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Posts Tagged ‘Practical Fitness’

Gaining Muscle Strength

practical-fitness-10-31-08-logo-copyby Dan Felix, CFT

The human body is a very reluctant living organism. It doesn’t want to change. It doesn’t casually add muscle mass or strength. It doesn’t casually tap into its body fat reserves. And, believe it or not, it doesn’t casually add weight to itself, muscle or fat.

When we try to change our body we have to expect it to take some time. In the case of adding muscle mass, it can take months to see real muscle tissue gains and years to reach the big gains we see in the muscle magazine pictures. Here’s why.

The body is always trying to conserve its food supply: both the calories available to eat and the calories stored as body fat. Muscles consume calories. Even when they are doing nothing, they consume calories. The body will grow the strength and size of a muscle to just about match the daily demands that muscle experiences, and no more. This conserves calories.

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More Than Skin Deep

practical-fitness-10-31-08-logo-copyBy Dan Felix, CFT

I have trained for more years than I care to admit. My clients have included outdoor athletes and my training locations have included the sunny south west. Both of these situations expose human skin to very harsh conditions. Taking care of your skin goes much deeper than most people realize.

The skin is actually the largest single organ in the human body. It has some very unique roles and capabilities. Most of us think that all our oxygen enters the body through the lungs. Not so. As much as 80 percent of our oxygen consumption occurs through the porous nature of the skin. Any skin damage or even ineffective hygiene can impact this absorption. Skin also releases toxins from the body through our sweat. As much as one-sixth of a persons toxins are eliminated through the skin. As you can see, poor skin care effects the entire body.

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My Aching Back

practical-fitness-10-31-08-logo-copyBy Dan Felix, CFT

One of the most common ailments I see in clients is back pain. Pain in the lower to middle back can mean many things. Most back pain is muscle injury or soreness but some pains can indicate serious internal injury or disease. In this column I will deal with the muscle and ligament related soreness. If you are not sure as to the source of a persistent back pain, then you should see a doctor to determine its source before starting any exercise routine.

The back is not a separate muscle from the rest of the body. It is one part of the entire torso along with the front abdominal muscles and side obliques. These are not single muscles as much as they are groups of muscles. For our purposes we can stick with the more familiar terms, back, abs, and obliques.

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Surviving a Holiday Diet

practical-fitness-10-31-08-logo-copyby Dan Felix, CFT

Holiday dieting. If there ever were contradictory terms, it would be those. How many times have clients come to me in January, full of guilt for celebrating their holiday season with food and friends.

In this article I think we can come up with some dietary tools that allow a person to enjoy the season and still not gain unwanted pounds or inches. You can survive with three dietary tools.

The first change we need to make is to stop feeling guilty. With all the parties and get-togethers that happen from Halloween to New Years’ Day, it is impossible to not eat foods that are normally off-limits. Everyone does it. You cannot expect yourself to be surrounded by food and friends only to try to separate yourself from the celebration. Our first tool is to no longer look at dieting as an all-or-nothing behavior. Start looking at your food consumption from a monthly view instead of a daily view. If you eat less food during this holiday season then you did last holiday season then you are making progress.

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The Knee Surgery Decision

by Dan Felix, CFT

A study published in a September 2008 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine showed that arthroscopic surgery doesn’t provide any significant benefit for moderate to severe arthritis of the knee. Arthroscopic surgery uses two long probes to re-knit your knee ligament. It does not require the knee to be cut fully open.

Some of my clients are injured, disabled or elderly. Many have some sort of knee inflammation, irritation, or injury. Knee injuries are often enough to change the lifestyle of a person, let alone remove the joy from movements that were once simple and effortless.

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The Three Stages of Dieting

by Dan Felix, CFT

Most of the dieting articles and information we read about sound like happy talk. Even the word dieting hides the truth. In order to lose body weight, preferably body fat, a person has to eat less than the body wants. Diet is more accurately described as controlled starvation. Harsh term, I know, but your body sees it that way.

Your body chemistry has thousands of years of history. It does not change casually. If body chemistry changed with every feast or famine then it would never have survived. In fact, your body chemistry has a rather pessimistic view of food. It is suspicious of any feast and will readily store excess food as fat before using it. Your body chemistry is also anxious that any drop in food intake means an imminent famine. At the first sign of any persistent food decrease the body will react.

So here we are, trying to lose some extra pounds. How do we do that and not trigger our body’s fear that a famine has set in? And, more importantly, what can we expect our body to do when we embark on a diet?

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