Thursday, November 29, 2012

Type 2 Diabetes

Current Research Surrounding Development of Type 2 Diabetes

     As the number of adults with type 2 diabetes has steadily climbed, increasing by 49% in the years 1991 to 2000, as reported by the centers for disease control and prevention, it’s important that we learn of the risk factors and lifestyle choices that can contribute to our chances for developing this chronic disease. Type 2 diabetes is believed to be caused primarily by a tolerance build up of the body to insulin, and is also linked to impairment of cells of the pancreas to produce insulin. Dramatic complications such as kidney disease, blindness, and damage to the extremities possibly leading to amputation, along with an increased risk for heart attack and stroke are associated with the disease.

     Current theories surrounding accruement of insulin tolerance and decreased insulin production by cells of the pancreas all deal heavily with obesity, fatty acids released by adipocytes (fat cells), smoking, diet and exercise levels, along with some genetic links as well.

     Current research examining adipocytes (fat cells) has created a mainstream shift among researchers, where previously it was thought that adipocytes did little more than store fats; it has now been shown that these fat cells actually release a variety of hormone-like substances which affect other tissues. Several of these proteins and substances exist, such as leptin, an appetite suppressing factor, resistin, a substance which counteracts the effects of insulin, suggesting that the substance actually contributes to insulin tolerance. Another protein, known as adipopectin, increases the effects of insulin, but in obese individuals has been found to have decreased production.

     The review, Obesity and Free Fatty Acids (FFA) written by Dr. Guenther Boden from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, examines the link between free fatty acids in several possible pathways which contribute to insulin resistance. In his paper Dr. Boden cites evidence that “plasma FFA levels are elevated in most obese individuals,” that “raising plasma FFA levels increases insulin resistance” and “lowering of FFA improves insulin resistance,” qualifying FFAs as a physiological link between insulin resistance and obesity.

     In studies performed by Drs. Boden and Chen, it was found that acutely raising plasma FFA reduced insulin stimulated glucose uptake in all individuals tested, without any correlation to age or gender. Furthermore, Dr. Boden cites a study, performed by R. Rizza and others, which shows evidence that physiological elevations of FFA inhibit insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production (glucose production of the liver), resulting in an increase of glucose production in the liver.

     Though current information about pathways involved in the development of diabetes has been vastly expanded, there is still no 100% effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. Current advances in the field have opened up several new possibilities for treatment in the future. The best way to treat diabetes is to prevent yourselves from developing it. Exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to be a major contributor to individuals at high risk for type 2 diabetes. WebMD’s entry on Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, suggests screening for type 2 diabetes at age 30 among people at risk, i.e. those with a family history of diabetes or those who are overweight. WebMD cites a study performed by the Harvard School of Public Health, saying that the study showed that “regular exercise – at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week – and an improved diet that’s low in fat and high in fiber significantly helped with type 2 diabetes prevention.”

     So now that you have a little background info about diabetes, it’s time to start doing your part to prevent diabetes: Inform your friends and family about the importance of regular exercise and a healty lifestyle in preventing diabetes and make sure that you are using your Bronco Fitness Center membership to help combat this debilitating disease!

Arterburn, D., Bogart, A. et al. A Multisite Study of Long-term Remission and Relapse of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Following Gastric Bypass. OBES SURG, Sppringer Science+Business Media. (2012). Clinical Research.

Bluher, S., Mantzoros,C. The Role of Leptin in Regulating Neuroendocrine Function in Humans. The Journal of Nutrition. (2004). Vol 134: 2469S-2474S.

Boden, G. Obesity and Free Fatty Acids (FFA). Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2008. Vol 37(3): 635-ix)

Boden, G., Shulman, G. Free fatty acids in obesity and type 2 diabetes: defining their role in the development of insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction. European journal of clinical Investigaion. 2002. Vol 32(3):14-23.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

Marx, J. Unraveling the Causes of Diabetes. Science. 2002. Vol 296:686-9.

Saltiel,A. New Perspectives into the molecular Pathogenesis and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. Cell. 2001. Vol 104:617-629.

What Can Stretching Do for Me?

We’ve all heard it, “Stretching improves flexibility”, but why do I need to be flexible? Being flexible won’t make me stronger, faster, or lose weight, so why should I do it? There are various benefits to stretching that are complementary to any exercise program. Unfortunately, this is an area that is often overlooked and skipped in most work out routines. Stretching allows for a greater range of motion (ROM). Flexibility is an indicator of areas that are tight, limiting the range of motion at a particular joint or joints (Bryant & Green, 2010). When ROM is limited, one cannot fully extend to their full potential. This can be a risk for injury because you may be in a situation where you stretch beyond what you are capable of and possibly pull a muscle. For example, when attempting to reach for something that is beyond your range of flexibility, you may end up compromising that particular muscle and injure it instead. This is seen in various exercises and sports such  as soccer, football, and basketball. A common area that is pulled in these sports is the groin and thigh muscles. Conditioning these muscles and making them more flexible will make them less prone to future injury. Not only does stretching benefit exercise, but it will also allow you to go through daily functioning with greater ease. Whether it is bending over, pulling a door open, or even reaching something off of a high shelf, improved flexibility will make all of these motions effortless.
There are various types of stretching that include: static, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and dynamic. 

1. Static stretching is holding any stretch at the greatest point of tension for anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds (ACSM, 2010). Since this kind of stretching is held in longer bouts, it should be done after a normal exercise routine when the muscles are warm to avoid injury. 
2. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is the combination of holding a stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds and relaxing the stretch for 6 seconds and continuing to alternate this cycle (ACSM, 2010).
3. Dynamic stretching, also known as ballistic stretching, is short repetitive stretches only lasting for a couple of seconds (ACSM, 2010). This is usually done before a work out to help warm up the muscles while also stretching them out. This type of stretching before exercise carries less risk than static stretching because you are not holding a “cold muscle” in a deep stretch for an extended amount of time.  

Finally, stretching is also a relaxing exercise that gives you time during your day to unwind and focus on yourself. It is calming, feels amazing, and just does your body all kinds of good. Enjoy stretching because it is like a treat for your muscles.

Here are some stretches to try:

Quadricep Stretch 

Begin with standing on one leg, and then reach with one or both hands to grab hold of the other leg, bending it as close to your body and towards the Glutes as possible. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds then alternate to the other leg. Remember to keep a good posture while holding this stretch. You may choose to place one hand on a wall or piece of furniture to help keep balance.

Hamstring Stretch

Stand with one leg in front of the other and bend the back most leg while keeping the front leg straight. Shift your body weight towards the bent knee and tilt your hips forward and Glutes backwards, while maintaining a flat back. Place your hands on your thighs for support. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds then alternate to the other leg.

Calf Stretch

Begin facing a wall, standing a couple feet away from it, then place one leg in front of the other maintaining a flat back on both feet flat on the floor. Lean forward and press your hands on the wall bending the front leg and keeping your back leg straight. You should feel a nice stretch in the calf of the straight leg. The farther you position yourself away from the wall, the deeper the stretch becomes. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds then alternate to the other leg.

Neck Stretch

Begin by sitting or standing on the floor, either way is perfectly fine. Then slowly start to pull your neck towards the left shoulder and extend the opposite arm downwards. You should feel a deep stretch on the right side of the neck. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds then alternate to the other side.

Low Back Stretch

Child’s Pose. Lie face down on the floor and bend the knees and hips toward the back of the room. Stretch your arms out straight above the head keep the palms of your hands and forehead flat on the floor. You should feel nice and relaxed in this pose with a stretch in the low back muscles. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds.

Arm/ Shoulder Stretch

Extend one arm straight across the body while using the other to hold it in place and create a deeper stretch. Hold this stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds and then alternate to the other arm.

Kimi Ma


Bryant, C., & Green, D. (2010). ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals (4th Edition). San Deigo: American Council on Exercise

American College of Sports Medicine (2010). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (8th Edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stress and Exercise

As the Fall Quarter comes to a close, we are not only planning for the holidays, but also preparing for those dreadful finals. Regardless if you are the type to get ahead in your classes or the procrastinating type that waits until the last second, stress is inevitable. It can result from school, work, personal problems, or a combination of everything. While stress is a normal and natural part of life, too much can have a negative impact on our body (WebMD, 2012). While exercise has plenty of physical benefits, there are many mental health benefits (Coburn & Malek, 2012).

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) states that participation in any physical activity provides significant psychological benefits. Decreased anxiety and depression, as well as decreased stress all can result from exercise, as well as improved cognition; all of which are beneficial for the student population heading into finals (Coburn & Malek, 2012)

Studies have shown that these positive effects have been observed through aerobic exercise but that low-intensity and higher volume resistance training provides similar benefits. Rhythmic exercise such as running or cycling at a steady pace or even dancing to music promotes mental relaxation (Harvard, 2011). These effects can be attributed to biological processes. For example, our serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters involved in mood) levels tend to decrease during depression but are elevated back during exercise (Coburn & Malek, 2012). 

As we stress out, there are many symptoms that arise including cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms (WebMD, 2012). Cognitive symptoms include memory difficulty, as well as constant worrying. Emotional symptoms include depression and changes in mood. Physical symptoms are characterized by increased heart rate and sometimes colds, while behavioral symptoms can be observed through diet changes, isolation, and sleep disruption. 

As a student, we are most interested with the positive benefits exercise has on cognition (memory, thinking, planning, concentration). Those who are physically active function at a higher cognitive level than those who are not (Coburn & Malek, 2012). This should encourage the college student demographic to make time for exercise. 

Thus, as finals approach us, it is important to not bombard ourselves with continuous studying. We will become overwhelmed and will have a difficult time remembering everything. Take a break and relax by committing 30-60 minutes of exercise. The studies don't lie!

Ryan Benito


Coburn, J., & Malek, M. H. (2012). Nsca's essentials of personal training. (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

WebMD. (2012). Stress management health center . Retrieved from 

Harvard. (2011, Feb). Exercising to relax . Retrieved from

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daily Caloric Requirements

The human body runs on energy derived from food. This energy is commonly measured in kilo-calories  or Calories. Note the capital "C" representing the kilo prefix, meaning 1000 small calories. So the calories on the nutritional label are actually thousands of calories just simplified to prevent confusion.

Our bodies need a specific amount of Calories every day in order to function. Depending on the amounts that we supply our bodies with, different reactions will come about.  Too many Calories and our bodies will tend to store the surplus in the form we commonly refer to as "fat". Too few calories and our bodies although appearing to slim down, may actually resort to storing most of it's caloric intake as fat in order to be adequately prepared for the lack of incoming energy. You may be thinking "WHAT?!". To keep things simply, it is far better to know approximately how many Calories you need each day in order to keep your body functioning properly.

Although there are many variables that affect caloric requirements there are formulas used to calculate calorie needs. Due to the variables such as metabolic rates, these formulas should be used as a framework in order to have a reference point. Once you have your target caloric intake it is necessary to check whether an increase or decrease is needed. This is done simply by consuming the amount of calories and if there is no change in the desired direction, increases or decreases should be made in order to reach the required amount.

One thing to note is that in order to make a body weight change, a person needs to eat the required calories as if he/she is already at the body weight desired. For example if I want to be 195 pounds, I need to consume the amount of calories that a 195 pound body needs. You may consume relatively high amounts of protein and not see a significant change in body weight desired because calorie surpluses or deficits are what cause weight change.

Here are the formulas

Bodyweight in kilograms for an 18-30 year old male is multiplied by 15.3 and 679 is added to that number.  This number is then multiplied by activity level to give the final estimated daily caloric needs.  The calorie amounts should then be tested with an moderate percentage of calories coming from carbohydrates, protein and fats.  A decent basic split for each of these is a 60% carb, 30% protein, and 10% fat in order to adequately receive necessary amounts of each to fuel the body.  As stated before this is a very simple overview look at calorie requirements. Keep reading for more updates and details on nutrition from myself and our other Bronco Fitness Center trainers. Also visit the Health and Wellness Center on campus to get help on a more detailed dietary plan.

Turo Gamez NSCA-CPT


Earle, Roger W. , and Thomas R. Baechle. NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training. October 27, 2011 ed. ,: Human Kinetics, 2. Print.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Wheels of the Body

      Legs Legs Legs. Most of us have them and use them in one way or another. The feeling of muscle soreness sucks for both guys and girls but it is a necessity to always push ourselves and have complete leg workouts. Think about it. How many of us activate our deep hamstring muscles, our "glutes" or even the less popular hip flexors? The Leg Day is a love-hate relationship between anyone trying to develop their legs but we do it because the benefits outweigh the painful muscle soreness that comes from working out hundreds of muscles in 1 hour. That's right ladies and gents, performing a deep full-squat works out hundreds of muscles. What better way to increase strength and bone density, improve athletic performance, decrease body fat, and build muscle mass? (1) So what exactly constitutes a complete leg day? My list is as follows.

  1. Inclusion of a Back Squat
  2. Targeted Hamstring Activation 
  3. Knee Stability Training
  4. Activation of All Leg Muscles
  5. Strengthening of Lagging Muscles in the Lower Extremities
  6. Hip Flexor Stretching and Strengthening or Mobility
     So how would this look like in terms of exercise? Examples below are provided to demonstrate some of my favorite and some are arguably the most important exercises one will ever master. Reasons why are also provided. 

1. The Barbell Back Squat

*It is important to know that the activation of the gluteus maximus is greatest during a parallel squat (2)
* If you have to pick one exercise for legs, pick this one because it targets the most muscles. 

2. The Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Exercise Technique highlights provided by the NSCA (3) (This is complex exercise, see a trainer for further understanding of exercise technique)

"Downward Movement

  • Begin the exercise by forming a flat or slightly arched back, and then flex forward at the hips slowly and under control. 
  • Continue the downward movement phase until one of these four events occurs (they determine the maximum range of motion, or the bottom position):
    • The plates touch the floor (or the bar touches the feet of well-trained lifters standing on a raised platform)
    • The back cannot be held in the flat or slightly arched position
    • The knees fully extend
    • The heels rise off the floor
  • Keep the body tight and in control; do not bounce or relax the torso at the bottom of the movement
Upward Movement
  • Raise the bar by extending the hips
  • Continue the upward movement phase until the standing starting position is achieved"
*The stiff-legged deadlift is one of the best ways of targeting the hamstrings and developing an excellent posterior chain of muscles. 

3. Walking Lunges
  • These are performed like the lunge except we take a step forward into the next lunge. 
  • Great for targeting the hamstrings and gluteal muslces and generating greater knee stability. 
Hip Mobility/Flexibility

Breaking it down Barney Style
  1. If your goals are to build strength, be healthier, build muscle, get toned legs, fat loss, or keep a tight body then squats are an auto-include exercise for your workout program. As a matter of fact it should be included in everybody's workout programs. 
  2. There are more muscles in the legs than just the quads. 
  3. Talk to a trainer if you have ANY questions. We are here to help. 
  4. We can talk about legs for days butt (see what I did there?) we will have to keep it short and simple today. 
Thanks for Reading

Noel Cerda

1. Coburn, J. W., Coburn, F., Malek, M. H., Cer, N. S. A., & Cer, F. (2011). Nsca\'s essentials of personal training. (2nd ed.).
2. Caterisano A, Moss RF, Pellinger TK, Woodruff K, Lewis VC, Booth W, and Khadra T. The effect of back squat dept on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16(3):428-432. 2002
3. NSCA (2008). Exercise technique manual for resistance training. Human Kinetics Publishers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Caffeine as a Performance Enhancer

   Caffeine is so prevalent in modern society that its role as an ergogenic (performance enhancing) substance is sometimes overlooked. This article will look at how effective caffeine is as a sports supplement, how it affects the body and the ethical issues surrounding it’s continued use within the sports community. It has recently been removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of banned substances and is only considered a controlled substance by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Cycling Union (ICU). However, WADA is considering revising it’s decision after George Gregan, Australian Rugby Union Captain, admitted using caffeine before games and gaining a reported seven percent performance increase. As we’ll see later, many factors mean that the limit for caffeine ingestion may not prevent athletes using it or gaining significant benefits from it in competition and training.
   Caffeine can be found all around us, in products ranging from beverages to over-the-counter medications. It may well be the most widely used stimulant in the world today. So what exactly is it? The U.S National Library of Medicine lists it as a Central Nervous System stimulant that is also used in analgesics and respiratory system stimulants. It is part of a group called methylxanthines, drugs often used for respiratory illness due to their vasodilating effects.
   However, caffeine is neither a typical nutrient nor is it essential for health; we can all survive without it! It is in fact a socially acceptable, legal drug consumed by all groups in society. So if it is non-essential for life, not produced naturally in the body and used globally for it’s stimulant properties, why is it still treated so liberally by sporting bodies?
   The answer to this may still be unclear at the end of this article, but hopefully it will shed some light on what exactly caffeine does and why and whether or not it works. It is important at this point that we remember we are considering caffeine in it’s role as a performance enhancing supplement rather than it’s role in cold medications or the everyday diet, although you could argue it functions as an ergogenic aid for many there as well.
How does it actually work?
   The exact reason why caffeine is such a powerful ergogenic is difficult to pinpoint and is more likely due to several different interactions on the neural and metabolic pathways in the body. Costill et al originally attributed performance increases to a “glycogen sparing” effect, largely due to the increase in fatty acid metabolism that was observed with a general dose of caffeine (330mg). Later studies have investigated caffeine supplementation on a body weight basis, typically using between 3mg and 9mg per kg of body weight. Interestingly, a 70kg person would have to ingest around 9mg per kg of body weight to be over the IOC legal limit. Many studies have shown clear effects on performance at levels beneath this.
   For this reason, caffeine was originally thought of as an ergogenic aid specific to endurance-based events, though recent studies have highlighted that it is not exclusive to this sort of event and can benefit shorter duration activities by reducing perceived exertion, lowering the pain response and increasing mean power output. These effects were seen in studies where the short duration of activity ruled out glycogen sparing as the method of performance increase. It is likely that the role of caffeine in adenosine receptor antagonism may be key in it’s role as an ergogenic aid. You are probably already familiar with Adenosine as a component of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Without the phosphate, Adenosine itself functions as a neurotransmitter and has been revealed as a key messenger related to sleep; it plays an important part in regulating blood flow and inhibits the release of excitatory neurotransmitters such as Dopamine. Caffeine works directly on the receptors for Adenosine, blocking their action on the body. This is certainly likely to play a key part in caffeine’s ergogenic function, and it is now clear that glycogen sparing is not the sole (and may not be at all) mechanism by which caffeine can increase performance.
Isn’t it a diuretic?
   A lot of the discussion surrounding caffeine is about the potentially deleterious effects on the body’s hydration levels. Caffeine and methlyxanthines are listed as having a diuretic effect, and caffeine itself is a potent diuretic. However, whether or not this also applies during exercise is unclear, with studies by Graham et al and Grandjean et al contradicting this. There does not appear to be any basis for the common concern that caffeine will dehydrate your athletes. These findings agree with studies by Falk and Wemple, neither of whom reported increased diuresis as a result of caffeine intake.
   We should also remember that this is talking about caffeine - not coffee! When the two have been compared, it was found that the ergogenic effect of caffeine was largely lost when taken in as coffee. Therefore, we cannot extrapolate the ergogenic effects of caffeine to coffee as it would appear that the many thousands of compounds within coffee serve to negate this effect.
   Perhaps one of the most insightful things to take from the study by Grandjean et al was the overall levels of dehydration across all subjects. Subjects in the study consumed an average of 1745mL, but 78 percent of them suffered a loss in body weight through dehydration. Taking this finding in the context of the relationship between fluid and disease* in the body, we might be well advised to promote more fluid intake in general for our athletes and our clients!
   Of course, there are other side effects besides the purported diuretic effects. Caffeine can produce restlessness, headaches, insomnia, irritability, muscle twitching and arrythmias. These effects vary tremendously among individuals and are important to consider in a sports context where they might well contribute to an increase in anxiety prior to or during competition.
* Michaud and colleagues conducted a prospective study over 10 years and with 47,909 participants to examine the relationship between fluid intake and disease. They determined that participants consuming over 2391mL per day had a 49 percent lower incidence of bladder cancer than those consuming under 1398mL.
Ethical Concerns
   Depending on your point of view, this is where things are a little less clear. It is well documented that benefits, often significant, can be gained from taking a caffeine supplement. It is also clear that these benefits are very evident at levels below doping regulations. However, the widespread use of caffeine in society makes the classification of it complex. Most of us would agree that taking a pure substance with no purpose other than to gain an advantage over competitors would be unethical. There may also be a deeper issue here, that acceptance of one performance-enhancing substance may lead to further abuse of banned substances. Does advocating caffeine use serve to facilitate the path to more dangerous substances? By not making caffeine a banned substance in competition, is the practice of “doping” in sport being condoned? Gregan’s comment’s sparked a debate into this, with several prominent figures showing their concern about the message that advocating substance use in sport can convey. Should a sports star who is a hero to many junior athletes promote using substances to increase performance? Or should he be commended for his honesty in highlighting its use? The effect of this is yet to be known and is surely difficult to determine, but surveys tell us that the desire to win in an athlete is powerful. Weinberg and Gould cite studies where 98 percent of athletes asked said they would take a performance-enhancing substance if they would win and not get caught. In another survey, the Canadian Centre for Drug Free Sport found that 27 percent of youths between 11 to 18 years old had used a caffeine-containing substance for the specific intent of enhancing performance. Are these youngsters therefore at higher risk of being exposed to more dangerous and damaging substances as a result of sports lenience on caffeine?
   So the evidence for caffeine is clear: It is a proven and potent ergogenic substance, yet the exact reasons for this still remain somewhat equivocal. It would seem that caffeine exerts its effects through several different mediums, both peripherally and centrally on nerves and metabolism.
   Though initially regarded as an aid to performance in endurance, recent studies have demonstrated an effect across a variety of performance protocols, including short burst activities. This in part appears due to a reduced perception of pain. This review only considered studies where full texts were available to try to provide a clear and accurate reflection of research.
   Though it appears on several controlled substance lists, caffeine has been shown repeatedly to have  powerful effects at levels well below the legal limit. And in 2002, Conway et al highlighted that urinary doping tests may not accurately reflect the dose or plasma levels of caffeine, as much can be dependant on individual sensitivity and the time and type of caffeine dose.
   Concerns over dehydration during exercise may be unfounded as it seems that the effects of caffeine on a person at rest are not reflected during exercise. Blood pressure, for example, will be elevated at rest after caffeine, but this trend is not reflected during exercise.
   So as an ergogenic aid, the research shows caffeine to be effective. It is relatively safe to use at levels that improve performance. It’s cheap, readily available and tolerated by most sport governing bodies. However, it is not without drawbacks, such as the long-term effects of supplementation, ethical issues and the need for increasing dosage as subjects become more tolerant. These issues, combined with individual sensitivity and side effects such as palpitations, nausea, dizziness, insomnia and tremors, continue to keep the debate controversial over caffeine’s role as an ergogenic aid.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What you need to know about Carbs

Carbohydrates: How Low Can You Go?

Like it or not, rapid fat loss is what prompts most clients to pay the large hourly fees charged by elite trainers. Regardless of his or her ability to improve core stability, deal with injuries, or establish rapport with a client, the majority of people will judge the value of a trainer on one thing: how much fat they strip off clients and how quickly they do it. In achieving this, intake of carbohydrates remains one of the most important factors and one of the most emotive.
The food industry-sponsored recommendations from the UK's Food Standards Agency suggest that individuals consume 60% of their calories from carbohydrates. Based on the allocated energy intake, this works out at a whopping 400g (14oz) per day for the average male and 320g (11oz) for females. Throughout the course of evolution, humans had no pasta, no bread and certainly no ice cream. Early men instead consumed less than half the carbohydrates than his successors do (Cordain, 2005).
It is therefore no surprise that a number of advantages exist in restricting carbohydrate intake compared to conventional recommendations. Excessive carbohydrate consumption has been linked with a wide range of health problems, from cardiovascular problems and type II diabetes to impaired neural function and suppressed immune system activity (Sanchez, 1973). Equally, low-carbohydrate diets can compromise output of thyroid hormones (Spaulding, 1976). Clearly, individuals want to find a level of carbohydrate intake that will support optimum health, maximize fat burning, and represent a sustainable and realistic dietary protocol.
Carbohydrate Metabolism: An Overview
Unlike proteins and fats, which the body uses for both energy and metabolic purposes such the production of hormones and cell membranes, carbohydrates are only used for energy. Thus, intake should reflect expenditure through physical activity. When your clients eat complex carbohydrates, for example wholemeal bread or brown rice, the starch contained within these foods is broken down by digestive enzymes collectively known as amylase. With amylase present in saliva, this process begins in the mouth but is primarily conducted in the small intestines. This amylase breaks down starches into simple sugars, which can then cross the intestinal barrier and increase the concentration of sugars in the bloodstream. If this process occurs too quickly – for example after the consumption of sugary foods, which can enter bloodstream in their existing state, or after eating refined carbohydrates in the form of white bread – then blood sugar levels rise excessively. Equally, a large amount of of carbohydrates in one meal can result in a huge rise in blood sugar levels.
Not only does this sharp rise in blood sugar cause problems, so, too, do the hormonal changes that follow. The increased sugars in the bloodstream can result in cardiovascular damage (Kapolsky, 2002), while the insulin released to counter it can increase aging and cause inflammation by releasing arachidonic acid from cell membranes (Fernandez-Real et al., 2003). While your clients might not be prompted to cut back on the spaghetti with these negative effects alone, they might find added motivation when they consider how effective carbohydrates are at fattening us up. High blood sugar levels and high insulin levels inhibit the oxidation of fat at mitochondria around the body and inhibit the breakdown and release of stored triglycerides at fat cells under the skin (Holt et al., 1997). In short, too many carbohydrates make people unhealthy and fat.
Low-Carb Diets
This realization prompted a wave of low-carbohydrate diets (notably The Zone, The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet) that capitalized on the public's hunger for such options. The rationale behind each diet varies slightly and the level of carbohydrates suggested varies significantly, but each aims to increase fat loss through the lowered insulin response that occurs when individuals cut back on the carbs. And with good reason: low carbohydrate (higher protein/fat) diets have consistently been shown to result in much more fat loss than their "conventional" equivalents (Shai, 2008). 
It is noteworthy that not every trial has shared the same conclusion; Harris et al. (1995) tracked weight loss in volunteers for 18 months and, although they only measured the body mass index of the cohort, they established a link between weight loss and dietary fat intake but not carbohydrate intake. This perhaps shows that there is more than one way to illicit weight loss, and that professionals should interest themselves not in “what works,” but “what is most efficient.” Different protocols may work more effectively for different people.
Keeping this in mind, the question is not so much whether or not low-carbohydrate diets are effective as how low should one go. In this regard, the choice is very much between a moderately-low carbohydrate diet – which I would define as one of between 100-150g (3-5oz) per day – and a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet, where daily carb intake falls short of 100g (3oz).
The Ketogenetic Diet: An Altered Metabolic State
A ketogenic diet is one where the body enters ketosis. This is an altered metabolic state when, starved of carbohydrates, the body begins to use ketones as a fuel source. Ketosis begins to occur when carbohydrate intake drops below 100 grams per day and is defined as the concentration of ketones above 0.2 mmol/dl, with ketoacidosis defined at 7mmol/dl (Robinson, 1980).  Ketogenesis has faced severe criticisms for the potential to increase acidity in the bloodstream and, as a result, impair biological function and health. Concerns have also been voiced as to the amount of muscle breakdown that can occur during ketosis. Indeed, this is a valid concern as a ketogenic diet is catabolic by definition, making the building/rebuilding of muscle impossible The low level of carb intake can compromise muscle mass in the early phases. And, while endurance improves at lower intensities, performance of intense exercise suffers on a ketogenic diet (Hargreaves et al., 1995). Depending on food choices, the reduced consumption of carbohydrates may result in insufficient fiber intake and a negative impact on the composition of the intestinal bacteria and therefore colon health (Russell et al., 2011). These negative consequences should be taken into consideration whenever discussing a low-carbohydrate diet.
Regardless, fiber intake can be maintained by including vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and green beans. All of these items provide fibrous bulk with only minimal carbohydrate content. Additionally, the evidence suggests that, in non-diabetics, restricting carbohydrates to induce dietary ketosis only briefly increases the acidity of the bloodstream and that this returns to normal after several days and that health can be maintained for long periods of ketosis (Withrow, 1980). It also reveals that such a restriction does increase protein breakdown from skeletal muscle for around three to four days, although the metabolic shifts that occur from this point onwards tilt the body into sparing protein, instead using fatty acids and ketones. This results in significant weight loss. A study of 120 overweight volunteers on a weight loss diet found that, after 24 weeks, those on the ketogenic diet lost twice as much fat mass as those on a low-fat diet (Yancy et al., 2004). Another study from the same year (Stern et al) followed volunteers one year after embarking on either a ketogenic diet or a "conventional" diet. Despite being matched for calorific intake, the first group had lost 5.1kg (11.2lb) to the 3.1kg (6.8lb) recorded by their counterparts.
In regards to health biomarkers, there is no consistent difference between moderately-low carbohydrate diets and that required to induce ketosis. There is also no doubt that ketogenic diets burn fat, and a lot of it. In this regard, ketogenic diets are not guilty of the charges levied at them by critics. A more relevant question is whether ketogenic diets burn more fat than moderately-low carbohydrate equivalents. Put another way, whether the fat-burning benefits of ketogenesis can be retained without the metabolic compromise that comes with it.
Ketogenic and Low-Carb Diets: The Evidence
Ketogenic diets certainly increase the rate of fat usage considerably, using free fatty acids / ketones for up to 90% of the energy used (Elia et al., 1990). However, the impressive use of fat may be offset by metabolic adaptations during reduced food intake. Researchers measured the drops in basal metabolic rate at an average of 26% after five days of starvation (Fuglei and Oritsland, 1999). Critics of the ketogenic diet point out that a starvation response does not occur in moderately-low carbohydrate diets. Most interesting is the research by Johnston et al. (2006), which split volunteers into two groups to directly compare a moderately-low carbohydrate diet against a ketogenic one. They fed both 1,500 kcals per day but providing the first with 157g (5.5oz) of carbohydrates per day and the other with 33g (1oz). The first group lost an average of 7.2kg (16lb), of which 5.5kg (12lb) came from fat; the ketogenic group lost 6.3kg (14lb), of which only 3.4kg (7.5lb) was from fat mass. This study suggests that a moderately low intake of carbohydrates appears more effective to improve body composition. Researchers also reported better mood in the moderately-low carbohydrate group. It should be pointed out that this study cannot conclude the issue (as the compliance of the volunteers may have affected the results) but it certainly strikes a blow in favor of the more moderate approach.
Using Low-Carb Diets
Charles Poliquin , one of the world's most respected strength coaches, remains an advocate for a low-carbohydrate diet and notes that athletes can still perform at a world-class level without gobbling down large quantities of pasta. However, he also believes ketosis is overrated and not necessary for making progress. Mauro Di Pasqaule, the author of The Metabolic Diet, suggests that five days of limiting carbohydrates to 30g (1oz) per day, following by two days of unlimited carbohydrate intake serves clients best to maximize both fat loss and muscle gains through a cyclical ketogenic diet; the aim is to put individuals into ketosis during the week but replenishes muscle and liver glycogen during the carb-up days, allowing both fat-burning and muscle growth over course of a full week. Dr. Loren Cordain points out that humans have evolved on a diet of 22-40% carbohydrate, which equate to 117-213g (4.1-7.5oz) per day for a client consuming 2,000 kcals. Importantly, these carbohydrates would have come exclusively from vegetables, nuts and (seasonally) fruit. It is also noteworthy that comparisons of paleolithic intake to modern times cannot be made directly, as our prehistoric ancestors were likely more active and consumed a higher amount of energy overall to fuel this.
Even so, I feel that this evolutionary diet falls right in the sweet spot that provides the right balance of insulin against glucagon and growth hormone, while representing a sustainable diet that can easily be maintained by clients in almost all situations. 
Naturally, the exact carbohydrate intake will vary from one person to the next; factors like lean mass, daily energy expenditure and precise aims will all make a difference. For exact calculations, a visit to a nutritional therapist experienced in this area is advised. For clients who are active only 1-2x per week and looking for weight loss, I would suggest food intake consisting of regular meals that feature plenty of meat, eggs and fish, combined with abundant vegetables and some large salads. This ”sweet spot” for these individuals would most likely be found when they follow the above guidelines and, additionally, get one or two servings of oats or brown rice alongside this over the course of the day. I would encourage clients to take an evening off from this once per week; not only can this help compliance and morale, but the occasional “re-feed” can help to avoid adaptations in energy efficiency and maintain a higher metabolic rate in the long-term (Ahima et al., 2000).
Together with the usual attention paid to stress, sleep, digestion and hydration, this represents an effective and reliable method of dropping fat mass quickly. Of course, it is not the only method and there is still no agreement on what constitutes the optimum intake of carbohydrates for weight loss. The fear some harbor against ketogenic diets appears unsubstantiated, although this more extreme approach may not offer any more spectacular results. They do, however, remain a useful tool. In any case, an examination of both the aims and the energy requirements of your clients should allow for consistent and impressive results. And a higher hourly rate.
-  Marek Doyle

Monday, July 23, 2012

ASI now Managing the Bronco Fitness Center

As most of you know, the Bronco Fitness Center is now under new management.

A lot of you are wondering what the means? 

The Bronco Fitness Center was operated by an outside fitness company called Club One over the past 9 years.  Club One was here to operate the Bronco Fitness Center and maintain the facility since Campus Recreation didn't have enough sufficient resources to run it's own facility.  Most recently, Gema Barrios who was the program manager and Steve Garcia who was the assistant program manager worked under Club One as well as all of the other employees including the front desk staff and the personal trainers.

As of June 30th the contract with Club One ended, meaning Gema and Steve were no longer working at the BFC.  All the student staff had to reapply and interview for their positions.  Happy to say the student staff working for Club One is back working in the BFC along with some new faces. I was offered the position of Fitness Assistant and will oversee the BFC and the programs. Shelbi Long is the Campus Recreation Coordinator and now oversees Intramurals and the Bronco Fitness Center.

As of June 30th, 2012 ALL MEMBERSHIPS were cancelled.  If there are any discrepancies with billing prior to July contact Club One @

The only way to become a member again is to sign up at the BFC or online @

As for the BFC and how it affects you the member, there isn't too much to worry about.  Student fees will continue to be $18.00 a month and Faculty/Staff is 28.00.  We know that summer is usually slow because there aren't many students around campus but we are offering Group X classes such as Ryan Benito's Body Tone Monday and Wednesdays 12-1pm and Zumba Tuesday and Thursdays 6:30-7:30 pm.

This upcoming Fall we have plenty of programs such as our annual bench competition, 5k run/walk, and the Bronco Fitness Center's first ever fall combine.  Be sure to sign up as a member online or come on into the BFC.

 Drew Caustrita
 Fitness Assistant