PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Pick Your Inconvenience

If you know me, you are aware that I tell everyone and their dog to drink more water. How much? Take you weight in pounds and divide by two. That’s how many ounces you should be drinking if you are 100 – 250 lbs.

When people follow this advice, they complain that they are beating a path to the bathroom and it’s very inconvenient. Yep, it is. That will decrease however, after a few weeks as you body learns to use the water instead of getting rid of it because it thinks it doesn’t need it. Plus, your bladder will even get bigger. However, you will be finding a bathroom more frequently than before and this will go on for the rest of your life.

Inconvenient?  Yep.

So your decision here is to pick your inconvenience, between finding a bathroom more often, or at least three (if not more) of the inconveniences from the effects of chronic dehydration listed below:

  • Broken thirst mechanism. When you are dehydrated, your body has to extract its water from food, so when you’re thirsty, it tells you to eat more food, which can (and usually does) make you fatter.
  • A slower metabolism. Even mild dehydration can slow your metabolism – especially your fat burning metabolism.
  • Daytime fatigue. Dehydration is the #1 culprit of that “afternoon lull.”
  • Joint pain. This includes back, neck, knees, hips, shoulders, you name it. Dehydrated cartilage and vertebral discs don’t move properly or provide proper padding.
  • Declining memory and mental acuity. Even a 2% drop in body water can trigger short term memory loss and decreased brain function, which makes you work less efficiently and creates more difficulty in making good decisions – like eating better foods!
  • Colon cancer. Hydrated people have a 45% lower risk.
  • Breast cancer. Hydrated people have a 79% lower risk.
  • Bladder cancer. Hydrated people have a 50% lower risk.
  • Constipation. If your internal tissues are dry, so is your poop.
  • Acne. When you are dehydrated, your skin (and all other organs) is much more healthy and therefore clear.
  • Heart attacks and strokes. Blood clots and clogged arteries are much more likely when dehydrated.
  • Headaches. When you are dehydrated, your brain shrinks, giving you a headache.
  • Frequent illness. The immune system runs on water as it’s main defense source. Viruses and bacteria love dehydrated people!
  • Stubborn body fat. hydrated people have well functioning livers that are freed up to burn off all kinds of body fat. Hydrated people are also more detoxed, which makes fat cells easier to liberate so they can be burned off.

These are just a few of the many inconveniences that go along with being dehydrated. If I were to list them all, it would be too inconvenient to read the entire post, because it would be a book! You are 70% water. Doesn’t it make sense to drink a gob of it?

So the choice is yours: more bathroom breaks, or 3 or more of the inconveniences above. You pick.

Train Your Body to Get Your Dream Brain!

I have been talking a lot about training the brain to get your dream body, but does it work the other way around? Scientist have found that it does indeed. It turns out that trimming down your body actually bulks up your brain! There is an inverse relationship between brain size and body size when it comes to fitness. As people get fatter, their brains gets smaller. As they get fitter, their brains get bigger – and smarter.

Regular exercise can turbocharge brainpower and improve mood, memory, and focus, while fighting depression and age-related cognitive decline. What’s more, studies show that your mental outlook can affect how you react to pain during a workout, which can influence whether you dig in or throw in the towel. By understanding how the brain responds to each phase of your workout, you can make the most of this very cool mind-body connection.

Starting a new fitness routine can be easy, but continuing long term can be another story. The momentum often starts out strong but then peters out after a few weeks for most people. Why is that? What is it about our wiring that turns it into such a hard decision? Do you press snooze in the morning or pop out of bed and exercise? Hit the gym after work, or hit happy hour? In these moments when you’re staring down your sneakers, you’re trying to rouse your left prefrontal cortex (PFC), the area of the brain where your elements of willpower reside. Regular exercisers have an advantage: Their brains can anticipate the positive perks of a sweat session. “When you have positive reinforcement, you’re much more likely to do something,” says John J. Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.

Power up: If this is where you typically derail, solicit external assistance–schedule a workout with a friend, register for a race, or join the X Gym so you have an APPOINTMENT with a trainer, rather than relying on sheer willpower reserves alone, says Ratey.

Still slacking? Use nonexercise activities and daily chores (like making your bed every morning) to get your PFC operating optimally. “You can build your willpower like you would a muscle,” says mind-body health expert David Yaden of the Community Biofeedback Clinic in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. “Your willpower becomes stronger even when you’re practicing doing little things.”

If you can get past that initial “intertia” and just get started, it gets exponentially easier. Within minutes of starting exercise (or mere seconds in the case of an X Gym workout), your brain lights up like a neon sign, says brain chemistry researcher David Glass, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biological sciences at Kent State University. First comes a rush of serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones that also improve memory and learning. “It sets off your reward circuitry,” says Glass. “That’s what makes exercise rewarding and possibly addictive.”

Just like your hardworking muscles, the brain perks build with each rep or stride. As your heart rate rises, blood flow increases, and over time more capillaries develop in the brain. As your nerve cells fire, they boost the creation of proteins such as brain derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF), which plays a role in the positive thoughts you attribute to working out) as well as compounds that promote new brain-cell formation. The result: You increase the production of neurons–literally building your brain over a period of weeks by creating new nerve cells, says Brian R. Christie, Ph.D., director of the neuroscience program at the University of Victoria in Canada.

Doing something you haven’t done before (like X Gym’s unique exercise protocols) forces both your brain and your body to work in unaccustomed ways, says Christie. “Cognitively complex tasks can have benefits for the brain, so it makes sense that combining physical and mental exercise provides the most benefits.”

As your muscles fatigue and burn, the temptation to stop grows stronger. But if you keep going–for a total of 20 minutes or more–your natural opioid system kicks into high gear, flooding your brain with painkilling chemicals like endorphins. (According to one study, these endorphins attach to the same brain regions that light up when you’re sexually aroused.) Other researchers credit a chemical called cannabinoids for the high (yep, it’s from the same family of chemicals that gives marijuana smokers their buzz). It could be that the body releases these substances to cope with the stress of exercise, says lead researcher Arne Dietrich, Ph.D., of the American University of Beirut. “If you give your body time to release these chemicals, you may feel much better during and after exercise,” he says. And not just physically: A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that exercisers scored significant mental-health perks after just 20 minutes.

The cranial perks of your sweat session are still in play long after you’ve hit the shower. Researchers in Ireland had students perform brain-taxing tests, then had half the group ride stationary bikes for 30 minutes while the others chilled out. They then repeated the test, and the students who exercised did significantly better, while the ones who lazed about showed no improvement. The likely reason: The pedalers had much higher blood levels of BDNF. Because it’s most active in the hippocampus, cortex, and basal forebrain–areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking–surges of the protein may contribute to why adults who exercise display sharper memory skills, higher concentration levels, more fluid thinking and reasoning, and greater problem-solving than those who stay sedentary.

The obvious conclusion here is the X Gym’s 21 minute workout is the perfect routine for your brain as well as your body!

Source (and special thanks to gifted writer Selene Yeager due to major plagiarism on my part): http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/train-your-brain

7 Great Reasons to Buy Coke

Coke totally rocks! I buy Coke regularly and have found that it really improves my quality of life. Here are my favorite 7 ways to use Coke. I hope these tips enrich your life as much as they have mine.

1.) Toilet bowl cleaner. Pour a can into your toilet bowl and let it sit for an hour. It will clean that nasty ring around the bowl quite nicely and even deep clean stains off the porcelain!

2.) Windshield cleaner. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get that “road haze” off your windshield? Even your toxic windshield soap won’t usually cut through it, but a little Coke will to the job in a snap.

3.) Stubborn stain solution. Got nasty greasy stains? Well, if you pre treat those stains with Coke and then pour the rest of the can in with your regular detergent, you can cut through even the wost greasy mess.

4.) Engine cleaner. If it gets grease out of clothes, it must be good for cleaning your engine for the next car show, right? Try it out – it’s a much cheaper solution than hiring a detail shop to steam-clean it.

5.) Corrosion buster. Pour some Coke on your car battery terminals to clean them up nice and shiny. No wonder Coke is the most common vending machine in car parts and repair centers. Oh, the myriad of automotive uses!

6.) Rust remover. Just put some Coke on the trouble spot, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub with some crumpled up aluminum foil and that rust will surrender with very little fight.

7.) Insect repellant. Simply pour it all over your body to ward off those nasty bugs. Diet Coke is the best choice for this however, because it won’t leave you as sticky after it dries. Even flies are repelled like a charm! They are happy to land and hang out on any fresh pile of poop, but they wont go anywhere near your Coke-soaked body.

I’m not one to procure sympathy from others, but I know people who play the “victim” role and love to feed off people feeling sorry for them, so if you are one of those types, here are 4 bonus reasons for Coke (and these are actual reasons to drink the stuff).

  • Bone fractures on demand. Coke leaches calcium out of your bones like no other, so drinking the stuff will drastically raise your frequency of bone fractures. With a little effort, you could even snap a bone on demand! And this is with adults, so imagine the effect it has on children. Just ask childrens orthopedic doctors about how coke effects children’s bones and their tendencies to get a fracture. Imagine being at a pity party for someone else, but you’d rather steal the show. Merely step off a stair sideways with a slightly funky angle and your hip and/or leg/ankle/foot should give way with a loud “snap” for all to hear, as well as an obvious and visual fracture (compound with arterial spray if you’re lucky), showing everyone at the party that you now deserve all the pity redirected immediately to you!
  • Increase that stubborn fat. Need to claim bad genetics as an excuse for your weight, but you know it’s not true? Want to sabotage a diet so you can show your spouse that you are a hopeless case so they will stop nagging you to eat right? Are you losing weight and starting to feel uncomfortable about people hitting on you now? Coke is the perfect solution. It will dehydrate you, making it almost impossible to burn fat off your body. It is also loaded with high fructose corn syrup which is clinically proven to turn you into a fat storing machine. It will also turn off your hunger satiety mechanism, forcing you to gorge on food like there is no tomorrow. Diet Coke is just as effective, because the artificial sweeteners do the same thing, but will further add to the toxins to your fat cells, making them even more stubborn.
  • How about chronic inflammation, arthritis, gout, cancer, and diabetes to increase that sympathy vote? Just drink Coke and all your dreams will come true. For maximal suffering and sympathy before you die early, MS and Parkinson’s are drastically accelerated due to the fact that artificial ingredients (especially artificial sweeteners) are excitotoxins which kill your nerve cells (especially brain cells) at a rate that would (and literally does) blow your mind.
  • Feed your addictive personality. Yep, Coke is loaded with chemicals that make you physically and mentally addicted to it, so if you would like to give up gambling or swap with another addiction, Coke might help. It won’t help with other food or beverage addictions though. It will make those worse.

If on the other hand, you’d rather get off the stuff, then try filtered water. If that doesn’t cut it, try green tea. Still not havin’ it? Give Zevia brand cola a shot or make your own favorite pop with a SodaStream machine using natural flavoring options. Still can’t do it? Check yourself into a rehab clinic and get cleaned up. It’ll be worth it.