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 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.