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Showing posts from November, 2011

Exercise... Bad For The Immune System?!

Ever wonder why you felt cold-like symptoms the morning after a hard workout?  While exercise has always been known to provide a long list of health benefits, it may be surprising to hear that exercise can actually hurt the immune system.  Depending on the intensity, duration and the time spent on recovery, the immune response to exercise can be either good or bad.  Researchers who investigated the relationship between the immune system and exercise found that two changes typically occur.  Both cell production and their function changes after a bout of exercise (1,2,3,4,6).  Negative changes in the immune system tends to occur with continuous endurance exercises and interval training.  This news probably sounds ridiculous since that describes just about every type of aerobic workout, but don't worry, I'll explain how to prevent this problem from occurring.

IMMUNE SYSTEM 101:
If I were to say that neutrophil production increased as a result of exercise, this wouldn't mean m…

Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Bike Computer Review

I was very happy with the $40 I spent on the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 bike computer from REI.com.  This was the first bike computer I have ever used and since day one, this computer has been very reliable even in extreme conditions from below zero wintry conditions to 100+ degree summer temperatures.  Just like any other computer, as long as the computer is installed correctly, this computer can be a five star product.  Mine has consistently measured all of the basic information that it was designed to monitor such as speed, average speed, maximum speed, ride time, distance, time of day, total distance (odometer) and temperature.
WIRED VS. WIRELESS
A computer can have a lot of nice features on paper, but if it doesn't perform well in actual riding conditions, that's money wasted.  Since I was only willing to spend around $40, I chose to get a wired computer to avoid the likely problem of a poor quality wireless connection which I have heard was a big problem with budget wireless …

Body Fat... Why Measure It?

There are two good reasons to measure body composition.  One, knowing body composition is a great way to identify and track progress towards better health or fitness.  Two, an optimal body composition affects sport performance positively.  Whether your goal is related to fitness, sport or both, body fat and bone density are some of the key physiological factors that definitely should be monitored throughout an exercise program.

ASSESS TO PREVENT OBESITY:
There are short term and long term changes that occur with the fat cell.  Think of the fat cell as a balloon that calls for back up when it fills up with too much air or "lipids".  When fat intake rises, the first physiological change that occurs is an increase in the size of the fat cell (up to 10x larger) caused by the storage of lipids (3).  This is a short term change which can be easily corrected through dietary and exercise interventions.  If nothing is done to reduce the amount of lipids stored in each fat cell, eventua…

Is Obesity Really A Problem? A Big YES

I can talk all day about the rising problem of obesity and give statistical figures, but it really won't matter unless I have a picture to prove how bad it really is.  With the help of Google, I searched for the perfect picture and found it on the CDC "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" website.  They color coded each state based on the prevalence of obesity in the United States from 1985 to 2010.  I'll show the beginning, middle and end point to give you a glimpse of how obesity changed throughout the years.
To help you understand each map, I listed what each color represents: White = No dataLight Blue = < 10%Blue = 10-14%Dark Blue = 15-18%Yellow = 20-24%Orange = 25-29%Maroon = greater than or equal to 10% 1985:  To be fair, there wasn't a lot of data gathered from most of the states, but at least the ones that were recorded didn't reach higher than the 10-14% range.  Bicycle production near this time was 5.5 million (2)
1998: Almost all of the light…

Body Fat Assessment #3: Bioelectrical Impedence

WHAT IS IT?
Bioelectrical Impedance or BIA is an indirect method of determining body fat percentage by measuring the amount of resistance the body provides when a current of electricity is passed through the body.  A high or low resistance corresponds to a high or low body fat percentagE, respectively.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
Compared to other methods, this is the least invasive and most comfortable way to assess body fat.  Unlike other methods where they are only effective if the individual wears short running shorts with no shirt, the only body parts that need to be exposed with BIA are the hands and the feet.  The BIA machine I used involved only two pairs of electrodes which needed to be placed on my right hand and foot; afterwards, all I needed to do was lie down supine (on my back) and relax while the machine did all of the work.  Very easy and less painful than the deep folds that need to be pinched for skinfold measurements.  While I'm on the subject of pain, it's also wor…

Comparing The Most Popular Sports Bars

I think this is a good time to cover the 40/30/30 diet which is also known as the Zone diet (4).  By eating 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein, proponents claim that it will cause the body to produce more eicosanoids which is a substance theorized to vasodilate and increase blood flow towards active muscles and promote increased oxygen delivery (5). The key word here is theorize... there is no research that have found evidence that eicosanoids actually contributes to active muscle vasodilation (2,4).  Studies do not recommend the 40/30/30 diet because overall, it will not provide optimal nutrition for health or athletic performance (2,3).  Until a new study finds that the claims are actually true, don't believe the hype.

I highlighted any nutrient which doesn't meet the criteria in blue.  As a reminder, here is the criteria for sports bar during exercise (Plowman, 2011) :
Protein: < 8-10 gFiber: < 5gFat: < 4g per 230 kcal serving OR < 15.7% of total caloriesC…