Posts Tagged ‘health’

The Real World is Outside…

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Fun Stuff, Products, Recipes and Health Facts,Tags: , , , ,
0

Some times we need a reminder to be part of the real world…

To many of us are so connected (via technology) that we are disconnected from the real world and real world experiences.  While I love my computer and video games it disturbs me when I hear people replacing legitimate activities like going to the gym or a karate class for playing on the Wii, PS3 or xBox!  Yes they do increase activity though the way most people use them they are not a form of exercise.  And don’t even get me started on texting over having a real conversation!!  Don’t forget there is a real world out there, despite what your computer or video commercials may tell you.

FitDeck Playing Cards for Combat Sports and more

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Products, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
0

I came across these really cool fitness cue cards.  They are simple to use and give a concise description and visual representation of each exercise.  Here is an example the “Firefighter Lunge with a Twist” card:

firefighter lunge with a twistEveryone knows how fond I am of Lunges as a training tool, so you can look forward to these!!

With fitness card (FitDeck) for almost every application from Prenatal to Combat Sports and Yoga to Pilates, there is a training aid for everyone!  With most decks costing around $15.00 this is truly a valuable addition to your training routine.

For all you Martial Artists, check out the FitDeck for Combat Sports

Learn more and find the deck that is perfect for you at www.fitdeck.com

Burn That Stomach Fat!

ktadmin Posted in Diet, Fitness, Questions, Recipes and Health Facts, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
4

No Surgery, No Pills Necessary!

The one thing that most people don’t know is that even if you can’t see them, most people have a six-pack under that cover.  The fat cells lay on top of your stomach muscles.  That isn’t to say that, that fat layer doesn’t weaken you or your abdominals.  But it means if you get that fat layer out of the way, everyone will be able to see your tight abs!  Hmmm, so what is the super secret recipe for getting that fat free belly?  Simple: first, cut down on fatty foods you consume, way down, and secondly, exercise to force your body to burn some of the that energy reserve you are carrying around.  Funny how an energy reserve can become an energy drain!  I guess to much of anything is bad.  Notice in that last sentence I said “Simple”.  That is because the solution is easy, it is the implementation that gives people the most trouble!

It starts with a thought, an image really, in your mind of what you want to accomplish.  Visualizing is very important to helping you stay focused and committed, we humans tend to have short attention spans, visualizing helps.  Of course you would not be reading this if you weren’t ready to commit, so let’s get started.  While visualization will help you stay committed one thing helps more then all the others, having fun.  No one likes a chore but everyone loves to have fun!  So let’s have some fun!!

We are going to cut down our intake of fatty foods and increase our exercise.  The type of exercise we engage in is very important.  We can easily get on the treadmill or eliptical for hours on end and never loose that belly fat (or any other fat for that matter).  The reason for that is those are cardio exercises and while they do burn calories, they are not great for building muscles.  If you want to burn fat, you need to build muscles.  The way our bodies work, muscles burn fat.  Given this fact, the more muscles you work and build the more fat you will burn and the faster you will see results.

Back to having fun… Since it is important to build muscles it is important to find fun activities to accomplish that.  Some exercises you will just have to learn to enjoy.  Experience has taught me that learning to do an exercise correctly makes doing it more enjoyable and definitely more rewarding.  Most of the time we dread exercise because we are not or don’t feel we are in good enough shape.  Unfortunately that mindset will keep you from achieving your goals.  To combat that, start out slowly and if possible with some professional assistance so you learn to proper technique for the various exercises you will need to do.  You don’t need to hire a professional consultant there are plenty of resources on-line, including here on this blog.

Variety is the spice of life…and Life requires balance.  As a Martial Artist balance has special meaning from both practical and philosophical perspectives.  When we are striving to get into shape we also need balance, in our diet and in our activities.  The Martial Arts provides a nice mixture of strength and cardio exercises but I always encourage my students to incorporate additional strength and cardio exercises outside of class.  While many a Martial Artist gets obsessed with their training it is good to add other fun activities like swimming or racquetball.  You will find that doing this keeps you more active, helps your body build different muscles and as a result burn more fat!  Even before you begin to notice your weight loss and diminishing layers of fat, your body will be getting stronger and more agile.  By the time you do notice the benefits of your work you will begin to find new motivation!

I want to stress again the two simple rules, improve your dietary intake and build muscles.  That is it.  I have know a lot of people who workout extensively yet never seem to reduce their weight or attain their goals.  90 percent of the time this is due to the simple fact that they do not understand those two rules.  They feel simply increasing activity (treadmill, etc) will get the “in shape”, they don’t realize or don’t take it to the next step and work on building muscle which will burn the fat.  Don’t make that mistake.  It is difficult but like anything if you stick with it for long enough it will become a part of your life and easy to continue.  Above all have fun (so you don’t get bored), take your time (it is a long race) and stay safe by doing things right (proper technique).

As you begin to cut down on the fats in your diet and exercise you should see some immediate results, these will slow or become less noticeable as you continue your training, don’t get discouraged.  Our bodies heal from the inside, out and part of this process is repairing the damage done by an unhealthy lifestyle.  Keep that in mind when you feel that you are not making any progress.  Good Luck and please let us know how you are doing in the comments!

I’ll post some exercises that will help build muscle and burn that fat soon so stay tuned and read often.

Cholesterol – The Unseen Enemy

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Diet, Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts,Tags: , , ,
0

High Cholesterol runs in my family so I am always (read: try to) watching what I eat.  I also get tested every year or so, to see how I am doing.  The last test I had showed a 8 point increase over 2 years, still in the healthy range, however, near the top of where my levels should be for my age/gender.  Basically I take it seriously but not so seriously that I don’t enjoy what I eat.  I’ve been cut open enough times to understand that if it can be avoided it should!  If you don’t believe me, please take my word for it.  With that in mind you can imagine my surprise when my brother-in-law (visiting from out of state) announced that his Cholesterol level was around …700!  What can I say, it surprised me he had a pulse!!

That is when I decided to write this article, not as an expert (I am not), but from my practical experience.  I do not take medication and will resist taking any for as long as possible.  I am not adverse to medication but do believe less is better.  So I focus on natural ways to lower cholesterol, my doctor may not agree with me and wish he could get the commission from the prescription, but I have at the least maintained my levels through personal effort.  I also realize every one’s body chemistry if different and you should listen to your doctor and yourself, not me.  You need to understand the differences between the good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, I leave that up to you.  But if you find a few useful tips here, my effort is not wasted.

It is important to note that cholesterol is actually necessary for several very critical functions in the body.  However, excess cholesterol in the blood stream can be deposited in arteries and can cause plaque formation as well as harden arteries. Heart disease, heart attack and stroke may then result.

How do you reduce your Cholesterol naturally?  Basically you have to alter your lifestyle and diet.

Is it easy? Not always.

First of all, you need to maintain a healthy body weight.  While thin people can have unhealthy levels of cholesterol being overweight usually indicates an unhealthy lifestyle (to much food not enough activity).  Being overweight raises your LDL (bad) levels and lowers your HDL (good) levels.  That is why the first step to lowering your cholesterol is to loose weight.  Often this only requires a change in the foods you ingest.  The side benefit of this is you will feel better and have more energy!

There it is, Step One: Get to and Maintain a Healthy Weight.

Weight loss in general requires one thing, burning more calories then you consume.  The fastest way to lose weight is to reduce your calories and increase your level of exercise.  What is interesting about this process is the more you exercise the less hungry you will be…sound ridiculous but unless you are starving yourself it’s true!  Junk food can be quiet addictive (and bad for your cholesterol levels) so you may not feel this is true immediately, but stick with it and you will.

We need exercise for a lot of reasons, mostly we humans were not meant to be sedentary.  Like it or not you need to move around and get some exercise!  Exercise expends energy and pushes toxins out of your body, but it also forces your body to create more HDL (good) and convert/burn some of that bad cholesterol (LDL) into energy.  Imagine that.  As a Martial Artist, exercise also lubricates your joints, improves your flexibility and  heightens your awareness…sparring anyone?

The rule of thumb is a minimum of moderate exercise of about 30 minutes three to five times per week.  This will improve not only your cholesterol levels but will improve your heart health.  So many benefits!

Here is a no-brainer, stop smoking.  Smoking is stupid so you should stop.  Smoking is bad for you, and stupid, so you should stop.  Smoking increases LDL (bad) cholesterol, and it is stupid, so you should stop.  If you are still smoking, you are stupid…and, why are your reading this?!?

You are now exercising (or thinking about it) so how should you change your diet?

Obviously our diet is important to any aspect of our health.  To coin an old programming saying: Garbage In, Garbage Out.  However that doesn’t accurately depict the human body, probably more accurate would be: Garbage In, Garbage Stays…  If we consume a lot of cholesterol then our bodies are going to retain a lot of cholesterol.  Therefore it is critical to couple diet management with exercise.

There are different dietary factors affecting your body’s cholesterol stores:

Soluble Fiber binds to cholesterol and removes it from your body, making it a great way to naturally lower your cholesterol.  Soluble fiber is found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.  Basically eating natural foods is better…duh!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids can also lower cholesterol levels, these can be found in flax seeds and flax seed oil as well as cold fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel.  An interesting note about flax seed oil, it is one of the few oils that does not change it’s molecular make up when heated!  Many oils change when heated thereby reducing or eliminating their beneficial properties.  Olive Oil is another great oil which not only is thought to reduce cholesterol but has antioxidant properties as well.

In case you didn’t get the memo:  Saturated and trans fats are bad for you, as they can raise your total cholesterol.  You can determine if a product has trans fats by reading the label.  Most will identify trans fat in the percentage area, however, even if they say 0%, if they contain partially hydrogenated anything, they contain trans fat!  Basically most processed food contains trans fat, store bought cookies/cakes/etc.  Again natural and home made is better!  Saturated fats are found in meats and some oils, such as red meats, processed meats and poultry skin.

If you have a cholesterol problem you should also avoid dairy products, fried foods and surprising to most, some seafood, especially shell fish.

Well that pretty much seems to rule out most available foods that we tend to enjoy…!  Not true, unless you exist on Devil Dogs and Yoohoo!

Basically I go back to my earlier comment, eat (and cook with) more natural foods.  Don’t buy a box of cookies, make them from scratch.  I actually think it is cheaper to do that now given rising costs.  Cut the recipe’s sugar in half, don’t use margarine, substitute apple sauce for butter/margarine.  I am sure you can find many more tips via google.

To summarize the basics:

  • Get up and moving…exercise!
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid junk foods
  • Avoid/reduce dairy products
  • Avoid all trans fats
  • Eat more natural foods

Easy right?  It actually is, the hard part is the change in behavior and mind-set that it requires.  Like all change it takes some work and effort.  However, I have never heard of denial lowering any one’s cholesterol…

Some people will go to extremes and become vegetarians (not that there is anything wrong with that!) personally I like meat to much for that and it really isn’t necessary.  There are also some herbs (garlic, green tea, psyllium, red yeast rice) that can also help in lowering your cholesterol, but there is no magic potion or secret trick regardless of what you may read online.  Beware of snake oil salesmen/women .

Any gains you will make in lowering your cholesterol by changing your diet are normally made within 3-6 months.  Aside from that you need to listen to your doctor and if necessary take a prescription drug to aid in your fight to lower your cholesterol.  Regardless there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and it is never to late to change your ways and start living a healthy life style.

Good luck.

Goals & Resolutions

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, Diet, Events & Holidays, Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
0

A few days ago most of us made some type of resolution for the new year.  You may not admit it to anyone but it is there in the back of your mind, something you’d like to change or do different this year.  Call them Goals or Resolutions they equate to the same thing, a struggle with yourself, often a battle of endurance which requires willpower!  The most common resolutions focus on our personal selves, weight loss, getting into shape, attaining our next belt, other involve our careers or station in life, we will focus on the former here but what we will look at applies to both.  The problem with the resolutions most of us make is, they require hard work and effort.  Let’s face it if they didn’t we wouldn’t need things called resolutions or goals!

I don’t normally go in for a bunch of motivational gimmicks but I found this one that actually makes sense, SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
    (Get more in-depth details about Smart Goals here)

Basically this boils down a combination of “keep it simple stupid” and “being realistic and truthful”.  You can’t change if you set unrealistic goals, like I am going to loose 50 lbs next week, that is setting yourself up for failure, which if simply an excuse not to try.  I have known so many people who take this path, actually everyone takes this path eventually if they are not truthful with themselves.  We can learn a lot from addicts in this regard since it is easier to deny the problem then to deal with the problem.

So how do we get on track with our diet and fitness resolutions?  First keep reading this blog!  Secondly take the baby step method, I remember watching this in the old movie “What About Bob”.  You know what, it makes sense.  Break your bigger goal into achievable smaller goals, take small steps.  It may take longer to achieve your goal but the results will be lasting.  Nothing leads to short gains and long term losses then fad diets and an excessive ‘must have it now’ mentality.  The catch here is to make the goals achievable but useful, don’t be so easy on yourself that you aren’t moving towards your goal!  If you are trying to lose weight and you didn’t lose any last week, don’t have the attitude, “well at least I didn’t gain any!”  If you do, you will be saying “well at least I only gained a pound this week” before you know it.  Be honest with yourself but not easy!  This is training, no wimps allowed!!

I will leave you with this interesting study at the University of Hertfordshire which showed that the people most successful at keeping their New Year’s Resolutions did at least three of the following things:

  • broke their goal into smaller steps
  • rewarded themselves when they achieved one of these
  • told their friends about their goals
  • focused on the benefits of success
  • kept a diary of their progress.

There you have it, simple advice that will hopefully help you achieve your goals, regardless of when you set them…unless…

but you’re not that deluded…are you?

ICU – Intensive Care Unit

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest,Tags:
4

You never know when you will get a reminder that you are mortal. Mine came earlier this week. It was a regular day, I woke up, ate breakfast and went off to work, nothing out of the ordinary. Around 11:30 I suddenly got the shakes, it was weird, one minute I felt fine, then I was shaking all over and felt like I was on fire. It ended quickly leaving me feeling slightly odd, but I didn’t seem to have a fever or any other symptoms, so I carried on. Carrying on is one of the things I do best in life, regardless of the sense of it! The event was soon history as I continued with my work, until around 2:00, just as suddenly I was hit with the shakes and a fever. This time they did not dissipate but continued to get worse. By 2:30 I knew I was in trouble, I headed for home and bed. By 4:00 my fever was up to 103.4 and nothing was helping. The rest as they say is history, as my body crashed in the Emergency Room (or as most hospitals call them, Emergency Departments – guess that sounds more professional?) I was desperate for help. I spent the next two days in ICU as they stabilized me and tried to determine a cause. They were successful on the former but not so much the later.

You may wonder why I am sharing this personal story.  Because it has direct bearing on our training and actions as martial artists, personal limits.  When we are healthy and training we often forget we have limitations.  This is easy to do as we are always pushing past our limits to increase our abilities to punch harder, faster, be stronger, lift more, run longer and inevitably we usually succeed…for a time.  In our success at training to stretch our limits we often forget that limits do still exist.  This is often the reason for unnecessary injuries or over estimation of our abilities (a little ego mixed in!).  My most successful students see their limitations and respect them even while challenging them.

As we train it is important to train with situations which cannot be won.  Initially this will seem pointless and frustrating however with time these impossible situations, for example multiple attackers, will become less impossible.  With familiarity the loss will become less demoralizing as the student strives to succeed, at that time the student will begin to recognize the turning point in situation, when winning is less possible without assistance.

It may sound crazy but reflecting on my stay in the ER and ICU that is the wisdom I have to share!

Entering the Health Care Fray

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, OffTopic, Politics, Recipes and Health Facts,Tags: , ,
2

I’ll be frank, I am disgusted with the leadership of this country, on both sides of the isle however moreso with the controlling party.  Having extensive experience with the Health Care system over the past 20+ years I can say with much authority, we have some of the best health care available on the Planet!  It has degraded over the past 20 years however this is due in large part to the culture of greed and increasing government involvement.  Most people speaking out and complaining about the high costs of health care have absolutely NO idea what they are talking about.  They have listened to the trash promoted by poloticians and people like Micheal Moore*.

Twenty or so years ago the government put the insurance companies im charge of health care because the insurance companies complained and lobbied the Doctors were making to much money and ordering tests that were unnecessary.  Sound familiar?  Roll forward twenty years and we have people complaining that insurance companies make to much money and to many tests are being denied!  Sound familiar now?  So who is going to rush in and fix the problem?  The same people who created it!!  And ‘We the People’ are stupid enough and short sighted enough to think they have our interests in mind.

I have two questions for everyone.

First, why do/did people have a problem with Doctors making a lot of money?  I don’t hear anyone asking for sports reform because the athletes are making to much money and that is driving up ticket prices!  Maybe that is next, and then in twenty years we can go after the owners for making to much money?!  That IS a valid example.  But for some reason we had/have a problem with the people who are responsible for keeping us healthy making to much money.  I call that jealousy.  Was there abuse?  Yes, but there were systems in place to stop that problem.

Second, why are people almost always willing to think that the people who caused the problem are capable of fixing it or more importantly admitting they made a mistake?  Because most people are stupid and incapable of critical thought.  If you find that offensive then that statement probably applies to you.

The business reasons against Health Care are obvious to any rational, realistic  person but that is best said here.

I could go on for pages but need to go find a way to pay for my increasing health care coverage!

*(Moore, as in there is more of his ignorant people exploiting, fat millionaire ass by the minute – sorry I couldn’t resist)