Category Archives: Tim’s Health Corner

Comfort Zones

Tim Walton

Tim Walton

Well, by now most of the long term gym members are probably witnessing what is commonly referred to as “The Thinning of The Herd”.  This is a two-pronged statement concerning people who made a New Year’s Resolution to get in shape and took advantage of the “Specials” gyms run at that time of the year.

The first prong is the dropping out and quitting of the majority of” resolutioiners” who just quit because it’s much easier to give up (accompanied by a myriad of excuses) than to just make the effort to better their health.  You may see some of them make another attempt later on or occasionally wander in now and then.  Some may even come back in on a consistent basis, but it’s more going through the motions and socializing than actually accomplishing anything so they can make a statement like, “Well, I go to the gym every day, but I just must be one of those people who is genetically stuck with my shape no matter what.”

The second prong is the people who made the commitment, stuck with it, changed their lifestyle (Including their eating habits.) and are actually “Thinning” or getting into shape.  Consistency is the key here as I’ve seen it before where someone will turn this corner of their lives, accomplish another level for their shape and health, then flush it all away because of “Summer Time” or “Holiday Time”, etc. Then, once they blow it, it’s back to square one.  This yoyo effect is not good for your system in the long run and sooner or later, that yoyo is going to stay on the bottom.  It doesn’t mean you have to live like a Spartan all of the time.  Just keep the relaxing phases of life moderate, brief, and under some control.

So what about working out at home?  Some people are self-conscious and don’t want to go to a health club or gym.  Others are restrained by time/family obligations.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  But when I hear someone who discusses the 3 hours of tv programs they watch every night say that they just don’t have the time, it brings me to my next point: Comfort Zones.

Comfort Zones (CZ’s) are an area of your life where you feel you can just relax to unwind physically and mentally.  This is one of the problems with working out at home.  It’s your haven, your safe place.  Hmmm, the kids are occupied or gone off to school or a friends house.  Your other half is not at home.  A little “Me” time.  Do I jump on that elliptical and get some cardio in?  Pop  PX90 in the DVD player?  Do a circuit with the weights? Oooorrrr, do I grab a few extra zzzz’s, watch a TV show, surf the internet, etc.?  Much easier to relax than to push yourself.  This same trap can also be fallen into at a gym, so it’s not just inclusive of home workouts.  I’m sure you’ve all seen people who do more talking, wandering, and socializing than actually working out at the gym.  They’re in their CZ with basically a captive audience.  There is one guy who is notorious for this at one of the places I go to.  He was there before I arrived one day and was already “Doing sets with his jaw”.  I busted my butt for an hour and during that time, he wandered over a few times to blab.  I told him before that I’ll only talk between sets during my workouts  and then just long enough till it’s time for my next one.  I believe he might’ve actually done 5 sets of something during that hour and they weren’t good ones.  He was still there when I was leaving.  He probably spends 3 hours a day there and still looks below average because he’s in his CZ and wants to invite others to join him there.  Be polite, or firm if you have to, but don’t let anyone talk you into their CZ.

The best way to avoid CZ’s whether at the gym or at home, is to make your workout scheduled just like an appointment.  It’s nice if you can make health and fitness a habit such as brushing your teeth, but you don’t make an appointment to do something like brushing your teeth.  You might have a certain time though such as right before you leave out the door in the morning, within 15 minutes of finishing a meal or right before before bedtime.  You can do the same thing with getting your workouts in.  If you can’t make it a habit , make it  an appointment.  Seriously.  No excuses, this is my “Me” time.  If you find yourself sliding and putting it off, letting things get in the way, or having everyday mundane things distract you or take precedence, then YES, it’s time to make that time for YOU an actual appointment with yourself.  Treat it like a doctor’s appointment that you can’t skip.  Is it too much to ask of yourself and/or those around you for 1 hour out of every 24 to better yourself for you AND for them?  You can’t go to the store and buy another pound, scoop, or bag of health.  You have to get it from within yourself as a commitment and if takes setting up an uninterrupted hour appointment for yourself each day, then do it.  As the saying goes, “Successful people have the same number of hours each day as the unsuccessful ones.  They just choose to make the most out them instead of making excuses during them.” Stay out of not only your own CZ trap , but others as well because failures like an excuse partner.

The Next Ephedra?

Tim Walton

I’m a big believer in supplements, but it’s amazing what some people cram down their throats with little or no research on their part other than believing the marketing hype. Like anything else, there is use and abuse of supplements and they are effective, no good, safe, dangerous, time savers and a value, a total waste of money or any combination of the afore mentioned or others. Confused? Basically, do your research on anything you are considering consuming for any potential side effects as well as for the benefits-to-price ratio.

Consider this: Sometimes a supplement comes along and is very effective and then every manufacturer jumps on the bandwagon and puts it in their formulas. Case in point: If you are taking any product that contains the ingredient known by the following names , be….VERY…careful: Geranium Stem, 1,3, Dimeth, Geranamine, methylhexaneamine, geranium extract, MHA, 1,3 Dimethylamylamine, DMAA, and probably a couple other names that escape me at the moment. Sounds pretty innocent when they use the Geranium names.

It is a powerful stimulant that can have some side effects and consequences you do not want especially if you are a male who does not want E.D. (erectile dysfunction). Got your attention? Good. Chemically related to Tuamioheptane which is banned by the NCAA, it is also on the World Anti- Doping Agency’s prohibited list. Athletes taking drug tests can have false positives for amphetamines. If an athlete does not want to risk being banned from their sport, stripped of their medals, or losing a scholarship, they might want to reconsider using this.

Developed (and shelved) in the early ‘70’s by Eli Lilly as a nasal decongestant due to its vasoconstrictive properties, it was later “rediscovered” by supplement manufacturers as a strong stimulant. People have varying degrees of reaction to it, but some things to watch out for are: blood pressure problems, sustained rapid heartbeat, headaches, adrenal fatigue, dependency, and for you guys: impotence or E.D. Risk factors aside, is it effective? In most people (and from what I’ve seen @ the 95% mark) it is VERY much so. But is it safe? As mentioned before, there is use and abuse, but if you start to experience any of the mentioned symptoms, I’d personally drop it and quickly. If you do not experience any of the symptoms and are not a tested athlete, a typical dose would be 25 – 50 mg. Keeping in mind that I am NOT a doctor, if you like the benefits but experience some of the side effects, nitrates (Nitric Oxide) that are easily found in many formulas of supplements, as well as stand -alone products, seem to help matters. If E. D. concerns you (and who wouldn’t it concern?) just Google “Stim Dick” and you’ll have plenty to read, but just consider the sources as the manufacturers will downplay it if they mention it at all.

My take? It definately takes you up several levels and you have an overall increase in energy, focus, and power. Yes, I’ve used it and it worked very well but there was sometimes a fatigue “crash” after it wore off. Doses had to be increased as my body adapted to it. I’d cycle off it for a few weeks to clear my system and then could go back to the lower doses. I did my research and am not a tested athlete. I used Nitric Oxide (N.O.) products at the same time and had no problems with side effects. I decided to drop it as I felt I was developing a dependency on it, whether it was psychological and/or physiological, to blast me through my better workouts. I also didn’t want to risk any potential effects down the road as there are studies going on regarding long term use.

Weigh the benefits vs the potential risks. It is very effective and you’d be surprised where this stuff pops up. Check your labels on ANY pre-workout or energy supplement. I’m willing to make a prediction that this stuff will go the way of Ephedera which was banned in 2004.

Age: It’s a Reason, Not an Excuse

Tim Walton

A funny thing happened to me on the way to growing older:  I never grew up.  By that I mean that I’ve never felt old, tired, or physically limited due to age.  Besides doing various physical jobs over the years, I’ve always worked out no matter what limitations or constraints I faced.  I viewed any obstacles as challenges, not excuses. 

There’s always people who I call “Dragons” who try to DRAG you ON down to their level where excuses such as getting older is the language spoken.  Aging is their excuse of choice because they can tie most everything to it.  “Just wait till you hit 30,  THEN your metabolism will slow down!” Nope.  And not at 40 or 45 either.  I’ll be kicking 50 in the teeth next year and my metabolism is still a blast furnace.  Strength and Endurance? Not far off my peak at all. 

What got me thinking of this was seeing two friends of mine at a funeral who I hadn’t seen in a long time.  They were both such physical wreaks, that I didn’t even recognize them.  They basically gave up after hitting 35.  One guy is barely 40 and is obese, had both knees replaced, high cholesterol and  blood pressure with a laundry list of other ailments and medications he is on.  He literally looked like he was nearing 70 in poor health.  The other guy wasn’t much better.  Now contrast them with another guy I know who is older than me but has the same mindset that age is just a number and not a limitation.  He eats clean, doesn’t do drugs or drink and hits the weights on a consistent basis.  He routinely outworks younger guys at his gym and is a physical animal.

When I hear someone, especially younger than me, say when they come up short in a physical endeavor or have health problems, “it sucks getting old!”, I think 90% of the time that it’s actually “Lazyitus”, not age.  “No time to train” is the main ingredient of Lazyitus.  Funny how most people with no time to train can not only tell you the TV programming lineups for most nights, but can also recite what transpired for about 3 hours worth of shows per night.  They should try eliminating some of the mental garbage that poses as entertainment and spend that time on their health. 

I just read an interesting blurb sourced from “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” where they studied bicep growth of two groups of males:  18 and 39 year olds.  During a 12 week training period, BOTH groups added muscle at the same rate.  That rate continues after age 40 and levels off around age 50.  Even though muscle starts to deteriorate at around age 65, you can maintain most of it if you keep training. 

Ignore the Dragons, eat and live clean, supplement wisely, train on a consistent basis and you certainly won’t be looking or feeling as old as those who are comfortable in their ruts of excuses.

Mirrors And Common Sense

Tim Walton

Besides my wife’s heart incident I talked about before where a doctor panicked because he never saw a heart rate of 44 before, other recent incidences occurred that just make me shake my head.

Switching and adding to life insurance policies saw Joni and I taking the insurance company’s version of a physical. Already knowing about insurance companies’ infamous height/weight charts, the guy in charge passed along instructions to take my chest, waist and hip measurements. Why? Because just from a PURE height/weight standpoint, I’m considered overweight and one chart, “Obese, Class 1”. Muscle is heavier than fat. At my height of 5’8” and a weight that’s usually @ 205, I’m anywhere from 13 to 46 lbs overweight according to 5 different charts I consulted.

I was in the Armed Forces when they had come out with their latest version in the early 80’s. Myself and 2 other weight lifters were sent to the base Dispensary for review as we were considered very overweight according to their new standards. Luckily, the Major in charge was a lifting partner with common sense. I can’t print what he said exactly, but he thought it was a load of BS to put it mildly and gave us waivers. By the way, I was also the fastest runner on base in the 2 mile run. I wasn’t just a muscle head and my aerobic capacity exceeded guys half my size. (Laughingly, I’m STILL 22 lbs over their max for weight based on their latest chart.)

People can look at charts, weights, scales, whatever. The mirror doesn’t lie. You can fall within some chart’s version of acceptable weight and still be an out of shape mess. The truth stares back at you from a full length mirror as you stand in your skivvies. Not to sound narcissistic, but a mirror will tell you more than any scale you step on or any chart you consult. Be honest, would you rather have a good looking reflection and feel healthy or be within some table’s guidelines and be flabby and out of shape? Like the saying goes, “You can’t flex fat.”

So, anyways, hopefully they’ll use my measurements along with a dose of common sense to apply the rates. However, the nurse took Joni’s resting heart rate five (Yes, 5!) different times and it came out to 40 each time. She “Didn’t understand how that could be possible.” Here we go again……………

Water, Too Much of a Good Thing?

Tim Walton

Tim Walton

    

       It’s still in the heat of summer, so you’d better heed the advice of making sure you drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces each of water, right?  Uuhm, not so fast. Where did this concept come from?  Actually from The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of 1945!!!   Oookkaayy.  And it was based on no actual research.  It recommended “1 Milliliter of water for every calorie of food,” which would come out to around 2 -2.5 quarts per day (64 – 80 ounces).  The problem is, is that the next sentence of the report is usually ignored, “MOST of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” 

            Hhhmm.  Roasted turkey is 62% water, boiled chicken 71%, grapes 82%, an apple is 85%, green peppers 94%, strawberries come in at 90%, and a head of lettuce at 96%.  You can see that there is a lot of “hidden” water content in food.

            What about caffeinated drinks like coffee?  They dehydrate you, correct?  Actually, no.  A study published in The Journal of The American College of Nutrition (Grandjean 2000) used 18 healthy adult males to test this theory and proved that caffeine was not dehydrating in healthy people who were drinking normal amounts. 

            “You can never drink enough water!”  Well, actually, you can.  Water intoxication can occur if you drink excessive amounts of water.  The kidneys are unable to excrete enough water (as urine), which leads to dilution of blood sodium.  Mental confusion and death can result.

            “You are already dehydrated if you are thirsty!”  Nope.  Thirst begins when the concentration of blood has risen by less than 2%.  Actual dehydration begins when that concentration has risen by 5%.

             Common sense (as usual) should prevail.  Drink when you are thirsty.  Keep hydrated, but don’t over do it by forcing yourself to down a “magic” number of ounces based on misinterpreted guesswork from 1945.  Strenuous work or exercise in the heat will obviously have you consuming more than if you are parked behind a desk in an air conditioned office.  One of the current “Studies” that is not only touting the “8 X 8 myth”, but even more was found to be financed by, gasp, a bottled water company.  I wonder why?  The bottled water industry is HUGE.  Unfortunately, it’s also bogus for the most part.  The majority of them are nothing more than bottled tap water.  If you are complaining about the price of gas per gallon, figure up how much a gallon of bottled water will run you.  And you could get the same or better right from your own tap.

Natural Sea Salt VS Table Salt

Tim Walton

Tim Walton

Salt is an essential nutrient to animal (human) life. It’s present in the tissues and cells of our bodies and facilitates muscle contractions, nutrient transport to cells, and conducts nerve impulses.  It extracts excess acidity from inside cells, including brain cells.  Salt is vital for the kidneys to clear excess acidity and pass that acidity to the urine.  There are other benefits and claims attributed to salt.  But are all salts equal?

            The two forms of salt to be discussed are common table (iodized) salt and natural grey sea salt.  So what are the differences and the pluses and minuses of them?
            Table salt is normally rock salt that is mined, heat blasted, sometimes chemically treated (bleached for whiteness), and then ant-caking agents (calcium silicate) and iodine are added to it.  These additives could be up to 15% of regular table salt.  This processed salt can cause bloating and water retention which can put the body’s systems out of balance.  The added iodines were introduced to counter the incidences of diseases related to iodine deficiencies, specifically goiter.  150 micrograms is the daily requirement of a human being.  One teaspoon of iodized salt contains 400 micrograms.  Because of it’s fine grain due to processing, one teaspoon of table salt has more salt than a tablespoon of natural sea salt.
            In natural sea salt, the minerals retain some moisture and are grey in color.  Many salts labeled “Sea Salt” are washed and boiled which strips them of minerals and trace elements.  If your sea salt is grey in color, it has not been processed and will have the correct balance of sodium and chloride as well as contain calcium, potassium, and other trace elements and nutrients.  If your sea salt is white in color and free flowing, it’s been processed and most likely stripped.  Natural grey will not pour like table salt because of its moisture content.
           If the ONLY plus to table salt is the added iodine content, consider this:  I just looked at the label of a popular multivitamin and it lists an iodine content of 150 micrograms.  My advice is to try and use natural grey sea salt for all of the benefits it can provide and get your iodine from a vitamin supplement to avoid the drawbacks of regular table salt.

Believe and Achieve!

Tim Walton

When you set goals to achieve physically, you have to be honest and realistic.  Genetics, time, equipment, nutrition, knowledge, and supplementation are all key, but the drive and motivation to attain those goals are the real driving force and the most important element.

“What the mind believes, the body achieves.”  I think the first time I heard that, it wasArnoldsaying it.  He knew that the mind was more of a limiting factor than the body.  He was a huge believer in visualization, kind of a self-hypnosis that has caught on with elite athletes in the past couple of decades.  You envision yourself completing an exercise movement, lifting a weight or certain number of reps, etc, that you haven’t before.  He used to imagine his biceps as mountains and we all see where that ended up.

We used to experiment manipulating this back in the day.  A person would be doing bench presses and one of us would be on each end of the bar.  The plan was, after warming up, to put the heaviest weight possible on the bar that the person could lift, then when he did it , we’d strip off a plate on each side, he’d do another set, and we’d work our way down to the bar and one plate one each side. In this scenario the person started off with his maximum weight and after his first set, unknown to him, we actually added a plate on both sides, then again and again.  He actually ended up benching 40 pounds over his former max because his mind actually thought he was moving a lighter weight than what he was. 

Emotions and mind set can also be manipulated.  My son learned this when he was around 5 years old.  I had taken him out sledding in fairly deep snow and we had been out for quite awhile.  He was trying to trudge up the hill for probably the 80th time, when he looked at me ½ way up the hill and stated that he couldn’t make it any further.  I said, “That’s ok buddy.  We’ll pack it up and …….”OH MY GOD!! WOLVES!!!”, as I pointed behind him and turned around and ran.  He shot past me so fast he was on top of the snow.  I actually felt kind of bad afterwards, but we look back at it now and laugh.  He saw at an early age that his mind could overrule his body.

To sum it up, don’t let your mind be the limiting factor when it can actually be your greatest asset. Learn techniques to tap into its abilities.  As we used to say in the military, “Your mind is your primary weapon.  Everything else is an accessory.”

 

A Supplement for Joint Health & Shiny Hair?

  

Author; Tim Walton

      Sulfur is found in over 150 bodily compounds from hormones and enzymes to tissues and antioxidants. The 3rd most abundant mineral in the human body, it occurs in connective tissue as collagen which helps form cartilage and is also a component of structural protein of the type found in joints, skin and hair.

            40 million Americans have some form of degenerative joint disease, including 80% of people over 50.  By the 7th decade, Osteoarthritis (OA) is nearly universal, producing the highest rate of morbidity of any disease. Sulfur content of cartilage decreases as we age and this decrease parallels degeneration in the joints.  Some arthritis medication decreases the body’s sulfur reserves making the condition actually get worse.

            Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is 34% sulfur by weight and is regulated as a dietary supplement by the FDA. Studies have shown that there are no known adverse effects of supplementing over the long term with MSM.  MSM is also a safe and effective anti-inflammatory.  Athletes can benefit greatly by MSM supplementation as it would speed the recovery of soft tissue and joint repair as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory without any adverse side-effects as with other anti-inflammatories.  

             Athletes and aging people are not the only ones who can benefit from MSM.  Extensive anecdotal reports suggest that it may improve the suppleness of skin and the shininess of hair and nails.

Personal Trainers….Choosing The Right One For You!

Author: Tim Walton

First things first:  There are quite a few “Certification” organizations.  A few fancy letters after someone’s name doesn’t necessarily make them an expert.  Those letters don’t mean squat if it’s from   some diploma mill-type organization that exists just to take your money after a mindless 50 question multiple choice quiz so that C.P.T. (Certified Personal Trainer) can be slapped after your name.  Research the organization and its criteria on the Web.

 Athletes needing specific training, folks trying to transform their physiques and lives, and people just starting out or trying to overcome a plateau are just some of a trainer’s clients. Some are more comfortable in group sessions while others prefer the individual attention from private lessons. 

  My advice regarding trainers:

 1.)    Pick a facility that is compatible travel and time-wise to you and your schedule.  If not, you’ve already got two built-in excuses. 

2.)    Make sure it’s the right fit for your goals, personality, and attitude.  Hardcore animals won’t fit in “Barry’s Chrome Emporium & Boutique” any  more than Susie Homemaker will in “Frank’s Freak Pit”.  

3.)    When considering a Personal Trainer, 

  • Find several who specialize in the area of your goals.  Then watch them in action.  Or in some cases, inaction.  Talk to their clients and get their feedback both positive and negative. 

LOOK FOR THEIR RESULTS

  • Personality compatibility is huge.  If you are not meshing, there will be conflict and resistance.  Don’t like shouting and high intensity? Then don’t sign with a trainer who gets results by yelling and pushing people past what they thought were their limits with brutal work-outs. Just like someone who is a hardcore power lifter won’t drop into a Zumba class run by “Miss Peppy of 2010”. 
  • Short Term Contract are best in the beginning.  If things don’t work out your not stuck paying for a long term mistake.
  • Keep it PROFESSIONAL. It is a business.  You are paying for their expertise in accomplishing your goals.  They are not your therapist, venting board, co-worker, mommy, daddy, etc. and neither are you theirs.  Don’t waste time on personal issues.  Speaking of which, extra-curricular “training” is one of the oldest tricks of uncouth trainers.  Don’t fall for it and just be another notch in their lifting belt.
  • Be leery of being trained by a family member or a friend.  Your relationship will be tested by this dynamic.  I’ve trained a lot of people in the past and the only three non-successes were my wife, son, and best friend.  My friend was very impatient and easily led by whatever fad happened to be out there.  Wanting to change programs every week and a half, he was frustrated that he didn’t shoot from his 5’7” 145 lb frame to The Hulk in a month.  My son never listened (!), although I set his friend  up on the same program and he went from a decent athlete to full scholarship and team Captain at a Nationally rank sports team.  My wife couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do certain exercises and getting her to take one vitamin was a lesson in drama.  Today, her nickname is “The Machine” at the gym as she does hardcore workouts and she also personally supports a local supplement company with her business.  This isn’t uncommon as I spoke with a Nationally known bodybuilder who is “The Trainer of Trainers” and he has to have someone else train his wife!  Yet this same bodybuilder consulted with my son, telling him the EXACT same things I’ve been saying to him for years, and it was like it was the first time he had heard it.  Go figure.
  • If something doesn’t seem rightYOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT!  If you are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy in any way regarding the exercise, how your body is reacting or simply how your trainer is communicating with you, speak up.  One other important note;  Although we are not looking to be trained by Mr. or Mrs. Universe, if our trainer comes out with a big gut or resembles Pee Wee Herman or generally doesn’t look in shape themselves…RUN!

CLA: A Healthy Fat?

Author; Tim Walton

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is found naturally in beef and dairy products. Low fat dairy products and lean meats have less of this Omega-6 fatty acid than their normal counterparts. A study in the Journal of Dairy Science revealed that the milk from grazing pasture fed cows had a whopping 500% more CLA than grain fed feedlot cows.

What have various studies shown? People with the highest CLA content had a 49% lower risk of heart attacks. It offers protection against cancer by boosting the activity of a tumor suppressing gene. Besides being an anti oxidant, it also prevents the maturation of fat cells and can increase metabolism. In one 7 week study involving sedentary people, the CLA supplemented group (5 grams a day), showed bigger gains in lean mass and more loss of body fat than the placebo supplied group. When subjects took CLA for 3 months, they experienced significant reductions in body fat, mostly centered around the abdominals/stomach area.

Today, most Americans consume less than one gram per day from food. This makes dietary supplementation one of the only effective ways to obtain ideal levels of this important fatty acid. A recommended dosage would be 2-3 grams with meals 2-3 times a day.