Monday, January 28, 2008

Build the Body You Want

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, How do I make my workout work harder for me?

A. Here's a sign of the times: You can actually hire people to come to your house and organize your closets. They'll also do your garage, your attic, and the shed in your backyard. These people are tough on pack rats. They ask questions like "Why do you have this box of dog leashes, but no dog?"

My job isn't all that different. As a trainer, if I see something in a client's workout -- or my own -- that doesn't belong there, I get rid of it. If I see a redundant exercise, it's gone. Disorganized workout? I organize it. And if I see a client doing a program he got out of some old bodybuilding magazine, I throw the whole thing out and start over.

I can't come to your gym and fix your workout (or organize your closets). But I can tell you what you need to know to organize your own regimen, based on your goals, your available time, and your experience. I'll even throw in six sample body building workouts for beginner through advanced lifters. Now, about those closets . .


I assume the closet lady would start by asking, "What do you need this closet to do for you?" Me, I'd ask the same question, substituting the word "workout" for "closet." Usually, these goals fall into three categories:

Lose weight: If you're a beginner, start with a circuit routine in which you do 10 to 12 exercises one after the other, 10 to 15 repetitions per set, with little or no rest in between. Do two or three circuits.

If you're more advanced, try supersets. In these, you do two exercises back-to-back, rest 60 seconds, and then repeat once or twice. There are many ways to do supersets, but for fat loss, I'd like to see you use as much muscle as possible. One way is to pair exercises that work completely different muscles, such as squats and seated rows.

Build muscle: For most men, I recommend exercises that allow you to do eight to 12 repetitions per set. You can do them as straight sets-complete a set, rest about 60 seconds, do the next set of the same thing, and keep going that way until you've finished all your sets and are ready to move on to the next exercise.

If you have more experience, try supersets, but not the way you did them for fat loss. Pair synergistic exercises-two moves that work the same muscles. Usually, the first is a compound move to work a lot of muscles, the second a single-joint exercise to focus on one large muscle. So barbell bench presses might be followed by dumbbell flies. Shoulder presses could lead in to lateral raises.

Gain strength: There's no secret here-heavy weights, low repetitions (usually three to five per set for the most important moves, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses), and longer rest (up to 4 minutes) between sets. You don't have to do every exercise this way, of course. Start with low reps on your main moves, then do more repetitions with lighter weights and shorter rest periods on less important ones.

Available Time

This is akin to the closet lady saying, "What's your budget?" Before I design a program, I need to know how much time you're going to put in. I'm going to assume everyone is willing to work out 40 to 60 minutes per session.

To me, that's a finite window, just as your closet is a finite size. If you want to do longer workouts, great, but I usually don't go in that direction. If I can't give you a system that gets it done in an hour or less, there's something wrong with my program. To me, the big variable here is how many days a week you're able and willing to work out.

Two days a week: No matter your level or goals, do total body building workouts. You want to hit your major muscles twice a week; otherwise, they'll be completely rested between workouts and will have no reason to grow.

If you're a beginner, stick to circuits, as I recommended above for fat loss. But if you're more interested in building muscle than in losing fat, I suggest doing sets of eight to 12 reps, with perhaps a little more rest in between exercises.

Another option for saving time is to do antagonistic supersets. These pair up movements that involve opposite muscle actions, such as situps and back extensions.

Three days a week: If you're not a beginner, you can adopt a split routine. The easiest to remember is the upper-body/ lower-body split. You alternate between them, so if you're training three times a week, you'll do upper-lower-upper 1 week, then lower-upper-lower the next.

If you're working out four times a week, you'll do upper on Monday and Thursday, and lower on Tuesday and Friday.

What you do during those split routines depends on your goals (explained above) and your experience (explained below).


Beginners make gains with just about any type of program, so it's best to keep it simple and safe-fairly high repetitions, basic exercises, total body building workouts. The more experience you have, the more you'll benefit from heavier weights and lower repetitions, more advanced exercises and techniques, and split routines.

Another issue is recovery. A beginner can recover in 48 hours and do fine with three total-body workouts a week. A more advanced lifter needs to give his muscles more time to recover, since he's hitting them harder.

Also, the more experienced you are, the less time you should spend on a program before moving on. A beginner can do the same program for 6 to 10 weeks without hitting a plateau. Grizzled iron vets may need to move on every 2 or 3 weeks. You probably fall somewhere in between.

Just remember, you need to adjust your workout according to what your body is telling you. Ask Glen! is a great resource to find out exactly what you should be doing to get the body you want.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

The WorkOut GEM!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shoulder Exercises

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, What is the Ultimate Shoulder Strength Exercise Plan?

This Atlas-inspired 4-week plan from Men's Health Magazine will have you lifting planets before you know it!

The Workout

This shoulder exercise routine has four sections. The first, pressing exercises, works two heads of the deltoids simultaneously, as well as the triceps. The remaining three sections hit individual heads--anterior, medial, or posterior--for gains in strength and definition. The classic overhead press can overstress the shoulders when you use heavy weights. This routine incorporates variations of the press to exhaust the shoulder muscles with more intensity and less weight.

It's easy to overwork your shoulders. Use this routine right after training your chest or back, when your shoulders are already partially exhausted. Twice a week is ideal; your shoulders need rest to grow.

Week 1

Create your routine by . . . Picking one move from each section (A,B,C,D)

Sets of each exercise: 3

Your total workout should be: 12 sets

Repetitions per set: 8-12 (except military press)

Speed of each repetition: 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down (except negative presses)

Rest between sets: 30 seconds

Do this workout . . . Twice a week

Week 2

Create your routine by . . . Combining the moves you didn't use in Week 1

Sets of each exercise: 3

Your total workout should be: 12 sets

Repetitions per set: Same as Week 1

Speed of each repetition: Same as Week 1

Rest between sets: 30 seconds

Do this workout . . . Twice a week


Create your routine by . . . Doing all 8 moves in the order shown

Sets of each exercise: 2

Your total workout should be: 16 sets

Repetitions per set: Same as Week 1

Speed of each repetition: Same as Week 1

Rest between sets: 45 seconds

Do this workout . . . Twice a week

Week 4

Create your routine by . . . . Doing all 8 moves in the order shown

Sets of each exercise: 2

Your total workout should be: 16 sets

Repetitions per set: Same as Week 1

Speed of each repetition: Same as Week 1

Rest between sets: 45 seconds

Do this workout . . . Twice a week

Section A

Standing Military Press

(anterior and medial deltoids, triceps)

Using a squat rack and a weight you can lift for eight repetitions, hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight and your face forward, slowly press the weight overhead until your arms are fully extended, elbows unlocked. Pause, lower the bar to your chest, and repeat. After eight reps, remove enough weight to allow you to do six to eight repetitions. After that set, strip enough weight to allow six to eight more reps.

Watch Your Form: Don't rush. Think 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down.

Video Demo

Negative Shoulder Press

(anterior and medial deltoids, triceps, upper trapezius)

Place a bench in front of a squat rack. Use half the weight you can lift eight to 10 times. Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and sit on the bench, feet flat on the floor. Press the bar overhead for a count of three, then take 6 seconds to lower it to the front of your chest.

Watch Your Form: The slow pace can make you shake and cause the weight to shift forward, which could stress shoulder tendons. Concentrate on lifting and lowering in a straight line.

Video Demo

Section B

Barbell Front Raise

(anterior deltoids)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a light barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your arms should hang straight down, palms facing the front of your thighs. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lift the bar up and out in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor. Pause, then slowly lower the bar until your hands barely touch your thighs.

Watch Your Form: Don't let the bar rest on your thighs after each repetition. You want to keep a little tension on your anterior deltoids and ensure that your shoulders are constantly working.

Video Demo

Dumbbell Front Raise

(anterior deltoids)

Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart and hold a light dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides, palms toward you. Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise the weights out in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor, simultaneously rotating your wrists until your palms face downward. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement.

Watch Your Form: Keep your feet flat. If your heels or toes come off the floor, you're using momentum to raise the weights.

Section C

Cable Single-Arm Lateral Raise

(medial deltoids)

Stand between the towers of a cable-crossover system with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the low-pulley handles (left handle with right hand, right with left) and start with your hands crossed just below your waist. With your elbow slightly bent, slowly raise your left arm out to the side of your body until your arm is parallel to the floor. Pause, slowly reverse the motion, then repeat with your right arm.

Watch Your Form: Keep your back straight and don't lean back. Do the exercise slowly, 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down.

Video Demo

Seated Lateral Raise

(medial deltoids)

Sit on a bench and hold a light dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides. Keeping your arms straight and elbows unlocked, slowly sweep them out to the sides until they're parallel to the floor and your palms face down. Your upper body should form a T. Pause, then slowly lower your arms to your sides.

Watch Your Form: Stop just short of touching the bench when you lower your arms, to keep your medial deltoids flexed throughout the exercise.

Video Demo

Section D

Bent-Over Cable Raise

(posterior deltoids)

Stand between the stacks of a cable station, cross your hands in front of you, and bend down. Grab the left low-pulley handle with your right hand and the right one with your left hand. With your knees slightly bent and your back straight, bend forward until your back is almost parallel to the floor. Slowly raise your arms out to your sides until they're parallel to the floor. Pause, then slowly lower your arms.

Watch Your Form: Keep your head and neck in line with your torso. Looking up can
work the medial deltoids instead of the posterior deltoids.

Video Demo

Seated Shoulder Tug

(posterior deltoids)

Sit at a rowing station with a straight-bar handle and grab the bar with both hands. Keep your arms straight and lean back until your back is perpendicular to the floor. Without bending your elbows to pull the bar toward you, slowly draw your shoulder blades back as far as possible. Pause, then allow your arms to move forward again.

Watch Your Form: Once you get into position, concentrate on keeping your back perfectly still. Leaning back and forth during the move transfers the stress from your posterior deltoids to your lower-back muscles.

Video Demo

Reference: Men's Health Magazine

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dumbbell Exercises

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, How can I Build More Muscle with Less Hassle?

A. You can build big power with this whole-body, two-dumbbell plan

You'll use the same pair of dumbells for each exercise in this routine. Choose a weight that just barely allows you to do 12 biceps curls. If it's too light, you won't build as much muscle, says Lawrenceville, Georgia-based trainer Glen E. Mitchell, C.P.T. Too heavy and your form will break down first, your ligaments later. Proceed in circuit fashion, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. At the end of the circuit, rest for 60 seconds. Repeat for a total of four rounds.

Dumbbell front Squat with Press

Hold a pair of dumbells in front of your chest with your palms in. Bend at the hips and knees to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand and press the weights overhead, rotating your wrists so that your palms face forward. Lower the dumbells in front of your chest so your palms face you again. Do 12 reps.

Swiss-Ball Bent-Arm Pullover with Chest Press

Lie with your head and upper back on a Swiss ball and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold the weights along the sides of your chest with your palms toward each other. Press the weights up, then lower them halfway down. Keeping the same bend in your elbows, slowly lower the dumbells behind your head until they touch the ball. Reverse until the weights are back over your chest, press them up, and lower them to the starting position. Do 12 reps.

Dumbbell Lunge with Biceps Curl

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at arm's length at your sides. Step forward with your left foot until your right knee is an inch or two off the floor and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Then do a biceps curl. Push back up to the starting position and repeat, this time stepping out with your right foot. That's one rep. Once you've completed 12 curls, place the weights on the floor and continue lunging for 12 more repetitions.

Reference: Men's Health Magazine

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cheat & Still Reach Your Weight Goals

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Can I Cheat on My Diet and still reach my Weight loss Goals?

A. Cheating on a diet is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to success or failure. If you can handle those inevitable lapses, you will be overcoming an important obstacle. It is in this area of mistakes -- otherwise known as cheats -- where dieters’ attempts can ether live or die!

Do you have what it takes to turn a cheat into a tool for success?

Answer these questions and find out.

1. Can you pick up and go on with your diet after a cheat?

2. Do you stop to consider the circumstances surrounding a cheat?

3. Can you accept yourself as not being perfect on a diet?

4. Do you forgive yourself for a lapse?

5. Can you keep one cheat from leading you to another?

6. Do you believe that personal change is a process?

7. Do you think you will still be able to change the way you eat, even though you cheat sometimes?

8. Do you think mistakes are part of learning something new?

9. Can you avoid feeling like a failure because of a slip?

10. Do you think that changing your behavior might take more than one attempt?

11. Can you hold on to your self-confidence, even after a cheat?

12. Can you forgive yourself for having less willpower at times?

13. Do you know how to include dealing with cheats in your weight-loss plan of action?

14. Can you avoid going on to the next diet just because of a cheat?

15. Can you avoid feeling guilty about a lapse?

16. Can you view a cheat as a small thing and not a catastrophe?

17. Do you know how to learn about yourself from your cheats?

18. Do you pay attention to what you do after you cheat?

19. Can you keep one cheating episode from turning into a total pig-out?

20. Do you still have hope after a cheat?

If you have more YES answers than NO answers, your chances of sticking with it, even though you cheat sometimes, are very good.

If you have more NO answers than YES answers, you may be in danger of letting a cheat lead to a total collapse of your diet. Work on understanding your cheating episodes as much as possible -- when they happen, why they happen, how often they happen. Use this knowledge and you won’t have to give up just because you cheat.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drinking & Dieting: Can They Mix?

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Can I lose weight even if I drink alcohol?

A. When it comes to drinking alcohol, the answer is, “It depends!" Since alcohol contains "empty" calories and contains no important nutrients, always consider alcohol an extra in your meal plan -- as in extra calories. Protein and carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram -- fat provides 9 calories per gram and alcohol 7 calories per gram.

There's a place for alcohol in a healthy diet. But when you're watching your calories and trying to balance the scale in your favor, it’s often better to refrain from drinking. When you're trying to be frugal with your calories, drinking can decrease your inhibitions and you may be tempted to eat more than you need.

Research has shown that small amounts of alcohol may be beneficial. If you’re used to enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, you should continue. One 5-ounce glass of wine contains approximately 100 calories. Here’s a suggestion: Take an evening walk with your husband or wife after dinner each evening. You’ll enhance your fitness, relax with your wife or husband and aid in digestion, too

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Commit to Get Fit!

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I Need to Have a Contract to Exercise! How Can I Commit to Get Fit?

A. Have you ever noticed when you truly decide to do something, you become relentless about it and pursue it at all costs until you attain it? Maybe you wanted to get a college degree or buy a certain car or travel to a particular place. To decide in Latin (desidre) means to cut off, or to not accept any other outcome except to succeed.

If you are stuck in a non-exercise rut it means you have no power. You know you should exercise but unless you get the momentum going, your commitment has no energy and neither do you. Commitment is your foundation to change. It's the difference between knowing and doing.

The definition of commitment according to Webster's Dictionary is an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; b: the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled. Commitment therefore is your foundation to transformation. So how can you go from knowing to doing? Here are 10 ways.

1. Project into the future and visualize how you will look and feel in three months if continue on the path you are on right now. Then visualize in detail how you will look and feel in three months if you begin a regular exercise program today. Keep the future in the front of your mind.

2. Figure out what matters most to you. If you truly want to have a fit body, cut out thoughts of the old you. The past does not equal the future. You can only affect the present decisions you make. Your body is an amazing organism that responds to both positive and negative stimulus (exercise or sedentary lifestyle) every day. The choice is completely yours. Exercise is not something anyone can do for you.

3. Have commitment in areas that matter the most. If your health and fitness are a priority to you, keep you exercise appointments the same way you would keep a doctors appointment or a parent teacher conference. Know you are worth the 20 to 60 minutes you take for exercise. Keep fitness high on your priority list.

4. Catch yourself before you steer away. For example, if you miss one workout, don’t make it two. Immediately plan to get in your next exercise session regardless of life’s events. You will feel so much better if you do, versus the guilt you will carry around if you don’t exercise. When two missed sessions becomes three, the weeks then become months, making it more challenging to build momentum again.

5. Look for evidence that your workouts are working. Notice that you are moving better, posture is improved, you are feeling less bloated, pants are getting loose, energy is up, metabolism is kicking in and you are attaining a firmer, fitter more defined body. Continue to reinforce the positive results by engaging in regular exercise.

6. No matter how far “gone” you feel, get up and get moving! It doesn’t matter that you have not exercised in weeks, months or years or that you had three slices of pizza and chocolate cake for dinner last night. What matters is that every day you have a new opportunity to make improvements in your body. It’s never too late. Even at 90 years old, you can build muscle and get stronger.

7. Commit without judgment. This is not a race or a competition. This is your life. Do your very best each workout and each meal. Discipline is an important success building component. Just the fact that you are getting up and exercising even if some days are not as intense as others is both important and effective.

8. Be true to yourself about your lack of commitment. You are only fooling yourself if you are justifying missed exercise sessions. You make the decision to exercise (or not to) emotionally and then justify it logically. Of course your life is full and demanding, but wouldn’t you be better able to handle all of life’s events in a fit and strong body?

9. When you miss an exercise session, it affects other people! I’ll say that again!!! When you miss an exercise session, it affects other people. When you don’t exercise, the rest of your day, you have guilt on your shoulders. You will then feel guilty or even angry with yourself. Since your mind can only hold one thought at a time, that anger and guilt reflect your actions throughout your day. Maybe your husband, child or co-worker gets to feel or see the end result of your not exercising. Maybe it comes out at the drive-thru or in a bar after work. On the other hand, performing your exercise routine can have very positive effects on your entire day and everyone in it.

10. Missing your workout creates darkness in your life. That darkness expands, disempowers and grows. It disempowers you and pushes your energy down. Some people get so far pushed down that they need medication. Coming back to your senses and getting your body moving is always the positive way to turn your body and life around.

You have options to live your life in the present or in a story filled with excuses as to why you are not where you want to be physically. Exercise moves you closer to leading a fulfilled life. Get unstuck today!

Shift your vision to being a person who exercises regularly and feels great most all of the time. Get rid of the blame and the fault and become the cause rather than the effect of your life. Choose to express your good genes and be responsible for your own body.

Life is a conscious choice or an unconscious accident. Bring your commitment to the conscious level. Remember that what you resist persists. Commitment is a matter of choice. Practice, practice, practice. Change how you view exercise and focus on the outcomes and what exercise can bring to your life. When you want to quit, stay! It builds character and will help your body and life transform. Commitment to exercise is a practice. Share it with someone and help them get fit, too.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Boot Camps: Should You Enlist?

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I hear so much about Boot Camps What are They? And Should I Enlists?

A. Fitness boot camps are publicized as a great way to make over your body. But are these classes for you? Do thoughts of military-style workouts -- such as GI Jane performing endless pushups in the mud -- flash in your head?

If you imagine rolling in sand pits, whistles, stop watches and dirt under your fingernails, you are mistaken. Boot camps are a wonderful alternative form of exercise.

Who is it For?
Most boot camps are primarily for women although some camps are co-ed or men's only. Campers range in age from 18 to 65 years old, although you may see teen and children’s camps surfacing over the next few years.

Campers should have some experience with exercise to ensure safety, and they should have no more than one cardiovascular risk factor. This is also for women who like the support of a group of like-minded ladies striving to be their physical best. You do not need to be in great shape to join, and you do not need to be super fit.

Boot camp is NOT for anyone with a big ego trying to show off their superior fitness level. Your instructor is guaranteed to put you in your place.

What is It?
Boot camp is typically a one-hour workout performed outdoors year-round regardless of conditions. Camp starts with five to seven minutes of a warm-up and dynamic stretching. The next 40 minutes include a combination of strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, sprinting, yoga, Pilates, boxing, obstacle courses, drills, games and more.

No two workouts are alike, and everyone works to the best of their ability. Some camps have special days when you may go on a hike. Boot camps typically last for four weeks, then take a week or two off and then resume again. Most camps are five days a week, although some offer a three-day option. Those who attend all five days see the best results. The last five to 10 minutes of class are spent cooling down and stretching.

Where Can I Find Boot Camps?
Boot camps can be found in towns all around the United States and world. They typically take place in a school yard, park or any flat black top or grass surface. To find a listing of boot camps and qualified instructors in the U.S. and nine other countries, go to

Camps can take place in warm and hot climates. Camps in Canada have been known to recommend bringing snow shoes for a workout. Instructors will rely on what is in natural and man-made surroundings to provide a fun, safe and adventurous boot camp that produces results.

When do boot camps take place?
Early morning boot camps are the most successful regarding attendance. Since exercise is not a spectator sport, attendance is key. Morning classes can be as early as 5:30 a.m. When you begin, this is going to feel very early, but about halfway through the first class you will understand what motivates people to participate.

By the time an hour is up, you will realize what a wonderful thing you have done for your body and that boot camp is the best choice you could make to start your day.

Top 10 Reasons to Participate in a Boot Camp
10. Studies show that being accountable to someone like a trainer or instructor increases your chances of sticking to a workout program -- especially if they are wearing fatigues!

9. Group workouts are shown to have higher compliance rates. That means you are more likely to stick to it.

8. Boot camps get you outdoors, expending calories, having fun, breathing fresh air, meeting people in your neighborhood and losing fat.

7. It’s affordable! Workouts range from $15 to $18 an hour -- so you are getting the expertise of a personal trainer at a fraction of the cost.

6. No gym membership or home equipment is necessary. All you need to get get started is a mat and a pair of dumbbells from 5 to 8 pounds.

5. Your workout is over before your family and colleagues are even awake.

4. You can be in a new body in four weeks. During the first four weeks, it's not unusual for ladies to shave two minutes off their timed mile, shed up to 10 pounds and go down a clothing size.

3. You are more likely to eat a healthy breakfast. As you were taught in kindergarten, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many adults skip breakfast or opt for a less-than-desirable choice. After a boot-camp workout, you are going to want a hot shower and to eat a healthy meal to kick off your day

2. Your friends can join you. Mystery breeds company. Just kidding!

1. The No. 1 reason to join boot camp is that it's so early in the morning that you can be finally yourself. Everyone will have their hair tied back, no one will have on make up, and you don’t have to wear designer workout gear. Everyone is there to get in shape and be the very best they can be.

We are eating more and moving less. We spend most of our time indoors under florescent lights. Outdoor boot camps are a wonderful way to have a fun workout that is challenging, filled with variety, and gets you in touch with your body. Boot camps are guaranteed to get you in top shape. You may want to repeat it until you reach your desired body goal. You may like it so much you may never want to stop.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The 2 Most Effective Ab Exercises!

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Are There Any Effective Ab Exercises?

A. Yes Are you an ab-oholic?

Do you constantly fret over a flatter stomach? Are you obsessed with achieving a six-pack? Maybe you spend countless hours doing crunches, only to see no results whatsoever. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about...

You’re gonna have to face it: You’re addicted to abs!

Don’t worry. That’s not a bad thing. Unless you’re wasting precious time on ineffective exercises when you could actually be getting more (results) for less (time). You heard it right. For those of you doing hundreds of sit-ups a day, you’re probably spending a lot of time doing exercises the wrong way.

More than half my clients come to me and say they’re doing 300 sit-ups and 100 bicycle kicks a day and nothing is happening, "They feel a little is good, so more must be better. In the process they abandon good form and the proper way of doing the exercise.

"My whole change for these people is to inform them of what really works and dispel the myths."

The first misconception Glen puts to rest is the notion that you can spot reduce. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. It takes more than ab exercises to tighten that tummy. A firmer physique requires a one-two punch of cardio exercise and strength training. And don't forget a healthy diet, as well. Here is Glen’s ultimate workout checklist.

  • CARDIO TRAINING: three to five times a week, exercise in your target heart rate zone with some form of sustained aerobic activity (i.e. walking, jogging, swimming) for 20 to 30 minutes or more

  • STRENGTH TRAINING: two to four times a week, perform anywhere from eight to 12 sets of properly performed progressive resistance movements (i.e. weight training, nautilus, pushups) that works the entire body

  • FLEXIBILITY TRAINING: Perform at least five to 15 minutes of stretching exercises (i.e. simple stretches, yoga) at the end of every workout
Even if you follow a well-balanced fitness regimen to the letter, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get washboard abs. Genetically, we’re not all set up to have a toned tummy, Glen says.

“Save yourself time, energy and possible injury... lose the obsession with things you can do nothing about," he says. "Focus on things you can change. Eat right and exercise, but don’t obsess about either.”

One thing you can do to improve the appearance of your midsection is to practice better posture. Poor posture often gives people the potbellied look. To improve your posture: keep your head balanced on your neck, not leaning. Shoulders should be relaxed and down, rolled back. Make sure abdominals are contracted, tailbone pointed to the floor. Knees are kept soft, not locked. Ears, shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, ankles should all stay vertically aligned.

"Within reason, if you work on your posture and you do the cardio and strength-training exercises, it is possible to affect the stomach and flatten it," Glen says. "Not everybody will have a super flat stomach, but it is possible to improve your stomach."

Glen recommends a simple strength-training regimen that can be done in a matter of minutes. Perform two sets of 20 for each exercise. Rest one minute between sets. Do this routine two to three times a week.

Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with your knees partially bent, feet flat on the floor, arms folded across your chest (least intense). Be sure the feet are not too near your buttocks. Exhale as you press the lower back into the floor and begin to raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor in one unit, concentrating on bringing the ribs towards the hips. Pause briefly as you feel your abdominal muscles contract. The movement need only be a few inches. Inhale and slowly curl back down, trying not to let your head and shoulders touch the floor, maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles for the entire set. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Trainer's Notes:
Be sure to keep the knees only partially bent with the heels at least one foot from your butt. This engages the oblique muscles as well as the rectus abdominus. To increase intensity, lengthen the pause when the abs are flexed to two seconds, or place your hands behind your head (as in the bicycle kick). Extend the arms overhead to maximize intensity levels.

Goal: two sets of 20 to 30 repetitions

Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press the lower back into the floor, engaging the abdominal muscles, as you put both hands behind your head (don't pull on the head). Bring the right elbow over to the left knee, and then bring the left elbow over to the right knee in a twisting, bicycle pedal motion. Continue to breathe naturally. Alternate opposite elbow to opposite knee with hands interlaced behind the head in a slow and controlled manner, and to muscle fatigue, with full extension of each leg on every repetition.

Trainer’s Notes:
Be sure to breathe naturally and not hold your breath at any time during this exercise. Full extension of the legs will increase intensity (as shown), as will performing the motion very slowly. Keep the knees bent throughout the movement, while you tap the feet to the floor (instead of extending the leg straight out), to decrease intensity.

Goal: two sets of 20 to 30 repetitions

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stress and the Spread of Cancer

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Can stress cause cancer?

A. Though it's clearly not a simple matter of cause and effect, the theory that stress is somehow related to cancer is a persistent one. There have been several long-range research studies that investigated a possible connection, but results were contradictory. However, a lab study from cancer biologists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, recently found new evidence on the impact of the stress hormone epinephrine on cancers of the breast and prostate. Now we may be on the way to understanding this complex relationship better, and learning whether stress may actually cause cancer... or just causes the body to lose its ability to fight it.


The adrenal glands, which sit on the kidneys, produce epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. The body uses this hormone like a power tool at times of stress, but when stress is prolonged, the adrenals continue to pump out the hormone and levels remain elevated. Wondering how the excess epinephrine affects cancer cells, and by what process, researchers exposed breast and prostate cancer cells to the hormone in the lab. What's supposed to happen in the body, normally, is that a protein with the peculiar name of "BAD" helps trigger naturally occurring cell death, called apoptosis -- but when epinephrine comes into contact with BAD, as the researchers discovered, it activates enzymes that inactivate BAD and the cells continue to grow.

This might be one way high stress connects to cancer... unchecked by BAD, the cancerous cells continue on their destructive path. This discovery could help explain a previous Canadian study's finding that men who had taken beta blocker drugs for hypertension for at least four years had an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer... since beta blockers block the effects of epinephrine. Also, even more recently, another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, demonstrated that in patients with metastatic breast cancer, stressful or traumatic life events reduced the "median disease-free interval" to 30 months from 62.


George Kulik, PhD, was one of the study's lead authors. When I called him he told me that not all types of cancer cells respond this way to stress hormones, so one priority is identifying which ones do. One reason past studies on stress and cancer have not been able to show a relationship could be because not all cancers are shown to react to epinephrine and Dr. Kulik suspects only 5% to 10% may be affected by the hormone. Dr. Kulik explained that in a large population study, these would be "washed out" in the overall findings. But once researchers know which cancer cells respond, they will have the opportunity to study them more closely.


In some ways it almost seems like a bad joke -- a cancer diagnosis is highly stressful for anyone to have and obviously a time that stress hormones are likely to soar. It's not known whether epinephrine has an impact on the development of cancerous cells but, according to Dr. Kulik, the presence of stress hormones might interfere with cancer care because treatment is designed to trigger apoptosis of the diseased cells. Dr. Kulik and his colleagues are now working to learn more about the impact of stress hormones on individual patients, which he says will be aided by the fact that it is already possible to identify the level of stress hormones people have.

His team has now moved from experiments in the lab to doing them with mice. However, there is no reason to wait to develop better awareness of personal stress levels and to build an arsenal of tools to handle stress more successfully. Immediate responses to the acute stress of, say, receiving disappointing news or being anxious about a big event should include deep breathing, quiet music and other practices that are instantly soothing. For longer-term stress, such as day-to-day parenting challenges, a difficult job situation, or, for that matter, a cancer diagnosis, it is useful to develop stress management skills, which may include meditation, self-hypnosis, exercise and other techniques that calm the mind and the body. You can learn these in formal classes frequently found at community centers, YMCAs and the like, but there are also many books and CDs that are extremely helpful in practicing these techniques at home. Since stress has certainly been linked to other diseases as well, you can't lose by focusing on managing your stress.


George Kulik, PhD, assistant professor of cancer biology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tighter, Shapelier Legs

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, How can I get Shapelier Legs ?

A.There is one exercise that most people avoid like the plague -- the squat. However, if you're seeking tight, shapely legs then there is no other leg exercise on the planet that is as effective. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it burn? Yes. Does it give you fabulous legs? Definitely!

As in most cases in life, the most difficult endeavors always yield the greatest rewards. Performing the squat does not mean you'll have legs that burst the seams of your clothes. Yes, you can achieve bodybuilder-type legs if that's your goal, but you can also develop legs that are lean and tight.

It's dependent upon execution, frequency, weight, repetitions and intensity. People who choose not to perform the squat always tell me they don't want "big legs" or a "big butt." Unfortunately, they don't know the mechanics and method of manipulation for this marvelous exercise. The squat does not discriminate by gender -- it's the perfect lower-body exercise for both men and women.

The primary muscles worked during squats are the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the leg), hips, gluteus (butt) and lower back. Secondary muscles used are the abdominals and practically every muscle in your lower body. So if you want great legs and a great butt, you must practice the squat.


1. Preparation:

Beginners -- Begin by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly closer than shoulder-width. Practice the movement with no weight and your hands on your hips, or place a broomstick across your shoulders. Be sure the broomstick is not resting on your neck. It must be positioned on the upper part of the back. You should also place a chair behind you for safety. Beginners should attempt two sets of 15 repetitions on three alternate days of the week.

Those with Experience -- Stand facing a squat rack with barbell upper chest height, walk under the bar and position it on the most upper part of the back and grasp barbell to sides. Space hands evenly on the barbell, shoulder-width (or wider, if comfortable) apart. Dismount bar from rack and take a step backward.

2. Execution/Descending Phase

  • Knees should be in line with the toes. Maintain a neutral spine and a slight bend in the knees. Concentrating on the quadriceps muscles, begin to lower your body by bending from your hips and knees.

  • Think about sitting back in a chair as you are lowering.
  • Stick your butt out.

  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart or slightly closer than shoulder width, weight distributed from balls of feet to heels. Keep your chest out, eyes straight ahead, shoulders back slightly and lower back straight and flat (but not vertical).

  • The bar should descend in a vertical path so that the distribution of the weight is kept over the ankle.

  • Inhale as you lower down.

  • Stop when your thighs are parallel with the floor. Do not bounce at the bottom of the movement and do not let your knees ride over your toes. You should be able to see your toes.

    3. Execution/Ascending Phase

  • Using the quadriceps (front of the thigh) and hips, slowly push off with your heels (keep foot flat) as you return to the starting position stopping just short of your knees fully extending.

  • Maintain control throughout the entire range of motion.

  • Exhale while returning to the starting position.

  • As in the descending phase, do not let your knees ride over your toes (you should be able to see your feet at all times).

  • It helps to find a marker on the wall to keep your eye on as you lift and lower; otherwise, your head may tend to fall forward, and your body will follow.

    Common Mistakes to Avoid

    1. Stopping your descent phase before thighs are parallel to the ground.

    2. Not keeping your head up and eyes forward.

    3. Allowing the knees to extend in front of toes.

    4. Keeping your back too vertical and not flat or slightly arched.

    5. Locking your knees at the top part of the movement.

    6. Holding your breath.

    7. Using excessive weight.

    8. Performing a squat with an injured lower back.

    9. Not perfecting form and technique.

    10. Descending lower than parallel.

    During my personal-training experience, I have found that women respond well to higher repetition ranges (15-20) and men tend to get best response in a repetition range of 8-15. This is one of the few exercises that I recommend in higher rep ranges. Whatever your goal is, squats will give you sensational-looking legs.

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

    Any questions?

    Ask Glen!

  • Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Adding New Foods to Daily Diet Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

    Ask Glen!

    Q. Glen, Are there any new foods I can add to my diet to lower my cholesterol ?

    A. If you've been eating with reckless abandon over the holiday season, you may end up with more than just a few extra inches around your waistline. Consuming a steady diet of decadent foods from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve has a way of wreaking havoc on your cholesterol levels.

    If you're determined to shape up in the New Year, it's time to make a few changes in your eating habits. Adding a few key foods to your daily diet could help you lower your cholesterol -- and drop a few pounds while you're at it.

    Most folks are familiar with the cholesterol-lowering effects of oatmeal. If you're looking for a little variety in your grain foods, you might want to give barley a try. Barley is often added to soups or eaten as a hot breakfast cereal, but it also makes a nutritious addition to casseroles, pilafs and salads. One cup of cooked pearled barley is essentially fat-free, with around 200 calories and 9 grams of fiber.

    Like oats, barley is rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber with cholesterol-lowering properties. Studies performed by USDA researchers demonstrated that volunteers who ate six grams of barley fiber daily for five weeks experienced reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels of 11 to 23 percent and reduced their total cholesterol levels by 9 to 16 percent.

    While you're experimenting with barley, you should sample a variety of cholesterol-lowering dry beans, including chickpeas, pinto and navy beans. The results of a study published in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of Nutrition revealed that consuming a half cup of cooked dry beans daily for 12 weeks helped volunteers drop their total cholesterol levels by 8 percent.

    Experts attribute the cholesterol-lowering effects of dry beans to their rich content of soluble fiber, an ingredient also linked to weight loss. Because high-fiber foods are bulky and filling, they produce long-lasting feelings of satiety and reduce the likelihood of overeating.

    If you're looking for a snack that's nutritious and convenient, almonds may be your best bet. Almonds are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known for its cholesterol-lowering ability.

    Researchers at Loma Linda University found that when volunteers ate a handful of almonds daily, their total cholesterol levels fell by an average of 5 percent, while LDL cholesterol fell by 8 percent.

    Although almonds are relatively high in fat and calories, the results of a study published in the September 2007 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition suggest that eating up to two ounces of almonds a day doesn't lead to weight gain. In fact, because almonds promote satiety, eating them on a regular basis may actually contribute to weight loss.

    Findings from a 24-week-long study published in the International Journal of Obesity led researchers to a similar conclusion. Study volunteers who ate a reduced-calorie diet that included a daily three-ounce serving of raw or roasted almonds lost 62 percent more weight and 56 percent more body fat than volunteers eating a similar reduced-calorie diet that did not include almonds.

    Adding psyllium to your daily diet is another easy way to stave off hunger and lower cholesterol levels. Psyllium fiber comes from the husk of a shrub-like herb native to Asia and North Africa. In the United States, it's sold as a nutritional supplement in various forms, including tablets, capsule and water-soluble crystals. It's also an ingredient in several high-fiber breakfast cereals.

    In a study conducted at University of Massachusetts, men who ate cereal containing psyllium and whole oats as part of a low-fat diet achieved greater reductions in cholesterol than those following the same diet minus the psyllium. The men eating the psyllium and oat cereal experienced a 16 percent reduction in their total cholesterol levels, compared to a 10 percent drop among those who didn't receive psyllium.

    Adding a dash of cinnamon to your favorite foods might also help you bring your cholesterol levels down. Scientists at the Human Nutrition Research Center found that when 60 individuals with type 2 diabetes consumed a half-teaspoon of cinnamon daily for six weeks, their total cholesterol levels fell by 12 to 26 percent.

    For some folks with high cholesterol, heredity trumps diet, making cholesterol-lowering drugs an important part of treatment. For those who simply overindulged during the holiday season, regular consumption of a few key foods might be all it takes to bring cholesterol levels back to normal.

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

    Any questions?

    Ask Glen!

    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    7 Shape-Up Secrets for 2008

    Ask Glen!

    Q. Glen, Any Exercise Tips for 2008?

    A.Yes here are 7 shape up secrets for 2008!

    1. Don't think of working out as an option.

    The first and most important obstacle to conquer -- if you want to get and stay in shape -- is to stop negotiating the issue of exercise. Devoting a small portion of each day to fitness is not a luxury, but a must -- the same way you brush your teeth or take a shower! No negotiations, and I mean that. Really absorb this truth!

    If you don't bathe or brush your teeth, people will avoid you! If you don't work out, you'll avoid your "self." What do I mean? You won't love yourself, feel good about yourself, have confidence in yourself. And worse, your health will suffer! Make an appointment with yourself every day to devote a short block of time to exercise. And it can be only 30 to 45 minutes a day of weight training! More about this later.

    2. Work out at home!

    Joining a fitness club is the easy part -- getting there is the killer. But even worse than having laid down your money is refusing to "cut your losses" and simply work out at home. People give up and do nothing because every time they remember they paid money and didn't go, they punish themselves further and do nothing. Don't fall into this trap! Cut your losses and work out at home!

    In a Stanford University study of 350 men and women ranging in age from 50 to 65, participants were randomly assigned to work out either at home or in a fitness center. After two years, it was discovered that those who worked out at home actually did work out, while a significant number of the "gym-goers" dropped out. So work out at home and save time and money. And guess what? You will be more likely to actually do it!

    3. Be patient. You weren't in a hurry getting out of shape.

    What happens if you've started a workout program, and it's already two weeks, but you're not seeing a thing! If you are working out with weights, in time, muscles will be created and those muscles will tighten, tone and define your body. The muscles will also raise your metabolism. Some body parts take longer than others, but keep going. It didn't take two days to get you out of shape, so give it time.

    Were you in a rush when you were neglecting your body? Did you say, "Why didn't I gain more weight this week? Why didn't my thighs get flabbier this week?"

    No. You blissfully enjoyed your life. You had all the time in the world. But now that you're working out, you're watching every second to see results. Calm down. Relax. Give it time.

    4. Have a plan B

    If you have a plan B, nothing can stop you. Say your alarm clock doesn't go off and you will be late for work so you can't do your morning workout. No problem, if you have a plan B.

    Your plan B, which you thought out ahead of time, may be to hit the weights the moment you walk in the door after work. Figure out what works for you. Nothing can stop you if you are bound and determined to do it, if you believe in your heart of hearts that this is something that will greatly benefit you.

    5. Don't let your mood rule you!

    Turn off your brain and just start the workout. Once you get started, three minutes into the workout, your energy level and mood will pick up. A few minutes later, you'll forget yourself and go through your workout. By the time you've finished, you'll be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. When you exercise, the endorphins kick in. We used to think it was just from aerobic activities that you got this high, but we now know that weight-training can be as effective as anti-depressants.

    6. Don't be so hard on yourself.

    Say you missed a workout. Instead of attacking yourself and calling yourself lazy and hopeless, tell yourself, "I'm only human. I give myself credit for trying. One mistake does not mean I'm finished." Then start again! And when you do your workout the next day, congratulate yourself! And the next time you're tempted to skip a workout, remember how great you feel and how proud of yourself you are afterward. Do this day after day and, hey, your body will be in shape.

    7. Do a shorter workout.

    If you commit to doing a shorter workout that works, you'll actually do it and see some changes. On the other hand, if you're determined to punish yourself and commit to working out for hours a day, you won't do it and see no results. Better to do something every day than beat yourself up for not working out.

    You can tone your whole body in 20 to 30 minutes a day working out with weights the right way. The secret is to cut your resting times, and you burn more fat that way, too. I can show you how. My workouts are very short because I'm very lazy. But look at the shape I'm in at 50. If I can do it, you can do it, too!

    Just do something everyday. you will see slow and steady wins the race!

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

    Any questions?

    Ask Glen!

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    Selecting a Fitness Center

    Ask Glen!

    Q. Glen How do I choose a Workout Gym?

    A.Whether your workouts have become stale or you are trying to find the motivation to begin a fitness program, it might be time to get to the gym.

    A commitment to a fitness center might be just the incentive you need to ramp up your physical activity. Access to instructors and trainers, a wide variety of equipment, and all kinds of group exercise classes can make working out much more fun than doing it alone at home. The community atmosphere of others like you working to get into better condition can be a great motivator. Yet, with so many fitness centers to choose from, which one is right for you?

    Define your fitness goals

    Before joining a gym it is important to determine your needs and define some fitness goals. After all, you want to choose a gym tailored to your specific interests and needs. When defining your fitness goals, ask yourself a few key questions:

    • Are you most interested in aerobic fitness?
    • Do you want to focus on weight training?
    • Are you interested in a wide variety of exercise classes?
    • Do you need access to specific types of sports such as tennis or swimming?

    How to locate a good gym

    Once you've identified your fitness goals, you are ready to comparison shop for a fitness facility. The best way to find a gym is often word-of-mouth. Ask friends, co-workers, or neighbors about fitness centers in your home or work area. I also suggest looking in your phone book or local paper, which often advertises membership specials and enrollment incentives. When researching a fitness center, consider some important questions:

    • Location: Is the location convenient?
    • Hours: Can you go when you have free time? Before work, after work, or during lunch? How busy is the facility during the times when you can work out?
    • Price: Is it within your budget? Does it have what you want for the price? Remember, a gym does not have to be costly to meet your needs.
    • Equipment: Does the facility have up-to-date equipment? Does the center have a pool or tennis court if tennis or swimming is your area of interest?
    • Classes: Does the facility have the variety of classes you are specifically interested in, and are they offered at convenient times?
    • Staff: Is the staff friendly and helpful? Does the personal-trainer staff offer orientations or consultations to help get you started in a fitness routine? If you have special needs, can the fitness staff accommodate you?
    • Credentials: Are the trainers exercise physiologists or certified by a credible fitness organization? The fitness industry is currently working to standardize the certification process. Gyms often require one of the following certifications: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT),American Council on Exercise (ACE), or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
    • Environment: Is the environment comfortable, intimidating, or competitive? Do you want a facility that feels like a spa or would you prefer a city gym? Do you mind a co-ed environment?
    • Accessory services: Does the center offer massage, nutrition consultations, showers, on-site child care, or other services that you would use? Does it provide entertainment while working out such as TVs or music?

    Strategies for achieving your goals

    Once you have chosen a fitness facility, get started right away. Then you need to stick to it. Here are a few strategies to help:

    • Create a schedule. After familiarizing yourself with the gym's equipment and classes, write down a weekly workout schedule.
    • Find a workout partner to help keep you motivated to go to the gym.
    • Try a variety of classes. Exposing yourself to new ways of working out is a great way to find an activity you don't dread. Who knows, you may even find something you truly enjoy.
    • Drown any reluctance to working out with positive thoughts of the great personal benefits of a good exercise program, such as enhanced self-esteem, stronger body, or weight loss.
    • Work hard.

    Don't forget your option to try before you buy! Many centers offer a temporary pass that permits you to check out the staff, classes, and equipment. Whether you want a buff body or simply want to look and feel healthier, joining a gym is a great vehicle to help you achieve your fitness goals.

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

    Any questions?

    Ask Glen!

    Friday, January 4, 2008

    7 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

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    Q. Glen, How can I increase my Metabolism?

    A. Ready to transform your sweet self into a lean, not-so-mean, fat-burning machine? You may be surprised to find that don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle.

    People make the mistake of thinking they have to make drastic changes to lose weight and get in shape, says Lyssie Lakatos, RD, LD, CDN, but the secret is to make small changes and incorporate them into their lives permanently.

    "Dropping your caloric intake below 1,000 calories a day on a consistent basis will signal your body that you are in starvation mode, and will slow down your metabolism," warns Lakatos, who with her twin sister, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, LD, CDN, is the co-author of "Fire Up Your Metabolism." When the metabolism slows, we store food as fat and gain weight.

    Calories do count, but it's also about how efficiently your body burns those calories. Your metabolism plays a big part in regulating your weight, Shames says. Metabolism is the way your body uses up calories from the food you eat and turns them into energy. Metabolic rate is the speed at which you use up those calories. The goal is to get your metabolism into peak operating condition so you will burn the most calories all day long -- even while you sleep.

    If you follow these 7 tips to speed up your metabolism, you might never again find yourself facing the next bigger size of cute jeans at your favorite store.

    Tip 1 -- Determine your daily caloric needs: To rev up your fat-burning engine, don’t overload your system with too much food, Shames says. Figure out how many calories you need to consume each day to lose weight and keep your metabolism humming. Caloric level is determined by taking into account your age, sex, height, weight, lean body mass and activity level. Here’s a quick formula from Shames to give you an idea of your magic number: Multiply your body weight by 11. For example, a 140-pound woman would need to consume 1,540 calories per day to lose weight. If you’re very active, you can multiply your weight by 12.

    Tip 2 -- Divvy up your meals: Kick-start your metabolism and curb your appetite by dividing your meals into five to six small, nutritious meals a day instead of three squares. Eat a 200-400 calorie mini-meal every three to four hours. Your body will expend more energy to digest the food and your metabolic rate will increase, Lakatos says.

    Tip 3 -- Just move! Physical activity accounts for 20 to 40 percent of calories burned each day. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that a good goal for many people is to work up to exercising four to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If you can’t do that much, do what you can, say the twins. Walk the dog, park the car at the far end of the lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, clean the house, just do something

    Tip 4 -- Pump iron: Muscle is your best friend! Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the pace at which your body burns calories at rest. It accounts for 60 to 70 percent of your daily calorie expenditure and it’s closely linked to the amount of muscle you have. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even while you sleep. Lean muscle needs calories just to exist, so start lifting those weights.

    Tip 5 -- Sleep tight: Sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body’s metabolism, which may make it more difficult to lose weight, according to studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet. People who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake because sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. Make sure you get in your eight hours or more of shut-eye every night.

    Tip 6 -- Eat lean protein and good carbs: Your body burns some of its own calories when it digests the food you eat. This is called the thermic effect of foods (TEF) and it’s what makes protein (which has the highest thermic effect of any food) and good carbs metabolism-friendly. Lean protein such as turkey and chicken also builds calorie-burning muscle. Good carbs such as whole grains, legumes, veggies and fruit are also your body’s major fuel source, Shames says. They provide the energy to get you up and moving so you can burn more calories.

    Tip 7 -- Drink H2O: Researchers in Germany have found that drinking water may increase the rate at which people burn calories. Metabolic rates among study participants increased by 30 percent after consuming approximately 17 ounces of water. The energy-burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively. Water also fills you up, curbs your appetite, flushes out your system, and rids the body of bloat. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses per day -- more if you’re active.

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

    Any questions?

    Ask Glen!

    Thursday, January 3, 2008

    Low Back Pain: Treatment and Prevention

    Ask Glen!

    Q. Glen! I am a men that suffers from Lower Back Pain, Are there any treatments available?

    A. About three of every four men have endured a bout of low back pain, and many have had repeated episodes. The pain may begin gradually or suddenly; it may be mild or severe. In most cases, doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of the pain, and in most cases x-rays and blood tests are useless. In fact, even advanced imaging techniques such as MRIs and CTs are not recommended for typical patients.

    Most people with low back pain can handle the problem themselves, sometimes with the aid of a phone call or visit to their doctor and the short-term use of simple medications. But there are exceptions; the list below details situations that call for prompt medical attention.

    Warning signs: When to worry about your back

    • First episode before age 20 or after 55
    • Recent major trauma, including motor vehicle accidents, falls, and severe sports injuries
    • Radiation of pain down a leg, particularly if accompanied by:
      • Numbness or loss of sensation
      • Weakness or loss of muscular strength
      • Impaired bowel or bladder control
    • Constant pain that is not affected by motion
    • Pain in the upper back or chest
    • Pain that increases at night or when lying down
    • Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more
    • Unexplained fever
    • A previous diagnosis of cancer
    • Use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs
    • History of drug abuse
    • History of a major chronic medical illness

    If you have one of the warning symptoms in the list, consult your doctor. But if you have garden-variety pain, you may well be able to take care of it yourself — and you certainly should take steps to keep your back in shape.

    What to do

    Until recently, doctors recommended elaborate programs of bed rest, traction, or therapeutic exercises for acute low back pain. Not anymore. Careful studies show that none of these programs help. The best plan is to return to normal activities as soon as you can. Don’t try to do special back exercises while you are in the throes of pain, but don’t stay in bed any longer than you have to either. In fact, gentle activity can help you walk away from pain. Above all, use common sense. Avoid prolonged sitting, heavy lifting, and repetitive bending and twisting motions. Be as active as your pain will allow, but don’t push too hard; you may not need strict bed rest, but you certainly won’t benefit from forcing yourself to be up and around in the face of pain. When you rest, lie on a firm surface such as a good mattress, a mattress with a bedboard under it, or the floor. When you sit, select a chair with good low back support. As you improve, spend less time resting, more time standing and walking.

    Many people with acute back pain find ice packs helpful, at least during the first two or three days. Use a gel pack that you chill in your freezer or simply put some ice cubes in a plastic bag surrounded by a thin towel. Apply cold to the spots that hurt most for 10–20 minutes three to four times a day. After a few days, switch to a hot pack or heating pad on a similar schedule. But don’t be dogmatic; there is no firm scientific evidence favoring heat or cold, so do what feels best to you or do nothing at all.

    Expect to recover, but expect it to take some time, and be prepared to accept some ups and downs as you get better. And along with the pain, expect to endure endless doses of well-intended advice. Nearly everyone has had back pain, and nearly everyone “knows” something that worked wonders. Listen politely, but don’t try anything radical.

    Demystifying the scans

    In an ordinary x-ray, a stationary generating tube beams x-rays through the patient; body tissues that are dense (such as vertebral bodies) impede the passage of x-rays, while tissues that are less dense (such as the disks between the vertebrae) allow them to pass through the body to a sheet of film behind the patient. Like ordinary photos, the film is developed to produce a negative that is placed on a lighted screen for viewing; dense tissues appear white. A typical series of lower spine x-rays takes about 20 minutes, and exposes the patient to 1,200 millirem of radiation, about four times the amount of radiation people get from natural sources each year.

    Computed tomography (CT scanning) is an imaging technique that also relies on radiation. The x-ray generating tube rotates around the patient, beaming x-rays through the body. The x-rays that pass through are collected by detectors that produce an electrical signal that is channeled into a computer. CT scans provide much more detailed information than ordinary x-rays, and it is displayed in panels that depict very thin cross-sectional “slices” of the body’s anatomy. A CT scan of the lumbar spine takes 10–15 minutes and exposes the patient to 4,000 millirem of radiation.

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not expose the patient to radiation. Instead, it applies an intense magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to the body. In response, radio signals are emitted from hydrogen atoms in the body (mostly in the body’s water). These signals are captured by detectors and analyzed by a computer to produce images of unsurpassed clarity and detail. An MRI of the spine takes about 45 minutes. MRIs and CT scans are expensive, and charges and reimbursements vary widely around the country.


    In our medicated society, there is a pill for nearly everything — and in the case of back pain, there are lots of pills. None of them will actually speed your recovery, much less prevent recurrences. Still, medication can reduce pain and hasten your return to normal activity.

    Use only what’s necessary. Government guidelines suggest starting with a simple pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol and other brands). It may be less potent than other medications, but it has fewer side effects; use high doses, but don’t exceed 1,000 mg four times a day.

    Most doctors recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) as the basic treatment. You can try a nonprescription product such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and other brands), or naproxen (Aleve and other brands), or you can ask for one of the many prescription NSAIDs. Older people and those with gastritis or gastric bleeding problems might be better off with the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) — but patients with cardiovascular risk factors should use it with great caution, if at all. Stronger prescription painkillers and narcotics are rarely needed.

    If you have intense muscle spasms, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant such as diazepam (Valium), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), carisoprodol (Soma), or methocarbamol (Robaxin). These prescription drugs are of uncertain benefit and are usually recommended for short-term use. Finally, an antiseizure medication such as gabapentin (Neurontin) appears to help relieve the nerve pain from sciatica; doctors may prescribe it for this purpose even though the FDA has not approved it for this use.

    Alternative therapy

    Your doctor can’t do much to speed your recovery from ordinary mechanical low back pain. In most cases, he simply makes sure that you are not one of the few back patients with a serious problem, provides the medications you need for short-term pain relief, and encourages a common-sense return to normal activities instead of bed rest. But if physicians are of limited value for the average patient with acute back pain, can other practitioners do any better?

    In a few cases, perhaps. Small studies have suggested that patients who receive spinal manipulation from chiropractors or osteopaths require less medication and are more satisfied with their care than people who receive standard treatment. It’s not clear if this benefit is due to the adjustment therapy itself or is the result of the extra time, hands-on care, and encouragement that patients receive. However, the differences are slight — which is no surprise, since the vast majority of patients recover with any form of intervention or with no treatment at all.

    Although physical therapy and back exercises may help patients with chronic back pain, they are not effective for acute episodes. Massage therapy appears to help people feel better, but its advantage over standard care is small, and studies that demonstrate a benefit have been questioned on technical grounds. Although acupuncture can help with various types of pain, acupuncture and acupressure have had mixed success with back pain; some studies show modest benefit, others none.

    Unsuccessful therapies

    It’s a long list. Bed rest is the biggest surprise and the greatest disappointment; long the mainstay of treatment, it actually makes things worse. Traction, back braces and belts, lumbar supports, back school, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and antidepressants have all been flops.

    Other treatments

    Most acute low back pain will resolve with a simple, conservative, self-directed program. Even so, some men require additional treatment, as do many patients with chronic or recurrent pain. A physical therapy rehabilitation program can be very helpful. It typically involves an exercise program to improve posture, body mechanics, flexibility, and strength, and it may add modalities such as heat or cold treatments and ultrasound. If physical therapy doesn’t do the trick, doctors may treat selected patients by injecting steroids into the painful area. Preliminary studies suggest that injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) may relieve painful muscle spasms. Surgery is also available. It may be mandatory, even urgent, in cases of complicated back pain, but it should be the last resort for uncomplicated pain. If a herniated lumbar disc is responsible, a lumbar discectomy with magnified vision is usually the preferred approach. Laser surgery and endoscopic procedures are being studied but are still experimental. Needless to say, different surgical approaches may be required to treat other problems.

    Keep your back in shape

    The back exercises, posture tips, and instructions for lifting shown below may help. A good mattress and supportive chairs also make sense. But the best way to prevent back pain is to keep the rest of your body healthy. Aerobic conditioning is paramount; active, fit men have less back pain than sedentary, out-of-shape guys. Swimming, walking, and biking are particularly desirable for men who have had back pain in the past. A good diet will also help — not by nourishing bones and joints, but by preventing obesity. The old-time docs had it right when they said you could never be too thin for your back.

    Hints for a happy back

    Stand with your head up, your chin in, your back flattened, and your pelvis straight.

    Sleep on a firm mattress. If you lie on your back, place a thin pillow under your knees.

    Bend from your hips and knees, not your back.

    Hold heavy objects close to your body when you lift or carry.

    Sit as close to the pedals as you can without compromising air-bag safety or good driving. Consider a firm backrest if your seat is soft.

    Select a firm chair with a straight back and use a footrest for prolonged sitting.

    Sit up straight; when you lean forward, bend from your hips instead of slouching.

    Exercises for a healthy back

    Use these exercises to help prevent back pain; if you’ve had pain, wait until you are pain-free to begin. Lie on a firm mat or carpeted floor. Begin slowly, build up gradually, and back off if you experience pain. Hold each position for a count of 10; then exhale and relax. Repeat each exercise 3 times at first; then build to 8–10 repetitions. Do your exercises 3–4 times per week. Consult a physical therapist or physician if you have chronic or recurrent back pain.

    Hamstring stretch

    Alternate hamstring stretch

    Sitting back bend

    Half sit-up

    Knee-to-chest raise

    Pelvic tilt

    Elbow prop-up


    Hip hyperextension

    Back to basics

    Because it’s so common, back pain is the subject of intense discussion, both among health care professionals and the general public. Everyone with a back, it seems, is an expert; programs for prevention spark debate, theories about causation ignite controversy, and treatment plans start wars. If you’ve found a way to live with your back, stick with it. If you need more help, listen to the options; then decide what’s best for you. For most men, a conservative, self-directed program will control acute low back pain. But whether you treat yourself or get professional help, you should always listen to your body, staying alert for the signals that could indicate serious trouble. Fortunately, such warnings are uncommon. For most men, basic care will banish backaches.

    Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

    My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

    Yours in good health

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    Ask Glen!

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    Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
    Is the Founder of Fitness Builders 4 Life,the WorkOut GEM,G350,G180, G90, Eat 4 Life, Clean, Lean & Mean & Ask Glen. The mission of the Fitness Builders is to provide the community with health education and to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. By educating the community on healthier lifestyle practices it is the intent of Fitness Builders to reduce the ravages of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle or self inflicted diseases. Glen is also a AMA Certified Nutrition Specialist and a ACE, ACSM, NASM Certified Personal Trainer has 30+ years in Sports, Exercise Science and Nutritional Food Management, Learning and Mentoring Men and Women on a more Mental & Physical Healthy Life Style consisting of a low fat, low salt, Low carbohydrate, high protein, organic nutrition which also includes moderate exercise and mental awareness. Stay Informed, Live long and be Mentally and Physically Healthy! Any questions? Ask Glen!

    Any Questions? Ask Glen!