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The elixir of life.

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Hey everyone!

We hope that everyone is enjoying the slow transition of weather as the days start to become a little warmer and the days are a little bit longer. And as the days get warmer, it is very important to refill on water and electrolytes – especially if you are planning on training outside. But how much is too much? How much is too little? Well keep reading to find out!

WaterStation

First it is very important to define a few terms: First is euhydration which is when the body has an adequate volume of water to meet physiological demands. Hyperhydration is when there is an excess amount of water in the body. Hypohydration is when there is an insufficient volume of water in the body. Lastly, dehydration is the process of losing body water and transitioning from a state of euhydration to hypohydration.

Also it is important to understand that there is water that is constantly changing in its concentration between intracellular (ICF, fluid in the cells) and extracellular (ECF, fluid outside the cells) fluids. This concept will be important in understanding electrolytes and how to keep the concentration relatively consistent.

Next let’s distinguish between cations and anions. Cations are positively charged ions (major one being Sodium [Na+]) and anions are negatively charged ions (Chloride [Cl-] and Bicarbonate HCO3-]). For the most part, Potassium [K+] is the main cation in the ICF with a small concentration of [Na+]. But this is the opposite in the ECF. Now because these concentrations are different, through the principles of osmosis, [Na+] is constantly leaking into cells while [K+] is leaking out. But never fear, the pumps in our cell membranes are working hard to maintain healthy concentrations.

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Now this is where things get interesting for the athletes. Normally, the level of water is is pretty evenly distributed between the ICF and the ECF, BUT a large amount of water is lost during strenuous exercise which means water within the cells shrink (water moves from ICF to ECF) to balance the concentration. Conversely if there is a drastically large amount of water in the plasma in the ECF, then water shifts into the cells and they begin to swell. It is important to note here a condition known as hyponatremia where a large amount of water is quickly consumed and the body is unable to excrete it quickly enough through the renal system.

The average adult male has about 2.8L of plasma. A loss of 10-20% over prolonged exercise drastically reduces exercise performance. The average marathon runner or elite level soccer player have a typical sweat rate in excess of 2.5L/hr. During prolonged exercise, the body is unable to match fluid loss with intake and absorption (The body simply cannot do it fast enough). Also, the sodium content of sweat ranges from 10 to 70 mEq/L with the average being 35mEq/L (Sawka et al., 2007). 1 mEq of sodium is equal to 23mg of sodium. With these numbers in mind the average athlete may lose up to 1,610 mg of sodium per liter. Exercise lasting 1 to 2 hours doesn’t generally pose a problem for the athlete and so their main concern should primarily water loss. Anything more and they have to take electrolyte ingestion into account. As we venture past the 2 hour mark, carbohydrate intake and sodium intake start to play a role.

Urine

A simple and cost effective method in measuring fluid loss during your workout can come in two methods. The first is the urine color chart (pictured above). The lighter your urine, the more hydrated you are. The drawback to this is of course its susceptible to subjective interpretation and also diet heavily influences the color of urine as well. The second method is calculating over the course of a workout your total water loss. 1 litre of water weights approximately 1 kg or 2.2lbs. For example, a marathoner records his weight at 145lbs before he goes for a 1 hour basebuilding run at a steady pace. He weighs himself after the hour run and logs in at 142.8lbs. The runner can then calculate the rate at which he is losing fluid and from that calculation can estimate how much he should be replenishing. This strategy can be applied over a period of days to evaluate on a day to day basis whether the athlete is properly hydrating themselves post run. Last but not least, thirst is the last mechanism our body initiates to let us know we are hypohydrated. These 3 simples and cost effective mechanisms when put together make for a fairly effective strategy in assessing your level of hydration.

So onto how to approach hydrating yourself before, during and after training/competition. The general recommendation for fluid intake is ~ 5 to 7 mL/kg at least 4 hours prior to exercise (Sawka et al., 2007). This recommendation of course changes with the environment at hand, training intensity for that session etc. In terms of ingesting fluids during a training session or event, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends ingesting 0.4 to 0.8L of fluid per hour to the average marathoner. Now in terms of sodium and carbohydrate intake, it is not of vital importance to events 2 hours or less as your body has plenty to spare for the duration of the session. However events that are longer than 2 hours require adjusting and tweaking to account for sodium and carbohydrate intake. If an athlete is consuming carbohydrates the content of carbohydrates within beverages should be less than 10%. With concerns to post training and performance, the recommendation is 1.5L per Kg lost during training session (Sawka et al., 2007). With post training nutrition, it is important to note that sodium, carbohydrate and protein intake should predominantly come from food. And after everything is complete, it’s time to rest, recover and re assess!

Well we hope that you found this article helpful and that you will take into account hydration with your training. Although the tone of this article is geared more towards endurance athletes such as marathoners, it is still important for the average exerciser to recognize what level of hydration they are at.

 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next article!

 

Sincerely,

The Fit & Fed Team!

Not all Proteins are Equal

Written on . Posted in excercise, healthy eating, Uncategorized, weight management

Hey Boys and Girls!

 

Today we are talking about the various structures and types of proteins. We will be talking about how different sources of protein are ranked on the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), what the criteria are, and what all this jargon basically means for you in terms of fueling for your workouts.

Let’s start off by stating that the most basic component of proteins is the amino acid (complex chains of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen). Without getting to technical, it will suffice to say that there are 2 types of amino acids: dispensable and indispensable. Dispensable amino acids are ones that the body cannot manufacture and versely indispensable amino acids are ones that can be manufactured in the human liver. There is a third category known as ‘conditionally indispensable’ which basically means that when the body is under distress, it cannot manufacture enough of a specific amino acid (This point is important to understand in athletes and unique cases, but for now we will stick to indispensable/dispensable).

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Now here it is important to point out that there is a distinction between plant proteins and animal proteins. Animal proteins as you can see in the above table tend to ranked a bit higher than plant proteins. This is not to say that incomplete proteins (plant proteins) are less effective than complete proteins(animal proteins). It simply means that plant proteins may not have proper concentrations or lack specific indispensable amino acids and thus have to be paired with other plant proteins to bring the concentrations up to par which would make these complementary proteins.

Now that we’ve gotten a basic idea of different types of proteins, we need to understand how protein is absorbed into the body to have a better idea of how the body absorbs the protein. Absorption of protein happens in the jejunum and the ileum which are located in the small intestine; absorption of the amino acids are in the form of various type of peptide chains. It is important to note that proteins have to be broken down into small peptide chains first before being absorbed. However this does not mean you should go out to but protein supplements that are marketed as ‘predigested’ as the jury is still out on its efficacy. After absorption, some amino acids go straight to the liver and others circulate in the blood.

Now once the amino acids are freely circulating in the blood, they get picked up along the way by skeletal muscle and stored in what is called an amino acid pool within the muscle which then helps synthesis protein (also known as protein anabolism). Now it is important to note that excess amino acids are not ‘stored’ like carbohydrates are for future use. When an athlete undergoes prolonged bouts of stress, amino acids are used to help provide ATP via oxidation (however, this is not what your body ideally wants as the production of ATP via this process is highly inefficient and under extreme circumstances you can see how catabolism would take place. This is the body’s last resort to provide itself with ATP).

Now that we have a basic understanding of what protein is and how it works, we should address some common issues and misconceptions that exist in the fitness community. The first and most obvious suggestion that many people hear is that we should be consuming tons of protein if we want to get stronger or if we want maximize muscular hypertrophy. This thinking is erroneous in that it assumes that since the body absorbs about 5 – 8g of amino acids from protein per hour, that if we increase the supply of protein, the body will naturally want to absorb faster. The problem with this thinking is that although protein synthesis does increase, so does amino acid oxidation and thus net gain is not changed. Since there is no benefit to excess protein consumption, is there a danger? The answer is yes.

Two basic components of amino acids is NH2 and a carboxyl group. Now what happens at the end of the process of breaking down and absorbing these amino acids is the creation of the byproduct ammonia. As you can guess, this byproduct is excreted by the body via urine or feces. The problem is that urea synthesis is capped in each of us, and this cap cannot go up or down. If an individual undergoes a prolonged bout of excessive ammonia in the blood, the results could be fatal.

So when it comes down to what you should be eating in terms of protein intake, the average individual who does not specialize in any sport in particular should aim for approx. 0.8  to 1.2g/kg (you weigh) per day. In terms of post workout protein intake, carbohydrates should be taken alongside protein in order to replenish glycogen stores. Just remember, amino acids are vital for maintaining a healthy immune system, maintaining nitrogen balance (which contributes to maintaining skeletal muscle mass) and maintaining our energy levels!

If this all seems complicated to you, don’t worry – it is. That is why when you are thinking about starting a diet or following a fad you read about in Cosmo, you need to think twice. If the rule of the diet can be summarized in one or two sentences, it is most likely not the best thing for you. Consult a professional dietitian if you are having issues or if you have questions about your food intake.

Thanks for dropping by and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Youtube!

 

Sincerely,

 

Team Fit & Fed

 

Why I can’t stand the running community.

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Hey boys and girls. It’s your friendly neighbourhood running coach. Today I would like to address a significant rising issue that is threatening the health of the majority of our recreational exercisers. The issue is the predominant mindset of the current running community.5-tuyet-chieu-giup-ban-co-mot-mua-he-dang-nho-ivivu-7

Over the past few years, there has been a surplus in running clinics, running groups and an overall increase in exposure to the sport of running in the media. For example, here in Toronto the number of participants in the Sporting Life 10k rose from 17, 000 runners last year to roughly 35, 000 runners this year (2014). There has been an increase in the number of running events as well from ultramarathons outside the city (Eg. Guelph triathlon, Oakville, etc) to shorter 5k themed runs. Local running clubs from the Running rats to Running rooms, have grown in numbers at an amazing rate. A quick google search of local running groups in Toronto will get you over 30 different running groups in the city of Toronto alone.

Being a competitive distance runner, I was glad to see that the running community was growing and as a physical therapist / trainer, a part of me is  glad to see that more and more people are taking that first step to a healthier and more active lifestyle. But the reason why you are reading this and the reason why I am writing  is not to praise the growing running community.

As I mentioned, my career is in fixing people in how they move to make sure they move well and for a very long time. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a recreational runner on the streets of downtown Toronto and cringed a little bit by how they moved. Sometimes I see a group of these runners running together with a “coach” and the inner coach in me is absolutely HULKING out!  With the number of certified trainers and kinesiology students being churned out by the big Toronto Universities  and Colleges, you would think that there would be no shortage of qualified coaches to run these clinics (pun intended). Yet this is not the case at all, WHY???

The issue is grounded in various overlapping reasons. The first and more obvious reason is that most personal trainers/kinesiology students (unless they have a passion for running or endurance sports) rarely take interest in such activities. Most coaches at these clinics/clubs are at two extremes; Elite level runners and coaches who are well versed in their field OR the recreational runners who do not have a background or even a foundation in the know-how of biomechanics but run because they enjoy it. Now the problem of course is that qualified coaches and teachers tend to come at a cost whereas volunteer coaches (who make up the predominant amount of clinics and clubs out there) are usually free of cost. Therefore a large amount of runners simply are not getting the adequate amount of training and coaching in their movement patterns. To borrow a phrase from Gray Cook, you have to earn your movement first before you repeat that movement. Like most education, if individuals are not qualified the pupils suffer. In the case of running, the pupils suffer from potentially tearing ACL’s, Plantar Fasciitis, IT Band syndrome, etc. and I simply cannot be ok with this.

What exacerbates the first problem is that a large group of the recreational runners who participate in these clinics think their weekly running is “enough” for their overall health and fitness. Now obviously it is a difficult task for anyone to learn about their body (let alone read in depth into anatomy and physics) on top of their jobs and other obligations that take up a lot of their time. But what needs to happen is that if a coach is not well versed in the field of kinesiology (or at least enough to make exercise recommendations), he or she should make a recommendation for an individual to seek out a professional to help fix his or her motor patterns before running more.

The last major problem I see within the running world is not so different from the Crossfit community. Because the structure of these types of fitness groups is geared towards large groups, the attention to detail is simply not given to individual. And as these individuals train with faulty movement patterns, problems arise. To compensate for this, the health and fitness industry convolutes the industry with an endless array of products that act as crutches for people as a temporary (and not scientifically sound) fixes. Ranging from wraps to leg sleeves, from various supposedly uniquely designed shoes to in soles. All of these products are temporary fixes that do not address the root of the problem. The fix of course is to strength train properly to fix muscle and movement imbalances and asymmetries. Yes it is a lot of work but if you do not want to have invasive surgery to fix a ruined leg in a few years then you have to invest in your body. Take the time to either hire a qualified and proven personal trainer or talk to experts in the field to help you.

 

Thanks for reading and may you all run long and prosper!

 

 

Let’s give a warm hand to Lita Mae Button!

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Hello boys and girls!

So we here at Fit & Fed have great news! We have been busy trying to find raw talent throughout the city, people who are the best at what they do and the brightest minds in the city! One of those bright and powerful people is Ms. Lita Mae Button! Join us in giving her a warm welcome to the team and let’s see what exactly it is that makes her great!

 

June 2014 HTC
Name: Lita Mae Button

Sport: Olympic Style Amateur Boxing in the 64kg division. Profession Boxing Debut: co main event August 15, Gatineau Quebec.

Amateur Boxing History: Started competing in boxing in 2005. Since that time I have had 45 amateur fights, winning the Ontario Provincial Championships 6x, 2x Canadian National Silver medalist, 2013 Canadian National Golden Gloves Winner and 2013 Silver Medalist at Ringside International Tournament.

Amateur Sport Background: When I was a teenager I competed in competitive swimming and achieved National Level times. Then I started kickboxing competitively when I was 19 yrs old, and had 5 fights North American Style kickboxing.

Certifications and Education: Health and General Sciences Certificate, Registered Nurse with a BsCN in Nursing, ISSA Personal Training and Exercise Therapist Certification, Level 1 Boxing Coach, Agatsu Kettlebell and Joint and Mobility. I have been a member of Toastmasters international for the last year, working on my public speaking skills to become a professional motivational speaker.

I have been teaching groups since I was 14 years old. I used to be a National level competitive swimmer. Group classes started with teaching children how to swim. At 19 years old,  I taught kickboxing because of my competitive experience that focused on the technical aspects for so many years. In my 20’s I focused on women’s boxing classes and Fitness conditioning classes. Now in my 30’s I love all the aspects of teaching groups, personal training and coaching.

Family and Recreational Information: I am a sole mother supoorting an 11 year old son, who loves soccer, reading and Judo. So I spend as much quality time with my son doing kid things, like playing in the park, playing games and reading. Reading on topics covering health and education is the corner stone of our lives.

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Follow on twitter/Instagram @badassbutton

Facebook.com/litamaebutton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, talk about a serious badass! We’re glad you are on our side Lita!

For more information on how to contact Lita for training, please email the Fit & Fed team at fitnfed@gmail.com.

Thanks for stopping by and happy training everyone!

 

Sincerely,

 

F&F

Is running really all that bad?

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Hey Boys and Girls!

 

We here at Fit & Fed apologize for the hiatus in terms of articles and general website updates but our team has been super busy with projects as well as furthering our own education to bring you the best of what the fitness industry has to offer 😀

 

Today we here at Fit & Fed want to address an issue that has been bothering our team for a very long time; the issue of running… When we are born and grow into our teens, the majority of us are told to run, climb, and be active to our hearts content. But for some reason as we transition from our late teens into our 20’s and later into our 30’s we are told to not be so active. We are told that excessive running or exercise will cause injuries and that if anything we should minimize the amount of physical activity we should partake in. We have a problem with this perspective for many reasons.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first problem with this idea is the underpinning assumption that with old age comes physiological degradation and hence an inability to perform tasks as efficiently. This argument is partially right but mostly wrong when it comes to exercise. When it comes to exercise, one of the key foundations of making sure that we are healthy is in making sure that we are moving efficiently and well. Your body is nothing more than levers and fulcrums. Theoretically speaking, if you move perfectly in a given movement pattern you could potentially do it forever (not really forever, but you get the idea). And this rule applies to running as well! Today we will be looking at two contrasting studies done by Dr. James O Keefe, one of the leading cardiologists in the United States as well as the University of Copenhagen’s research study on 9 recreational marathoners who ran for 7 marathons in 7 days in a row.

 

 

On the one side, we have Dr. James O Keefe who in this Ted talks video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6U728AZnV0) discusses how people who take exercise to the extreme (particularly running) is in fact dangerous for the human body. Dr O Keefe talks about how extreme endurance sports such as marathons, ultra marathons are dangerous because the amount of vigorous exercise is simply too demanding on the heart and proves to create unhealthy calcium deposits which become harmful to the heart. James discusses that we do have cardiovascular plateaus and that increasing beyond a certain point, the benefits from exercise start to decline. This message is of course not new, moderation here is key which means that there is a point where our cost benefit analysis tips. However, the problem is as always trying to figure out where the proverbial tip is. James cites a study done by Robert Schwartz in the Youtube video which found that more than half of veteran marathoners (more than 25 marathons in 25 years) developed increased levels of calcification in their hearts (62% more than their recreational active counterparts) which creates a mechanical burden on the heart (such as atrial fibrillation) and increases risk of death.

 

Sounds pretty scary right? Well don’t make your judgement call just yet.

 

In contrast to this initial data, a study was done by Karstoff et al. at the University of Copenhagen (Renowned for it’s research in the field of cardiology and endurance sports) conducted a study of 7 male and 1 female experienced recreational marathoners to run a marathon a day for 7 days in a row. The study aimed at measure the biochemical and body compositional effects of these participants in daily marathon running and whether it would present any drastic effects. The individuals were marked for skeletal muscle cell damage, liver cell damage markers, inflammatory markers and body fat mass was also measured. One important thing to note is that the average time for finishing all 7 marathons was between 23:25:42 and 34:25:21, so relatively recreational (nothing that would be considered elite level). Another important element to mention here is that the runners were not told how much or what to eat and were only controlled for the runs. The findings of this study were that across the entire range of biochemical markers, there was no indication of any severe damage and in fact fat percentage, total cholesterol and HDL improved substantially. Also, there was a slight increase in lean body mass. There was little change in “inflammatory markers and the unchanged physical stress level indicated by no differences in cortisol levls before and after the event” (Karstoft et al, ‘Daily Marathon Running for a Week – The biochemical and body compositional effects of participation’. 2013).

 

Now you may be asking, ‘What the hell? I just read studies that contradict each other’s findings. WHAT DO I DOOOOOO?????” Never fear, the two studies actually are not contradictory at all, if anything it actually tells us the same story!

 

Here’s why. the first study Dr. Keefe refers to covers individuals who have ran 25 marathons or more in 25 years. Now the toughest thing about these studies s that they rely heavily on asking a general population simply whether or not they run. They miss out on key elements of programming! Most runners (especially recreational runners) don’t realize that running is just like any other sport, there needs to be an offseason and an in-season. Not enough individuals give their bodies time to unwind and deload. One of the biggest problems of why injuries occur to even the fittest individuals is because they simply do not know when to slow things down. This however is not the fault of running itself, it is simply poor programming. It is the same for any athlete or bodybuilder, no athlete can train like they do in the pre-season year round because the intensity is so high that they will just burn out. Same with powerlifters or olympic lifters, they cannot be lifting at their max year round because their bodies will simply shut down. Now why does this agree with our second case study? Easy, the second study covered a 7 day acute measure of recreational runners that ran at a comfortable pace knowing that they were expected to run for 7 days straight. In knowing this information, the runners had a better understanding of their caloric intake and also slowed down their speed in order to better adjust for the distance. Not only that, but the 7 day study is actually very short in contrast to the training season of a typical runner. Most training regiments for runners last from 12 – 20 weeks, and the mileage in these programs do get relatively high with mixtures of tempo runs, sprints etc that puts a VERY high demand from a cardiovascular standpoint.

 

So the takeaway may be that running longer but with lower intensity with proper deload times within your life is the best approach to improving your quality of life and avoiding the tipping point where the benefits of running decline. However, if your goal is to run fast, then you will have to take that into account in your programming as well. If your goal is to run fast, then undoubtedly you will have to incorporate speed work and at very intense levels, but in doing so you also have to take into account how to adjust the length of your offseason to accommodate the intensified program.

 

The goal of this article was not to scare you away from running at all. It is that if you are thinking of running, even from a recreational standpoint, you have to put a lot of thought into it. It is a lifetime commitment, it is a reflection of who you are as a person and what you want out of life. Running is a journey of self discovery whether you are going out for a jog with a friend, competing to qualify for a marathon or competing for an Olympic medal.

 

We here apologize that we did not give you a concrete answer on how much to run or how intense, the only conclusion that we can offer you is that you should run, but run safely and for the average person, do not run your legs into the ground, take some months off and your body will thank you. 

 

 

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you soon! Happy training Boys and Girls!

 

Sincerely,

Fit & Fed