IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  July 1, 2003

Social Fitness

The daily rush to shoehorn all that we deem necessary into a single day can leave us mentally and physically exhausted. It's easy to overlook the simple courtesies to other people who also are in their own daily crunch. Social responsibilities include everything from table manners to polite communication to the avoidance of sexual harassment. As a trainer it is particular important to be aware of your social responsibilities.

By definition, manners are defined as that behavior which does not make another uncomfortable. This would include licking your plate after a gratifying meal to remarks about another's personal habits or behavior. In this litigious societal age, we should be ever more conscious of our manners to avoid exposing ourselves to a libelous situation. It is the lubricant on the wheels of society.

You don't have to read a book on manners to be effective practitioner. Common sense, as in all things, should guide you through. Try to imagine how you would feel if the situation were reversed. If you are that insensitive and this method won't work for you, then try to imagine how someone close to you would feel should they be the unlucky recipient of bad manners. If that won't work for you, you might consider sensitivity counseling.

As a Personal Trainer, we should have some insight into our clients behavior motivations, otherwise we might as well hand them a training manual and let them train themselves. We need to know what motivates and more importantly what is counter motivational. You would be surprised at how catching behaviors are. Exhibit the behavior that you would expect of other people towards yourself.

The Great Outdoors

Long hikes are great for getting lean and toning muscle. To protect yourself against the local fauna, requires some planning. It certainly depends on what part of the world you are hiking in.

Tick bites are more than a nuisance. Once bitten, get a blood test for Lyme disease within 6 months. It takes that long for the disease to manifest itself. The bite doesn't have to develop the traditional bullseye to be Lyme Disease. Better yet, bring the tick into the doctor for examination. They can send it off to the lab for Lyme Disease testing.

For some hiking safety tips see Lake Mead National Forest. Be familiar with the park and the special considerations for the climate that you are going to be hiking in. You can research US parks at the USDA Forest Service

As for the flora, familiarize yourself with the Poison three, Sumac, Ivy and Oak. A good website to help identify these plants is located at Poison Ivy. You can also visit Poison, Ivy, Oak, Sumac

High Fructose

In the past 20 years, foods containing sugar have been slowly and quietly replaced by High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The main reason is cost. Many low fat products have had their fat partially replaced by other ingredients including HFCS. Low fat peanut butter, for example, displaces peanut oil with HFCS.

HFCS is cheaper and sweeter than sucrose or regular sugar. Hence, a big incentive for manufacturers to use as a replacement. According to the USDA, in the 1960's, added sweeteners were primarily sucrose and no HFCS. Today, we are now consuming an average of 62 pounds of HFCS per person yearly. In 2002, according to the Corn Refiners Association, corn sweeteners supplied more than 56 percent of the U.S. nutritive sweetener market.

In searching for a single cause for the huge increase in overweight Americans, the smoking gun, according to new research, appears to be High Fructose Corn Syrup. Unlike sugar, HFCS doesn't trigger an insulin response. In addition, it does not trigger the production of the hormone Leptin, which is an appetite suppression hormone and thereby essential to the control of fat storage. Leptin is secreted by fat cells into the blood stream to signal a satiety response. Leptin stimulates an appetite regulating region of the hypothalmus known as the arcuate nucleus. Without this hormone, the cells continue to store fat. Although the studies are continuing, it appears that the body responds to HFCS more like a fat than a sugar, which can significantly contribute to weight gain particularly in the abdomen.

Since fructose does not trigger an insulin response, it is not broken down like glucose. Instead, it appears that it is metabolized in the liver where is it converted more efficiently than glucose into lipids, the chemical building blocks of trigylcerides. Elevated levels of trigylcerides have been linked to heart disease. A University of Minnesota study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) in 2000 found that in men, but not in women, fructose produced a significantly higher trigylceride blood level than did glucose.

The researchers, led by J.P Bantle, concluded that "diets high in added fructose may be undesirable, particularly for men." See abstract at Effects of dietary fructose on plasma lipids in healthy subjects Also see an abstract at Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. Another USDA study published in 2000 in the JACN, suggests that fructose may alter the magnesium balance in the body, thereby leading to accelerated bone loss.

In addition, the Glycemic Index of foods is measured by the blood sugar response after ingestion. Since fructose does not raise blood sugar levels nor insulin levels, foods listed as low in Glycemic value may also be high in HFCS.

Read the ingredients of foods and drinks. Ingredients are listed in the order of decreasing content. Therefore, if it is listed first, it is the most significant content by weight.

Q & A

Q: I have been teaching body conditioning classes at a gym nearby for almost a year, and I found both the ABC's Fitness booklet and test very informative and educational. I am also a registered nurse and this was a fantastic review of terminology. Thank You! Diane

A: Thank you very much for your comments.


Q: I am in the US Army, and I have become over weight. I am trying to up my cardio, but I have bad knees and have been told no PT (physical training). What can i do to up my cardio without doing anything to further injure my knees? I do walk 2.5 miles a day at a 30 min pace.

A: You can weight train. Increase upper body muscle mass. For each pound of muscle that you put on will raise your basal metabolic rate by 50 calories a day. This will naturally burn body fat all the time. So if you put on 5 pounds of muscle that increases your daily calorie burn rate by 250 calories each day. Also cut down on the carbs. Instead of eating 60% carbs and 30% protein, try to switch it and eat 50% protein and 30 % carbs (still 10% fats). Also increase your intake of water to offset the increase in protein. Water is required to metabolize fat.


Q: For the past three years I have been unable to drink any amount of alcohol due to an increased heart rate usually exactly 6 hours after consumption. The increased rate lasts for several hours and has been as high as 150. I have never consumed large quantities of alcohol; in fact, one or two drinks would always be my limit. I have asked several doctors about this and no one can give me an answer. Thanks.

A: Alcohol goes into the bloodstream rapidly so it's probably has less to do with the alcohol than the other ingredients. Could be that you are allergic to something in that particular wine or cocktail. One, try switching to something else. The time frame is about how long it would take to begin feeling the effects of the "hangover", however, slight. The body is adjusting to the withdrawal from the alcohol.

Considering that alcohol is 7 calories per gram, contains sulfites, mold and other ingredients, your body may be telling you something important. Wine stimulates the appetite and slows down the metabolism. A six-ounce glass of wine contains as much calories as half a can of cola. In some circles, twenty-ounce wine glasses are the norm.

Sulfite-free wines do not exist. However, there are wines low in sulfites or free of added sulfites. Sulfites are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. Some wine makers add additional sulfites to avoid spoilage by retarding mold and bacteria growth. There are many studies showing the beneficial effects of alcohol. As a scientist, I ask who funded the study? They once told us that nicotine was beneficial to our health. I wonder who funded those studies? If you are one of those people who are sensitive to sulfites and need to cleanse the pallet, try a glass of water with a slice of lemon.