Tagged as: denver

Minding Your P’s and Double Q’s

By now, you’ve probably heard of COQ-10 and what the supplement can do- boosting energy, speeding recovery, and helping to reduce the effects of certain medicines on your heart, muscles, and other organs. Well, one of the newer supplements on the block is PQQ-10, which some consider the “fountain of youth” for your cells.

pqqsupplement

PQQ-10 – its scientific name, Pyrroloquinoline quinone – is actually a compound found in plant foods. And, while it’s not currently thought of as a vitamin, some experts believe it could be considered an essential nutrient in the not too distant future.

 

So, what does it do? PQQ helps grow and develop cells and is an extremely powerful

antioxidant. Research shows that it plays a critical role in nutrition. And, when it’s deliberately omitted from diets in mammals, it impairs growth, compromises immune systems and interferes with the ability to reproduce.

 

But, what’s considered the most important function of PQQ is what it does to key enzymes involved in producing energy in our cells – called the mitochondria. PQQ not only improves energy production, it promotes the spontaneous generation of new mitochondria within aging cells – and that’s where it gets credit as being a “fountain of youth” – at least, for your cells.

energy_mitochondria

The benefits of PQQ revolve around what it can potentially do for (or block) what happens to us as we age- Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many other chronic degenerative illnesses. The current research on PQQ has mostly focused on its ability to protect memory and cognition in both aging animals and humans.

 

In animal studies, PQQ has been shown to:

  • reverse cognitive impairment caused by chronic stress and improve performance on memory tests
  • protect brain cells against damage
  • protect against the likelihood of severe stroke
  • prevent the development of a protein associated with Parkinson’s disease
  • protect nerve cells from a protein linked with Alzheimer’s disease

 

PQQ is sort of anti-aging armor for our most energy-intensive organs – the brain and the heart. And, it’s been shown to optimize health and function of the entire central nervous system.

 

So how much and how often? Well- the current recommendation of 10 to 20 mg of PQQ daily is mostly based on what researchers have seen in animal studies. For humans, studies have shown that 20 mg per day of PQQ resulted in improvements on tests of higher cognitive function in a group of middle-aged and elderly people. But, get this – the effects were even more significant when the test subjects also took 300 mg per day of CoQ10.

 

So, the bottom-line? Minding your P’s and Q’s may just help you (and your cells) have a longer and more productive life.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Bryson DeChambeau: the most interesting man in golf

Bryson DeChambeau: Slack lining, but definitely not a slacker

 

He’s a weird mix of throw back (that hat and those pants!) and a kind of new age, scientific thinker (he majored in physics) who’s definitely got the golf world wondering what he’ll do next. Bryson DeChambeau turned pro in mid-April, won $260,000 in his first professional outing and chartered a private jet to get home.

 

That last minute plane ride might seem a bit out of character for a 22-year-old who is a stickler for preparation. He’s obsessed with it. DeChambeau is known for soaking his golf balls in Epsom salt to determine if they’re out of balance. In the lead up to this year’s Masters, he played Augusta 10 times in four and a half months, studying hole locations and putting surfaces. Trying to figure out how he could win the course.

 

At times, he seems like a nerd, but he’s certainly not a stereotype. While he approaches the game scientifically, he’s not afraid to use his inquisitive mind to work out solutions to problems, whether that’s on the course or off. That mind has also pushed him to challenge himself with a fitness routine that’s anything but.

 

You won’t see many other golfers embracing the strange acrobatics of what’s called a “slack line.” It’s like a tightrope, suspended off the ground, but with a wider surface and more loosely strung. DeChambeau has posted videos on his popular Instagram account, showing him walking a slack line and catching balls while trying to keep his balance. It’s an exercise that forces the body to engage several muscle groups at once, but puts much of the focus on the core. A strong core is key to a good golf swing. And, he’s proving that his swing is one of the best and most consistent.

 

DeChambeau stays consistent and produces the same swing over and over again, because his clubs are all the same length. And, that might have the potential to transform the game by putting less stress on the lower back, resulting in fewer injuries and longer careers.

 

Most golfers play with variable-length irons. With each club, your body has to change posture and readjust. It’s only a slight change, but, to complete the swing, your muscles have to move in different ways, putting your body and specifically the lower back, at more risk for injury.

 

In fact, back problems affect a good number of golfers, professional and amateur. This year, back injuries kept both Tiger Woods and Fred Couples out of the Masters.

When he was 19-years-old, Rory McIlroy had back problems, but committed himself to a workout routine that’s made him one of the fittest golfers on the PGA and European Tours.

 

For golf’s new stars – players like McIlroy and DeChambeau, the game has evolved. There is more emphasis on preparation and some of that is a bit unconventional to say the least. But, they’re finding that it pays to keep in shape, both physically and mentally. That’s how you get to the top of the leader board.

 

 

Coconut Oil: The New Superfood

Coconut Oil: The New Super Food?

coconut oil

It’s become one of the most talked about foods on the Internet, with some calling it a “super food.” Coconut oil is said to slow aging, help your heart and thyroid, protect against disease and assist you in losing weight. Still, organizations such as the American Heart Association continue to caution consumers against all tropical oils, including coconut oil. So what’s the real story?

 

For most Americans, coconut oil was something we never heard of. Now, it’s becoming more of a staple cooking oil in many homes. The reason is that its unique combination of fatty acids has been found to have positive effects on health. Plus, coconut oil contains antioxidants, known to protect us from cell damage, aging and disease.

 

This might sound scary – coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. We’ve all been told to avoid saturated fat. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is not the average run-of-the-mill saturated fat that you would find in cheese or steak. The fat in coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

 

So, what does that mean? Well, medium-chain fatty acids are metabolized differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they’re used as a quick source of energy.  Which can help you burn fat and lose weight.

 

Of course, it may sound a little strange that weight loss can come from eating something that’s pretty high in calories. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains an average of 117 calories and 13 grams of fat. But, what you weigh is not just a matter of calories; it’s the quality and the source of those calories. It’s a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. The bottom line- a calorie is not a calorie.

 

And, body fat is not just body fat. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which makes itself at home in the abdominal cavity and crowds around organs. Abdominal fat is thought to be the most dangerous fat of all and is associated with many diseases, like diabetes. Two studies, one with 40 women, another with 20 obese men, found that including an ounce of coconut oil in their diet each day led to a pretty significant reduction in abdominal fat. And the test subjects did not change their eating or exercise habits. They just added in coconut oil.

 

So what about the cautions from the American Heart Association? Well, it’s mostly about moderation; the Association would like you to limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 16 grams a day. And, like any oil, you should use coconut oil in moderation.

 

However, not all coconut oil is created equal. Avoid the refined coconut oil; go for the organic virgin coconut oil. It’s probably sitting right there on your grocery store shelf. There are a variety of brands with a range of prices.

 

And, once you try it, you might want to look into all the other uses for coconut oil. Like, hair conditioner, toothpaste, moisturizer, makeup remover; the list goes on. For some people, coconut oil is a “miracle” they can’t live without.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

 

Turn to the light: Infrared sauna has recovery, health benefits

You get sweaty enough working out, so why would you want to close yourself up in a little room and turn up the heat to sweat some more? The answer? To feel better and get stronger.

The benefits of saunas have been known for centuries. In some countries, like Finland and Japan, there’s a whole culture built around them and every member of the family takes part. Saunas can help you relax, relieve stress, and, be healthier – no matter your fitness level.

There are two types of saunas – traditional and infrared. And, while the traditional sauna is beneficial, the infrared sauna is what’s now being recommended by physical therapists as treatment for muscle aches and pains and to aid in recovery. Some doctors and researchers also believe infrared therapy can help you overcome a wide variety of illnesses.

Here’s why: the heat from a traditional sauna will only penetrate your skin by a few millimeters. Infrared heat penetrates by 1½ inches or more. That more efficiently targets what ails you. By heating up your body, there’s increased blood flow, which is great in reducing muscle spasms and joint stiffness. There’s also evidence that when used 24 to 48 hours post injury, infrared energy can reduce the time it takes for your body to heal sprains and strains.

 

Infrared saunas have many other health benefits, including detoxing heavy metals and chemicals. When you sweat, you excrete toxins through your pores. And doctors with NASA and the Medical College of Wisconsin found that infrared light significantly promotes faster cell regeneration, wound healing and human tissue growth.

 

Infrared saunas work by producing light rays that mimic those of the sun, but there’s no chance of burning. The light rays heat up your body, producing an elevated heart rate and of course, sweat. Basically, being in a sauna is like having a low-grade fever. And when you get warm, your body can kill off bacteria, fungi, yeast infection, parasites, viruses and other chronic infections.

 

There have been hundreds of clinical trials with infrared saunas, many reporting that the therapy is successful in treating a wide variety of conditions. Some patients experienced a great deal of relief with these and other problems:

  • Asthma, Bronchitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Circulation problems like cold hands and feet
  • High Blood pressure
  • Leg ulcers
  • Acne and other skins problems
  • Pain Relief
Inferred Sauna

                    Infrared Sauna

How to get started? Well, even though you aren’t actually working out, a sauna is like exercise in that, your body heats up and your heart rate elevates. So, consider infrared sauna use to be like a form of exercise.

 

Start slow, with sessions that last 10-15 minutes, then build up to 30-40 minutes over one to two months. It all depends on what kind of condition you’re in when you start.

 

Infrared saunas are now a matter of course, built into the conditioning plan for many NFL players and other professional athletes. What’s good for them can be very good for you.

 

 

Getting Ready for Ski and Board Season

The leaves have turned and there’s already been a dusting of snow on Colorado’s highest peaks. That means ski and snowboard season is just a few weeks away.

 

Unlike other sports, it’s hard to practice the elements of skiing or snowboarding unless you’re actually on the run at the resort. And, since snow sports can be a bit expensive, most of us only ski or board a few times a year. So, conditioning for it can be problematic.

 

But, you need to get ready to avoid injury and the misery of sore muscles and possibly a few bumps and bruises. If you’re not currently working out, it’s not too late to get started so you can enjoy ski season this year. If you are regularly working out, all you need to do is to add a few tweaks to your program.

 

One of the biggest things is simply endurance. Cardio endurance. If you’re not doing cardio now, just think about how you might be feeling after skiing or boarding all day with that expensive lift ticket. Sure, the lift gets you to the top. But, you have to get to the bottom. Without cardio conditioning, your legs are going to feel like Jell-O, you’ll be tired and those two added together equal an increased risk of accidents.

 

To get your heart and body ready for all day skiing or boarding, your cardio program should include at least three to five days a week of running, the Stairmaster or the elliptical trainer. Workout from 20 to 45 minutes, and one day a week, do it for a complete hour.

 

One of the great things about skiing and boarding is that they use quite a few muscle groups- they’re pretty much full body exercise. However, some muscles are used more than others. Those are the ones you want to concentrate on in your workouts.

 

  • Quadriceps. They’re probably the most used muscle. Quads help hold you in position as you glide down the slope. Simple squats and lunges, with or without weights, are probably the best quad exercises.
  • Hamstrings and Glutes. When going downhill, you hold your body (lower body) in a flexed position, with knees bent. Hamstrings and Glutes help stabilize you. Work these muscles with dead lifts, step-ups and hamstring curls.
  • Inner and Outer Thighs. If you ski, your inner thighs have to work to keep your skis together. You use your outer thighs to stay stable and steer. Work these muscles with side lunges, inner thigh leg lifts, inner thigh squeezes, side step squats and leg lifts.
  • Because you’re keeping your knees bent, your calves have to work to keep you on your skis or board. Do standing calf raises or machine calf raises to strengthen these muscles.
  • Abs and Back. Because you’re in a flexed position, your back and abs have to also work to keep you stable and keep your body in that position. Work these muscles with exercises like back extensions, dumbbell rows, and pain old sit-ups.
  • What happens when you get stuck in powder or you slow down a bit too much to make the turn to get back on the lift? If you’re a skier, that means you have to use your poles to get where you’re going. So, work your biceps and triceps along with the rest of your body.

 

Getting ready for ski and board season is not that hard. And, it pays huge dividends because you’re more able to enjoy the sport and you’re less likely to get injured. If you’re lucky enough to be able to hit the slopes this winter, you’ll have a much better and safer time if you’re prepared.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness