Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FDA Bans 72 Supplements...

On Friday I received an email asking me what supplements should be taken to help with weight loss. It’s a VERY common question. Young athletes want to know what supplements will make them stronger and faster. Adults want to know what supplements allow us to burn fat rapidly.

Ironically, the same day I received that question, the FDA banned 72 weight loss products it says contain harmful ingredients – a link to those products is below, along with my opinion. And by the way, the opinion below is shared by Dr. Chris Mohr, Ph.D., RD, as well as countless dietitians and ethical trainers. Be leery of any person or ad that tells you a supplement will make you stronger, faster or burn fat more quickly. 99.9% of the time it’s hype or a very dangerous compound to put into your body.

What Supplements Work?

Eating right in combination with a well structured exercise routine is the most effective path for long term enhancement in your health, fitness, and the achievement of your weight loss goals.

And to eat right simply means to eat smaller meals frequently, combining lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey, seafood), whole grain carbohydrates (including whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, rice, legumes) and fibrous carbohydrates (whole fruits and vegetables). Ideally you’ll eat about 500 fewer calories less than you expend in a day if you are seeking a leaner, more toned body.

If then, eating in this manner provides all of the nutrients and support our bodies need, do supplements provide any value? Well, the answer is yes and no.

There are some food supplements that contain calories and nutrition that will help us fill in the eating gaps during our day. A meal replacement shake, for example, is a great way to give your body a nutritious meal without having to stop and prepare the chicken breast, whole grain rice and green salad. Although real food is always best and the first priority, meal replacement shakes give us a nice second option when we’re busy or a complete meal is not easily accessible.

Whole fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidant our bodies need for a whole range of functions. But because many of us struggle to eat the appropriate daily requirements of these “live” foods, a good quality multivitamin will also act as an insurance policy providing our bodies with these necessary micro nutrients.

In terms of offering our bodies nutrition and benefit from supplements, we could end this discussion right here. What follows, however, is a brief review of supplements that do not provide calories and oftentimes, when consumed, lead to serious health consequences and sometimes even death.

I have witnessed more conversations where someone was offering “advice” on taking this “supplement” or that “supplement” to “burn more fat”, “add more muscle”, “get stronger”, “elevate metabolism” and “run faster”. I have heard countless stories from clients who got “professional advice” that they needed this or that supplement to reach their goals. Most of these products are either bogus and do very little, or they are simply drugs that have far reaching side effects.

Some of these drugs include ephedrine, steroids, amino acids, yohimbe, mega-doses of caffeine, androstenedione, and so on. Frequently these drugs are being marketed with, “based on research” or “proven by science” yet the consumer has almost no way of distinguishing the hype and false promises. Since 1994, the FDA does not monitor such supplementation offerings. In other words, you can go into Kroger, or hundreds of places online, and find a product that promises to help you burn fat and elevate your metabolism and it could be 100% useless (providing no value) or it could lead to cardiac arrest (as in the multitude of cases with ephedrine found in products such as Metabolife 356).

The only time the FDA steps in is after consumers are subjected to a product on the market and have likely been injured (from the product), or when the FDA find claims in a product that have been substantially overstated or misleading.

On Friday the latter happened when the FDA named 72 weight loss products found to contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, include prescription drugs in doses that the agency said could lead to serious health consequences, including death. You can view the list of banned products here:http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/weight_loss_products.htm.

This is not written to scare you, rather to empower and caution you against taking a supplement outside of a quality meal replacement shake and multi vitamin. In our quest for enhanced health and fitness, remember, the combination of eating the right foods in the right quantities, elevating your heart rate, and engaging in resistance training will take you far beyond the promises of the supplement offerings of today.

Train diligently, eat wholesome foods, and be safe!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Friday, March 20, 2009

3 Steps To Fitness Success...

There are three critical steps to achieving a new level of success in any endeavor, including your health, fitness and body fat reduction goals. They are:

1. Know exactly what you want! Clarity is power. You cannot achieve a goal or new endeavor if you are not crystal clear about what it is that you want to accomplish. Know exactly what your target is. Do you want to lose a certain percentage of body fat, or a number of pounds (of fat), or inches? Do you want to have more mental clarity? Emotional balance? Physical energy? Do you want to be more productive at work and at home?

Whatever it is that's important to you, write it down. Get specific. Tap into the power of what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Will it make you a better parent? A better professional? Friend? A better spouse? Will it give you a self-confidence boost? Will exercise allow you to better handle the stress and demands of life?

2. Get an expert road map! Once you know exactly what you want, your next step is to find the most effective path to get from where you are right now to what you want to achieve. Find an expert and learn from him or her. Join a fitness program or hire a trainer to help you navigate toward your health and fitness goals without wasting time on trail and error approaches.

3. Resolve internal conflicts! The final step, after you know what you want and have an expert road map towards achievement, is to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts (or road blocks) that come up. Anytime you know what you want and have an accurate process to get there, yet fail to reach the destination, an internal conflict is apparent. For example, someone wants to get fit, drop 2 dress sizes, lose 12 pounds, increase energy and be more productive professionally. They get started on a new fitness routine, and eventually stop before achieving their goals. Why?

Because she was too busy to exercise - she's a mom and busy professional and just didn't have time to exercise. There's the internal conflict - she wants fitness, yet doesn't have time. You have to resolve those things that hold you back from achieving your MOST important goals in life.

Two things to keep in mind if you feel you don't have time. (1) Regular exercise helps us become more productive. Lots of peer reviewed research demonstrates regular exercise allows us to be more productive, allowing the brain to function at higher levels, more energetic, etc.

Also realize that (2) the ONLY thing that makes all of us identical is we all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year.

We all have the exact same amount of time. The key is how you invest your time. If presidents Barrack Obama, George W Bush & Bill Clinton can find time in their demanding lives (while heading up the nation) to exercise consistently, I think we all can find time. And there are countless other super-successful people who have crazy-busy lives, yet workout 5 days per week.

Exercise is an investment that provides valuable returns. When you invest 1-hour a day, your immediate return is enhance physical energy, emotional balance, mental clarity and being better equipped to handle the stress and demands of life. Longer term returns include better health, a more fit body, protection from illness, reduction in anxiety and depression, the list is long and plentiful. There's even a study in one well known journal of medicine comparing fit employees to sedentary ones - the more fit employees had higher incomes than their co-workers (all other factors like education and experience being the same), and they were more tolerant of their peers AND themselves.

It's not as much about time, as it is about investing our time in productive activities (like consistent exercise) that give us big returns.

These 3 keys to change work for any area of your life in which you're looking to grow. Get crystal clear about what you want (and know why you what to reach that goal), get an expert road map that will get you there without wasting time on trial and error, and resolve any internal conflicts or road blocks preventing your ultimate achievement.

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Friday, March 13, 2009

Announcing – Fitness Boot Camp Expands to Dayton!

HealthStyle Fitness, located in Cincinnati Ohio on Red Bank Road, today announces the opening of its 4th Adventure Fitness Boot Camp location in the Dayton Ohio Market.

The Springboro Adventure Fitness Boot Camp will launch its first session on Monday, April 20th, 2009. Fitness instructor Leigh Smith will lead female participants through a 4-week fun and challenging workout to jump start their fitness.

More information is available here: Springboro, Ohio Adventure Fitness Boot Camp for Women!