Category Archives for "Coach Dean"

The Twin Terrors of Aging

I think the effects of aging really hit me as I watched my grandparents bodies decline toward the end of their lives. They looked, and were, fragile. My recollection is that the first time I heard of Osteoporosis was in the context of my grandmother having it. It also occurs to me that these two were some of the hardest working people I ever knew; they had far from a sedentary job. They owned a small business, a bait and tackle shop in New Milford, CT. In the summers they would open at 5:00am and close at or often 7:00pm, and they were open every single day. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were spending a week or two in the summer with them, as my grandfather had a route delivering bait and tackle, checking his chub traps, the shiner tanks sloshing around in his red International truck. There was a lot of manual labor involved. But even that wasn't enough to keep them from "The Twin Terrors of Aging" - Sarcopenia and Osteopenia.

twin terrors

Simply defined, Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass, and Osteopenia is the loss of bone density. These twin terrors have a cause and effect relationship on the aging process.

Losing muscle tissue (Sarcopenia) has been shown to cause a decline in your bodies ability to use glucose and a corresponding decline in insulin signaling and sensitivity. This becomes a vicious cycle, as a decrease in insulin sensitivity makes it more difficult for the body to grow and repair itself, which can lead to further muscle atrophy, which can lead to further decreased insulin signaling, and around and around we go. And don't miss the important distinction here. Muscle Atrophy is losing mass because the cell is getting smaller - this is largely reversible. But a muscle cell that dies is difficult if not impossible to replace. 

Bone mass has been shown to peak at about age 35 and decline with age. Our bones are living active tissue, and just like muscle if you don't give them much to do they will start to decline and you lose bone density more rapidly, which leads to Osteopenia, and can progress to Osteoporosis. 

And this leads to the frailty I saw in my grandparents - because of muscle and bone loss they became easier to break - they became fragile.

But let's back up a little. Why and how did this muscle and bone loss get started? While it might seem like it, nobody wakes up one morning after the "fragile fairy" visited, weaker and fatter. More than likely they have been experiencing a very gradual decline, which like a snowball racing downhill, becomes bigger and bigger as momentum gathers.

Have you ever been diagnosed with one or more of the following?

Hypertension - elevated blood pressure.

Dyslipidemia - abnormal amounts of blood lipids (triglyceride/cholesterol). In North America, this is usually hyperlipidemia - elevated cholesterol and/or triglyceride.

Systemic Inflammation - these can be measured with a Hemoglobin A1C and C Reactive Protein blood test, among others.

Insulin Resistance and/or Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) - these were briefly discussed above.

Visceral Obesity - accumulation of fat around the internal organs. The InBody scanner at Cr8 Fitness is one way to get a measure of this.

Usually these disorders build on each other, and often lead to Metabolic Syndromewhich affects 1 out of 3 Americans.

Including, at one time, me. 

Yes. Yours truly had hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high visceral obesity, and if I remember correctly my A1C tilted toward the high side too.

Key word: HAD

So what can we do about it? 

That is the million dollar question, right?

Now I don't want you to get me wrong here. I am not a doctor, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the hard work it takes to become one. There are realities of the system and constraints that medical professionals have to navigate and work within. But the cold hard truth is that much of western medicine is very broken.

If you look up the word "Medicine" in the Cambridge Dictionary, you will find the following definitions in the following order: 

  1. the science dealing with the preserving of health and with preventing and treating disease or injury:
  2.  a substance taken into the body in treating an illness:

I LOVE the words "preserving (health)" and "preventing (disease).

Yet I bet you if you asked, 9 out of 10 people would equate the word "medicine" with "drugs". And while there are certainly appropriate drugs to be taken in acute circumstances -  where would we be without penicillin? - I am talking about other kinds of drugs that function far differently.

In "The Barbell Prescription" Dr. Sullivan introduces a word, Polypharmacy, which he simply defines as "lots of drugs". 

It got me thinking. How many people do I know that take prescription medications regularly take only one?

Rarely do we see clients that are only on one med, usually there are three or four or more. Often we will see a diabetes drug (or two) paired with blood pressure medicine, maybe thyroid or statin thrown in, with a side of something to help indigestion, or just as likely constipation, caused by the other drugs. Prescription anti-inflammatory and SSRI's are also very common. 

Again, don't get me wrong. I am NOT "anti-drug", and recognize the necessity for these in certain situations. And I am not making a value judgement here, because I have no room to talk given my history.

But in my mind there is a crucial question and subsequent conversation we should be having. "What is this plethora of prescriptions doing to solve the underlying cause, rather than just covering the symptoms?"

Drugs are not like vitamins. You can have a Vitamin D deficiency. You do not have a Lisinopril, or Celebrax, or Zantac, or Cardizem deficiency. There is an underlying cause that is rarely being addressed simultaneously to the prescription being filled. 

And even worse is that some of these drugs can actually increase the rate of muscle and bone loss we discussed before.

Is that really healing? Preserving health and preventing disease? I think not.

Years ago I remember talking to a co-worker who had just been to the doctor. He said the doctor told him he was clinically obese, and if he got on a regular exercise program and good eating plan he could lose the weight, without drugs. But then he said (according to my co-worker), "Since I know you aren't going to do it, I am going to put you on X, Y, Z." I couldn't settle on if that was a bigger indictment of my (still unhealthy) co-worker or the doc. You decide.

Dr. Sullivan also pointed out an interesting thing about modern medicine. We don't generally don't die of syphilis and smallpox anymore. Instead we die of heart failure, stroke, myocardial infarction (told you he was a doctor) and dementia. And not when we are in our eighties and nineties. It's very common for any and all of those things to happen in our 50's and 60's.

I am not afraid of dying. But I have no desire to live longer if in reality it is just extending the length of time I hurt, don't want to move, and have no energy. And I am guessing neither do you.

So we've discussed one option to the "Twin Terrors" - drugs. Is there an alternative?

As an Athlete of Aging, I'll be you already know at least part of the answer.

We'll explore next time. Until then, take stock. If you take prescription drugs; Do you know what they are for? Do you know how they interact with each other? Have you discussed with your doctor a path to get off of any or all of them? If not, consider investigating these your homework.

Until next time,

Coach Dean

This post is second in a series called "Athletes of Aging".

You Are Not A Unicorn. Recovery Matters

Recovery Week is April 21 to April 27. Enjoy!

Ever since we opened the doors of our training gyms, recovery weeks have been built into the training schedule. This is not an accident. Neither is it just "vacation time" for Dean and Nancy, although those are the only weeks we can schedule time off.

To me recovery is instinctual. Training hard is taxing on the body and the mind. There is a point where your CNS (Central Nervous System" says NO MORE, and training starts to make you worse, not better. Our goal is that you never reach anywhere close to that point. We were doing "recovery" before recovery was cool, and we ain't a gonna stop now! 🙂

You might be cute, but you are NOT a Unicorn!

In fact proper recovery between workouts is factored in as we design your training program as well. It's one of the reasons we do not have regular training on Wednesdays. Two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off is by design. More is not better, better is better.

As I have gotten older, I have become even more sensitive to recovery. I recently read a book by science writer Christie Aschwanden called "Good to Go". The subtitle is "What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery".

"Strange Science"?

The science of recovery is pretty new, and there are some pretty weird, wild and yet-to-be-proven things that people do to recover. From recovery pajamas to float tanks, the book examines it all.

When it comes down to it, what we are trying to do is recover from the systemic stress that is placed on our body and mind on a daily basis. This is hardly just training stress. Work, kids, traffic, politics, illness - you name it, there are a lot of stressors in life. We want to manage the overall stress load in order that we can achieve physical and athletic improvement. 

The biggest take home I got from the book is no secret - the #1 thing you can do to de-stress, and enhance recovery is sleep. Not always easy, I know. You are talking to a guy whose alarm goes off before 4:00am. I get it. But I do what I can to get as much as I can whenever I can.

I have used a lot of different tools to measure my recovery over the years. Right now I am testing a piece of software called RestWise, which monitors overall training load based on objective measures such as Resting Heart Rate (RHR), HRV, SpO2, and Weight fluctuations, as well as subjective measures such as energy and mood. It's pretty interesting, and they boast clients from pro sports teams and olympic athletes. 

If you don't want to get that fancy, one of the simplest ways to monitor your recovery is to measure and log your Resting Heart Rate every morning when you get up. I use one of these $15 devices to take my pulse and SpO2 every morning - takes about 30 seconds. If your RHR is trending up, it's a good sign your recovery is compromised.

The bottom line. Enjoy your recovery week. It is a purposeful part of your training plan, and just like your don't want to miss workout days, you don't want to miss recovery days. You WILL NOT de-train in 7-10 days, so chill out - you are NOT a unicorn.

If you want more on the science of recovery, keep reading. 

Train Hard. Recover Harder.

Coach Dean

---

Our recovery weeks are what I would call Macro-Recovery. In other words we take a planned week off every training phase in order to let the body rest up from hard training and get ready for the next phase.

The Recovery Curve

I saw the recovery curve for the first time during my time with Australian physical preparation coach Ian King. His principles laid the foundation for the way we program, train and especially recover here at Get Fit NH. The principles that work with professional athletes apply to us too!

The following illustrates a “good” recovery curve:

The green line represents what we are all looking for – continual, never ending progress over time. We are getting stronger, faster, thinner, better looking (ok at least that’s what I wish for).

Reality Check – ain’t gonna happen. The process of changing your body is not linear, in fact what we are looking at in an optimal training environment is more of a “One step back brings me Two steps forward”.

A closer look at the chart will help explain what I mean.

The red line represents Equilibrium. This is where your body wants to stay, no matter if your goal is losing fat, gaining lean, or both. As you have no doubt found out, forcing your body to change is hard work – really hard work. When you walk into Get Fit NH, our training is designed to elicit that change. But it’s not as simple as “working out” day after day after day. In fact as I am about to illustrate, training without proper recovery is actually hurting you, not making you better.

The blue line represents the “recovery curve”. Starting at the left hand of the chart all the lines intersect. For this illustration that point is where your first training occurred – you “worked out”.

But what’s going on?

Instead of performance going up, that line is actually heading down – this is what is called Depletion. If you think about it makes sense – you have worked hard, you are fatigued, your body is depleted of nutrients – you are spent!

Don’t worry, your body will get over it, if you treat it right! This is what we call Adaptation. Your body wants to be able to handle the increased demand that was placed on it, and starts the process of getting better.

You are in charge of if and how fast that happens. A few of the factors that influence this adaptation include recovery nutrition, stress levels, sleep habits, supportive nutrition, age, and training history.

The recovery curve continues with Supercompensation. Here is how Coach King describes this process:

“It is only when recovery is allowed that we see the super-compensation effect, the unique phenomenon where the bodies physical capacity is elevated in response to training, in anticipation of another exposure to the same stimulus.” – King, I, 1999/2000, Foundations of Physical Preparation

In other words your body has gotten better in response to your training, a new Equilibrium is established and this state is when we will ideally train again. Our programming at Get Fit NH is carefully designed to give this the best chance of occurring, but as I hope you are discovering, you have a lot to do with this with how you treat your recovery!

As you can see, when things are clicking, this process when repeated over and over means you are getting better and better, the blue line is headed up – pretty cool!

The flip side to all this is what happens when the recovery process isn’t working so well.

This chart represents recovery gone “bad”:

When we continue to train in a state of “Depletion”, regardless of the reason, the adaptation to super-compensation effect doesn’t occur, and instead of getting better, we find ourselves in a downward cycle. This can happen when we train the same muscle groups too soon, when we haven’t taken the steps described above to recover optimally (sleep and nutrition for instance) regardless of time between training, when we train too hard coming off an illness, etc. The last thing we want to happen is new equilibrium to be established in a downward pattern – not good.

The long and short of it is your body absolutely needs to recover from hard training. Consistently training in a fatigued state results in injury and illness. Your body is an amazing machine designed to put up with a lot, but it was also designed to need rest. Recovery weeks provide that rest.

If you want to know more about the recovery tools I use and why you should consider them, hit me up and let's talk.

- DC

The Secret Life of Motivation

One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies includes this exchange between Captain America and the Hulk...

Steve Rogers:
Dr. Banner! Now might be a good time to get angry.

Bruce Banner:
That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry. (morphs into the Hulk and punches the leviathan)

HULK. SMASH!

I was reminded of that scene when I was talking to a client about their motivation, or in this case lack thereof. The gist of the conversation is that he found it hard to be motivated to train regularly, and to nourish his body with good food choices, and to lay off the alcohol.

But the kicker was when he said something along these lines; "Well it's easy for you, you're a trainer, you're always motivated!" 

Yeah. Right.

Because I am a trainer I have some unique genetic makeup that causes me to be full of energy all the time, never get tired, always feel like working out, and be predisposed to eating broccoli and sprouts, while vomiting at the site of chocolate cake.

Tell that to my 280 pounds self from 15 years ago. The one that couldn't walk up the stairs without getting winded, got home from work and crashed on the coach for four hours every night, was pre-diabetic and just plain unhealthy.

I am no superhero, but I do have a secret. Just like Bruce Banner.

Here it is. 

I am not motivated all the time. But I take action anyways.

You see we have motivation all wrong. Motivation is about emotions, and we tend to be ruled by our emotions, rather than control them. If I only trained when I felt like it, if I only ate right when I felt like it, if I only went to bed early when I felt like it - I'd be the mess I was 15 and 20 years ago.

Just like in the dictionary, Motivation follows Action. Feelings follow Activity. 

When you don't feel like it, do it anyway. 

It's not easy. If it were easy everybody would do it But think about it this way. 

Have you ever regretted getting that workout in, once it was over? Have you ever regretted biting your tongue and responding kindly rather than reacting in anger? Have you ever regretted an act of service when you rather would have stayed home?

Didn't think so.

You absolutely will need some of level of discipline, and success breeds success. The more you exercise a little discipline, the easier it gets to continue to do so. The opposite is also true.

Don't tell yourself you are not motivated. You already know.

Take action. Put your feet on the floor, and get your butt out the door.

You won't regret it.

Let's Get Smashing!

Coach Dean


5 Power Pointers For Fending Off Father Time

In my last article I shared my "Why" for training and taking care of myself the best way I know how. (Finding Your Fitness Focus In February)

To be as useful as I can.
To as many people as I can.
For as long as I can.

That "why" has changed for me as I have gotten older. When I was in the service I went to the gym to lift weights because I wanted to get bigger and stronger. And while those things remains on my radar, they serve a purpose greater than only wanting to look good. Being strong, flexible and fit means I can put in a good days work without being trashed, and still have something left for my family. 

Aging happens. There's nothing you can do about getting older, except dying. That's the bad news. The good news is that you are not the first person (or 100,000,000th person) to get older, so we can see some patterns to how the aging process works. AND we can do something about fending it off. 

Here's are just 5 of the ways you can "Fend Off Father Time" and live your best life now and for many years to come.

1. Brush Your Teeth and Floss

Gum and teeth health are not only an appearance and quality of life issue, but an overall health issue as well. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease; in fact according to the Harvard Health, people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. AND poor dental health leading to bacterial infection can actually damage your heart valves. Yeah, brushing and flossing is that big of a deal.

2. Learn To Fall and Get Up

Coach Dan John shares that after age 55, statistically, the most dangerous thing we do (outside of commuting to work) is shower. At that age and above, slipping in the shower, falling on ice, and being in a traffic collision are worse for our longevity than anything else. Being able to get on the ground and get back up is THE skill to master and retain as you get older. There is a reason we do balance work, work down on the floor, and do "Get Back Ups" around here.

3. Use Sunscreen

Your skin isn't just a cover for your muscles and bones. It is a living, active organ, and one of the most important ones of the body. As you age, your skin gets thinner, dry, and less elastic. Using sunscreen and moisturizer helps keep it from prematurely aging and protects you from the environment. And PLEASE! Do not ignore moles or spots that change over time. Doing so can turn the small inconvenience of getting them checked by a doctor into a big problem, like skin cancer. Be nice to your skin, and it will reward you with better health.

4. Exercise Your Mind

Never, ever, ever stop doing the things that keeps your brain active. Reading, learning a new language, take up a new hobby, journaling - these are all things that keep the mind strong and healthy. And keep your "fat head". The brain is made up of about 60% fat, so don't avoid getting essential fatty acids (EFA) into your diet. And yes, this is a plug for you taking a high quality EFA supplement such as SFH Omega 3 - it does your body AND brain good.

5. Move Your Body

It's not a secret that our bodies deteriorate as we age. Muscles lose size and strength. Bones get smaller and less dense. Your tendons and ligaments follow suit, and mobility is lost. Coordination and balance start to go.

BUT...

There is something you can do about all that. And that something is exercise. But not just any old exercise is ideal. Yes, walking is good for you. And cardiovascular exercise has its benefits. But NOTHING is as effective to slow down the systemic decline of aging like resistance training, strength training, weight training; whatever you want to call this kind of training. Loading the muscles through a full range of motion, regularly and appropriately is key to maintaining an optimally healthy body as you age. And you don't have to lift a kajillion pounds. You just have to work on progressively loading and making the body respond by getting stronger over time. Get in here already! 🙂

There is no fountain of youth - sorry. No magic pill, lotion or potion that has been or will ever be found that will make this body live forever. But don't let keep you from taking action and doing the things you can do to live "useful" for as long as you can.

Brush Your Teeth. Learn To Fall and Get Back Up. Use Sunscreen. Exercise - Mind and Body. And for crying out loud, don't smoke).

Be PROactive. Do It Now.

Make It Happen!

Dean

3 Steps to Finding Your Fitness Focus in February

I'm right there with you.

February may be the shortest month in days, but it sure seems like the longest month to slog through.

And while the days are getting longer and it's not getting dark quite as soon, it seems more like a tease as we not so patiently wait for the warmer weather.

And our motivation wanes.

We are sick and tired of getting up early and driving to the gym in the dark, or doing the same on the way home from work. 

I get it. 

And I also know if we aren't careful and proactive about pushing through, we are going to get on that slippery slope from always to sometimes to seldom to never.

So what are we going to do about it?

Here Are Your 3 Steps to Finding Your Fitness Focus (in February).

First, go back and revisit why you train in the first place. When we get tired, or discouraged or sore, we lose focus on the vision we had when we started. We forget "why" we are on this personal journey of better health through fitness. 

The solution is straightforward.

Make sure you have your "Why" written down. Seriously, take out a 3x5 card and write it down.

Here's Mine:

Then post it where you will see it EVERY day. Mine is on the cabinet right above my workstation. It hits me in the face every time I sit down and stand up.

And of course there is no "right or wrong" here. Your why is, well, yours. It is not for anyone else to judge.

The second part of the "find your fitness focus" process is to hang around the right people. And I don't just mean your friends and family. We get inundated by voices all around us; on the radio, on television, social media - all of it.

In fact most of "hang around" the virtual world more than the real world. And frankly most of those voices are full of negativity, whining and complaining. What effect do you think this is having on your emotional well-being? You can't hang around with pigs without getting muddy and a bit smelly. 

Instead of consuming so much media, focus your attention on habits that will build and enrich your mind. Reading, keeping a journal, playing games. These things strengthen your "mind muscle" rather than fill it with garbage and tear it down. 

Who or what do you need to not hang out with anymore?

Lastly, you need to take action toward your "Why", every single day. Nobody I know feels like showing up and training every single day. I know I don't. As the old saying goes, "If it were easy, everyone would do it". It's not going to be easy all the time, maybe most of the time. And that's ok. Rarely does anything great get accomplished taking the easy road. 

In his book Unstoppable, author and coach Craig Ballantyne reminds of us of one of his favorite phrases;

"Action Beats Anxiety. Motion Beats Meditation. Work Beats Worry."

There is a time for taking a break and slowing down. In the training context, that's what rest days and recovery weeks are for. But when you miss scheduled training days, you are setting yourself back, sometimes farther than you think. And worrying about stuff does nothing positive for us, in fact just the opposite.

My "Why" reminds me of that. I see too many good people sell themselves short, and never realize the amazing potential that resides in each one of us. People as young as 40's thinking life has already passed them by. That is not good.

I was listening to Tim Ferris' podcast interview of former Stanford professor and author Jim Collins, whose books such as "Good To Great" and "Built To Last" are multi-time best sellers and award winners.

Jim is 61 now, and he said this; "The big years to are 60 to 90, to me."

Right on.

He went on to share that many of the hero's of his life did more work, and their best work in those "later" years, as opposed to when they were younger. He sought to emulate that in his own life, and as he has just released another book he is well on his way.

I love that. 

I love that a guy who has already accomplished more than most of us will in our lifetime is not content to settle. In fact he also asks himself the question "How can I be more useful?"

That's why I think it's worth it for you and me to keep showing up, keep working hard, and keep focused on our why. If you haven't written it down yet, go do it now. If you'd like to share it with me, putting it in the comments below will make it even more real.

The best is still to come.

You coming with me?

Coach Dean

Belly Fat May Be More Dangerous for Women

Last week I wrote about why where you carry your body fat matters. We learned that visceral fat, the stuff that encircles your organs, is much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, which lies just under the skin.

We also talked about how the InBody 570 measures your visceral fat level, that anything over 10 on that measurement indicates you are in the danger zone, and we really want to shoot for that measurement to be 5 or under.

If you don't have easy access to an InBody, an easier gut check (ha!) is to measure your waist circumference, and/or you waist-to-hip ratio. Here's where three respected organizations research shows those measurements should be:

Organization

Measurement

Definition of Abdominal Obesity

American Heart Association

Waist Circumference

Women: > 35 inches

Men: > 40 inches

International Diabetes Federation

Waist Circumference

Women: > 31.5 inches

Men: > 35.5 inches

World Health Organization

Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Women: > 0.85

Men: > 0.9

The chart above shows where the risk lies for both men and women. If you are over these numbers, you are at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and a whole host of other health problems. 

And according to the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association, a study that involved over 500,000 people (55% women), women who carry more weight around the middle have a 10% to 20% greater risk of heart attack than those women who just had a high Body Mass Index (BMI).

In fact compared to BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (remember: a measurement of central adiposity and indicator of visceral fat) in women was 18% stronger as a heart attack indicator as compared to 6% in men.

SLOW DOWN GUYS!

According to Dr. Barbara Kahn, the George Richards Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the message is less about the gender differences and more about the overall risks presented by central adiposity.

A Reminder: Why the Location of Your Body Fat Matters

People with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with a similar BMI who primarily have fat concentrations elsewhere on the body. 

You have two types of adipose tissue (body fat): subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat lies just under your skin around the belly, thighs, rear, and extremities. Visceral fat lies below your abdominal muscles and encircles your organs. Depending on your body type, you may be unaware that you have a high level of visceral fat if you only rely on BMI

When the weight gain is in the abdominal area, there’s a greater risk for high blood pressure because this type of body fat is more likely to cause the arteries to become thick and stiff. When your blood vessels get stiff, it becomes harder to push the blood throughout your body. The body then has to create more pressure to move the blood, which may lead to a lasting increase in blood pressure.

Additionally, visceral fat is thought to interact more intimately with the kidneys and adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating your blood pressure. By interfering with the function of those organs, visceral fat is a serious promoter of high blood pressure.

So What Do We Do About It?

This will probably not surprise you. If you need to lose body fat and get rid of that dangerous belly fat, you need to nourish your body with good food and get your body moving - exercise.

What MAY surprise you is the type of exercise you need to focus on. 

Because we lose muscle mass as we age (without proper exercise), focusing on resistance training is one of the big keys to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Muscle is metabolically active - it does stuff so it burns calories - fat is not, it just sits there. The more muscle and less body fat we have the better. According to Harvard Health Online, adding strength training a minimum of twice a week can help you maintain a healthy weight, may improve blood sugar in people with diabetes, and also may help you maintain your weight.

It's really not more complicated than that. If you want to get rid of that excess belly fat and improve your long term health, you need to get into the weight room a couple times a week.

If you're reading this and want to drop some belly fat, but haven't worked out in years, or maybe are dealing with some lingering injuries, I am confident we can help. Just contact us here and we'll set you up with a free consultation with one of our coaches and help you map out a plan.

-Coach Dean

Body Fat and Blood Pressure. A killer combination.

I have a tendency toward high blood pressure. Because of that, and because my doctor is VERY aggressive in treating hypertension (high blood pressure), I take blood pressure meds. To be frank, I hate being on any medication, however hypertension is not something you want to mess around with. Consistent high blood pressure is not only not good, it's extremely dangerous, as it can cause damage to blood vessels and your heart, and lead to cardiovascular disease.

Being over fat (overweight and obese) has long been correlated with high blood pressure, and it doesn't matter how old (or young) you are. And while many of us want to lose weight because we want to look better, it goes a lot deeper than that.

Our partners at InBody have written a comprehensive article on this subject; Your Blood Pressure and Body Composition are Related. Here's What You Need To Know.

Here's an excerpt from that article that you NEED to read and pay attention to:

Why the Location of Your Body Fat Matters

People with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with a similar BMI who primarily have fat concentrations elsewhere on the body. 

You have two types of adipose tissue (body fat): subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat lies just under your skin around the belly, thighs, rear, and extremities. Visceral fat lies below your abdominal muscles and encircles your organs. Depending on your body type, you may be unaware that you have a high level of visceral fat if you only rely on BMI

When the weight gain is in the abdominal area, there’s a greater risk for high blood pressure because this type of body fat is more likely to cause the arteries to become thick and stiff. When your blood vessels get stiff, it becomes harder to push the blood throughout your body. The body then has to create more pressure to move the blood, which may lead to a lasting increase in blood pressure.

Additionally, visceral fat is thought to interact more intimately with the kidneys and adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating your blood pressure. By interfering with the function of those organs, visceral fat is a serious promoter of high blood pressure.

The take home is WHERE your body is carrying fat is just as if not more important as the total amount of body fat you have.

And that's where our InBody 570 comes in.

If you look at your InBody results sheet or on your app, you will see a heading; "Visceral Fat Level".

This is where we find out how much fat we are packing in and around our organs. We want that number to be as low as possible. 10 and under is considered "healthy" (my doc is looking for 5 and under). Anything over 10 and you are on a dangerous path. 

Having a family history of high blood pressure is something you can't control. You didn't choose your parents. But controlling your visceral fat levels through good nutrition and exercise is something you definitely DO control.

And that's great news!

The other piece of really good news for our clients is that you can monitor your visceral fat levels on a regular basis to measure both your progress AND your health. 

This is much more than just a matter of aesthetics. Sure, we all want to look better naked, but that is NOT the best reason for controlling our body fat levels and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Heart disease is nothing to mess around with, and the fact that if you are a client of Cr8 Fitness you have a medical grade diagnostic tool as part of your arsenal is something you need to take advantage of on a regular basis.

If you haven't been taking advantage of this important tool, now is the time.

Your health depends on it.

Make it happen.

Coach Dean

P.S. Not a client? You can still take advantage of the InBody 570 with a scanning package or membership. Contact us now to set an appointment.

My Biggest Super Bowl Takeaway(s)

Now I know that not everyone who reads this is a New England Patriots fan, but nobody is perfect, and I forgive you. 🙂

And even if you are not a football fan, or a sports fan in general, this article still applies to you.

As I reflected what was for some a really boring game, and others a frustrating game, and still others a game just to be grateful their team won, I thought about what we could learn from it. As I mulled it over, this is the thought that kept cropping up:

"Stick with what you are doing for long enough, but not for too long".

Going into the game the Patriots had an offensive game plan (based on what happened it was very offensive - but I digress). Stay balanced with the pass and the run, get the ball out of Brady's hand fast, work to the outside receivers. 

Did it work?

Based on the number of points they scored, it would be fair to say no. But I think it did, until it didn't. 

By staying patient with the run, and not trying to get too cute too soon, I believe it eventually wore the Rams defense down. But the Pats weren't so stubborn doing it "their way" that they weren't afraid to throw out the game plan and do something different (You can read about that adjustment here). They stuck with the plan long enough, made the changes they needed to when they needed to, and got the result they were looking for - in this case the winning touchdown. 

So how does that affect you? Good question. 

My takeaway from this is two-fold.

1) Don't give up on what you are doing too early.

It's human nature to want things to happen fast, like NOW! We start working out for the first time in a long time, and/or we change how we are eating in order to lose weight. 10 days later we haven't lost 20 pounds, so we give up. Whoa Nellie! You have to give things enough time to see if they are actually making a difference or not. You also have to actually be following the plan. Can I be honest here? When you start a nutrition plan and then "tweak it" here or there, you are not actually following the plan. Follow THE plan, not your preferred version of the plan. If you FOLLOW and COMPLETE the plan (the 2019 Fresh Start Challenge, for instance) and things aren't changing, then and ONLY then should you consider changing what you are doing.

2) Don't stubbornly persist in doing what you are doing if it's not working

Coach Dean's "Get Real" part 2. We all laugh about the person at the gym who we see on the treadmill, every day faithfully, for weeks, months and even years, and whose body never seems to change one little bit. We think to ourselves "What a waste of time, how dumb is that?" But be honest and look in the mirror. Are you getting the results YOU want to get, all the time? We all tend fall into this pattern. We LIKE doing endless cardio. We LIKE staying up late and watching television. We LIKE cookies, and ho ho's and french fries and donuts. We LIKE having a glass (or two or three) of wine or beer every night.

A tried and true coaching question I ask clients (and myself) is "How's That Working For You?" If it's NOT, it's time to change something. Doesn't matter if you like it or not. Want to or not. A different result then what you are getting is going to take what none of us really like - Change.

The Patriots could have stuck with what they were doing. Josh McDaniels could have stubbornly persisted regardless of what was actually happening. But he and the team showed how success is achieved.

"Stick with what you are doing for long enough, but not for too long".

Make It Happen!

Coach Dean

P.S. If you are ready for a change, you'll want to check out how to get your Free 2-Week Tryout Here

Injury is a Teacher

I am reminded often that getting older is not for sissies. For those of us who live in New England, I think that is why it is so fascinating to see an athlete like Tom Brady maintain a high level of performance in a very demanding game for so long. He said this morning on WEEI he wants to keep playing for a few more years, although he only negotiated with Gisele for another year. I bet that's getting as difficult as winning another Super Bowl!

I have been training off and on with weights since I was a teenager. (Unfortunately for a number of years I was a lot more "off" than "on"). I have never had a severe training accident in the gym which caused me to miss a bunch of time. But there are times I have done something unwise which put me out of commission for a few days.

If there is one thing injuries have taught me over the years is this:

Avoid Them At All Costs!

Now you may be thinking "no duh", but don't dismiss the obvious. Getting injured is not only about accidental slips and falls. Sometimes the "come out of nowhere" aches and pains are the cumulative effect of ignoring the seemingly minor. 

Here are three things you shouldn't ignore:

1) Attention To Properly Warming Up.

I didn't write just "warming up" for a reason. Being present and going through the motions is not the same as giving attention to it. Focus on each and every movement, work to complete the full range of motion, and spend the time getting focused for your session.

2) Pain.

There IS a difference between pain, tightness, and soreness. I designed this poster with the input of Dr. Brett Coapland at Performance Health a number of years ago. The take home on this? Your coach needs to know! 

2) The Stress of Daily Life.

I want you to train has hard as you should, every day you are supposed to be here. And yes, I said "should" not "can" purposely. None of us our at our best 100% of the time. The teacher of experience has taught me when to go full bore and when to back off a little. Technologies like HRV monitoring keep me honest about it. Learning this has also kept me from making the mistake so many of us do - not training when we don't "feel" like it. I don't feel like it more often than you may think, which is why I have training partners and why training with a coach and group that will keep you accountable is vital to long term success.

Injury is not something I want any of you to experience. The good news is - being proactive and paying attention to the "Big 3" outlined above can go a long way to preventing it. 

Remember. You can't train if you have a serious enough injury. If you are tight, sore, or in pain, let us know. That way we can help you or refer to someone who can. Eat like an adult. Sleep like a baby. Train like your best life depends on it.

Because it does.

Coach Dean

P.S. Please share this post by clicking the buttons below or to the left. Facebook is our friend! 🙂

From The Heart

Can I share my heart with you? If not, just click away from this post right now, because you are not gonna want to read this. We good?

Ok, if you are still here, I want to say thank-you. I appreciate your time and energy.

One of the scariest things I have ever done in my life is start a business and go out on my own. The only analogy I can think of is like a bird flinging itself out of its nest for the first time. Either you flap your wings hard and figure out how to do it, or you go "SPLAT". I am grateful no one has had to scrape me off the pavement yet.

Another one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life is sell Get Fit NH Concord, for a whole variety of reasons. But frankly one of the biggest reasons it was scary is because now that Cr8 Fitness in Epsom is our only location, we have a lot less room for error. That margin has been shaved razor thin. The scale of having two locations and sharing expenses is gone. Making it all work is a challenge we are attacking head on. Nancy and I have been working harder than ever at making this the best possible experience for you; we want you to be here, we want you to have fun, and we want you to get the results you are looking for. Our goal is to keep every client happy and coming back for more, for life. 

You know what's scary about that? We are human, we fail often, and when it comes down to it, that's not a goal we are probably ever going to achieve, no matter how hard we try. But that doesn't mean we are going to stop. Can I ask you a favor? When we don't serve you as well as you deserve, can you let us know BEFORE it gets past the point of no return? I am going to be honest, it HURTS when one of y'all stops coming to the gym, and it's not just all about us. We know how hard it is to get started in the first place, and we don't ever want you to stop reaching for your happy and healthy.

Every single one of you matters to us. Do we fail to show it sometimes? Yes, but not purposely. I can honestly tell you that both of us have shed tears at times over this business. I don't say that to make you feel bad for us, and I know that no one is out to get us. But you all are family, and when family doesn't come around anymore, it stinks. And yes, I am writing this today because one of the family has decided to not come around anymore. When that happens, we take it seriously, and this note is partly to let you know that. I believe we do a good job the vast majority of the time, but I know we haven't reached perfection. Regardless, I am going to be bold here, and ask you for three things:

1) When we screw up, let us know. We can't get better if we don't know and don't have a chance to talk with you about what's bugging you. Send us an email, shoot us a text, give us a call, or even better, let's just talk face to face. 

2) Don't give up. On us, our on yourself. You came here for a reason. Let's keep working on that, together.

3) Don't keep Cr8 Fitness to yourself. As I said before, I believe the vast majority of the time we are worthy of sharing with your friends, family, co-workers - even your medical professionals. One of Nancy and my goals this year is to get to the point where we are not spending ANY money on advertising, and we can't do it without you. We've made it easier than ever, and our community benefits too. (Read more about that here)

You Rock.

You really do. We don't say it enough. We'll do better.

Thank-you for choosing to train with us.

Coach Dean

1 2 3 4
>