There appears to be a general perception that exercising in the heat will burn more fat; which is why it is common to see exercisers walking on a hot sunny day at noon time with a full sweat suit, or even one of those garbage bag suits on.  The most recent research trends are indicating otherwise.  In January of this year the New York Times released an article shedding light on a new topic in the weight loss world. Brown fat. That’s right, body fat is not just white tissue underneath the outside layer of skin covering human bodies. It comes in different colors and the color even dictates it’s function. The new studies conducted have shown two forms of brown fat being present in humans. The first type gets turned on when people get cold.  When the human body has reached an internal temperature cold enough to be shivering;  this brown fat tissue gets activated to suck white fat out of the fat deposits to fuel itself in order to stay warm. A second type has been found to be created through existing white fat  just by exercising.  Humans have a hormone called irisin in the bloodstream.  Irisin converts white fat cells into brown fat cells during exercise leading to a much higher calorie burning output.   Dr. Andre Carpentier is an endocrinologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and also one of the authors of the upcoming papers on brown fat and it’s ability to burn fat.  Carpentier states that proof has been found that the tissue does burn body fat, but admits that the long term responses on the body and the big picture of weight loss are still unknown.

It was first theorized that only mice had this brown fat tissue due to the inability to shiver to keep warm.  Human infants have a large amount of it for the same reason.  It has only been within the last three years that researchers found small amounts of brown fat in human adults in the upper back, along the spine, the side of the neck and between the collar bone and shoulder.  Infants and mice both contain more brown fat tissue than that was found on human adults.

Locations where infants store brown fat tissue.

A more recent study done by Bruce Spiegelman of Harvard Medical School shows that human adults have a substance being termed beige fat.  The brown fat in humans is actually beige fat that develops from the browning of white fat cells.  Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is what gives brown fat it’s enhanced ability to burn calories for energy.  Beige fat has also been found to increase it’s UCP1 content to a similar level of that of brown fat tissue yielding a very similar fat burning capability.  What impact this can have on the obesity epidemic in the United States still remains to be seen.  Researchers know these findings, while very positive, still don’t solve the obesity problem and expect alot of hours in experimentation before and real claims can be made.

After reading this article and the linked research articles consumers can find value in the fact that researchers are turning up new information everyday to further educate Americans on weight loss.  Exercising in the cold might become more popular as more information about brown fat is brought to light.   It would be advisable to wait until more research and more guided information about exercise concerning brown fat is formulated to alter your current exercise routine.   Until then if a commercial on the television pops up about brown fat injections and a  weight loss cure, change the channel.



1.  Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control.  By Gina Kolatta, published January 24, 2012.

2.  Beige Fat Joins Brown Fat as Potential Weight Loss Target.  US News / Health Day.  Published July 12, 2012.

Bookmark and Share


     According to a new study ,this is what runners might see being handed out to them on the side of the road during a race, a slushy.

     In an article written by the New York Times slushies are the new gatorade.  Looking to increase your performance in a 5 or 10K race on a hot summer day?  Drink a slushy just prior to running.  These will go over great for residents in Arizona and Texas and other warm weather climate states.  Performing endurance exercise in the heat is more challenging than performing endurance exercise in the cold weather.  During the winter months blood will go to working muscles to create warmth and prevent hypothermia.  During the heat, blood is diverted away from muscles to the skin for cooling.  The lower the blood supply for muscles the less endurance the athlete will have.

     The results of the study were as follows:

  • The men who drank a slushy just prior to running in a heated room on a treadmill ran for 50 minutes.     
  • The men who drank cold water with the same syrupy ingredients included in a slushy ran for 40 minutes before having to stop.

     Both groups reached exhaustion at the same heart rate level.  (Subjects were of the same age group)  185 beats per minute.  The slushy group reached that heart rate 10 minutes after the cold water group.

     What can we take away from this?  Endurance athletes looking to increase performance in events that last less than an hour in the heat can benefit from pre-race slushy consumption.  If you are worried about  weight loss, then consuming high sugar beverages isn’t the best way to go.  Focus more on interval style conditioning with a shorter duration and a higher intensity.

Bookmark and Share


     Interval training, or HIIT, has been the darling of fat loss coaches in the last couple years.  Interval training has been around forever but only now is getting recognized as an effective training tool for body composition changes.  If you are a fitness enthusiast or at least someone who makes an effort to get themselves to a gym either before or after work you most likely have heard the words ” interval training” being muttered by a fellow gym goer or personal trainer.  You may have even googled it to see what the hype is all about, or come across an article on yahoo, the New York Times, Men’s Health or any of the popular news outlets that attract our attention these days. 

     Simply stated interval training is an exercise protocol where a short burst of anaerobic exercise is followed by a low inetnsity recovery period.  The reason it is highly touted by trainers and exercisers alike is it’s effectiveness burning calories versus the traditional steady state mode of exercise like walking or light jogging.  Research has proven that higher intensity exercise can burn up to twice the amount of steady state low intensity exercise.

  • 30 minutes of walking at 3.8 MPH will burn 244 calories.  40% of which are fat calories for a total of 96 fat calories expended.
  • 30 minutes of running at 6.5 MPH (which is considered anaerobic for some fitness levels, not for others)  will burn 450 calories, 25% of which are fat calories for a total of 108 calories expended. 

     More fat calories expended in the same amount of time makes for an easy choice for the individual who doesn’t have the luxury of showing up at the gym at his or her leisure during the day.  Don’t waste time if you are hard pressed for time when it comes to exercising.  The two interval training methods are as follows. 

  • The work to rest method which entails a set time of high intense work followed by a set time of low intense work.  It is common to start an individual at a 3:1 rest to work ratio and progress them down to a 2;1 and eventually a 1:1 rest to work ratio.  The drawbacks of this method are there is no measurement of what is going on in the body as we exercise.  We simply choose set interval times and progress when the client appears to have become more fit.
  • The heart rate method has proven in recent times to be a more effective interval training method.  Simply strapping a heart rate monitor around your chest and wrist will increase the efficacy of your workouts three fold.  Instead of looking at time we now look at physiology as an indication to determine recovery time. 


     Choose a recovery heart rate.  60% of heart rate reserve is most appropriate for the average gym goer.  Beginners can start at a lower recovery heart rate if necessary to prevent from vomiting after workouts.  Heart rate reserve method is as follows.

220-age = max heart rate

RHR = resting heart rate

% = intensity we want to exercise in this case we are looking for 60% for our recovery heart rate.

MHR -  RHR X % + RHR = Recovery heart rate

EXample.  20 year old with resting heart rate of 60.

220-20 = 200 – 60 x .60 + 60 = 144 recovery heart rate for interval training.

     After an intense bout of exercise a client will proceed to a low intense bout of exercise until heart rate comes down to 144.  If the client is well conditioned then it is likely that the recovery time for the first couple intervals will be shorter than that or the proceeding intervals.  With the tried and true rest to work method where a set time is used for all intervals, the first 2-3 intervals could be rendered useless due to too much recovery time between work and recovery periods.  If he/he is prescribed to rest 3 minutes and he/she is ready to go prior to 3 minutes recovery then the training stimulus is diminished.  Intervals might look something like the following with the heart rate method.

  • Interval 1:  Work 60 sec rest 45 sec
  • Interval 2:  Work 60 sec rest 60 sec
  • Interval 3 :  Work 60 sec rest 75 sec
  • Interval 4:  Work 60 sec rest 90 sec

     Leading to a more effective, challenging workout.  In turn more fat loss.  Why wait an additional 60-90 seconds in the first couple intervals if you are ready to go prior to that time elapsing?  So for the working professional with a family at home who is trying to squeeze in workouts when he/she can good news is there are ways to make your time n the gym more effective.  Isn’t that we are all after?



Bookmark and Share


     Right, but it recruits type 1 muscle fibers before it recruits type 2 fibers.  The degree of intensity of the exercise task will dictate at what point the type 2 fibers are recruited.  Initially no matter how heavy a resistance is the type 1 fibers are called upon.  Then type 2a, then type 2 if the resistance is very heavy.  Type 1 fibers are used when intensity is low and duration is longer.  Over 3-5 minutes.  Type 2 fibers are recruited when intensity is high and duration is shorter, under 3 minutes.  Intensity of exercise task is more important than volume of work when the goal is body composition changes, it’s also important if the goal is increased strength.  Type 1 (slow twitch) fibers are characterized by a darker red color when seen in biopsies or cadavers due to an increase in myoglobin, a protein expressed in higher oxidative cells  (see below). While type 2a are pinkish color and type 2 (fast twitch) are white.  Just how much ” faster” are fast twitch muscle fibers at contracting than slow twitch?



  • Slow twitch = 100-110 milliseconds
  • Fast twitch = 10-50 milliseconds

The difference between contractile response is 60-90 milliseconds, not seconds, milliseconds.  Experts argue that the difference is insignificant when it comes to training for athletic events, and when training for body composition changes.  I’ve overheard many a trainer say that ” training your type 2 fibers is what we want to do to lose body fat, or to get faster as an athlete.”  The trainer will then go on to prescribe ballistic exercises such as Olympic style lifts.  Ballistic movements that require the exerciser to move as fast as possible with either a barbell or dumb bell in hand(s).  The theory behind the prescription is that these ballistic movements will result in a faster muscular contractile response among type 2 fibers due to increased response of the nerve innervating the muscle fibers.  Resulting in a leaner, stronger more powerful body.  The following are physiological factors that determine fiber contractile speed and whether or ballistic training can increase their potential.

  • Degree of myosin ATPASE- An enzyme located in muscle cell that causes a reaction and is the driving force behind muscle contraction.
  • Degree of sarcoplasmic reticulum development- The special smooth muscle structure that releases calcium during contraction and absorbs it back during relaxation.
  • Degree of affinity troponin has for clacium-  An important step in muscle contraction is the bonding of clacium to troponin, troponin regulates actin amd myosin interactions.
  • Diameter size of the nerve innervating the fiber – The larger the nerve/motor unit the greater the response.

 If the physiological adaptations aren’t enhanced by ballistic training, which includes Olympic style lifting, kipping pull-ups, fast ballistic squats and other movements, will it help in increasing the power capacity of an athlete or decreasing the body fat of a client who desires to do just that?  With the increased risk associated with ballistic movements it begs to question the rationale for prescribing such exercises.  When momentum is increased in a movement the is less tension on muscle and more shearing force on joints. 

Risk for injury drastically increases


Strength benefit and joint stress increases

Bookmark and Share


     I have to share with you guys if you haven’t come across it yet a post by Eric Cressey.  Eric Cressey is a leader in the strength and conditioning industry.  And he is a resident of Massachusetts which is great for all of us.  He recently posted about why president Barack Obama’s throwing motion is what it is (Like a girl’s)  in a great explanation of how the shoulder develops and/or under-develops over time. 

   Cressey explains that we are born with a certain amount potential for being able to externally rotate the shoulder.  This is due to something called humeral retroversion, the bony positioning that allows for external rotation.  We lose retroversion and gain anteversion, this happens between the ages of 8 and 13 primarily but can start a little earlier and go past the age of 13 also.  This is a result of bones maturing quickly and becoming more resistant to injury.  Cressey points out that this age range is also when there is a higher prevalence of ACL injuries.  Due to the bones no longer being the path of least resistance, and ligaments and tendons now taking that role. 

     What was found in Cressey’s research is that kids who played baseball or other overhead sports had LESS of the anteversion.  The throwing motion seems to preserve the bony positioning allowing for great external rotation.  This better bony position, external rotation leads to an individual being able to lift his arm to a greater degree in the ” lay back position ” when cocking the arm to throw a ball.


     If you look at the Obama video again you see he barely gets his arm up, over and back to get any velocity on his ball.  He didn’t get much of anything on it actually.  Cressey then goes on to compare Obama’s throw with three other celebrity/famous/infamous pitchers.  See videos below.  Note:  Obama’s pitch closely resembles that of the first video below.  Ha, ha.

Video #2

Video # 3



Bookmark and Share


     The following post is from Su Rollins who writes for a site called  Su asked if I could post her article in effort to reach more people and educate them on how exercise can be a safe effective method of managing type II diabetes.  I have a lot of experience with clients who have type II diabetes.  I went through a 2-day intensive training program at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Ma. when I was employed at the Dedham Health and Athletic Complex in Dedham, Ma.  So if you are someone with type II diabetes and aren’t sure about how you can exercise, please read the following article from Su Rollins and contact me as I am qualified to assist.

What everyone ought to know about preventing diabetes through fitness.

What effect does exercise have on blood glucose levels?

Did you know that you can easily manage you blood glucose levels by engaging in exercise?     Type II diabetes is a disorder in the way your body turns food into energy.  The problem centers around a substance called insulin and how your body produces and uses it.  Insulin helps turn the food you eat into energy.  Type II diabetics produce low levels of insulin and their bodies’ don’t use insulin properly.  When we exercise our body uses fuel.  The fuel our body uses is in three forms.  Blood glucose, muscle glycogen and fats.  Some bodies are more efficient at metabolizing fats, while others are more efficient at metabolizing glucose.  This is why people come in so many different shapes and sizes.  A type II diabetic doesn’t metabolize glucose (storage form of carbohydrates) efficiently due to it’s inability to utilize insulin effectively.  Instead of being broken down and moved into the liver for future use the glucose stays in the bloodstream a lot longer in type II diabetic patients.  Think of a back log of glucose in the bloodstream.  And a high level of blood glucose above 110 can cause health issues.

Why is exercise important for people with type II diabetes?

Ingestion of carbohydrates increases serum glucose.  Sometimes too high for those with type II diabetes.  Exercise aids in managing blood sugar at a non life threatening level.  Muscles need energy to function.  Exercising muscles draw upon blood glucose for energy.  Exercise also improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin.  Insulin’s role in the body is to take ingested energy(carbohydrates) and bring it to the working muscles if they are working.  If not then the glucose is taken to the liver for storage for future use.  If someone ingests a large amount of carbohydrates; then after liver storage the excess glucose is stored as body fat.  A type II diabetic’s body doesn’t cooperate as well with insulin.  Leaving more glucose in the bloodstream.  Exercise enhances that cooperation between blood glucose and insulin.

What type of exercise should a type II diabetic do?  How much and how often?  

Cardiovascular exercise is the preferred type of exercise to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose.  Strength training can certainly be added as a supplement to the program.  Strength training increases lean muscle mass which boosts metabolism and burns body fat.  Strength training has more of an after effect.   Cardiovascular training is more instantaneous.  Each person should start slow and not overdo it the beginning.  Pre and post blood glucose tests should be done.  Type II diabetics should strive to build up to a minimum 30 and maximum of 60 minutes of cardiovascular training three times per week.  Again blood glucose levels should be closely monitored during the starting phases and whenever the workload is increased to ensure healthy levels.

When should patients be discouraged form exercising?

General guideline for both types. DO NOT exercise when blood sugar level reads over 240 mg/dl.  Test for ketones if this is the case.  If no ketones found the proceed to using the following guidelines.

Type 1 diabetics should not exercise if pre exercise blood sugar levels are at 300 mg/dl or over.

Type II should exercise if there levels are over 400 mg/dl.

Bookmark and Share


A properly functioning gastrointestinal system is critical for overall health and well-being.  In fact, we should start treating our gut with care if we are interested in weight loss.

How do you know if you have a dysfunctional digestive system?  Any of the following symptoms can indicate gastrointestinal issues:

•    gas
•    bloating
•    burping after meals
•    inadequate digestion (feeling like you have a brick in your stomach after you eat)
•    undigested food in your stools
•    foul smelling stools
•    constipation
•    diarrhea
•    burning in the stomach
•    bad breath
•    nausea

Additionally, hormonal imbalances, migraines, allergies, eczema, and autoimmune disease all have links to the gastrointestinal system.

A dysfunctional gastrointestinal system can virtually ruin your chances of weight loss. From a compromised immune system, to a stress hormone imbalances, to an altered sex hormones, to blood sugar irregularities — many of these problems start in the gut.

One of the best ways to stop a vicious GI-related cycle is to control inflammation and identify food sensitivities. A strict elimination diet for a period of 3-6 weeks has helped countless people alleviate their gastrointestinal issues.  Talk with your doctor for more information.




Bookmark and Share


4-reasons-adrenalsThe adrenal glands are your body’s primary defense for managing stress.

When the adrenal glands are activated, they produce a number of hormones that help your body deal with both acute and chronic stressors.  One such hormone is cortisol.

Cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar levels so your brain, muscles and organs have enough fuel to get you through a stressful situation.  Problems occur when stress becomes chronic.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels, which then elevate insulin levels.  This, among other things, will stop you from burning fat no matter what exercise or diet program you follow.

There are many chronic stressors in today’s society including mental/emotional stress, food sensitivities, blood sugar imbalances, infections (i.e. parasitic, bacterial), excessive exercise… basically anything that is a perceived stress on the body.

The most effective way of assessing adrenal gland function is the Adrenal Salivary Test. This test uses four salivary samples throughout the day and assesses levels of salivary cortisol and DHEA.  Ask your doctor about where to go to get this test taken.


Bookmark and Share


The cells of your body run primarily on two things: oxygen and glucose.  If either one of these is deficient in any way, hundreds of trillions of cells in your body will not work correctly.




The cells of your body produce something called ATP or, adenosine triphosphate.  ATP is the basic energy source for your body and allows each cell of your body to do what it does.  Without ATP, nothing works correctly.  In fact reduced ATP production is one of the hallmarks of the aging process.

While there are many nutrients that help with the production of ATP, one of the most fundamental components is oxygen.  If your cells are not receiving adequate amounts of oxygen, nothing in your body will work correctly… including weight loss.

In conventional medicine, a decrease in the ability to deliver oxygen to cells is often called anemia, a condition referring to a quantitative and/or qualitative deficiency in red blood cells’ ability to deliver oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body.

While a full discussion on anemia and your body’s inability to deliver oxygen to cells is too extensive to cover here, you can start by getting your doctor to run standard blood work, which should include RBC, hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, iron, ferritin and transferrin.  Check back for the remaining three fat loss barriers.  One or more might be why you haven’t seen what you want to see.


Bookmark and Share