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Power From Within

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to the news on the radio and it mentioned a study that confirmed something in our brains called insula can give athletes an extra physical edge to excel. I was intrigued!

We have all heard the stories of an athlete being able to perform the unexplainable. Or read accounts of individuals who pushed their body beyond what they thought sprinting-athletewas possible. There is a scientific reason why this happens. The reality is that our bodies are capable of more exertion than we think – it’s not physiological, it’s perception and anticipation.

Recent studies indicate the brain’s insular cortex can help an individual be more efficient physically and give that extra “edge”. The insula is said to anticipate future feelings.  Researchers at the OptiBrain Center and the Naval Health Research Center suggest that athletes can generate a heightened awareness that can accurately predict how the body will feel at the next moment. This allows an individual to activate their muscles to move faster and perform better than typically expected.

The OptiBrain center says this “mindfulness” is a result of the insula serving “as a critical hub that merges high-level cognition with a measure of the body’s state to insure proper functioning of the muscles and bones; those that perform more optimally are the ones who are able to use anticipatory cues to adjust themselves and return to equilibrium.”

The insula helps to calculate how much energy exercise “costs us”. The brain can respond by pushing the body when it needs to and pulling back when necessary. The insula seems to be the key to pushing yourself physically to limits you did not think you could reach.

So next time you are in a workout, try to incorporate a sense of mindfulness…anticipating when you will need to exert yourself to a higher level (for those in our Tabata Bootcamp – you know when it is coming ;-). You might be surprised how much you can push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable.

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Say “Goodbye” To Your 1 Hour Workout

This past weekend we put our bodies through the intense, exhilarating challenge of becoming certified as Tabata Bootcamp™ instructors. The experience was remarkable.  Our instructor, Mindy Mylrea – the creator of the program, had enough energy to fuel a jet plane.  She has been involved with many of the most successful fitness trends in the industry.  She is the creator and lead talent for Gliding discs and a master trainer and part of the pro-development team for Schwinn Cycling, Body Bar, Flirty Girl Fitness and Bosu.  You can read all about her here: http://www.tabatabootcamp.com/about-mindy.php

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“Tabata”, a form of HITT – high intensity interval training, is based on a 1996 study by Professor Izumi Tabata, initially involving Olympic speed skaters. According to his research, study participants who exercised a mere four minutes at extreme intensity, four times a week, improved anaerobic capacity by 28%, and VO2 max and maximal aerobic power by 15%, in as little as six weeks.  This was compared to participants who performed an hour of steady cardiovascular exercise five times a week for six weeks, and only improved their V02 max by 10% with no improvement in anaerobic capacity.

Mindy took the concept of Tabata and created Tabata Bootcamp™, a full 8-week program that transforms bodies dramatically by involving fitness, nutrition and behavioral change. The Tabata workout is built around 4 minutes of high intensity exercises, and this means the hardest kick-your-ass four minutes possible. The structure includes working out at your max for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat for 8 rounds. A typical workout, with warm-up and cool-down, is only 30 minutes….30 minutes!  And it’s a lot of fun. The EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, effects are immense – which means you continue to burn a crazy amount of calories hours after your workout.

We are working on developing our own local 8-week Tabata Bootcamp starting in April, which will offer a personalized website page that tracks your progress, achievements, nutrition and results. The classes will be limited to no more than 10 participants.  More information to follow… If this is something you think you might be interested in, please let us know via email: info@heelstolaces.com.

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The Rise of the Egg

The egg’s fall from grace began over two decades ago and corresponded to the rise in concern over cholesterol levels.  A single large egg contains 185 grams of cholesterol and the American Heart Association only recommends 300 mg of cholesterol per day – so 2 eggs puts you over their recommendation. However, these simple numbers don’t paint the whole picture because studies have shown that the cholesterol you eat, has very little impact on the amount of cholesterol in your blood.  Why?

First:  There are two types of cholesterol: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.  Both are important.  Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and diary products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls.

Unknown

Many scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol, but instead foods high in saturated fats may be to blame. Again – back to eggs.  They contain primarily unsaturated fat.

Second:  Cholesterol happens to be one of the most important nutrients in your body.  It is a fat like substance found in every living cell in the body.  It’s a requirement for growth (in infants and adults). And it’s required for the production of many hormones.

Results: Researchers have looked at the diets of hundreds of thousands of people and they have found that consuming eggs every day is not associated with cholesterol problems or heart disease.  In controlled trials — the best kind of research — people were instructed to eat up to three eggs per day while on a weight loss diet.  These people lost weight, had decreased inflammation and either maintained or improved their blood cholesterol levels.

So the end result is, unless you have diabetes or a rare genetic disorder, eating eggs is not only not bad for you, but good for you.

What’s in an egg.

  • One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein which means it is highly digestible and may provide better satiety (keeping you fuller for longer), which helps weight management.
  • Eggs are a complete protein which means they contain all the essential amino acids
  • Eggs “biological value” — a measurement used to determine how efficiently a protein is used for growth — is 93.7. Milk, fish, beef, and rice respectively have a bio value of 84.5, 76, 74.3, and 64.
  • Good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eggs contain over 11 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Egg yolk is one of a few foods that contain Vitamin D
  • One egg contains between 66 an 84 calories depending on the size
  • Eggs also contain biotin (a B-vitamin), calcium, cephalin and lecithin (both help brain function)
  • Each egg has 5 grams of fat of which about 3 grams are from healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.

Buying Eggs.  As you may have noticed, there are a dizzying number of choices when buying eggs.  Use the chart below to help you understand the differences..

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