Have you ever noticed that people carry weight in different parts of their bodies? Some carry it around their hips, resembling the shape of a pear, while others carry it around the middle, looking more like an apple. For quite a few years, having the shape of an apple has proven to be more of a health risk than a pear, but researchers have been unclear as to why people carry weight in different areas. But new research from the University of Edinburgh is helping to shed light on why humans don’t all carry weight in the same areas — and how the new knowledge can be used to help fight obesity.
Scientists pinpointed a protein known as 11BetaHSD1 that seems to indicate body shape. According to the research that was published in the journal Diabetes, apple-shapes tend to have higher levels of the protein than pear-shapes do. The protein is known to raise levels of hormones that are linked to obesity and is associated with an over-reaction in the immune system that results in unnecessary inflammation that causes damage to healthy cells.
Raphael Calzadilla is a certified trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has been a personal trainer for almost 20 years. He is also a natural competitive bodybuilder, 2001 Mr. Connecticut, and winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, earning him status as a drug-free professional bodybuilder. You can learn more about Raphael at his website www.fitbyraphael.com.
Four years ago I was asked to speak at a fitness and nutrition seminar. With the audience being primarily women, I was excited to once and for all clear up the misconceptions about cellulite. Finally, it was my chance to talk about the infamous cottage cheese-look that makes women cringe in disgust.
I enthusiastically told my wife, Pam, and shared some of my material. She was excited about the subject matter and was listening intently. I told her that, from a medical standpoint, cellulite doesn’t exist. Her eyes got so big I thought I’d be shot on the spot, but I told her to be patient because it gets better.
I told her that cellulite is nothing more than fat. Len Kravitz Ph.D., who published an outstanding article “Cellulite: Everything You Want To Know and More,” in which he said “the name (cellulite) originated from the French medical literature over 150 years ago.” He goes onto describe the physiological reasons why cellulite is nothing more than plain old body fat. (more…)
P90X, the popular extreme home fitness program, understands the importance of tracking all indicators of fitness.
Instead of just tracking weight or measurements, P90X has an intensive Fitness Assessment that tracks your weight, measurements, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular capacity every step of the way.
The P90X program is split into three phases, 30 days each, and at the end of each phase, you will retest to see how much your health has improved. The first test is done before the first P90X workout so you know your baseline of fitness.
An Army Times article reported this week that soldiers are taking drastic steps to meet the military’s weight standards. Soldiers have admitted to taking diet pills and laxatives, starving themselves and getting liposuction in order to meet what some see as impossibly low weight standards.
“Liposuction saved my career — laxatives and starvation before a PFT sustains my career,” an anonymous soldier told the weekly paper. “I, for one, can attest that soldiers are using liposuction, laxatives and starvation to meet height and weight standards. I did, do and still do.”
Almost half of all uniformed men and women in the US Army do not meet the weight standards, according to a 2009 military fitness report, and those officers are then made to use tape measurements to determine body fat percentage. If the percentages are too high, the soldiers cannot earn promotions or hold leadership roles. A further failure to lose weight is grounds for job loss. More than 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to meet weight standards.
VO2 max (V-volume per time, O2-oxygen, max-maximum) is typically defined as the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to process oxygen during exercise. This number is useful because it is the most reliable way to determine the fitness level of the individual. By knowing your VO2 max, you can not only compare your fitness level to “standards”, but you can also objectively assess your progress while improving your current overall level of endurance and fitness.
Knowing your VO2 max is also great for setting goals and motivation. Most recreational exercisers really don’t need to know their VO2 max; although I recommend knowing it along with your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, and BMI (Body Mass Index). By knowing these numbers, you are able to self- diagnose your current overall state of health and well-being (extremely important if you are over the age of 45). The more oxygen your muscles use, the more efficiently your body works, allowing you to do more work, with less stress on your body. VO2 max is one of those rare health numbers you want to go up, not down. (more…)