Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Sunday Link Love

Hey Friends, Happy Sunday!

I felt like chatting with you this morning (started this morning, ended at night as usual) as I slowly pack up my summer life to head back home¬†to work my summer job. This job is not really what I wanted, as it in no way helps me work towards my career goals, but I’m trying to stay positive about it. It’s money I suppose and money that I desperately need.

In other news..

I moved out of my old apartment and into my new one for the fall, which I have to pay for all summer despite not living there…ugh stupid renting.

With that, I had to say my goodbyes to Rita and Emily (my housemates) which was sad ūüė¶ Mama is going to miss them and they better keep me in the loop on the daily!¬†

…But My new housemates are great. It will be a good year I know it!

I graduated my undergrad (2nd one) with an 86 GPA…please see me and give me all the scholarship monnies…please. I know it’s not 90’s but something!

I hit my squat PR and then raised it by 5lbs, meaning that I lifted 1.85x my body weight. I have never one-rep maxed before at anything and the feeling is so strange and exciting at the same time. I was practically not feeling I could of properly yesterday due to how sore I was but all worth it friends

And yeah, so that is the gist of my life this week, so onto my post today. I decided to do a “Link Love” post to share some interesting articles/podcasts I have come across in the past two weeks or so. I hope you find some of them as interesting as I did.

Dietary Guidelines should reflect new understandings about adult protein needs (Layman 2009)

This talks about the new findings for protein and why the intake recommendations for adults are, well, wrong on many levels. Here’s the synopsis:

~Protein should not be % of calories, it should be off body weight. If you are of a given height but are loosing weight (ie. dropping calories) your protein shouldn’t drop just because your calories are.

~Protein is VITAL for your life. You know your body is made of protein yes?

~Most adults benefit from an intake greater than the recommended one (0.8g/kg/day)

It also talks about protein distribution and how we tend to eat more protein in our meals as the day goes on. This suggests that we eat very little at breakfast, which is not optimal as we have been fasting overnight, and that we eat large amounts at dinner.

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The blue highlighted portion is showing maximum muscle¬†protein synthesis. We need at least 15g of protein to stimulate protein synthesis and take a peak at a typical breakfast…

Although they stated that this uneven distribution has not really been shown to negatively affect growth of children or adults, it may have large impacts on older adults. Here, protein intake is critical as they tend to be in a negative nitrogen balance (or state of protein breakdown) and need more than a typical adult to maintain neutral or positive balance.

Finally, take note that protein is more satiating. So when¬†a meal is proportionally more balanced with protein (rather than mostly carbohydrates..like the typical American breakfast) you will be fuller longer. Alternatively, carbohydrate rich meals tend to not keep you as full longer. This doesn’t mean that carbs are bad, it simply runs the risk of individuals over eating their needs because they find themselves hungry more often.

So could protein be an aid in better weight management? 

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IceCream4PRs Podcast #30 – Gender Differences in Training feat. Menno HenselmansJeff Nippard

Really cool podcast diving into the differences between men and women for training and nutrition in addition to the genetic potential that women have for muscle development specifically.

Relative to their starting point (which is often different), females have been shown to have the same relative muscle growth and protein synthesis potential as men! So if you take a man and woman¬†who weigh the same, you can find that they can grow the same proportion of muscle. Differences in fatty acid composition in the body was then stated as a potential reason as to why we don’t see very muscular women in addition to inefficient or non-optimal training for their body physiology and birth control. This is controversial however, but these are some of the recent findings.

This is not to create fears in women that they will ‘blow up’ like a man when they touch a weight, because as you can see from a subjective perspective, the number of women walking around with the same level of muscularity as a male is quite small. It was the thought¬†that this was potentially more socio-cultural in the sense that many women don’t train¬†to the same degree as males and/or if they do train, they don’t optimize their growth due to personal preferences or lack of knowledge. There is also some whispers that oral¬†contraceptives¬†decrease the rate of muscle growth.¬†

Why Has the American Approach to Heart Disease Failed?– Chris Kresser

This is an interesting take on heart disease and challenges the notion that heart disease is due to the clogging of our arteries, specifically from saturated fats. What is interesting is that many just follow along with the idea that arteries get clogged and that this is the main driving factor of heart disease when thats not actually the full story. Yes, ‘clogging’ does happen, per say, but that is only after the walls of the vessels are narrowed due to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). This build-up is an inflammatory response¬†that, which he stated, is most often the result of metabolic syndrome and/or insulin resistance.

Its funny, but those syndromes are often helped with higher fat and lower carb dietary interventions…

Higher fats you say to help heart disease…Hmmm…

Anxiety: Are Nutritional Deficiencies A Common Cause – Mark Sisson

An interesting article as it brings up a topic that is close to my own heart, anxiety. Although I would have to do my own research (as I feel sometimes that Mark may be a bit bias sometimes) and I just like to back up my words with my own readings, the idea of incorporating foods that perhaps have anxiety reducing effect is something I think many people could benefit from..

if, of course, they actually do something…

Gut Bacteria Tell The Brain What Animals Should Eat

This article was based off of a brand spankin new journal article by Leitao- Goncalves et al (April 2017) that looked at the common fruit fly and how there appeared to be an association between their gut flora and eating the right foods to provide them with all of their essential amino acids. Although there are a few flaws with this study that limit it’s generalizability to humans (hello we aren’t flies, and we have more bacteria in our guts then them), it sparks an interesting idea to look into. Can your gut bacteria trigger cravings for certain foods that optimize your health?¬†

I feel that this is entirely possible because we have found that those who are obese tend to have different gut bacteria communities than those who are leaner and that those specific communities lend themselves to negative health outcomes.

Stay Single Until You Meet A Guy Like This…

Corny? Maybe. But it pulled at my romantic heart strings a bit. Best line? 

Stay single until you meet the guy who never stops trying to keep you…Because he knows getting you wasn‚Äôt the hard part but constantly giving you a reason to stay is what you deserve.

Oh and of course a solid finisher…

The one who changes the standard you once had and suddenly no one can compare.

#Mush.

And finally to end off this post..

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This is a tweet from Sohee Lee’s Twitter (you should check her out, she works alongside Layne Norton and Brett Contreras and is a lady of science!).

Its a good solid reminder because I think everyone knows this to be true but always believe they have found an exception somehow.

Hope you had a fabulous Sunday Friends

-Chelsea


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Know Your Influence TOL

I may be the most confident that I have ever been but the words of one single person (be it they are a significant person in my life) can turn my confidence on its tail in 2 seconds flat.

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I could have 2 million strangers tell me that I’m looking much better and that I’m growing but the single hesitation or disapproving words from one of two people in my life can sting more than no else and leave me spiralling back into a place of anxiety and feeling self conscious.

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Why is it that I can block others and not let those things affect me, but yet, the words of one person, albeit the fact that I know they are not what that person really feels (it is what comes out in the times of frustration/worry) literally breaks off a piece of me.

I know why. I want to make those around me happy. If they are not happy with me or nervous for me in any way, it makes me upset and anxious.

Now making a connection to the title of this post, don’t take this as me saying they need to keep their words to themselves BUT I think they also need to step back and realize how much influence they truly have on me. When they are feeling frustrated, don’t come at me with things like…

You’re not gaining

I see no difference

You’re not working hard

You don’t want to get better.

These are their worries. Their frustrations. Their expectations. It’s not fair for them to put those on me in such a negative way.

Again, these are frustrations coming out, but if you only knew how it affected me. These words make me not only turn on myself but also makes me angry.

Who are you to tell me I’m not trying? You’re not here to see me 90% of the time! Are you living in my body when I’m having a bad tummy day and the sight of food repulses me?

No.

I have worked my ass off all year and I HAVE GROWN! I know I have. Both mentally and physically. I have grown.

I need to to protect myself better against the words of these influential people. I love them dearly and will obviously not separate myself from them but I need to somehow let those comments fly on past me better. Somehow, some way.

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This is not what I choose to do. I will speak up for myself but I also will know when to hold back not to let them win, but, instead, to not give my energy to it. 

I’m happy with my progress. I still know I’m moving forward and that won’t change, but I am seeing a lot of great things. Somedays I wish things could progress a bit faster, yes, but I like to be happy with the movements I have made because I have worked DAMN hard for every millimetre of a step forward I have gained.

Don’t take that away from me. That’s not right of you to do.

……

Turn that on the other side…

I have come to notice¬†more and more lately MY OWN influence on other people. I have never really felt like I’m a huge influencer more than I do now. I’m not trying to boost myself up here, I have just come to realize that I play a significant role in the growth of some other people I surround myself with.

I guess everyone has this role but when you come to realize that perhaps your words really stick with certain people, you need to be cautious with how you use that power.

I am a person that some choose to come to in times of distress for a listener and for advice.

I have come to be seen as an educated individual of sorts that people come to for knowledge.

People ask me what to do with certain things.

People see my passions and come to me for information and advice on that topic because they trust in the things I say.

This comes with a degree of pressure too! I’m happy with my knowledge base. I have built that. My education has helped, but the passion for my interests has led me into doing self-driven research and I have learned a lot on my own.

I have helped some people

They have thanked me with great sincerity for my time, knowledge and advice.

Despite being proud of how I have developed my craft, I always want to be better. I want to be ready for ANYTHING they come to me with.

I also want to be better at not forming expectations of people. I¬†always have to work on pulling my own strong biases back. I never want to come off negative because I feel that¬†something someone else is doing doesn’t align with what I think will help them.

It hurts and frustrates me when..

People say they want something but don’t do it

They don’t give 100% to something

They don’t own up to things

They don’t do all they can for their health…¬†

The first and last things really get to me and sometimes I let it than come out at them as a response that perhaps appears disapproving or judgmental. I HATE this about myself. I yearn to build people up and love themselves and all they are!

I need to accept that other people may have different drives than me. They have different priorities than me and perhaps things that seem huge to me, are not that important to them (the health thing I just don’t get, but ..yeah..).

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Bak to the main point…I have an influence on others. I know this role is clear. With that in mind, I need to control my own biases and realize that they are who they are and I need to be as supportive as I can even in times when they come to me for advice and than continue to do something I see as unproductive. I can’t let this anger¬†or disappoint me because they need to follow their own path.

I’m getting better, but there is always room for growth.

I hope this post wasn’t too scattered, but this is what Thinking Out Loud is about right? Spewing my thoughts out in a post like throwing paint on a canvas right? Thanks Amanda, thank you for giving me a platform for being my own Picasso….

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… and than attempting to understand my splatters.

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Overall take home point:

Know your influence on others. You may not ask for this kind of power, but you have to take and roll with what you are given. You have the power to break a person or build them up. Ensure you’re doing the latter.

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-Chelsea


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All Hail The Skinny Teas…Fitness Friday 39

Do we all know by now that those people on IG who sell Skinny Teas are sell outs?

I really hope that most people don’t still believe that these teas actually cause real weight loss all on their own because..

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..They don’t. #SorryNotSorry

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Apparently everyone loves them. They are super easy to do and voila great results.

~Midsections were made smaller

~Pants sizes were shrunken

~Overall well being was greatly enhanced

~Weight loss goals were met

So what is it?

Basically, many of these teas (some may differ, but I went OG with the Skinny Mint) provide you with a tea or more to drink during the day at specific times. They are said to have these weight loss benefits and you will start to shed the weight and ultimately feel great.

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For example, in this particular TeaTox starter kit (shown above) you get an AM tea that contains:

Green Tea

Nettle Leaves

Yerba Mate

Dandelion

Guarana Fruit

Apparently all of these together are supposed to give you a great boost in the morning.

Then there is a night time tea that contains:

Ginger Root

Lemon Grass

Peppermint

Hawthorn Berries

Orange Leaves

Senna Leaves

Licorice Root

Psyllium Husk

These are supposed to come together to have you feeling restored, less bloated and cleansed.

I will say that the ingredients themselves do have some research to back up their benefits that may include what was mentioned. I will list some below. Overall, these are great natural ingredients but their effects are way blown out of proportion if you ask me. See here for more information on the rest of ingredients.

Nettle Leaves¬†–> Apparently some diuretic properties (mostly animals), antioxidant

Dandelion –> diuretic properties, potential laxative effects, limited research on it’s benefit as a bile stimulant (ie. liver tonic)

Hawthorn –> much of the research done supports benefits for heart disease. Other things include antioxidant properties, diuretic properties, anti-inflammatory.

Ginger–> some support for it as increasing gastric motility, having antioxidant properties and reduction of bloating

Licorice –> anti-inflammatory, protects the cells of the liver (in vivo/animal studies), adrenal support, antioxidant

Realistically, none of these ingredients on their own or used in combination have a strong¬†scientific backing on inducing weight loss on their own. Seems like its a lot of peeing if you ask me…Perhaps if you drink these along with following a fitness and dietary lifestyle that is appropriate for weight loss than you would see those results. At that point though, did the tea really do anything for you?

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Sure, if the above properties are actually valid, perhaps it gave you some natural forms of energy. Perhaps it helped keep things moving so that you felt ‘purified’ or perhaps it helped you feel less bloated due to the diuretic properties in some of the herbs BUT that doesn’t = real weight loss.

I’m emphasizing this because all of the celebrities and ads suggesting that this is some magic gem that will cause weight loss are really being misleading. Oh just drink the tea and you will be skinny they say..

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There is no proof of this and even their products say this!

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary from person to person and are not guaranteed.

…Benefits of reading the fine print…

You know what they also say…

This tea should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Seek professional advice before using if you are under medical supervision. Do not consume this tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or prolonged diarrhea occur desist use and consult your doctor.<- thanks senna leaf…

So, the hopes of many is that they can continue to eat whatever the hell they want and loose weight, but that simply isn’t the case and¬†these products should not be marketed as weight loss tools. Really, even if any¬†weight loss was seen, it would be so minimal or hard to pick out of other lifestyle efforts that they wouldn’t really be able to be acknowledged.

So do yourself a favour and simply watch Kylie Jenner love her some tea and waist trainers and save yourself the $40.

And I’m out.

Happy Friday Friends! 

-Chelsea


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Citrulline Malate…Fitness Friday 38

My friends! It’s March can you believe it? Seems like it was just New Years and now we are three months in already and Spring is in close reaching distance. Guess that is what the internship/Masters application process does to you…makes time fly.

Sidenote: I saw robins yesterday! I was partially excited (cuz spring sign!) but more so concerned because this was after a full on 20-25 degree reduction in temperature in one day. Please don’t be baby-makin yet birdies!

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I’d be making that face too if it was 16 one day then I woke up to -10.In fact, I probably did look like that yesterday…

So coming back to another active ingredient in pre-workouts and also BCAA’s, I have always really wondered what this guy was good for. I mean, my coach said it was a good thing and it provided benefits, but apparently I was too busy to think about educating myself on why. I don’t like that….

I always stand for the whole ‘know what and why you are putting something into your body” philosophy and I obviously didn’t follow through with that on this one.

Time to take a scientific looky at it to settle my conscience.

Citrulline Malate

What is it?

Citrulline malate is the quite simply the¬†combination of citrulline and malate. Pretty obvious eh? Citrulline is an important component of the urea cycle, which is where urea is formed from ammonia in the liver. This conversion is important because ammonia is actually toxic in the body if it builds up, while urea is a bit less harmful. Malate, on the other hand, is an intermediate in the ¬†Kreb’s cycle, which is the cycle that releases energy from our macronutrients through oxidizing acetyl CoA.

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What does it do?

It has been used in the past as an aid to decrease muscle fatigue and increase functionality. Many studies have shown these effects, whether human or animal (I will present some of the human ones below), in addition to speculating other benefits such as higher clearance of ammonia from the blood post exercise, a possible role in lactate metabolism and some effect on acid-base balance. The mechanism behind all of this remains unknown at this point however.

So, although it has shown benefits for athletic performance, particularly¬†with respect to a¬†more efficiently functioning muscle , we don’t have a strong conclusions as to how it is doing it.

So, below I will highlight a few studies and provide their findings, conclusions and hypotheses regarding a potential mode of action.

Bendahan et al (2002).¬†“CM ingestion resulted in a significant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production.” Their conclusion? The mechanism of CM’s action that reduces weakness and fatigue could be that it increases aerobic ATP production through providing more of the intermediates to replenish those that were lost more quickly than if you weren’t supplementing. [6g CM used]

Perez-Guisado et al (2010). Their study found that males athletes supplemented with CM saw more than 50% increases in the number of repetitions for barbell bench and a significant decrease in muscle fatigue 24 and 48 hours following the study’s training regime in a double blind, within subject study. In their research, they stated that studies have begin to speculate a role of ammonia in in “blocking cellular energy processes” and causing earlier fatigue. It has also been seen that it plays a role in NO reactions, which has been associated with recovery. Overall they concluded that the results from their study showed that one dose of CM helped with recovery and performance in high-intensity anaerobic activities with short rest times.¬†[8g CM used]

Sureda et al (2010). They took subjects and had them cycle for ~137km with one difficult hill. All were given the same amount of food and fluid. They measured all variables (amino acids and all important exercise related metabolites) 3 hours prior to the race, 15 minutes following and 3 hours following. Overall, they found that the CM group showed a significant decease in the amount of the branched chain amino acids post race, which they said was due to the BCAAs being more effectively used for energy, than the control and higher arginine concentrations, which would contribute to many arginine derived metabolites such as nitrite, urea, creatinine and hormones like growth hormone that are beneficial for muscle growth and function. Finally, they also saw greater nitrogen availability in the CM group, which they stated could increase protein synthesis and protein concentrations in the muscle during exercise leading to better use of the amino acids (particularly the BCAAs). [6g CM used]

Overall, although I only highlighted a few interesting studies I found, I will say that the¬†vast majority of studies I saw (which, I couldn’t have seen them all obviously…) showed significant improvements with its usage, so I have some confidence that it could provide a benefit to those who are looking (and can afford) to get a supplement that may actually do something useful¬†and perhaps give a slight edge with recovery. Is it required to be a better athlete? Well no. Like all supplements, its not a magic¬†powder that will give you huge energy bursts or make your recovery happen in 5 seconds. It is simply supplementing your routine and could provide some little bits of assistance and/or performance enhancements.

Happy Friday Friends!

-Chelsea


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Don’t Flatten Yourself Out…Fitness Friday 37

My friends, today…actually, scratch that,¬†this entire week has been exhausting. So much for Reading Week eh?

So what was I doing running all over the place? Graduate school interviews…thats what I was doing.¬†I had the MAN program (combined master/internship) at Guelph U on Wednesday, phone interview with London Health Sciences Internship yesterday and trekking it all the way to London for my interview with Brescia’s department for their combined program today.

I’m exhausted. The face-to-face ones were intense, but the Brescia one was a bit more casual and relaxed due to the group setting rather than one-on-one, which I had the pleasure of doing for the MAN program.

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Overall, its 2-2.5 hours of them probing your head with scenarios in timed stations. One after the other after the other and that is all on top of the fact that you are super nervous because these will dictate the future of your fall semester. Catastrophizing much?

Ugh.

I did it though. I didn’t die and I feel overall they went well. Now to try to relax for this weekend to let my stomach come back to normal (hello camel belly¬†thanks to cortisol overload…)

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Anyways, I wasn’t planning on doing this today because, I’m sorry, I’m tired, but I was listening to a Youtube collab between Steve Cook and Layne Norton on contest prep myths that I just had to share.

It’s not only because right now is cutting season for the spring and summer shows, but also because so many people still fail to turn to science and simply follow some of the engrained procedures (dogmas) of the final stages of prep that really have no evidence to support their benefits.

So, for your education and¬†entertainment, check out the video link below for the full discussion and head to my lil summary below so that you too can work at bringing your best ‘package’ to the stage¬†if thats in the future for you.

They also discussed flexible dieting on prep, but I was more interested in the sodium/water cuts.

Cutting sodium is a no no.

Cutting water works against you.

Overall, these two things alone will leave you looking flat on your day to shine. Meanwhile, the next day you look the best you have ever looked because, well, you ate some salt and drank some water.

Why?

Quoting Dr. Norton, lets see his explanations on why these things really work against you, despite the fact they are seen as ‘common practices’ for the competitors.

So, as we all know, our body likes ‘sameness’ and it works hard to keep the body in a state of homeostasis. So, if you start to try to take things away, it has ways to bring you back to normal. Although this ability is great for situations where you are not in control and needing to ‘survive,’ these compensatory¬†mechanisms are often NOT what you want when you are trying to look your best…aka shredded.

So one, you cut your water. When you cut water, the water is often intially lost from the extracellular space (i.e. outside the tissue/cell/muscle), not the intracellular space. That being said, when you loose that extracellular water, your body needs to re-balance that because volume is important to keep the same. So, to do this, you will end up loosing water from the intracellular space and adding water outside the cell. So a deflated muscle cell is what you end up with.

You than add to this problem by also cutting sodium because, once again, the body needs certain amount to maintain functionality. So what does it do? Your blood levels have been shown to stay the same and it’s mostly due to a few more compensatory mechanisms. Overall, if you’re not getting any sodium your body gunna loose any either, meaning you are not¬†going to excrete ANY sodium. This is because another hormone (ADH) starts getting upregulated due to water volume changes and that causes you to reabsorb sodium and also hold water (because you cannot reabsorb sodium without water).

So these two combined simply lead to flat muscles and a watery appearance as all that water goes right to the extracellular space, which is where you want the least amount of water. Great for stage eh?

“If your muscle is not pressing against the skin, you will appear watery and not as tight as you want… Muscle tissue without water is spongy, shrivelled and just doesn’t look good”

Other issues that come along with your body being stressed…

~Bloating and general gastric upset that can lead to you not being as tight and shredded. This may be partially due to the fact that the transporters of carbohydrates in the gut are dependant on sodium. With these not working as efficiently, malabsorption of some carbohydrates can occur. Unfortunately for you, in many cases, those are than fermented which causes gastric issues. This also means that you are going to be absorbing as many of those carbs are you are eating.

~Low sodium often makes it really hard to get a pump or any vascularity going

Other interesting things he said…

~You should add carbs SLOWLY. The traditional notion is that you carb up with a huge amount in 1-2 days pre-show is not smart. It takes a bit for those carbohydrates to be digested and absorbed, so it therefore also takes time for your body to refill those glycogen stores and for you to see if you need more. You want to be in the ‘add more’ category, not the ’emergency repair mode from spill over’ category… yes?

~During peak week, there really isn’t anything special to do.¬†You are essentially just trying not to screw up what you have worked for. DONT GO MESSING WITH MULTIPLE VARIABLES! If you’re not shredded at this point, you’re just not shredded enough. Tweaking a bunch of things during that tiny time period can either not do nothing for you or it can make you look worse simply because your body is stressed out.¬†

~Peak week should be about rest and loosing external stress. Yes it’s selfish, but your appearance is also the result of your emotional and psychological state. To a much more minor degree as the rest of prep, but it does count.¬†

Overall, these things make perfect, rational sense when you think about them and about how the body works to survive,¬†but most don’t challenge the old and traditional ways.

Learn to go to the literature and do your own research. When you get up on stage and look better either the week before or day after, its time to get off the ‘bro-train’ and actually suffer less to look your best.

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Hope you enjoyed this lil video post. Happy Friday friends.

-Chelsea


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Exercise As Part Of Treating Eating Disorders? Fitness Friday 35

Well ain’t that a controversial topic for discussion….

In the spirit of this week being #Eating DisorderAwarenessWeek, I thought I would bring that into our lil regular Friday Fitness chat.

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I knew it would be a big deal. I know that many will not agree with my words, but hear me out, have you ever thought that treatment and exercise could co-exist when looking at eating disorders?

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I know what you’re all thinking.

Exercise is a method to fuel eating disorders

Exercise is a means of dropping weight and burning too many calories

How the hell is exercise going to help put weight on when clearly it just increases their energy requirements?

This is why this topic is a great one to discuss.

The points above are completely valid. In fact, those are the beliefs that many professionals give or yell if the thought of exercise is brought up.

Take me for example, during my short time at the Oakville outpatient program for family¬†therapy, it happened to slip out that I was going to be starting to slowly get into¬†training¬†(this was a few months post-inpatient) and my therapist freaked the eff out. Like I’m not kidding, she actually called my house and my parent’s cells and left frantic messages saying ¬†“Chelsea is not to workout!!!!”

Not that her words stopped it from happening, and honestly, we left that place faster than we came in (not because of that incident, but a bunch of other things..), but I’m just trying to give you an idea of how most clinicians feel about this topic

I.e. They are mostly against the thought of exercising.

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…or ever…

Like I said, these arguments are all valid concerns and I see where they are coming from…

~I was a compulsive exerciser

~Most use it as a way to burn more calories and loose weight

~Most don’t know limits or when to stop

~Many can let it consume them and take over their lives

So I will say again, I understand their fears, but look at it from another perspective. When you just say NO and/or NEVER AGAIN, where does that get you? It teaches the individual nothing about control or other benefits aside from the superficial ones. It tells them that they have lost a free right to do something many people do. It places restrictions on them, which can lead to them deciding to go and do it anyways. Lastly, it prevents them gaining some of the many benefits you get from exercise that can be critical to the health of a person struggling with an eating disorder (*provided they are stable enough to perform exercises) such as bone and cardiorespiratory strength, helping with psychological disturbances, distraction from nagging negative and obsessive thoughts and potential social opportunities.

There are many people I have seen who have gone from treatment to the gym and are strong, independent people who are in control and did not slip back into old habits. They successfully took their health into their hands and chose to use exercise as a way to ‘come back’ and heal. A way to gain strength when their body was so weak before. A way to build confidence in themselves and eventually find that the gym is more than a place to burn calories. It’s gives them a place to deal with their emotions and re-build themselves physically and psychologically.

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So with all of that being said, I wanted to present you with some research on the topic and how these types of interventions have faired in the treatment of eating disorders. I mean, you have heard my story and I could give you anecdotal evidence of the possible benefits for some, but does it actually show more pros than cons in treatment settings?

Lets find out.

To be honest, I was shocked at the number of articles I actually found. I still believe most are completely dead set on NO EXERCISE but there was a surprising number of studies and pilot programs in treatment facilities exploring the use of exercise as intervention. 

I will stick to the main findings of each study and link each so that you can read more if you desire. I am also going to label them in order of earliest to latest. Lastly, I could have found more, but for the sake of your attention span, I left it to these interesting ones.

Thein et al (1999) –> “Pilot Study of a Graded Exercise Program for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa”

Main Findings: With the addition of exercise (amount based on % of ideal body weight IBW), the experimental group (diagnosed with AN) showed no difference in change in BMI or body fat, suggesting that the exercise did not inhibit the primary goal of weight gain. The EXPT group also saw a general increase in quality of life measures while the control saw a trend downward from their initial testing.

Szabo and Green (2002) –> Hospitalized anorexics and resistance training: Impact on body composition and psychological well-being.¬†A preliminary study

Main Findings: Study included a non-AN group (exercise group and non-exercise group) with a group of girls currently in an inpatient facility for AN (exercise and non exercise groups). They were both on an 8-week training program of resistance-based exercises. There were trends found for the psychological variables, however it was speculated that perhaps 8 weeks was not enough. Interestingly enough, there was no decrease in weight of the ED-exercise group but a significant drop in those not in the exercise group.

Lutter and Smith-Osborne (2011) –>Exercise in the Treatment of Eating Disorders: An Alternative View

Main Findings: Exercise was significantly associated with greater improvements in eating disorder and depressive symptoms where the number of METS was associated positively with improvements in the measures of depression (BDI) and eating disorder behaviours (EDI). This study was interesting because the exercise was equine based.

Hall et al (2016) –> Use of yoga in outpatient eating disorder treatment: a pilot study

Main Findings: Adolescent girls (all met the requirements for AN/BN/EDNOS but were clinically stable) in an outpatient eating disorder treatment facility attended 12 yoga classes at one class per week. After the intervention, there was no decrease in BMI and significant improvements in anxiety, depression and body image disturbance scores. 

I did a yoga class or two when I was an inpatient at Sick Kids. This was for the advanced stages only but was a nice change of pace. Definitely saw first hand the mood enhancing features. 

This article by Hausenblas et al (2008) also provides a good overview of 6 further studies showing the benefits of exercise based interventions in eating disorder populations on social, psychological and biological factors if you’re interested¬†in even more reading ūüėČ

Finally, here is an article, Bratland et al (2009), that discusses how exercise based programs are managed in treatment facilities and how many places actually have them! It was limited to a few countries in Europe, but can provide some insight for how they could be implemented and managed here.

So…

To conclude, many articles find that there are benefits to exercise in both outpatient and inpatient treatments for eating disorders. Also, rarely did any study (I didn’t find any) report negatives (such as weight loss or stalling the weight gain process) of incorporating exercise into the programs.

I want to say that, yes I know it may take more work and there will have to be strict guidelines in place, like ensuring they are stable enough to participate, etc, but from what I see from research and from my own experience I definitely think that it would be something to really look into further and do more pilot studies on.

Weight gain is already hard enough, try to make it easier on us all. Plus, by being exposed to it in a controlled setting it can also help to make the transition back¬†to ‘reality’ potentially more smooth.

Something I would like to know is if incorporation of exercise during treatment can lower the risk of over exercising or going back to negative exercise habits when they are discharged. 

What are you thoughts?

-Chelsea


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From The Eyes Of A PT… Fitness Friday 34

Something I have been wanting to talk about for a lil bit in this space but was a bit worried I would be coming off as a know-it-all or too-proud or like I’m something special….

..I’m not and not trying to appear as such, but as someone who has done personal training (PT) in the past and trains clients today, I can positively say that some things I see some trainers doing are straight up irritating.

Sometimes it’s not their fault and I have to give them a bit of a break because they think they are providing something good. Other times, it’s just because being a PT is just a job to them and, I’m sorry, well¬†not really actually, when working with people¬†and when you are trying to help them better their health, you need to care.

So here are a few things that I see all the time¬†and are things you need to avoid if you want someone who actually will care about their time spent with you. Plus, PT’s are $$$$ so spend your money wisely.

Having clients do their cardio warmups during your session.

Unless it’s their first session and they need help working the machines OR you are showing them some new way of doing cardio they are not used to (something like HIIT for example), don’t waste your client’s time¬†by them staring at them¬†on the treadmill. I’m pretty sure they know how to safely walk.

*Other potential exception is for elderly, injuries or disabilities*

If your trainer does this tell them you will do your cardio before your session so that you can spend your hour doing exercises that you want to learn about. They won’t (shouldn’t!) be offended because that is their job.

Not paying attention to clients

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This one really irritates me. I have seen some trainers full on walk away from their clients when they are in the middle of a set. NO. You are glued to their side throughout the session. That is your job! If you need to grab something, get it before they start or while the are resting.

I also love when trainers look like they are lost in space while training. Their clients could be doing something completely wrong and they don’t even notice…

Which brings me to another annoyance…

Trainers who allow for CRAPTASTIC form to continue.

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Isn’t it your job to correct their form? I know you are under time restraints BUT allowing for improper form to continue just so you can complete your workout in a timely fashion is 100% a no-no. Not only does this put your client up for potential injury under your watch (you are trying to prevent that remember?), but your letting them think they are doing it okay¬†can be a problem¬†later down the road…

Them telling others to do it ‘their’ way

Them loading more weight and still having form issues–> injury to come

No progression because we all know form is integral for results to occur. 

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Be patient. Take your time. Teach!

Socializing too much.

Sometimes its the client who is just very chatty, but you need to keep them on track. Talking and talking away leads to lack of work being done and obviously less potential benefits. If their workout sucked because you allowed too muchChatty Cathy-ing” to go on, thats on you not them.

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Nutrition advice…

Need I say more? Unless they are coming from more of a background than CanFit, be over-cautious about nutrition ‘tips’ they provide. Some beauties I have overheard more than once…

~Make sure you have your protein shake right after your workout but don’t eat anything for at least an hour…

~Describing what bad carbs are…. (lil tidbit, white doesn’t mean bad. GASP. Also, why we saying food is bad?)

~Need to eat every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism firing…(my rant here)

Being a nutrition student and someone who listens to a podcast or two about the latest in nutrition¬†research, it makes me cringe when I hear myths continue to be taught to clients. I know I know that often times it’s because the trainer believes them too, but I wish some would keep more up to date on their nutrition science before spreading lies to open ears.

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Fitness Nutrition

Still on nutrition…

Taking your clients right to the good ol’ smoothie bar post workout.

Wow more money from your pocket to the gym…

Please know that post workout doesn’t automatically mean you need to run to get in your protein shake.

If you like shakes, than do you, but they are not required. Always remember that supplements SUPPLEMENT your diet. Do you need whey post workout? No. Can you eat normal food? Yes. See here for more.

Sticking to the same things.

Unless there is a particular goal in mind that requires some sort of structure and restraint on exercise variety or training style OR they are 100% new, SWITCH IT UP! I often see trainers sticking to the bare bone basics. Lets do a shoulder press, now lets do a leg press…

ZZZZZzzzz…

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If your client understands the basics, teach them new things to fire up their interest. What about showing them new equipment to use like kettle bells or playing around with a sled or battle ropes if your gym has them?

The point of your sessions is to 1. teach, but you should also be challenging them both physically and mentally. Make them look forward to coming to your sessions.

Finally, I wanted to end off on the most common stereotype about trainers because that means I can’t rant too much about it…

Cookie Cutter Plans.

This kind of falls into the ‘you don’t care about your clients’ category because, well, clearly you don’t if you plan on giving them some plan that has been given 0% thought about their needs and goals.

How is that going to help them?

Sure, if they are brand new they might see some benefits (hello newbie gains, aka growth simply because it’s a new stimulus) but if a client already has some experience and wants something new OR has special challenges OR is rehabbing,¬†giving them pre-planned workouts just ain’t gunna cut it.

So now that my ranting for the night has been met, please don’t take this as me being overly judgmental. I’m not trying to be. I believe that PT’s should be people who care about the well being of their clients and if they truly care, they would agree that all of the above things shouldn’t happen because that is putting their client at risk, not teaching them anything OR even worse, teaching them the wrong things.

I wish that all PT’s loved their job the way many do, including myself, but that is unfortunately not the case. I wrote this to try and help you see when someone is there for you vs. someone just wanting an easy pay check.¬†

Bad experiences with a PT?

-Chelsea


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It’s Not All About Looks…Fitness Friday 33

So the gym is often know as the place to..

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But what about all of the other things lifting weights gives you?

Todays post is going to be about how lifting and training hard helps you OUTSIDE the gym.

I’m sure I will miss some as there are so many benefits, so feel free to comment on things you have found it brings to your life that I may have missed.¬†

Confidence

Being strong is so empowering and that is not just for women. Lifting is not just about the muscle growth from an appearance perspective, but is also about what you can do with that muscle and how that makes you feel. I will say that for women, feeling themselves get stronger is a rather powerful thing (as we are often said to be the weaker sex and are needy…) and can do wonders for their sense of self worth and respect.

Independence

Strength means you don’t have to ask for help. Strength means you can lift that thing by yourself. Strength¬†can also¬†mean that the person who is rehabbing an injury can do just a lil bit more on their own or that any older person can¬†preserve their muscle mass longer so that they can keep their freedom.

Stronger, More Durable Bones

Resistance training is huge for helping maintain the strength of your bones. Especially important for menopausal women who loose bone more rapidly, but good for all of us young’ins too as a way to keep them as strong as possible for as long as possible.

Better Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Utilization.

Being at a healthy weight is one thing, but did you know that contractile movements actually help to bring more glucose into cells by increasing translocation (movement from inside the cell to the membrane) of the glucose transporters to the cell membrane? More glucose inside the cells means less in the blood which can lead to problems. Check out this study..

Better Skin

Sweating opens them pores and lets the skin get rid of dirt¬†and any chemicals or toxins that can be flushed via the skin. Many people say they break out more when they work out but it’s not because you’re sweating. Instead, its generally because either 1. you had stuff on your face that than clogged the pores when they opened up or 2. you rubbed or touched your face too much, adding new dirt to your skin. Let it sweat it out and then wash your face.

Detox

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. That being said, it is also one very¬†important way¬†your body get rids of things from the body it doesn’t like. So, similar to the skin point, let your body sweat. If you’re getting sick, it can help bring those bacteria to the surface, or at least into the bloodstream, and help your body deal with them more quickly. It may make you feel a bit worse at first, but by forcing them out in the open, your body’s defense system can battle them out more quickly and hopefully help you recover more efficiently.

Temporary Relief From Cold/Sickness Symptoms

I want to preface by saying you be the judge of when you are too sick to train... Anyways, this may be seen by some as a bad thing, but hey, if I can stop sniffling or stop cramping (for us ladies) for a lil bit, I call that a success. When your body exercises, it actually perceives that action as a stress so it begins to send the blood flow to the working muscles and away from things that are not as important. As a result, your immune, digestive and reproductive systems (and others..) are not really getting much attention and often that leads to less symptoms of the disease state (or time of the month..) of those areas. Got a cold? Ever notice your nose runs less? For the ladies, cramping can actually decrease while exercises.

See here for a scientific journal on the matter

Decreases Risk of Many Chronic Diseases

Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and the list goes on (source).

Stress Relief

With all of those endorphins going (among other hormones), using your sweat sesh to unwind from studying or a hard day at work is much more productive and good for you than ploppin down in front of the TV and eating a bunch of crap food. What’s that old saying…

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Along with stress relieving…

You’re Happier

So many processes and hormones involved in this part, but with exercise not only are you physically better, but your psychological state gets a positive boost as well. We all know that we feel a sense of happiness following a workout. Whether that is euphoria, endorphin high, or a sense of accomplishment, there is no doubts that it’s there. It should than come as not surprise that exercise has been¬†found to be useful in treatment of¬†to help chronic mental illness such as depression (link), dementia (link), anxiety and others.

So overall there are so many things I could continue to say about exercising but I will keep it a bit shorter for you all for the sake of your reading threshold. As you can see, exercise is much more than just about looks. It helps the brain, it helps in your perception of yourself, it protects you from disease and it helps you feel that you can function on your own.

So for anyone needing a reason to start, go ahead and pick one. You have quite a list to choose from.

What are some of your non-physical experiences with exercise?

-Chelsea


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Happy Gut, Happy Training

Happy Fitness Friday Friends!

I thought I would keep trekkin along on the gut topic as more recently gut health has really been getting some hot attention. It would have been nice if the importance of gut health and taking proper care of your flora and and such¬†was noticed earlier but that’s science and they are only really starting to crack the surface on this whole intricate system (which did you know actually has something very similar to an entire CNS for itself??!).

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So why am I talking about this for Fitness Friday you ask?

Well, as you’re probably aware, your gut is important for a number of things. Some of those things are extremely vital to your training…

~Digestion and absorption of the nutrients you get from your food

~Making short chain fatty acids that can also be used as a form of fuel

In taking a deeper look at the first one, obviously an efficient and EFFECTIVE digestion system not only helps you get the nutrients you need but that ultimately affects your mood to train and how intense you think you can go, your energy levels, your strength levels, recovery ability and overall just makes you feel good enough to have a beneficial and enjoyable lift. After all, who enjoys anything when their stomach is is just not right?

So with keeping this post low key and not too wordy, I thought I would share some tips for optimizing your digestive health and also some things that can help when your stomach decides to attack you.

These are going to be coming from my experiences and my coaches suggestions mostly. Some other things I may include are those that I have heard about but may not have much experience with SO they may or may not be effective. I still want to share them, however, because gut health and what makes people feel their best is so variable that some random things may work for some readers.  

So lets start with somethings that help optimize gut health and prevent issues.

Probiotics

Adding healthy, live cultures to your gut is a good thing. Many things inner environment today kill our flora. With less bacteria, you have less lil guys to break down your food and can cause poor digestion. Invite some new people into your lil biome to help yourself out. Ensure they are refrigerated! Ones on the shelf are no good. 

Glutamine.

I talked about this one in a previous post, so check it out here. I also talked about making your own gelatin gummies there too which are loads with glutamine naturally and are very cheap to make.

Bone Broth.

Going along with glutamine and probiotics, making your own broth is great for your gut and very satisfying during the winter months here in the great white north. Ensure to use free range and organic chicken or beef with the bones to get the live bacteria and the most omegas and glutamine.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Another thing I already talked about here, but I will say that this is helpful for adding more acid to the gut to help with breakdown. It is especially helpful for those who have low stomach acid and often complain of indigestion. Lemon juice also has similar effects.

Fermented Food.

Kombucha, Sauerkraut, raw yogurts with the active cultures, etc are all great sources of probiotics and thus have the same benefits as taking a supplement, just in a much smaller amount. Take caution though, these may be a problem for some. For example, I love love love kombucha, but the carbonation that naturally occurs with the fermentation doesn’t go over well with my tummy unfortunately. Trial and error with these guys friends.

Watch your water consumption with meals.

Sounds weird, but makes sense when you put it all together. If you drink water during a meal, the liquid will dilute you enzymes and simply slow digestion. Consider holding off on the drinks until a lil bit after you have digested a bit. Some say 30 minutes, but I always say to go with your gut…I’m so punny…

Avoid gum or things that add excess gas in the stomach.

Gum. Beer. Carbonated drinks. Straws. ETC. All of these are going to put lots of gas and excess air into the gut and if you’re very sensitive, well you’re gunna get an upset tummy plus bloating. Also, chew slowly and don’t gulp in tons of air.

Say no to artificial sweeteners.

These tend to be HUGE gut irritants. Whether they give you diarrhea if consumed in large amounts or just straight up gas and distention, they do not make for a happy gut.

Sleep!

Sleep is super important for many things, but one clear cut trigger for my stomach is go hay-wire is if I don’t sleep enough. Poor sleeping, whether it’s chronic or even just a couple days, can really cause your digestion to slow right down and cause you discomfort so make sure you are getting your beauty rest.

…and a last and seemingly obvious one…

Avoid things that your tummy doesn’t agree with.

As mentioned, this seems obvious. If you get an upset stomach after eating something, don’t eat it. Surprisingly, I have heard of so many cases where people say they choose to suffer the consequences and just eat it. To each their own I guess but if you have a serious sensitivity like celiac, where further consumption continues to damage your intestinal track, you need to give you head a smack and just quit cold turkey.

What about when your tummy gets mad…

Low FODMAPs.

I would have said BRAT diet foods BUT I’m much more confident in this approach for a few reasons. One, apple sauce is out for me because I have experienced issues with apples, which are high FODMAP. Also, the bread is another issue. What if your issue is wheat? Overall, yes the FODMAP diet is more restricted but most often chronic digestive issues are from sensitivities that you are going to have to figure out and those often require elimination and then trial and error. By going full low FODMAP you are giving your system a break from all inflammatory and problematic foods and then can re-try them when it’s a bit happier.

Slippery Elm.

I personally have taken this, but not sure whether it made a difference at the time because I was trying so many things at that point, but I have heard good things from others about this one. You can get it in a supplement form, but they also have it as a tea.

Digestive Enzymes.

If you know you have issues with digestion OR for those who are thinking about starting a bulk, digestive enzymes can help support the breakdown of your food simply by adding more enzymes to the playing field. You can chose ones that contain one or more types of enzymes depending on your needs. Have an issue with dairy? Try lactase. Don’t know what your issue is? Try a multi-enzyme.

Pineapple.

Speaking of enzymes, pineapple actually naturally contains an enzyme of it’s own, Bromelain, which can also help digestion. Plus pineapple is awesome. Just be careful not to over do it or you will find yourself peeling the top layer of your mouth off…

Mint Tea.

I always do well with peppermint. Whether you have nausea or you need something warm and comforting when your stomach is being annoying, mint (specifically peppermint…yes there is a difference!) is always my go-to.

Take it easy on harder to digest foods.

Red meats, fats, raw vegetables, high fiber foods, etc are all much more difficult for your system to take care of. When it’s already upset, go for things that are absorbed more quickly and easily. Think low fiber carbohydrates (cream of rice, oats sit well for some, pumpkin, squash, white rice and potatoes), some fruits like bananas, lean meats and fish and easier digesting fats (but still keep these a bit lower) like coconut oil, which bypasses the liver and goes right into use as energy.

And finally be patient. When your stomach is upset, the best you can do is be nice to it and let it settle. Try not to stress about it and let it run its course. Ensure that if it’s a¬†new¬†problem that you take a look at your recent eats and activities and try to figure out the trigger so you can try to¬†avoid it in the future. If it is due to chronic illness, I can relate and I’m sorry you have to put up with that crap but I can only hope that these can serve as a means of¬†coping with it when it looses its mind.

Hope your tummy’s are happy tonight and enjoy the rest of your Friday friends!

-Chelsea


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Now We Wait…Thinking Out Loud

Guys.

HOLD UP!

obama-meme

I’m done.

I AM DONE MY APPLICATIONS!

OMG party party!

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Such a relief to be done with all of that and now it’s time to wait. At this point, I’m not very anxious¬†about the answers yet because I’m too busy relishing in the fact that my brain has more empty space to use for something else now.

You would think I would be sleeping soundly now…

Sleep brain, sleep…

Don’t you hate when you are all prepped to go to bed early cuz you have an early wakeup and your brain is just like…

nope

Hello 4 hours of sleep and a full day of classes + gym + night class. Le sigh

This is not helping with healing brain.¬†Don’t you get that…

Maybe my insomnia is because ..

I have no idea where my life is going now…

Where will I be in 6 months?

What if I don’t get in…what am I going to do?

What if I get more than one of my top choices (ha thats positive thinking), what will I choose?

Gah so many questions and makes me feel like I’m in limbo.

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I really don’t like not knowing things. I’m a type A personality and like to be in control 24/7 so having no idea where I’m even going to be living in the next few months drives me crazy.

I just signed off my house a week ago. Like guys, I’m practically homeless!

……

Anyways enough about life, what other things caught my attention recently

Wait for it, controversy ahead…

Saw this video this morning and thought it would be a good discussion piece. I’m not trying to push my views on anyone, but I thought this was a good side of the argument to share.

Case in point, cows milk is technically for baby cows. The hormones, the proteins, the nutrients, its for growing a cow…

…not a human.

So in the long term, does this have an effect on us? Who knows (the doctor seems to think so…), but when you think about it, it’s kinda weird. Also, technically, is there anything super important about milk other than calories perhaps? You may argue calcium BUT there’s controversy about that too soo… yeah.

Thoughts?

Who’s bright idea was it to start drink from cow boobs anyways?

Glute gains…

Can I also say why¬†computers and phones still don’t understand what a ‘glute’ is. It gets autocorrected to flute or apparently gluten..

I cannot wait to watch this video

I love Jeff Nippard’s informational videos and this one is on GLUTES! Perfect for pre-leg day tomorrow.

Speaking of my training …

Hopefully I will be kind to myself tomorrow as I anticipate I won’t hit my normal numbers due to still getting over this detox. Can’t say I haven’t gotten a bit frustrated over this week because I get more winded and am overall just more tired.

On top of the fact that I’m so bloated and gassy that I feel like a sausage…

..a few more days…a few more days..

I felt hunger for a moment today. Thats a start.

Try these muffins!

Almond flour is mad expensive but trust, everyone said these were the best muffins I ever brought into the gym and my housemates didn’t want me to take them from them..

gingerbreadmuffins

Wish I could take credit for the recipe but, alas, I cannot. I did do one switch, which was to use half molasses (more gingerbread-y) and half honey.

But trust trust trust, my family at the gym is saying they will buy me almond flour just so I will bring these back to them. They are that good and completely flourless, only a few tbsp of natural sugars and good healthy fats.

Anyone else truly adore the smell of gingerbread?

Also, these cookies…

I did alter these slightly by¬†de-veganizing it by using eggs, used 2 tbsp molasses for the maple syrup (didn’t have any) and only a few tbsp of coconut sugar..

Next recipe I want to try is these..

veganpbjbars6

So easy. So little ingredients and how pretty are they!

…we shall see if mine look anything like that…

I been hearing so much good from this book…

milk-and-honey

I’m not a reader but I have such an urge to get my hands on this one.

I’m on such a motivational and inspirational kick right now and I think this book (even though its apparently poetry..) would be right up my alley.

And finally to finish off with this lil quotation..

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Always be a light. That is all.

Thanks to Running with Spoons for the Thinking Out Loud Thursdays hook-up.

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-Chelsea