Friday, January 30, 2015

"Walk This Way!"

"Talk this waaay"... - by Run DMC and Aerosmith. Are some of the most memorable and magical  music videos in my 1980's MTV watching era. Speaking as a proud product of Generation X,,, it was somthing about the baseline and those kick-ass adidas shoes that made it so cool to me, and then there was Steven Tyler. Check out the video here to see what I mean:

Well, today I found another something special that I that resinates really well with me..  or at least my feet.

Lechal are sleek, futuristic smart shoes that can help people find their way. Pronounced lay-chull or "take me along" or in Hindi, is the world's first interactive haptic footwear. The wireless-enabled shoes or insoles have sensors in the footbed that enable them to send and receive Bluetooth signals, providing a link to Google Maps. The designers say this enables travelers, runners, adventurous, or visually impaired to keep on their intended path through vibrations in the left or right shoe which indicate a desired path. In addition, these gems supply online information about caloric expenditure and distance traveled, calories burned, or keep you on pace by buzzing your feet if you start slack off the ol' pitter patter.

Lechal insoles can be used a regular insole and help in your daily activities.

I want some. And I can't dancing in my chair.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fight age related weight gain

5 steps by Dr. Jennifer Pearlmann

As we age, the extra pounds aren’t just about calories. It becomes a tidal wave of risk factors for obesity and metabolic problems and cardiovascular disease that can wreak havoc on our physiology and contribute to the aging phenomenon.
Our evolving understanding of risk factors are shedding light on the question of why calorie-restricted diets, regardless of regimen, don’t work, or may seem to work only temporarily but are inevitably followed by rebound weight gain. This vicious cycle of weight loss and gain is hazardous to our health. Recent research suggests that yo-yo dieting redistributes toxins from fat tissue exposing the brain to their harmful effects.
So if calorie counting doesn’t work, what can we do about age-related weight gain? The first step is redefining the problem and moving away from a quantitative approach and toward a qualitative framework. We encourage focusing on food quality (not calories) and body composition (not simply pounds on the scale). There are no cookie-cutter solutions, but by understanding an individual’s metabolic, inflammatory, hormonal and psychological status along with their habits and lifestyle a comprehensive plan may be born.
Preventing age-related weight gain requires an individualized, multifaceted approach as diets alone are doomed to fail. The following five steps target the metabolic, hormonal, psychological, environmental and lifestyle factors contributing to weight gain.
1) Reset insulin sensitivity
By the time we’re 50, our ability to effectively metabolize dietary carbohydrates has plummeted to about 50 per cent of our level as teenagers. We acquire a varying degree of insulin resistance that makes us more prone to elevated insulin levels even in the setting of normal blood sugar. So while we are not yet diabetic, an unfavourable metabolic cascade is at play with faulty insulin signaling and inflammation. As a result, we become adept at converting the carbs we eat to deep stores of body fat, especially in the belly. Cutting back on grains and highly processed food along with increasing aerobic exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and stop the mid-waist drift.
2) Restore hormone balance
Declining estrogen and progesterone in women and testosterone in men produces changes in body composition with redistribution and accumulation of deep fat stores coupled with a loss of lean body tissues such as bone and muscle. The role of hormone therapy is well established for maintenance of lean body mass while its role in preventing weight gain is less clear. The decision to initiate hormone therapy must be a highly individualized one between a patient and their qualified physician that considers the total risk-reward profile. While hormone therapy may not be right for all, an easily accessible first step is to reduce harmful environmental exposures. Common household products like skin care and cleaning agents may contain hormone-disrupting or estrogenic chemicals known as “xenoestrogens” that can interfere with hormone balance and increase risk of breast cancer. 
For this reason, companies like Arbonne International produce the highest quality skincare products which avoid harmful chemicals which interfere with hormone balance. click here to see Arbonne's flipbook catalogue and read about their commitment to creating the most beneficial cometic and wellness products available today. Contact to find out how to deliver them to your door.
3) Repair the gut
Overgrowth of unfavourable gut bacteria can adversely affect human health and metabolism. New science has shown that the typical Western diet fosters gut bacteria that are more efficient at harvesting energy from food. These gut bugs are much better able to convert the food we eat into calories – literally delivering an even faster version of fast food to our cells with the extra energy being stored as fat. To keep the microbiome thriving, a plant-based, high-fibre diet is preferred as it increases transit time and supports favourable flora. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut may have an edge on a store-bought probiotic pill as these traditional “germy” foods contain a naturally derived symbiotic blend of both the necessary pre-biotic substances and probiotic organisms. So at once we can live clean and eat dirty to better balance the gut.
To flip and learn about Arbonne Nutritionals click here
4) Rethink calories
Be mindful of portion size but think mostly in terms of quality, not calories. An energy-equivalent portion of kale and processed fast foods are not equivalent in any other way, as the cruciferous kale is akin to a warehouse of nutrition with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic health benefits. Get more nutritional punch with each bite by loading up on cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli instead of starchy ones like potatoes and avoiding processed foods that often have hidden calories.
5) Reboost brain controls
Sleeplessness and stress are both strongly associated with weight gain and poor dietary choices. Chronic stress produces a state of elevated cortisol, which in turn can lead to insulin resistance. Psychological stress has been shown to alter levels of the satiety hormone, leptin, leading to overconsumption of comfort foods that are high in fat and sugar. Mindfulness-based interventions and stress-management techniques such as tai chi, stretching, yoga, massage, deep breathing, and exercise have been proven to be effective in keeping stress at bay and improving sleep.
Dr. Jennifer Pearlman is a physician focused on women’s health and wellness and a staff physician at the Menopause Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and medical director of PearlMDRejuvenation, a women’s health and wellness facility. 

Article retrieved from: 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Obesogens - More than a Calorie

Maybe NOT!

Have you ever heard that obesity results from too many calories in vs. the number of calories out? The simple solution for being overweight is then to balance the energy equation by eating less and exercising more... right? Well, maybe this is not the case for everyone; what if a calorie in, is more than a calorie out? Perhaps there is an assortment of factors which provide more pathways which result in a growing number of individuals to retain more calories than they expend. 

Our guest writer Joe Kugler will present below some recent evidence that many chemicals present in our everyday life could be responsible for a significant rise in obesity. Additionally, that the institute for health metrics at the University of Washingtion reported in May 2014 that 29% of the world's population (2.1billion people) were either overweight or obese. What's alarming about that statistic is that the obese segment of the population in adults has increased by 27.5% since 1980. And interestingly, the team at the Health Institute in Washington observed substantial increases in BMI and abdominal obesity over the years, however they did not find any significant increases in caloric consumption.... "say what?" 

So, besides a world wide reduction in exercise and physical activity since 1980, Joe Kugler, a student of Kinesiology in Vancouver BC, explores another theory to challenge the typical energy budget as depicted in the diagram above. 

Con't from pg 7 of his atricle Kugler explains:  

In 2006, Dr. Bruce Blumberg, who was studying a class of compounds call Organotins, coined the term Obesogens for a group of chemicals  that seem to promote obesity by increasing the number of fat cells (and fat storage into existing fat cells), changing the amount of calories burned at rest, altering energy balance to favor storage of calories, and altering the mechanisms through which the body regulates appetite and satiety (Janesick 2012). Although the majority of studies on Obesogens have been animal studies, it seems likely that these chemicals will be found to have similar effects on humans ­- especially on prenatal fetuses, infants, children, and adolescents (Holtcamp 2012). Some Obesogens have been hypothesized to even directly affect adults, with epidemiologic studies linking levels of chemicals in human blood with obesity (Tang 2011) and studies showing that certain pharmaceuticals activate PPARγ receptors (Lustig 2010) causing weight gain in patients taking them.

Obesogens are pervasive in our environment and humans are not the only organisms being exposed. Our pets and animals that share our immediate ecosystem are exposed to many of these Obesogens as well. While diet and lack of exercise continue to be seen as the root cause of the energy balance equation breaking down and of the resultant human obesity epidemic; this cannot explain the results of a recent study, which showed that eight species of animals, including pets, laboratory animals, and feral rats living in proximity to humans, have become obese in parallel with the human obesity epidemic (Klimentidis et al. 2011). The likelihood of this being a chance occurrence has been estimated at about 1 in 10 million (Klimentidis et al. 2011).

Dr. Blumberg discovered that undifferentiated stem cells exposed to a particular Organotin called tributyltin or TBT showed a preference to become fat cells instead of bone or cartilage cells. And when exposed to low doses of TBT, the animals he was studying became fatter.

*** What this means is that mirco doses of obesogens in our diets and activities of daily living are causing a cascade of chemical reactions in our bodies and can potentially make us retain more fat than we consume. ***

So where are Obesogens?

Organotins, including TBT, have many applications including use as stabilisers in PVC, catalysts in chemical reactions, glass coatings, agricultural pesticides, biocides in marine antifoulant paints and wood treatments and preservatives (Batt, 2006) and in anti­odour/anti­fungal treatments for textiles and textile polymers (Greenpeace, 2003b, Peters, 2006). Because of this wide spread use, TBT eventually ends up in our everyday lives. It has been found in soil, household dust, and carpets (Kannan 2010). It is present in contaminated seafood and it has a half life of 87 ∓ 17 years in deep sediments found in shipping ports and harbours (Cardwell 1999). Although now banned, TBT continues to be found in marine environments and most likely will continue to be present for decades. (Cardwell 1999). It has been found in samples of human blood, liver and milk samples. (Kannan 1999) (Mino 2008)(Nielsen 2002).

Since the initial discovery that TBT exposure had an impact on weight, approximately 15­-20 other chemicals have been found to have the same effects including bisphenol A (Summ 2009), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (Hines 2009) , and even fructose has been implicated (Goran 2013). These three chemicals are pervasive in modern society. Bisphenol A is found in many plastic products especially those with recycle code 7 and it was banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012, however it continues to be allowed in other drinking containers. PFOA is a surfactant used for reduction of friction, and it is also used in nonstick cookware, Gore­Tex™ waterproof clothing, Scotchgard™ stain repellent on carpeting, mattresses, and microwavable food items (Holtcamp 2012). Fructose is omnipresent in the food supply as High Fructose Corn Syrup. 

The continued reliance on “eat less, exercise more” as the only response to the global obesity epidemic seems to be more than a bit naive given the growing body of evidence pointing to the role of Obesogens as endocrine disruptors interfering with the bodies processing of calories, feelings of fullness, and the basic functioning of stem cell differentiation. Certainly, the ease of access to calorie dense foods and lack of physical activity are important to the development of the obesity epidemic, but more seems to be going on. Even people in the lower end of the BMI curve, for whom the energy balance equation should be working, are getting heavier in tandem with those in the overweight and obese portions of the curve (Lustig 2006). So, whatever is happening appears to be affecting everyone not just those who are overweight or obese.

Although the obesity epidemic may be being helped along by the obesogens, government and society at large must do more to promote physical activity and ensure that healthy food choices are affordable and readily available to all segments of the population. And in return, individuals must avail themselves of these resources. In the meantime, take Dr Blumberg’s advice and limit your exposure to these obesogens by eating organic foods, eliminate or at least reduce the use of plastic to store and serve food and beverages, and avoid processed foods (Blumberg 2012).

-  Thanks Joe Kugler BSc.

Cameron Hunt Regsitered Kinesiologist

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Aerobic Performance Enhancer

About 35 times per week people come to see me to find out ways to get the most out of their fitness training. Without question, athletic results are a mixture of hard work, consistency, motivation, good technique, proper rest, good nutrition, some good luck in terms of natural ability, as well as the amount of time one can dedicate to training. In light of this, here an interesting story about a modern performance enhancer that seems to work, and according to some is a safe and reliable way to improve athletic performance.

Xenon (Xe) is an inert gas which was first discovered in England 1898. On the periodic table it is found in line with the noble gasses such as helium, neon, argon, and has little tendecny to reacact with other chemicals. It was first used industrially in the 1930s by an American engineer who used Xenon gas for strobe light technology for photography, and more recently in high priced automoble headlights. In 1939 American physician who was investigating the causes of "drunkenness" in deep-sea divers discovered that Xenon inhalation affected divers to perceive a change in depth. This also directly led to a discovery that xenon gas could be used as an anesthetic for surgical procedures.

In modern application, Xenon gas has been used in a safely in medicine to treat lack of oxygen, help protect body tissues from trauma, deal with cold temperatures, and stimulate a body to naturally secrete a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). Most notably, xenon gas has been used as a treatment for babies when deprived of oxygen at birth, instead of injecting synthetic EPO to stimulate red blood cell production, the administeration of xenon gas has saved many lives in it's application.

You might have heard of EPO, which has become a buzz word in athletics and made notorious for its scandals in the international cycling communities and Olympic Games. Its use when injected into the body is known to increase blood cell production in the months before the sporting events. It improves the heart and lungs capacity to bring oxygen to working muscles, and therefore increases aerobic performance, and warding off fatigue in hard working athletes. However, its use in competition is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) due to the health concerns of creating too much red blood cells, or in laymen’s terms EPO used as a performance enhancer can make the blood too thick to pump through the heart, and sometimes can result in serious medical emergencies such as heart attacks.

However, Russian sport authorities have argued (and successfully so far) that xenon shouldn't be regarded appreciably different than the widely accepted practice of placing athletes in low-oxygen chambers to stimulate the production of red cells. Just as the deep water divers in 1939 sensed a change in depth, today’s athletes can get the same high altitude training affect without having to relocate to places like Nepal, Colorado or Kenya. And additionally as high altitude training effects wear off within a few hours, conversely xenon gases effects are reported to last for several days.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has laid out guidelines for its administration, recommending a dose of 5% oxygen and 50% xenon as a way to increase cardiopulmonary capacity and prevent muscle fatigue, but also suggests that it can be a curative for pre-competition anxiety, sleep disorders and to aid in recovery after an event. On its website, Atom-Med Centre, the Russian company that produces xenon, claims it has been constantly working with sports federations of Russia in the preparations and participation of athletes in team competitions at an international level since the summer of 2003. In my opinion, it points to some of Russia’s success in the Socci winter games of 2014. 

The final word on Xenon as a performance enhancer will ultimately will come from WADA, who is in the process of formally reviewing it. Ben Nichols, WADA’s senior manager of media relations and communications, has mentioned it was on WADA’s radar and will likely added to the prohibited list on September 1st 2014. So, in closing I'm not sure that I'll be seeking to huff Xenon anytime soon, as well as I'm unaware of where you could find any commertially sold in Canada, but if you're looking for the most recent edge on performace enhancement Xenon is your answer. However, untill there is a study on the longterm after effects of it's use, I think I'll just have to resort to training harder, and maybe take a little more time to catch my breath.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Corporate Fitness 2014

For the month of April, myself and my partners Robin Russell, and the Bentall Centre Athletic Club provide a 30 day fitness challenge  for a large Vancouver corporation of 280 staff to help create an employee culture of fitness, health, and wellness.

To kick off the month, we provide in-office health appraisals to establish a baseline of physical fitness and increase awareness of peoples current state of well being. Following that, we create a calendar of daily fitness events and invite the staff and their friends and families to participate and experience great ways to get fit and healthy. At the end of the month we ask the participants submit a fitness score card to reports back the participation in their entire months physical activity.  We reward the people who participated the most, as well as provide measurable feedback to the companies who have hired us to promote employee wellness.

Now I'd call that WIN - WIN - WIN situation. Here's some pictures from April 2014 fitness month events. Please email if you're interested in securing a wellness program for your company. CH

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Training Fitness Tips

I’ve started to see an increase in the attendance in the athletic centres that I coach in. With spring now in full swing, people are making preparations in anticipation of a fitness filled spring and summer. If you hadn't been active through the winter, I think that it’s important that you progressively work your way into a new routine… opposed to going at 110% at the start of the season, getting injured, or even worse: getting burned out before you get into a regular groove. 

Keeping the gradual approach in mind, here’s some other spring training tips… I looked around on the net to see what the some of the other coaches were saying, and I kept finding the same old fitness tips (cut and paste) – so hopefully you will find these thoughts fresh to help put some ‘spring’ in your early season training.

1) Recovery: Many underestimate how tiring a new program can be. It will get easier. Trust me. But to get more out of your training, make sure you allow yourself to get the best recovery possible to be ready for your next session. 
  • Rest – Deep Sleep, and preferably 7 – 9 hours of interrupted zzz’s per night.
  • Stretch - all large muscle groups – at least 15mins per day (or more). Or participate in Yoga, or seek a professional practitioner for myofascial assisted stretch.
  • Meditate – for 20 mins at least once per week. Visualize your passions and focus carefully on actualizing your athletic achievements. Be detail oriented in your meditation; try to think of every facet from tying your laces, putting on your helmet, to the details of your performance including every smell, sound, and action. 
  • Hydrate – Drink water. Plain and simple. The right amount of hydration is different for everyone; however the most scientific measure that I’m aware of is 1ml for every calorie of your BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate). For instance a typical BMR for a 65kg woman is about 1350 cal/day. That person would therefore aim to drink 1.3L of fluids to keep up their hydration for the day.
  • Refuel – there is a 20 minute window after training for your body to best absorb nutrients. Try to eat a well-balanced meal as soon after training as possible.

2) Protect your Skin: the sun is coming, and its rays can be harmful to you if you plan to spend extended periods outdoors. Your skin is largest organ on your body and protecting is very important, and by putting chemicals and harmful substances on your body, you can be quite counterproductive. To find out about the world’s best skin care for sun screen, children’s sun screen, cosmetics, hair care, nutritionals and anti-aging products that are Pure, Safe and Beneficial try Arbonne. click Arbonne is also 100% vegan, botanical, no animal testing, and gluten free.

3) Dress for success: yes seriously! “Enclothed Cognition” is a theory that established that participants who dressed the part performed better and had more attention to detail when completing tasks according to the Journal of Experimental Psychology. What this means is that we perform better on tasks depending on our own impression of the clothes we are wearing at the time. So if you feel better, or feel like you are looking more athletic in your fitness attire, you will be more motivated to work towards your goal.  It’s a great excuse to purchase those new sneakers, Lululemon outfit, or nike track suit you’ve been coveting in order to get your spring training in gear. ( ha,ha pun intended) 

Happy Trails ~ CH

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trendy Exercise in 2014

Despite a surge in fitness club memberships and home fitness equipment sales, the American Collage of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reports that 75 percent of people aren’t active enough to sustain good health in the long term. And, that the high and disappointing percentage hasn't  changed much in the last 10 years. Half of the people who launch an exercise program abandon it within 3 to 6 months. However, those who create realistic systems, monitor their progress, and who are supported by friends, family, fitness pro’s, and their community are more likely to succeed. The BIG message here, is that even a LITTLE daily exercise helps to thwart chronic diseases.

However, in 2014, I’m not going to hype the cliché of the New Year’s resolution.  Yawn…. instead read this awesome article and apply it to your fitness system. Makes sense to me. 

             Everyone should “be forced to slow down and make consistent, methodical progress rather than chasing sexy goals for a few weeks and then flaming out. Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.” - James Clear

If you need help designing or implementing your fitness system, don’t hesitate to contact the Bentall Centre Athletic Club in downtown Vancouver, or at the BodyStorm Gym in Squamish BC. We are a community of fitness professionals who can help you monitor your progress and give you the support you need to succeed.

Here is what Dr. Walter Thompson of the ACSM and Georgia State University reports are the fitness trends for 2014. The trends were based of the responses of 3815 fitness professionals among 37 countries.  Please see the list below. Interestingly, zumba, pilates, spin, stability, and balance exercises were among some of the top items omitted from last years list. 
Fitness Fads or Fitness Trends … only time will tell….