Lil Miss Fitness Freak

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


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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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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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Waisted. Fitness Friday 17

Generally when a celebrity hops in to endorse something it means that the product needed help being sold because the people just weren’t buying it.

Smart people

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Unfortunately, the claims or miracle work that these products yell at you still manage to grab the attention of enough people to keep them in business some how. This product happens to be one of them.

Waist Trainers

Welcome back to another Fitness Friday friends! This post was inspired by a post that I saw on waist trainers and amongst the “those don’t work” and “those are a load of crap” comments, one stuck out to me…

So does that mean they don’t work…?

So I took it upon myself to rant talk about it.

Now this isn’t going to be some long, overly research-y post because it really doesn’t need it. We are rational people here and so throwing all of the obvious evidence on the table should be enough to convince you that these are useless and really just a WAIST of time, money and lack of normal breathing.

Not to mention, they may actually be dangerous!

First though, lets see what these things claim to do for your body

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Wow look at all those things a piece of fabric can do for you. Some have even said it can speed up your metabolism and reshape your rib cage to be smaller…

…yeah…

So lets put it very simply. If any of these things actually occur as a result of wearing this, it’s not because of the corset/trainer directly, with the only exception being maybe the back support (short term only!) because it’s doing what your core should be doing, i.e. keeping you upright and supporting the spine. Long term however, I throw that possibly out the window.

~Creates confidence–> because maybe if it’s worn under clothing it gives you that shape that you believe to be socially acceptable, i.e. the “perfect hourglass.”

~Motivation/Encourages Healthier Eating/etc–> Maybe, just maybe, it may start you on a different dietary or exercise path that may be beneficial in weight loss because you think that you could look like you do in the corset without it if you do BUT this is entirely superficial.

Post Birth Reshaping? Well sure it forces a certain shape, but that’s not really your shape per say.

Weight/Inches Loss. I would say that the only way this could do that is because it’s so tight that you actually eat less and loose weight as a result of less calories in. A tight pair of jeans does that to everyone right?

Increases Core Strength –> this one is laughable. How does something that requires no core activation (because it’s essentially sucking you in) strengthen your core? You need to actually work the muscles to build muscle and strength. If you wear this thing all the time you will more likely loose core strength because you will never feel the need to use those muscles. 

So overall, anything weight or body shaping related most definitely comes down to the fact that you feel as if you can’t breathe. As a result, who wants to eat even a decent amount of food when they already have no space to move?  This thing DOES NOT increase your metabolism to cause weight loss. This DOES NOT increase the strength of your abdominal muscles. Lastly, it creates this illusion of a silhouette that is actually not your body naturally and simply makes you feel as if you are fitting societies norms of what is attractive. Many studies have actually found that the opposite is true and when worn, these things often decrease ones self-esteem and body image (Link to Article).

For whatever the cost of these things are they are definitely not worth a penny because they truly do nothing for you. In fact, they may actually do harm if worn over a longer period of time.

Working out in them can lead to you passing out the less then normal breathing capacity (Source). 

As I mentioned before, the muscles in your core area can actually atrophy due to longer term use. (Source)

Major stomach and digestive issues. The organs and tissues here are soft and have really nothing to protect them against extreme pressure. If you compress them for a long period of time, things start to not work properly. Some things seen include constipation, hernias, decreased of bile secretion (helps you digest fats), etc (Source Source)  

So, I don’t know about you all, but I would really rather avoid all of these, especially if it’s due to something that really gives me no benefit at all and simply creates an illusion.

So I hope you enjoyed this weeks Fitness Friday topic and I will chatter more topics with you next week. Feel free as always to comment below with your thoughts. 🙂

-Chelsea


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Update + Cardio Cycle Brooke Question

HIYA Friends!

Who’s done exams?

If you’re not, I hope you’re finished soon so you can join me in this vacay bliss.

Plans for the summer?

For me, I’m hoping to nab a job first off. #NeedMoney

I applied for a volunteer position in the clinic on my campus for being a dietetic shadow volunteer. Unfortunately the nutrition spots were all filled for the summer (crossing my fingers for the fall) but they offered a physio shadow position so I might be able to take that one! It may not be nutrition but it is still something that offers me clinical experience and it is technically related to exercise so it should be interesting.

I’m also hoping to get my application into Homewood in Guelph which is a health care clinic that specializes in mental health and addition. In fact, it has the largest eating disorder program in Canada and the most recognized addictions program as well.  I knew someone who volunteered in the eating disorder unit and helped out during meal times and I think that would be an amazing opportunity for me if I had the chance to do it.

Bulking. Yup. Bulking. This is for real this time though because my parents have put me on lockdown and have set up some dates where if I don’t start to increase my weight by July there will be some changes that will happen that will definitely conflict with my goals. I was just starting to see some gains and then I got that bout of food poisoning and it literally just dug my grave for me. So now I need to crack down on that voice and my fears and just get it done no matter what. This is my life and I want to be in control. I can do this.

Is it frustrating that one single sickness incident has spiraled into my parents being scared and now forcing pressure for weight gain…?

Absolutely yes. I’m angry with my body that it looses so quickly. More so though, I’m angry that my mind has let it get to the point where I really have no buffering weight for if I get sick. I need to fix that and it starts now. Just trying to stick to the positive thoughts…

Extra food will get me out of my plateau at the gym.

Extra food will mean I’m less tired and less cold.

Extra food will give me a glow.

Extra food will make me healthier.

Positivity will get me through this rough time. Be ready to see this journey unfold.

So enough about me, now onto you. In particular, onto you Brooke. You asked me this question quite a while back and I told you to hold tight because I wanted to do a video on it and here it finally is. I hope it answered what you needed and helps out anyone else as well.

As usual, click the thumbnail and that will take you to my vlog where I answer her question.

How do you get out of the cardio cycle?

Photo on 2015-04-19 at 14.18Please leave your thoughts, responses and feedback below in zee comments as usual as I love hearing from you guys. 🙂

Also, before I leave you all, I found a video about a week ago that really summed up my opinion on Juice Cleanses. I have mentioned her on the blog before, but Robyn really is just a great person and I like to bring her on here once and a while as she can be a great resource for anyone here looking for nutrition advice from a Real Life RD.

One day I hope to be where you are, well were as you switched gears to nursing, but her knowledge and experience is really beneficial!

Enjoy! Again, click on her blog image for the video link up. Sorry Robyn, I snagged your info picture for the thumbnail…I hope you don’t mind.

I hope you guys had a great weekend and I will chatter with you all soon!

-Chelsea