setting, and that keeping a mature and positive atmosphere is vital to creating that. Our success is only possible through the success of our members which is a direct result of their positive experience.

Our approach is a little different than the traditional fitness centre in that we operate without contracts.  This sets us apart because our members can rest assured that we are working our hardest everyday to meet all their wants and needs.

 

 

9. Ann Lyte-Maille- fitness focus, is there a time of day that is best to exercise? Or is just good to try when you can?

Everybody is different; some people function well early in the morning whereas others are on their game later in the day.  There are certain benefits to planning a workout at a specific time of day.  For morning workouts you might find you have better longevity throughout the rest of your day.  A morning workout will also boost your metabolism, this will help regulate (steady) your appetite for the day which aids weight management.  On the other hand, a workout later in the day is a good chance to burn off some excess calories before bed or relieve stress from a long day.  Many of us tend to binge eat later in the day; occupying your time in the evening with a workout is a good way to eliminate those habits.  Ultimately the best time of day to workout is when you personally will have the most drive, energy and focus.

 

National Health & Fitness Day Act

It was recently announced that MP John Weston of West Vancouver introduced a private memberís bill to establish a National Health and Fitness Day. The bill encourages local governments to open the doors of their facilities on a complementary basis on the first Saturday of June each year. This act hopes to benefit Canadians by encouraging participation in healthy physical activities at a time when obesity-related conditions such as diabetes are taking an increasing toll on our health and economy.

National Health and Fitness Day Saskatoon

This September, Statistics Canada reported that 31.5 per cent of Canadians between ages five and 17 are over-weight or obese. Weston makes it very clear in his statement that he is NOT proposing to create a National Skinny Day. He wants to create a day which revolves around educating Canadians, young and old, about the importance of staying fit through physical activity.  In turn, this Bill will encourage individuals of all demographics to participate in physical activity in order lead a healthier lifestyle.

 Weston has the support of all four parties represented in the House of Commons. Two MPs, the NDPís Peter Stoffer of Nova Scotia and Liberal Kirsty Duncan of Ontario, have publicly endorsed Westonís initiative. With the assistance of the fitness industry, this Bill has a high potential of passing. Currently, many fitness facilities have also shown their support towards hosting National Health and Fitness Day. Some clubs who have already shown their support include, Curves (national), Cambridge Group of Clubs (Ontario) and Fitness Focus (Saskatoon). We are hoping that we can get as many fitness facilities and clubs on board as possible to promote this initiative.

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

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

The Anti-Aging Agents of Exercise and Weight Training

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

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!

 

Saskatoon Well Being: Our Favorite Article for September

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

Beyond The Weight Room: What It Takes

The August issue of Well Being Magazine is now available at the gym and many other locations around the city.  Here, for you is our favorite article from the August issue, Beyond the Weight Room is another section from Melissa Leier.

Beyond The Weight Room: What It Takes

Curiosity

You start off by wondering if you can do it. Perfect. You’re in the right mindset. Now give it your best shot and surprise yourself at what you can achieve!

A Powerful Coach

To get to your goals, to challenge yourself and stretch beyond what you thought you were capable of, researching and finding a coach who is a good fit for you is a great way to start. Without coaching we can do well, but often can’t get pushed above and beyond what we think we can achieve. Even as a personal trainer and exercise physiologist myself, I need coaching to drive me forward.

Accountability

You must be accountable to both yourself and your coach. Make a commitment to yourself to work your hardest. By slacking off in the gym or fuelling your body with poor nutrition you’re ultimately only cheating yourself. You’ve likely invested a lot of time and money into training, so keep in mind that you want to get the most out of it. I thrive off of positive reinforcement and recognition of hard work and I never like to be in a position to disappoint. This is why having a coach works wonders for me.

Being An Early Riser

Get used to it, there will be morning cardio. No matter how tired or sore you are, you have to get yourself out of bed and go as hard as you can. I find that if I pack my meals and my workout bags and lay out all my clothes the night before it is a lot easier to just get up and go. It is surprising what just washing your face in cold water or having a quick, cool shower can do to wake you right up with some energy.

Dedication To Diet

You must make a commitment to stick to the plan regardless of what is going on in your life. This means packing your own meals along with you to social events, family get-togethers, work functions, etc. that are going to last more than three hours. You may feel like a weirdo with your container of chicken and broccoli at these things, but get used to it.

Doing Your Homework

Since the sport is judged subjectively and can change from year to year, you have to do your homework and find out what the judges are after. You are judged on the full package that you present, so make sure you cover all your bases. Your physique is just one piece of the puzzle. Everybody’s body type is unique, so you may need to find out which division is right for you. Overall presentation can also include stage presence: posing, confidence, elegance, poise. Your movements and transitions in posing need to flow. Watch videos online of the pros and then take pictures and videotape yourself often.

Internal Drive

Go beyond your comfort zone and push past the point you thought you could. Since I most often train on my own, I create my own motivation by giving myself challenges in my workouts. For example, when I’m doing cardio daily, I’ll set a goal to have covered x number of miles in a certain time. The next day I’ll have to make sure I do no less than that to keep building on the intensity each day. Another trick I use is to challenge myself to my own “wet t-shirt contest,” where I don’t let my workout end without having sweated up a storm from working hard with high intensity. If the t-shirt’s still dry at the end of the workout, I’m not done yet!

Cuts, Scrapes, Bruises & Calluses

Sure, we try to look our best on stage, but leading up to that point it’s not all pretty. Year-round I have hands that are callused from gripping barbells and dumbbells. I wear gel nails, but often I have corners chipped off after a week or two of wear and tear. I’ve had the bottom of my shins scraped off from rubbing on the leg extension padding (or lack of padding!) and usually I have big bruises on my hips or thighs from banging them on random gym machines.

Read this entire artice and many more great ones like it at http://www.saskatoonwellbeing.com/

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LOCATION

Fitness Focus
1250 Ontario Ave
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S5
Ph: 306.244.6413

HOURS

Monday - Thursday: 5am - 11pm
Friday: 5am - 10pm
Saturday: 8am - 8pm
Sunday: 8am - 8pm