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.