You want comprehensive healthcare reform ? lead a healthier life.

It?s been estimated that healthcare, or more accurately insurance, costs each American $8000.00 per year. The health-care we receive in the US is the best in the world by a long shot. It?s our insurance industry that our government has helped create through worthless regulation that needs reform. A majority of Americans agree in poll after poll, insurance reform is needed, but they do not want government run ?healthcare?. They are smart enough to understand what a disaster that would be. Every ?social program? from Medicare to social security is literally bankrupt. There are other answers.

Why don?t we hear anyone talking about is lifestyle and disease prevention as the key to affordable insurance? Because, it?s not PC to talk about the financial burden the unhealthy lifestyles many Americans put on the rest of the population. Although Americans have free will and choose their lifestyles, 100% of the blame is not theirs. A large portion of it belongs to the American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, the edible oil industry and our government. The recommendations, treatments and products these organizations have bombarded society with using billions of dollars over the years wreak havoc even on the healthy. The end result, 100?s of billions of dollars wasted annually on treating highly preventable diseases.

The CDC reports that obesity related diseases have reached almost $150 billion. The cost of treating obesity has doubled over a decade due to increasing prevalence. According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)t he cost of cardiovascular diseases and stroke in the United States in 2009 is estimated to be $475.3 billion. This figure includes both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include the cost of physicians and other professionals, hospital and nursing home services, the cost of medications, home health care and other medical durables. Indirect costs include lost productivity that results from illness and death. The American Cancer Society estimates total costs of cancer to be $228.1 billion. Those with diabetes in 2002 had more than double the healthcare costs than those without. This includes both direct and indirect costs.

It?s glaringly obvious that the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance industries need to move from being treatment oriented to disease prevention. Unfortunately moving from allopathic medicine to holistic medicine is about as likely as winning the lottery; these industries make a fraction of the money in disease prevention as they do in treating disease. There is just not a lot of money to be made in healthy lifestyles.

CrossFit BS

What is CrossFit (CF)?? In a nut shell it?s performing movements and or exercises under time that are continuously varied from workout to workout.? Started in the mid 1990?s, this training system does have value in improving ones fitness level; that?s where the benefits stop.

CF?s upside according to its proponents is being a total-body conditioning workout that is purposefully varied, which inhibits boredom.? I think it?s a home run for fitness enthusiasts because the workouts are challenging and competitive.? CF?s inherent difficulty, notice I said difficulty not intensity, also benefits the average person because most people do not train hard enough to elicit any measurable result.

The seemingly illogical CF programming is an effort to challenge as many movement patterns and energy systems as possible.? ?CF is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of the ten recognized fitness domains.? They are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.? Says founder Greg Glassman who is also known for his outrageous unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of CF.

Its the lack of specificity that gives CF it?s upside and its downside. Because the body is receiving multiple forms of stimulus the body never excels at any of them.? Somebody who starts out as a crossfitter and was not strong or muscular through previous training, will not make appreciable gains in strength or muscularity.? Sure, one can get very fit, but that’s too one dimensional.

Intensity and duration exist in an inverse ratio. In other words, as the intensity while performing an exercise increases, the amount of time one can perform the exercise decreases.? CF proponents claim their program utilizes a high level of intensity.? Well, there is no such thing as performing a movement or exercise for 5, 10, or 30 minutes and training with high intensity.? This is a physiological fact, not a choice, and certainly not something you can ?build? up to.

Is CF difficult? You bet your ass.? Is CF Intense? No.? This can best be explained by comparing a sprinter and a miler.? Any type of endurance event is by its very nature of low intensity.? Sprinters are always sucking wind at the end of a race.? In contrast, long distance runners are usually breathing close to normal after several miles of running.? It doesn?t matter how long a world class sprinter trains, because he is going all out physiologically, he is breathing hard every race.? Sprinters, as a result of their intense training are far more muscular than the thin distance runners.? This is not to say distance runners don?t work hard, they do, but the body can only perform at a high level of intensity for so long.? And intensity is a prerequisite to gaining strength and muscle.

You?ll never get truly strong performing CrossFit. No matter what Glassman or other CF coaches claim, it?s not going to happen.? A CrossFitter will never be able to achieve strength gains anywhere near the level of a powerlifter or even a strength enthusiast.? The vast majority of crossfitters have no appreciable strength what-so-ever.? The CrossFitters who are fairly strong or muscular, are former bodybuilders, powerlifters and weight lifting enthusiasts.? Training that targets endurance strength doesn’t increase maximal strength.? Training for maximal strength, however, does increase one’s strength endurance. ? If getting stronger, especially maximal strength, is your goal CF isn?t for you.

You will not attain any measure of lean mass. CF?s founder Greg Glassman claims CF, for the natural athlete, is better at building muscle than traditional hypertrophy weight training.? As with most of his claims there?s no science or empirical data to back this assertion.? While touting the muscle building capacity of CF he fails to explain, the lack of muscularity among most CF athletes.? Crossfitters don?t come close to the muscular development of a natural bodybuilder.?? At best some Crossfitters look athletic, which is great, if that?s your goal.? But, if you want to be muscular, CF is not for you especially if you?re a hard gainer.

It?s been well documented that within the fitness industry for decades that brief high intensity muscular contraction is the most important stimulus for building muscle and strength.? The duration of the exercise or movement is crucial, but can be counter-productive.? Sets lasting 5, 10, 30 minutes are completely of target for building anything but endurance.

If overall conditioning is what you want?? If improving your physique is what you want?? If increasing your endurance is what you want?? Learn how to train each energy system properly for optimum results.? CrossFit needs to be taken for what it really is, a great fitness program.? That?s where it ends.

Is popping multivitamins on a daily basis a risk to your health?

This article by Men?s Fitness.com says so:

Mom always said to take your vitamins. But she didn’t mean overdo it. Thirty-five percent of adults swallow a multivitamin on a regular basis, but several studies warn that an abundance of extra nutrients may not be as good for the body as previously suspected. Just check out the data.

DIABETES: While vitamin K and thiamine appear to help reduce risk factors, scientists warn that selenium in vitamins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes.

PROSTATE CANCER: Too many multis may increase your risk of developing a form of fatal prostate cancer, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.

LUNG DISEASE: Multivitamins don’t protect against lung cancer, say scientists at the University of Washington. (In fact, too much vitamin E may increase the risk.)

LONGEVITIY: Perhaps most alarmingly, vitamin supplements may increase your overall mortality risk. So says a recent Danish review of 67 studies involving more than 200,000 participants. After analyzing the data, researchers found that people taking vitamins were 4% more likely to die during the course of the study than people who weren’t taking them. Yikes.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If your diet sucks, a multi may help. But if you already eat well
and buy fortified cereals and breads, you’re likely getting all the nutrients you need.

Interesting. Like most Americans who believe that they?re taking an active role in their health, I ingest a multivitamin on a daily basis (and actually, I take them on a nightly basis). But I don?t know if this article is enough to scare me away from taking them every day.

I wish the article had provided more detail as to the appropriate amount of times a week it?s okay to take a multivitamin. Based on that last paragraph, the article would almost lead you to believe that you should take a multivitamin on the days you can?t eat as healthy as you should.

Low testosterone not good for male bone

Low testosterone levels may boost the risk of fractures for men over 60, an Australian study finds.

The researchers tracked 609 men (average age 72.6) between 1989 and late 2005.

The University of Sydney researchers collected information about the men’s bone mineral density, lifestyle habits, and blood levels of testosterone and estradiol (an estrogen).

During the study period, 113 men suffered low-trauma fractures (caused by a fall from standing height or lower). Of those men, 25 suffered multiple fractures.

There were a total of 149 fractures, including 55 vertebral, 27 hip, 28 rib, six wrist and 16 upper- and 17 lower-extremity fractures.

The risk of fracture was much higher among men with low testosterone levels, the team found.

Even after adjusting for a variety of potential risk factors, low blood levels of the two hormones “were associated with overall fracture risk,” the study authors concluded. Fracture risk was associated “particularly with hip and non-vertebral fractures,” they noted.

The findings are published in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Vitacost.com’s Daily Health Tip

Sweating the small stuff leads to heart disease

A study finds older men who suffer from chronic anxiety substantially increase their risk of having a heart attack. While stress has been linked to an increased risk of heart problems, this is the first time that chronic anxiety has been identified as a risk factor also.

“There is an independent contribution of anxiety that can predict the onset of a heart attack among healthy older men,” said lead researcher Biing-Jiun Shen, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In the study, Shen’s group collected data on 735 men who participated in the Normative Aging Study, which assesses medical and psychological changes associated with aging. Each of the men completed psychological testing in 1986 and had no heart problems at the time. The men were followed for an average of 12 years.

The report appears in the Jan. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

During follow-up, the researchers found men who had chronic anxiety had a 30 percent to 40 percent increased risk of heart attack. Those with the highest levels of anxiety on psychological testing had an even higher risk of heart attack.

The risk posed by anxiety remained even after the researchers adjusted their data to account for standard cardiovascular risk factors, health habits, and negative psychological and personality traits, Shen said.

Exaggerated response to acute and chronic stress in anxious individuals may trigger a number of pathways which increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease and being stricken with a heart attack, Fonarow said.

“Highly anxious individuals should be aware they may face an increased risk of a heart attack and take proactive steps under physician supervision to control those cardiovascular risk factors which are modifiable including blood pressure, lipid levels, activity level and weight,” Fonarow added. HealthDay News)

Moral of the story, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Triceps from California

When it comes to building an impressive set of arms, the triceps cannot be overlooked. Consisting of three different heads, the triceps contributes to more than half of an arms circumference. Though large biceps are striking, it’s the triceps that give the upper arm a thick powerful look.

Irrefutably one of the best ways to add size to your triceps is to perform triceps extensions. If you’re like most who’ve been working out for a year or more, you’ve tried various extension movements. More-over you probably like performing extensions, whether overhead or lying, but your elbows hurt when you use any appreciable weight for a period of time.

Are you tired of elbow pain getting in the way of progress when performing effective exercises like triceps extensions? Are your triceps lagging behind in size? have you reached a plateau in arm development? Are you looking for an exercise to stimulate growth?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I have the exercise for you. In an article discussing the ten best exercises, the California press is mentioned as being one of the best triceps exercises for size and strength. I’ve been using this particular exercise on and off for many years and can attest for it’s effectiveness.

I’ve always attained great gains from performing triceps extensions, especially lying supine, but had to stop performing them due to pain. No matter what angle or bar I would use, as soon as I would start using heavy weight, it always resulted in pain in the triceps tendon. As a matter of fact, I developed tendinitis several times, which I’m sure many of you know, can be difficult to get rid of.

Once I started to incorporate the California press into my triceps workout, I found I got the benefit of lying extensions without the wear and tear on the elbows. In fact, you’ll soon find the California press is a much more effective exercise than extensions because you can use a much heavier load; this will result in a much greater stimulus, which will yield a greater adaptive response.

If you’re interested in trying the California press go to bullz-eye.com.

Think twice before allowing your child or yourself to drink a fast food milkshake

Before you order you or your child a fast-food strawberry milkshake, check out the full article in the Guardian. This article exposes some interesting facts about flavouring and other ingredients in food.

Now take a look at the ingredients you might find in a fast-food strawberry milkshake: milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, monoglycerides and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129 and artificial strawberry flavour.

And what does that “artificial strawberry flavour” contain?

Just these few yummy chemicals: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.

Higher protein consumption yields muscle size, strength and overall health

Protein is by far the single most important supplement/nutrient you can consume in your quest for size and strength. Just the mere mention of it, however, gives most doctors and dietitians an anxiety attack. I?m sure you?ve heard much of the unfounded non-sense: ?All you need is food; supplements aren?t necessary.?, ?Too much protein can lead to kidney and liver problems.?, ?An average person can only absorb 30 ? 40 grams of protein at one sitting.?, ?Vegetable protein is just as good as meat, fish or milk protein.?, ?Eating more protein will make you fat.?, and so on and so on. There is not one reputable, reliable study to support any of these previous statements, and I cannot tell you how tired I am of dealing with this groundless garbage.

Protein repairs and maintains everything in our bodies from hormones to muscles to bones. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids. Essential meaning we have to ingest these for survival because our bodies cannot manufacture them. Many researchers now believe we have many other amino acids that should be considered ?conditionally essential?, because of their significance and our inefficiency at producing them. These include; glutamine, arginine, cysteine, taurine, glycine, tyrosine and proline.

If your protein intake or quality is low your body will get the essential aminos it needs from its most abundant storage system, muscle tissue. Knowing this explains why strict vegetarians, especially vegans, have a lower percentage of muscle than dairy, meat and fish eating humans and a harder time building muscle or strength in the gym. The quality of protein inherent to a vegetarian diet, especially vegans?, is dismal at best and a few studies have shown vege males have less testosterone then their meat eating counterparts; especially true if soy is part of their diet. What else should you expect consuming food inferior to human physiology?

Consciously consuming a diet low in protein has no benefits; is not based on good science, and merely a matter of ignorance. There are two things that begin with the letter ?P? that I would never cut back on; one is protein; the other ends in ?Y?. Having said that, how much protein should one consume? The International Society of Sports Nutrition, in a 2007 position statement, concluded that bodybuilders and strength/power athletes require just under a gram of protein per pound per day; consistent with my recommendation of 1 g/lb of lean body weight. However, if you train intensely, which is how you should train, empirical data suggests you may need upwards of 1.5g/lb to 2g/lb. Have no fear; this extra protein will not make you fat.

Protein, in and of itself has little to do with getting fat; protein consumption is inversely related to fat accumulation. The more protein you eat the more fat you burn as fuel. Protein consumption is directly related to thermogenesis and satiety through multiple mechanisms. It?s what you eat more than how much you eat that will determine how lean strong and muscular you will get.

A calorie is not a calorie. The assertion that macro-nutrients are all processed the same between individuals is just foolish. This is the basis for the calorie theory. A calorie of a carbohydrate does not equate to a calorie of protein when being metabolized in our bodies. Protein calories are not likely to be stored as fat as compared to carbs, because protein requires more energy to metabolize and assimilate and has numerous functions. Carbs are simply an energy source, and if not used as fuel, they are stored as fat without much effort; carbs also stimulate the release of high amounts insulin, the fat storage hormone. The higher your insulin, the more fat you’ll store. Keeping your insulin levels low is a key to becoming and staying lean. As an added bonus, protein helps to stimulate the secretion of glucagon, which helps mitigate the fat storage effects of insulin.

Change your perception and change your life for the positive

I tell all my students, “Perception is everything”. As you grow older, you accrue experiences, some good, and some bad. Many people, unfortunately, dwell on the negative even if the outcome is positive but not to their liking. We all have negatives in our lives; bad relationships, weight gain, financial troubles, death, accidents, etc. The one constant in our lives is that life continues no matter what we do. It does not matter how much money one has or how many friends, life will always have its setbacks. The problem most people have is not the set back itself, but how we handle it.

Let me put it to you this way, it took Thomas Edison 2000 tries before successfully inventing the light bulb. A reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. Thomas Edison replied, “I never failed once, It just happened to be a 2000 step process.” How many of us would have continued even after 100 tries. Obviously things weren’t going his way, but he kept a positive outlook, forged ahead and reaped the rewards.

In an excellent article in the March 2007 issue of Ironman Magazine, Skip La Cour writes about his “8 Steps to Getting Back the Confidence You Had During Better Times and Reclaiming Your Power”. Skip really hits the nail on the head with an explanation of what to do when life isn’t going the way you want at any age.

8 Steps that are explained in detail to reclaim your life.

1. Take full responsibility for where you are in your life.
2. Identify exactly what you want for the rest of your life.
3. Carefully examine the events that have led you to where you are today in your life.
4. Take control of your overall health and appearance.
5. Carefully choose the people who surround you.
6. Learn how to deal with other people more effectively.
7. Become an expert at something your passionate about in life.
8. Invest in coaching.

Skip La Cour is an excellent motivator/coach that has devoted his life to helping others reach their potential. This article is a great read especially for those who are feeling like they can’t get back on track. I don’t think the article is available on line any longer.

Can sex save your life

A study published in the British Medical Journal (1997 Dec.) examined the relationship between frequency of orgasm and mortality. 918 men between the ages of 45 and 59 at the time of recruitment were involved in this cohort study with a ten year follow-up. Researchers found the mortality risk was 50% lower in men with high frequency of orgasm than in men with low frequency. There was evidence of a dose related response. This inverse relationship between orgasm and mortality has been seen n several other studies.

One thing is for sure, there is no risk of overdose for men or women. Although men can injure themselves having too much sex, especially if they use drugs like Viagra. This and similar erectile dysfunction drugs allow men to have more staying power during sexual sessions. This in itself is a double edged sword. Although better staying power is always desirable, having too frequent, or having erections that last too long can result in permanent damage to your johnson.

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