Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

October 2017

Are you really in shape?

Many of you jog or bike or go to the gym a couple times per week in pursuit of fitness. But are you actually in shape? How can you tell if you are truly fit inside and out? Just because a person can run 5 miles or bench press 300 pounds does not mean they are fit and healthy.

By true fitness, I mean full physical functional ability (no movement or strength limitations) and being free of diseases of western civilization (ex. T2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc.)

Below are some markers of true fitness, as well as several markers that people think are good indicators of fitness, but really have little or no correlation:

Good indicators of fitness:

-Resting heart rate - 60bpm or lower is a good indication of fitness.
-Resting Blood pressure - 120/80 is a good target range for most of us.
-Blood sugar and insulin control.
-Bone Density - good bone density levels help avoid injury as we age.
-Blood Lipid Ratios - A Triglyceride to HDL ratio (mg/dl) of 2 to 1 or less is ideal. 4 to 1 or more is too high.
-Body composition - are you carrying more than 10 extra pounds of visceral fat around on your belly, waist, thighs, etc.? Is your body fat percentage over 25% if you are female or 15-16% if you are male? If so, you are not in great shape!
-Lean muscle mass and muscle strength - this is critical to health as you age. Can you lift 40-50 lb or more without hurting yourself? Can you sit down on the floor and get back up without using your hands, or at least without using an aid such as a chair? Can you walk/hike including hills for an hour or more without becoming too tired/sore/uncomfortable? If not, you are not in good shape.
-Aerobic capacity - can you recover quickly (in a minute or two) from a sprint or rigorous activity?

The more of these indicators of fitness that you achieve, the more in shape and healthy you will be.

Poor indicators of fitness:

-How far you can jog - you can build up your skill and enough lower body strength to jog many miles at a time, but could still be overfat, muscularly flacid, and have bad heart. Remember Jim Fixx, who wrote the book on running, died while jogging at age 52 of a heart attack.
- How long you can cycle or swim - see above regarding jogging.
- Leanness - simply being thin is not an indicator of fitness. If you do not have adequate strength and lean muscle mass, you are at risk for injury and Osteoporosis.
-Any individual strength metric - many individuals go to the gym and demonstrate strength by bench pressing or dead lifting some large amount of weight. While these people may have some strength, they are often cheating and using terrible form, risking injury, and not addressing their beer gut, high blood pressure, or other real fitness markers.

Amazingly, there is one activity that improves every good indicator of real fitness mentioned above: High Intensity Slow Motion weight training. This is what we offer at Total Results. All of the above markers for fitness can be achieved in just a few minutes each week, with very little risk of injury! This revolutionary activity stimulates the body to make critical changes inside and out, and when combined with a natural, moderate diet and a healthy lifestyle allows you to achieve a lifetime of fitness!

Do not wait any longer to get in shape!

Posted October 29, 2017 by Matthew Romans

Is Jogging worth it?

Now that cooler weather has arrived in the mid-atlantic region, I see more and more neighbors out jogging around the neighborhood. Presumably most are doing this to improve their fitness levels. Unfortunately for them, that is not the case. Let's look at what really happens when you jog at a steady pace for 45 minutes to an hour:

First, you will burn several hundred calories. However, remember when you are looking at the tread mill computer or the fitness tracker on your wrist, they take into account your basal metabolic rate in addition to the activity. So, if the computer says you have burned 300 calories, you have really only burned 220 to 240 calories above your baseline rate. If you are lucky you have not just stimulated your appetite; however, most people do. If you then go home and eat some fruit or a protein bar to counter your hunger, you have completely negated any calories burned during your run!

Second, contrary to popular belief, steady state activity like jogging does nothing for the lungs and very little for the heart. The stimulus is simply not intense enough to improve lung capacity or enhance cardiovascular efficiency. In fact, most "improvements" people make over time are attributed to skill improvement (ex. more efficient stride length, sole strike, arm movement, etc.) The leg muscles can see some initial strengthening but over time this can halt and even reverse (see below).

Third, jogging frequently (meaning about 4 days or more per week) will cause loss of muscle mass. Steady state activity like jogging only uses a small percentage of your muscle fibers. Jogging does not put a high demand on muscles - that is precisely why you can jog for a long time. When you do an activity like jogging excessively, it sends signals to your body to get rid of that excess muscle mass you are not using. Over time, frequent joggers will lose much of their lean muscle mass. For instance, take a look at top marathon runners. Do you see any muscle mass on them? They actually look emaciated. In the long run, this is not good for your health.

Fourth, jogging has a very high injury rate. The high force of the foot hitting the pavement repeatedly over time can cause damage to your feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips, and back! We have had many clients at Total Results over the years who were runners for years until injuries forced them to stop. In fact, several had to have corrective surgeries and even joint replacement.

I understand the allure of jogging. It is very simple - throw on a pair of shoes and head out the front door. Breathe a little harder. Work up a little sweat. Feel better about yourself. You think you are "getting in shape". However, as mentioned, jogging burns relatively few calories, does not improve cardiovscular health or fitness, can tear down muscle mass and therefore lower your metabolism, and has a high rate of injury over time. All this begs the question, is jogging worth it? Unless you are training for a particular athletic competition, the answer is NO!

So what should you do instead of jogging? First, walking is a great activity to do every day. It burns the same calories per mile as jogging, is great for mental health, and is much safer than jogging due to the lower forces involved. Second, you must lift heavy things once in awhile in order to stimulate the skeletal muscles and the cardiovascular system to adapt in improve. This is our specialty at Total Results. Lastly, you must eat modestly and mostly natural foods in order to have a caloric balance and get adequate nutrition. By following these simple steps, you will improve health and fitness levels more than by running but without the risks associated with running.

Posted October 14, 2017 by Matthew Romans

The Dangers of Too Much Sitting

Over the past century, the American economy and work force have shifted dramatically. What was once a largely agrarian economy gave way to a manufacturing economy, and now we are truly in the middle of the information age. With an internet connection, it is possible for Americans to do business with and work for companies scattered all across the globe. The negative result is that we Americans are spending more time sitting than ever before. We spend much of our sitting time watching television, using other electronic devices, driving to and from work, and sitting at a desk. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, this adds up to between 91 and 105 hours per week, or between thirteen and fifteen hours per day. Teenagers and older adults appear to be the biggest culprits.

The health risks from too much sitting are numerous: increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of Type II diabetes, a sluggish central nervous system (which can lead to greater levels of fatigue), and a gradual weakening of postural muscles. Doesn't sound very appealing, does it? Most people probably realize they spend too much time sitting, but they may not know what they can do about it. So what are some proactive strategies you can use to lessen these health risks?

1. Set an alarm to get up and move every 30 to 60 minutes. No one knows for sure what the optimal frequency is, but the thinking is that if you've been sitting for an hour, that's probably too long. Take a walk down the hallway, step outside for some fresh air (weather permitting), or get up to fill your water bottle.

2. Utilize a standing desk. If it worked for Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Hemingway, it can work for you (both men were early proponents of a standing desk). You've probably seen adjustable desks with seated and standing options that are available on the market. I think it's a good investment.

3. Hold walking meetings. Instead of discussing a work topic via phone or email, hold a walking meeting.

4. Strength train regularly. This is the most important thing you can do. One or two Total Results workouts per week will build strength (especially in the postural muscles), improve your cardiovascular conditioning, maintain a safe and functional level of flexibility, and help you to maintain insulin sensitivity (which will lower your risk for Type II diabetes).

It's important to have the mindset of staying active and having purpose. A few simple strategies like the ones mentioned above can make a huge difference in how you look and feel. We can't stop the aging process, but we can definitely slow it down.

Posted October 10, 2017 by Matthew Romans