Monday, December 17, 2007

How to Look, Live and Feel Younger

11 Steps guaranteed to get you there!

How do you feel right now?

  • tired?
  • soft and mushy?
  • sluggish?
  • bloated?
  • unable to focus?
  • no drive?

Why do you feel this way? Is it just the natural aging process? Should you live through your 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond feeling tired, taking prescription medication and feeling this way?

Is it acceptable to forget where you put your keys? Is it acceptable that as you age, you get soft in the middle and gain weight? Is it acceptable that as you age you wake up for 2-3 hours every night, exhausted but unable to fall back asleep? Is it acceptable that you take prescription medication to feel better? To stay more focused? To increase your sexual desires and appetite?

These things aren't acceptable to me. But how many people do you know live this way now? What about you? Do you live this way now? Is everyday like this? Is it acceptable to you?

I know it's not acceptable to you and that's why you are here!

You can learn all the secrets to maintaining youth and vitality in a FREE web-based seminar I'm holding on January 9, 2007, at noon CST. Yes, I said absolutely FREE. You'll also get great stuff just for sigining up.

How do you sign up?

Simple. Just go to this website and enter your first and last name and email address. I'll take care of the rest.

See you there.

Don't Forget: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at noon, CST.

Sign-up here: http://www.briansekula.com/antiaginghouston.htm.

Secrets to losing weight and looking great.

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It's a 3-month program that includes everything you need to accomplish these goals. It's also unique from your standard weight loss program. First, when you are done, you will have all the tools you need for lifelong success. That is a major disadvantage with other programs. When you're done, you're on your own. Not with us, you'll have all you need for long-term success.

Secondly, we have teamed up with a local doctor and developed a blood test that is included with our program. This blood test looks at markers for cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and hormonal imbalances. We use the results to help shape your program. We also show you how our program has improved your profile - it's powerful information. And you can't get it anywhere but in this program.

Finally, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee. If you follow our program and don't get results, we'll refund your investment. Pretty simple!

So while you are trying to decide how to set your New Year's Resolutions, why not invest in a program that is guaranteed to work? Why not invest in a program that has more than any other program you can find?

Why not sign-up? Do that here: www.briansekula.com/weightlosshouston.htm.

Friday, August 17, 2007

And coming in 3rd...Ernie Singh Goosen

The results of last week's poll are in. In case it's slipped your mind, the poll was on who you thought would win the PGA Championship. We had 147 votes.

Contestant, # votes and finish:

  • Doug ("This is not an outdoors tournament?") Pike, 13 votes, 4th place
  • Rory ("the course is its most vulnerable - ever!") Sabbatini, 7 votes, last place
  • NOT Rory Sabbatini (all for fun), 38, 2nd place
  • Tiger (uh...nevermind), 68 votes, 1st place
  • Ernie Singh Goosen (I'll betcha someone in Europe has this name), 21 votes, 3rd place.

Tiger was the unquestionable winner in our poll nearly doubling the votes of NOT Rory, which when you think about it is essentially the field. Strong!

My personal favorite? Ernie Singh Goosen. He came on at the end, closed really hard on Sunday and came in 3rd. Not bad!

My second favorite? Doug Pike. The whole time he thought he was in an outdoors tournament yet he still managed to take Rory out behind the woodshed.

Alright. I'll see you guys no Tuesday. Have a great weekend. Hope you get to play some golf.

Brian

Funniest thing I've ever seen!

A friend of mine sent the link to this video. I really don't know if it's the funniest thing I've ever seen but when I first saw it, I laughed so hard my eyes watered.

Funny thing is, I could see the one living grandmother that I have as the golfer and the one that passed away last summer as the one with the camera - based on her comments.

Don't forget to turn up the volume - it's just not quite the same without it.



If you've taken offense, I apologize.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Football workout video

Here is a video demo of Chris performing a quick football workout on the Pro Trainer II from Vortex. Chris is demonstrating four exercises:

  • Alternating chest press/punch: note the lean of his body - this helps develop power and explosion in his arms, shoulders and chest.
  • Alternating high rows: Do these as fast as you can to develop the fast-twitch muscle fibers.
  • Alternating bicep curls: Same as above
  • Hip explosions with the bench: really jump into the bench and develop power and explosion in your hips - if you're a linebacker, strong safety or CB this will help you become a more aggressive and powerful tackler.

Keep in mind that these are only four of a practically unlimited number of exercises you could do while training for football. Check out other videos we've recorded. There are a lot of other videos you can find too. Youtube, myspace and other sites where videos can be posted have some, like NFL players, MMA, UFC and other professional athletes using this equipment.

If getting stronger and developing more power and explosion are important to football (you know they are, right?), why aren't you training that way? Oh, that's right. You don't have equipment like this. Never fear, you can come here and train. We're the only gym in Texas that has this equipment and it's right here in Houston.

Our location (59 and SW Frwy) makes it easy to get here within 15 minutes from a lot of different places. Get down here and check us and this equipment out!


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Link Update

Some articles for your leisure reading:

  • For you space (and fitness) buffs, read this story about an astronaut who ran the Boston Marathon while in space. Make sure you read the side bar - at the bottom right in the box - to learn about a few of the things that happen to the body while in space.
  • The Worst People to Play With: Irritating golfers and what they do to irritate you. While there, check out the "Share your thoughts" section and read what many people had to report as their irritating partners and experiences.
  • This is the follow-up article to the one above - amusing stuff!
  • A Q&A with Tiger - not too revealing but interesting nonetheless to see how someone of his stature thinks.

I think that is enough "weekend reading" for you.

See you next week.

Brian

Friday, August 10, 2007

Golf Fitness Preview on the Vortex

Here it is...as promised yesterday - a video preview of a golf-fitness workout on the Vortex Equipment. Keep in mind this is only a 2-minute preview, your session at the fitness center will be an hour.

A quick description:

There are 4 different exercises. Each one was done for 1 set of 10 repetitions. The important thing(s) for you to notice are the limited amount of time it takes to switch from exercise to the next. How much work gets done with limited movement from one area to another, and how incorporating one piece of equipment (the BOSU) completely changes the exercise.

The four exercises demonstrated below are:

  1. Squats on BOSU with overhead press
  2. Trunk rotations with stability ball (right and left side)
  3. Alternating high rows on BOSU
  4. Swing exercise

With only these four exercises, we worked on:

  • muscular strength - obviously by pushing, pulling, lifting and twisting the weights
  • stability - notice, too how my feet are constantly moving when standing on the BOSU trainer
  • posture - staying in correct posture is tough work when performing exercises like these
  • balance - see comment on stability, the feet constantly moving really shifts your center of gravity
  • core - the abdominals are almost constantly engaged and they get an extra workout when doing the rotations and swing exercise
  • coordination - reaching out, twisting and pulling all while attempting to keep correct posture AND perform the exercise correctly is a tremendous challenge to your coordination.

All of these are important components of your golf-specific fitness program.

The equipment used was minimal: a stability ball, BOSU trainer, golf handle made by Gene Mitchell and, of course, the Pro Trainer II's from Vortex.




Now that you've seen it and are ready to try it for yourself, register here.

Oh...and post your comments below.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Read This!

If you are in the health care industry, whether it be pharmaceuticals, medicine, research, administration, or you're just interested in your own health and wonder what others think, read this article.

If you're somewhat skeptical of medicine, health care and big pharma, and you think the health care system needs revamping, you really should read this. It's long but very provocative.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lateral Shuffle BOSU Trainer

Below is a video demonstration of a Lateral Shuffle on a BOSU trainer. See more exercise videos demonstrated by me here.

This is a great exercise for golfers. For all the benefits, read this. If it's August 21, 2007 or later you'll have to go to the archives page and read Issue #33.


If you're a golfer and want tips like this on a regular basis, sign-up for Brian's Report. It's my FREE golf-fitness newsletter. Just by signing up you'll get three great bonus gifts: a nutrition e-book, a golf-fitness e-book and a golf-specific workout, not to mention some of the best golf-fitness tips you can find.

Try this exercise and let me know your results.

Brian

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stupid Obesity - Socially Contagious?

This is a few days old but I still wanted to comment. In case you missed it, a study released last week indicated obesity was socially contagious. Authors of the study concluded that if you lived, worked or were friends with an obese person, you were more likely to be obese. Conversely, if you were height and weight proportionate, your friends and family were likely to be the same. Hence the socially contagious theme behind the research.

You remember the old saying..."Birds of a feather..."

In some respects the adage is true. You're not going to find the best lawyers or financial firms on the low-rent side of town, are you? Of course not, they're likely to be right next door to each other or in the next building - downtown or in the financial district.

But when it comes to this socially contagious idea, I completely disagree with the theory.

Here's why.

For the last several years we've been bombarded with news of the obesity epidemic.

And you've seen the headlines many times...

  • "Obesity rates are rising?"
  • "Obesity is an epidemic!"
  • "Our kids are becoming obese at the fastest rate in US history!"

So if obesity is rising at epidemic proportions, how does the Socially Contagious idea fit?

It doesn't.

It doesn't fit because if everyone is becoming obese, does it really matter who your friends are? Does it really matter who your family members are? Does it really matter who you work with?

The short answer is no. While there certainly is some relationship, there's simply too little separation of the data to justify a Socially Contagious theory. By that I mean there are too many related items over-lapping each other that are better predictors of obesity than simply the circle of people you see on a regular basis.

Like a bad diet and too little exercise. At the same time we're bombarded by the obesity statistics, we're bombarded by information that our diets are terrible and we can't get off the couch for 30 minutes of exercise. These are more important than the Socially Contagious idea.

But back to the question...

Does is really matter who your friends are?

If more than 60% of the population is overweight or obese, simply by chance your going to be living, working or socializing with someone that was overweight or obese. So no, it doesn't.

Calling obesity socially contagious is analogous to saying that humans having two legs is socially contagious. We're all humans, we all have two legs. And just by chance you're going to know somone, live with someone or work with someone that is overweight or obese.

So does it make sense to say it's socially contagious?

Friday, July 27, 2007

British Open Poll Results

Well I don't know why, but an overwhelming majority of you were glad to see that Sergio didn't win either.

In case you missed it or would like to cast your own vote, the poll is here.

I really have nothing against him, nor do I dislike him. And when I've seen interviews of him, he comes across as a guy I'd probably like. Some people think he needs an attitude adjustment. He's too cocky or arrogant. And sometimes he comes across as a smartass - none of which bothers me one way or the other. Being somewhat of a smartass myself is why I think I would probably like him - note emphasis on somewhat.

But even with the outfits (which really mess up the HD experience) I simply don't think his play stands out all that much one way or the other. Good enough to be there but just not good enough to win it.

Oh well...on to the results.

There are 262 subscribers and 183 of you voted. That's nearly 70%. Not bad.

Yes (I'm glad Sergio didn't win!): 148 votes
No - I like his outfits, so I wish...: 35 votes

The yesses received 81% of the votes - an overwhelming victory.

So there you have it. Sorry about that Sergio.

Until next time, break a sweat each and every day.

Brian

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Increasing Torso Flexibility for Golf

Here is the post I promised in the newsletter on increasing torso rotation.

In the article, I said the golf swing was complex and any program needed to take this into account. The stretches below do just that.

Each stretch should be performed in two different ways. The first is a more traditional method of stretching and will improve your static flexibility. The other will improve your dynamic flexibility.

For the more traditional method, perform each stretch for 3 sets of 15 seconds. That means to perform the stretch as stated in the text description and hold it for 15 seconds. Relax and then do it two more times.

For the dynamic method, move to the point of feeling the stretch as indicated in the text description and hold for only 2 seconds. Relax and perform again. Repeat this 9 more times for a total of 10 repetitions. Each time you perform the stretch, try to move a little farther. Do this for all of the stretches.

Perform the stretches daily. On one day, perform only the traditional stretches and on the next perform only the dynamic stretches. Go back and forth this way for an entire month and see what a difference this will make.

You'll see results!

Okay, we've got four stretches here. One each for the hamstrings, back of your hips, front of your hips and your torso.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to download the file.

I tried posting the pictures and text descriptions. I really did! I simply could not get them posted short of making a long list - it was too long.

So I created a pdf file that contains them all. Right-click and select save as to download this file.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Resistance training good for heart health?

From the American Heart Association...

"Research shows that when properly supervised and prescribed in the light of a patient's history and condition, whether they have cardiovascular disease or not, resistance training increases muscular strength, endurance, independence, and ability to perform a large range of activities. It reduces disability and enhances quality of life. Other benefits include increase in bone mineral density and lean body mass."

In their recently updated public statement (a full pdf version can be found here) on weight lifitng and heart disease, the AHA has recommended doctors encourage their patients to participate in strength training exercise.

Anyone in the fitness industry worth their credentials on the wall could have told you this years ago. I don't know how many older clients I've trained that walked at least twice as fast once their session was over compared to when it started - no comments about trying to get away from me as fast as possible either :-).

But it's good to know that an organization the size of the AHA is getting serious about weight training for heart health. As we age, health becomes our main concern. And rightfully so. If we can't live independently, the golden years are less enjoyable.

Resistance training increases our ability to live independently. We are stronger. Our joints are more mobile. And, importantly, our balance is better by default. So what other benefits could be more important? If you have some better (or if I've left something important out), please let me know.

If you're not lifting weights, start a program now. It's never too late. There are even fitness centers that cater to those 55 and older. Additionally, most clubs will offer a discount to senior citizens. If the one you're looking into doesn't, go somewhere else.

Until next time, lift weights today and break a sweat. It just might do you some good!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why exercise is good!

Exercise is good. Inflammation in the body is bad! - it's significantly related to a whole host of cardiovascular diseases.

The most frequently measured biomarker of inflammation in the body is C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP indicate high levels of inflammation. Essential fatty acids (Omega 3's, for example) are known to reduce inflammation - so eat some fresh, Wild Salmon today :-). Other foods known to reduce inflammation are fresh fruits and vegetables, like berries, grapes, celery and avocadoes (there are more but that's a quick list). Green tea has some anti-inflammatory characteristics too.

Fitness has been shown to be inversely related to CRP, the more fit you are the less CRP in your bloodstream. What hasn't been very well understood, however, is the mechanism that's in play. For example, if you are highly fit and have low CRP levels, is that because you are fit or are the habits of living your daily lifestyle (ie, diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy doses of essential fatty acids) causing your low levels of CRP.

This study attempted to answer that question.

What they found was that exercise was a significant contributor to low levels of CRP. They looked at sympathetic and parasympathetic tone. The former increases heart rate, respiration, substrate utilization, etc... when you start exercising, while the latter brings these values down, back to resting levels once you stop. Their main finding was a direct relationship between parasympathetic tone and CRP, which means the longer your body takes to get back to resting levels, the higher your levels of CRP. And, conversely, the quicker your body gets back to resting levels, the lower your levels of CRP.

So exercise is good for reducing inflammation in the body. Chalk up another one for the good guys.

Understand this, exercise is good but higher intensity exercise is even better. If you want to work on your body's ability to recover, than do some interval training or other form of high intensity training. It can be cardio, weights, agility drills, anything really, the higher the intensity, the harder your body has to work to recover. Over time, it will recover more quickly and decrease your overall level of inflammation.

So, really, go out and break a sweat today! here in Houston today, that won't be too hard :-)

Dr. Brian


PS. If you need some guidance on your exercise program, sign up for one of our FREE newsletters. If you are a golfer and want to knock 4-5 strokes off your game, get a copy of the Golf Fitness Boot Camp, you can even download it to your computer right now! It will improve your game and the inflammation in your body.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What's the best way to lose weight?

So glad you asked!

There are many ways to effectively lose weight, some better than others. But for most of us, at least according to this study, your plan should have some accountability.

The study compared formal weight loss programs (diet and exercise only) to those that had a meeting/group component included, which they referred to as dietary counseling. Weekly meetings helped participants understand what their bodies were going through, how to deal with setbacks and learning to live a new lifestyle.

Those in the counseling group lost 10-15 pounds and kept it off for approximately 1 year, significantly greater weight loss and long-term success than diet and exercise alone. Now I know what you are thinking, only 10-15 pounds? I want/need to lose 25, 50 pounds or more. That's not the point. The point is they lost weight and kept it off for a year.

If you need to lose more and participate in a program that only helps you lose 15, is that failure? I think it's a darn good success story and gives you all the confidence you need to keep going.

Again, the main point is that they lost weight!

But why?

It's the social support aspect of the dietary counseling. When you have weekly meetings, you're more likely to stick with the program. Encouragement from others within the group builds confidence. These meetings also have someone participate that's "been there, done that." Their experience alone is invaluable. Finally, should you ever miss a meeting, someone will be there to ask you why. If your excuse is lame, the guilt alone can be enough to get you over a hurdle.

Back to the title of the post. Is this the best way to lose weight? On an individual basis, maybe - maybe not. For most people, weekly meetings (counseling, inspiration, motivation - however you want to label them) work extremely well for long-term success.

Remember, losing weight and then gaining it back is not the ultimate. Keeping it off is.

Have you been in a program like this? What are your thoughts? Have you tried, tried and tried to lose weight, only to have a little success and then fall back to the old habits?

We can help. First, sign up for our fitness center newsletter BSFC Monthly. It's absolutely free and comes with nice bonus gifts for signing up. Plus, each month it's loaded with all sorts of good information on fitness, diet, health and exercise.

If you live in Houston or pass through the SW part of town on a regular basis, our Fit Heart Membership is just the ticket for you. The benefits, amenities and services associated with this membership are absolutely second to none!

Until next time, break a sweat today and eat some fruits and vegetables!

Dr. Brian

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Confused yet?

One major problem in the fitness/health/wellness industry is the lack of a clear, concise message. For example, how much exercise do you need? How often should you exercise? What form of exercise is best?

Pose these questions to 10 different trainers and you're likely to get 10 different answers.

And it's not just personal trainers. Different think tanks, non-profits and the like involved in the fitness, health and wellness industry have published their own recommendations. Some say accumulate 30 minutes per day, some say you should exercise for at least an hour each day and some recommend high intensity exercise. They are, quite literally, all over the place.

I could sit here and dissect each one, but that's not the point of this post, so I won't do that.

The point of this post is to shed light on how easily it can appear that an entire field of study has no clear, concise message.

Take for example these two headlines, which appeared back-to-back, no less under the heading of depression news in my daily medical research update.

  1. Small Increase In Birth Defects Found Among Infants Of Women Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy, Studies Say
  2. SSRI Antidepressants Do Not Pose Major Birth Defect Risk

Although not identified in the title, the anti-depressants in question in the first study were SSRI's (like Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft). Yep, the same as those in the second study. So one says there is risk and the other says there is no risk.

Confused yet?

I haven't examined the studies in-depth to determine if differences in methodology might explain varying results, although if I had to guess, they probably will. But, again that's not my point.

My point is the message. It's eminently confusing and reeks of hidden agendas or a severe misunderstanding of the effects these drugs could potentially have - which is a whole separate issue, and quite disturbing when you really think about it.

It's one thing for the fitness/health/wellness industry to lack a consistent message when it comes to physical activity. Enough people need to simply get up and move that the inconsistency will do little harm, if any at all.

It's a completely different story when even medical researchers have a hard time agreeing on the potentially adverse effects a particular drug may have on an unborn child.

And that's why I'm confused.

Monday, July 02, 2007

We can do this for you...

A hard-copy workout program, with a daily schedule and other physical activity related material, including instructions, photos, motivational techniques and more has been found to be more effective at increasing and maintaining physical activity levels than phone-based methods.

The results of this study are encouraging on several fronts. First, proper instruction is vitally important. I think, at least intuitively, we all know that a large part of a personal trainer's job is instruction. When it's done properly, everyone wins.

When it includes the social/psychological issues associated with starting or maintaining a physical activity program, it's even more successful. For example, developing strategies to overcome barriers, finding social support, dealing with negative thoughts, etc... are important social and psychological issues that can sabotage the best laid plans.

That is the major reason (at least in my eyes) the study found significant differences in print materials versus the phone. When you get off the phone, without something in your hand, sitting on your desk or the counter at home, it's out of sight, out of mind.

The print materials are different. They are sitting there as a constant reminder of what you intend to do. Sort of like Stephen Covey taking on exercise - that plan is your "7 Habits!"

It's also why I think the internet is a valuable resource in your quest to get better. Wheter you want to lose weight, play better golf, improve your health or simply feel better, the internet can help you do this. There are a number of trainers that will train you over the internet and the beauty of it is that you can live anywhere and use a trainer from anywhere.

Don't like the trainers at your local box-store fitness center? No problem. Get on the internet and find someone you do like. Do your homework. Make sure what they offer is what you want.

One aspect of online training that you should address is interaction. There isn't anything quite like a face-to-face meeting between a trainer and a client. For the most part, this can be alleviated with excellent support materials and access to the trainer. That can come through email, individual phone consultations or seminars via the phone or internet.

Another aspect of this is the ability to deliver materials that help you along the way. For example, are there workbooks or handouts that can help you deal with any psychological and/or social issues you may run into?

When you have satisfactory answers to these questions, you will have found a good source for online training.

In conclusion, we are in the process of developing our online training program. It will come complete with all the support you need, in the form of the Achieve! manual, which is based on social cognitive theory and transtheoretical model. It's a step-by-step guide for getting and staying physically active. Additionally, you get workouts with photos, text descriptions, videos (coming soon), monthly teleseminars and more.

For more information, check out our current online offering, if you are already a member, check out the monthly improvement programs we have.

If you'd like to stay abreast of changes, offerings and the like, sign-up for one of our newsletters.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Link Update

A few articles from various parts...

Fun on a course in PA, here and here

Espousing the importance of fitness for golf

Tiger in Men's Fitness (only a preview of the article, you'll need the magazine to get the rest)


Personal Training School in Houston

Last week the Fitness Center signed an agreement with the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI). NPTI offers a diploma program in Personal Training. The curriculum is very comprehensive, 500-hours including 300 in the classroom and 200 in the fitness center.

As with the Vortex Equipment, signing this agreement means we are the first in Texas once again. There are no NPTI Schools in Texas, further evidence we are leaders in the fitness field!

Offering a school for personal trainers ensures confidence amongst membership, trust within the community and consistent access to quality personal trainers. Over time this will positively impact the fitness center.

I'm excited as this is a great opportunity for the Fitness Center. It's also a great opportunity for those living in the Houston area wanting to become Personal Trainers.

The next step is to get approval from the State. Once accomplished, we'll be ready to offer our first class.

Go to the NPTI website for more information on the school.

For those of you wanting updates on our first class, we'll do our best to post those on the blog. However, we'll certainly keep subscribers to our newsletter up-to-date. BSFC Monthly is published the first of each month. It's absolutely free and when you sign up, you'll get a couple of bonus gifts, including a free workout and a copy of my nutrition Ebook, Food & You.

Feel free to also post questions here.

Dr. Brian

Monday, June 25, 2007

If finally happened yesterday,

I got to play golf!

It was the first time since July of last year - way too long. If you recall, in July I suffered the painful and uncomfortable neck impingement. Just when I was fully recovered and ready to play again, the Nationwide Tour Championship headed down here to Houston. Since I gave some golf-fitness talks, I was busy preparing and unable to play.

Then soon after that, I bought the fitness center and really haven't had time play.

Until yesterday.

I played with my brother and some of his buddies at Pecan Grove Country Club. It's a nice, mature layout that puts a premium on accuracy - not exactly what you want when coming back from nearly a year off.

The front 9, not so good: five lost balls, 2 wins, 6 pushes (no carryovers) and a loss in Wolf. I was happy with the way I hit the ball, most shots went straight - no draw or fade action. I was just too handsy and pulled everything left. Shorter irons were the worst - I'd hit wedge from 115 and completely miss the green.

Regroup on the back 9.

It was much better: only 1 lost ball (crushed a drive that went through the dogleg and straight into a backyard!), 2 more wins and 7 pushes in Wolf. Overall Wolf results, net loss of $3 - damn!

But back to my game...

I relaxed my hands and that seemed to alleviate the pulls. Shorter irons still needed some help but I had three legitimate birdie putts - even though I didn't make a single one. I was pleased with the back 9 and shooting a 43, all things considered.

I won't tell you what I shot on the front - it was worse than that :-) but going into the round, given my layoff I told myself that I'd be happy with an 85. Double the back and it's 86, so I'm pretty pleased.

Now, it's Monday morning, 8:30am. I'm at the check-in desk, greeting and talking to members, and watching the rain through the window.

As my mind drifts back to yesterday, I'm thinking it sure would be nice to be playing again.

Even in the rain!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And it continues...

Potential New Target For Type 2 Diabetes Found By Penn Researchers

"We hope that drug companies will look for new ways to modify fat metabolism in type 2 diabetics using these possible targets."

Big Pharma dovetails quite nicely with the tertiary nature of our health care system. You don't visit the doctor before you get sick. Type II diabetes and most chronic cardiovascular conditions are almost completely related to lifestyle. Eat a diet high in nutrient deficient, highly processed foods, do very little physical activity and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict glucose metabolic problems in your future.

But the purpose of this post is to shed light on the dependence of federal research monies on Big Pharma. The quote above is taken directly from the article and shows that perfectly. It's as if researchers using federal money are directing the research focus of Big Pharma.

Why do we need more or different drugs when a perfectly acceptable solution is available? Why can't there be a quote like this directed at lifestyle change? It is a perfectly acceptable solution.

I closed a previous post by asking if I was being cynical, maybe I am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How did they get there in the 1st place?

As a former academic (and fully aware of the importance of scientific publications), there are times when I scratch my head and wonder, "Federal dollars were spent on this!"

In nearly all cases, outcomes are predictable within an expected range. It's called the scientific method. With no desire to get into a discussion of the scientific method, a recent study looked at the role of diet on recovery from colon cancer.

You can read the summary. Here is the first paragraph:
"Patients with stage III colon cancer who have undergone surgery and chemotherapy with the goal of cure may have a higher risk of relapsing and dying early if they follow a predominantly "Western" diet of red meat, fatty foods, refined grains, and desserts, according to research led by investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston."

As I read this summary, all I could think was, "What type of diet do you think got them there in the first place?" I'm sure this research was needed somewhere, after all, if a study doen'st prove it, how do you know it's true.

But there is some good news...we know now the answer to the question and a "prudent" diet has made some headlines.

Am I just being cynical?

Can a daily dose of sunlight prevent cancer?

According to this summary and proponents of vitamin D, yes your risk of cancer (and many other diseases) can be significantly reduced with normal levels of vitamin D.

But what does that have to do with sunlight, you ask?

Good question. After all, cancer institutes, dermatological societies and even sunscreen manufacturers extoll the benefits of sunscreen and limited exposure for skin health. Skin cancer is dangerous and can be fatal. So if sunlight is the main culprit, how can it be helpful?

Our bodies make vitamin D when exposed to the sun. In fact, significant rises can be seen in as little as 15-20 minutes.

But there is a catch...

Get a daily dose without sunscreen...it blocks vitamin D production.

How much exposure? At least 15 minutes and some say up to 1 hr. Any more than that and you will need the sunscreen.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Why do they do this?

"Scientists in Indiana are reporting progress toward development of low glycemic and slowly digestible starch, a form of starch that would be less apt to cause the spike in blood sugar - and perhaps sharp hunger pangs - that many individuals experience after eating bread, baked goods, and other high-carbohydrate foods."

The rest of the summary can be read here.

My only question is why?

I can understand the need for people to consume healthier foods - particularly than those listed in the quote above. But what if we just ate less of that food and more fruits and vegetables, healthier meats and drank more water? What if we just ate grains as they grow in the field?

Look in your pantry. Foods in plastic bags and carboard boxes are loaded with things that used to be good, healthy foods. Take enriched white flour for example. Out in the field, its a perfectly healthy and natural food.

To end up as a cake, bread or other food, it gets processed. The problem with processing is that it removes the good stuff, mainly the fiber, vitamins and minerals. As the end-product food stuff, it's a plain-old, bland, quickly digesting starch.

Now, based on the objectives of these scientists, a new, more slowly digesting starch is being manufactured. And they're making progress. I don't know if I should jump for joy or just ask the question: "What is wrong with this picture?"

If we have a perfectly healthy food, process it and turn it into something that is not good for our digestive system, why do we want to further alter it so that it is better for our digestive system? Before you answer, think about the steps being taken to make the food better.

Is this coming full circle or am I just missing something completely obvious here? Please enlighten me!

Is your testosterone low?

A recent study presented at the Endocrine Society Annual meeting suggested that males over 50 with low testosterone had a 33% greater risk of all-cause mortality than those who had higher levels of testerone. Low testosterone was identified as the lower-limit found in healthy young males.

The study followed 800 men for 18 years on average, a large sample size for a very long period of time. The low testosterone group had the following characteristics:

  • higher levels of inflammation markers, which contribute to several forms of cardiovascular disease
  • larger waist measurement (greater than 40 inches)
  • metabolic syndrome - low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood sugars and hypertension.

Over the 18-year period, men in the low-testosterone group had a 33% greater risk from all-cause mortality than the normal / high testosterone group. This is a stout finding given the characteristics of the study, indicating that even if problems exist in methodology the results are likely portable in more controlled studies.

So what does this mean for you? If you are male, over 50 and taking prescription medication for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and have a waist over 40 inches, get your testosterone levels checked. If you aren't taking medication for anything listed above but have any of the symptoms below, get them checked too. Preferably by an MD trained in Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy. The synthetic hormones cranked out by big pharma just don't seem to work as well.

Other symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • reduced quality of sleep
  • easier to lose your temper
  • lack of drive
  • reduced sex drive
  • significant decrease in muscle mass
  • significant increase in body fat

The symptoms above can happen from time-to-time but persistent appearances indicate something beyond the natural aging process.

If you notice these symptoms, the best thing you can do is, again, have your testosterone levels checked, start an exercise program and modify your diet.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Answering this research question

Reading this summary, I felt an urge to blurt out: "No blank, Sherlock!"

A recent study published in JAMA, a leading pillar of medical research dissemination, compared low GI diets with low-fat diets on insulin secretion in high insulin secreters.

On the surface, this appears to be a legitimate research question. Insulin is related to glucose metabolism and given the current state of obesity and type II diabetes in America, this might be something we should know.

However, most people in the medical fields should intuitively know this. The glycemic index of any food indicates the level it raises blood sugar when consumed. The higher the glycemic index, the higher the blood sugar response. For example, twinkies rate rather high on the glycemic index. Consume two or three of them and your blood sugar will spike.

At least for a while. In response, your body will release (secrete) insulin to bring it back down to normal.

If you are a high insulin secreter, you're either type II diabetic, pre-diabetic or have a non-lifestyle related condition effecting your ability to metabolize blood sugar. You have to secrete more because the insulin you do release is becoming more and more insensitive to blood sugar. When this starts happening, the amount you secrete increases just to get your blood sugar back to normal. Over time your ability to regulate blood sugar becomes difficult and you become type II diabetic. For more info, go here.

But back to the study...

All markers of cardiovascular health were improved following low GI diet when compared to a low-fat diet. Again, this makes perfect sense. You're not obese or diabetic because you eat a low-fat diet of whole, natural foods. You're obese or diabetic (even if you eat a low-fat diet) because you are consuming overly-processed foods - cardboard boxes and plastics bags. The fat they contain is not healthy (trans fat) and to increase palatability (here) and shelf-life, sugars and preservatives are added.

The end result is a low-fat food that has a high GI, which increases insulin secretion when consumed. And the cycle continues...

I'll conclude by saying that as a former academic, I'm well aware the importance peer-reviewed publications play in the tenure process. So in some ways, I understand why this paper was published. Without knowing all the details, I can only hope this paper was part of a larger study with these data points already collected, making the question easy to answer.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Training online!

On Monday, May 21, 2007, we'll debut the beta version of our online Golf-Fitness Boot Camp. For several reasons, this is great news for you!

First, even though it's the beta version, all features of the full-blown online Golf-Fitness Boot Camp will be fully tested and in working order before we complete beta testing. If you ever considered improving your golf game through a fitness program, this is your best opportunity to do so.

Why? Because while in beta test mode, the online Golf Fitness Boot Camp will be absolutely FREE! All you will have to do is register and we'll take care of the rest. To stay abreast of the updates, sign up for Brian's Report.

Second, you can't get a workout like this anywhere else - all for FREE! So sign-up for the trial period and use it to your advantage.

Third, by the time beta testing is complete, you'll be able to hit the ground running with your workouts. In other words, the learning curve associated with getting started won't eat into your monthly (or annual) payment.

That's it. Those are three good reasons to get started. Now, sign-up for Brian's Report and don't miss this opportunity!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Finally back to posting!

It's good to be back!

I know, it's been a while but I have a good excuse - I bought a fitness center.


Unfortunately, that kept me from finishing my journey. But in case you were wondering, I've fully recovered and have no ill effects! Now, if I could just find the time to get out on the course.

I'm still deciding on how to best utilize my blog. There certainly will be fitness center updates, videos of workouts and camps and more. You can subscribe to the feed for updates - just use the Atom Syndication below and to your right. Alternatively, you can sign up for Brian's Report, my golf-fitness newsetter.

One idea I've been thinking about are health related posts. I subscribe to several medical news alert services. Nearly everyday I see a headline that makes me scratch my head or simply say "Duh!" I'm thinking about publishing these to the blog 3-4 times per week. Hopefully it will be entertaining and educational for you.

What do you think?

Any ideas?