What we know about scars is that they come with traumatic feelings and emotions. Scars signify an event in our life that changed everything, or certainly changed life as we knew it. Scars represents life, loss and sometimes even death.
Almost everyone has at least one. Whether it’s the result of a surgery, or from an injury…we are left with residual complications resulting in chronic pain, itching and nerve irritation at the scar site. Additionally, we are now learning that the scar, while not causing specific irritation at the site, may be contributing to seemingly unrelated chronic pain in other areas of the body.
Scars are the mark of injury to the skin. They can be external or internal, depending on the cause of the wound. Most wounds will leave a scar, appearing after the wound is completely healed. The new scar tissue will have a different texture and quality than the surrounding tissue, and it is generally less flexible than the surrounding skin. A scar is the extra collagen fibers used and left by the body to heal, strengthen and repair injured tissues. Substances (electrolytes) and bio-electrical communications usually pass freely in or out of the cellular membranes and walls in healthy tissues (metabolism). During an injury, surgery or other imbalance, the membrane is broken or disrupted.
The collagenic scar tissue formed during the healing phase has a positive polarity and the surrounding tissue has a negative polarity. This environment creates a reversal of the normal bio-electrical tissue state which disrupts local cellular communications and sends electrical miscommunications throughout the entire Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
These electrical miscommunications sent throughout the ANS have a dysfunctional ripple effect throughout all nerves, vessels, organs, cells and muscles. Every cell in your body is not only connected but is also controlled by your Autonomic Nervous System! Scars can cause disturbances anywhere in the body no matter where they are located initiating the chronic pain or the disease process!!
Chronic Pains Due to Sympathetically Up-Regulation:
I’m sure most of the people by now have been exposed to all kinds of “truths” about milk – it’s good for you, bad for you, milk heals, milk kills, it’s evil, causes birth defects etc…. You see endless commercials aimed to make you buy their dairy products, and you also hear the horror stories from some of the scientists and other sources on all the bad stuff milk can do to you. So what should we do?
First, some of the facts about milk:
Just under a century ago, fresh milk was considered as the best anabolic among athletes;
Milk mainly consists of two types of proteins: slowly digested casein, and quick release whey protein.
Fermented dairy like kefir, sour cream and yogurt are great sources of lactobacilli, a common probiotic.
Milk pasteurization kills lactobacilli as well as many nutrients a fresh milk is rich in, however it also kills any potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.
Many people who are considered lactose intolerant can actually drink raw milk without consequences.
Historically, humans get milk from cows, goats, sheep, horses, but most of the people in Western World never tried any other but cow milk.
Cottage cheese is primarily made of casein. Because of it’s slow digesting rate, it’s good to take at night.
As you can see, dairy products deliver many nutritional benefits, worth adding to your diet. However, there are a few rules you should follow:
Dairy must be raw: unpasteurized, without artificial additives, it preserves it’s valuable qualities, while having lower glycemic index than the processed kinds.
Make sure you can digest it: this is the only time dairy can be beneficial. Not only food allergies are an indicator of intolerance to it, but just an upset stomach can signal some form of food sensitivity. Avoid dairy if it happens often.
Milk must come from the right cow: the cows giving milk must be grass fed, the only proper food for them. This is the only way to ensure they get the right nutrients and forming the right omega-3 to 6 ratio. Needless to say their pastures should be free of environmental toxins as well, that are transferred into the milk.
One very common problem I face is that very few people consume enough protein for their needs when it comes to lose fat. An average person requires up to 0.82g per pound bodyweight of protein per day, and up to 2g/lb to lose fat when on a low carb diet. It takes energy to digest it in the first place, which makes high protein diet effective at maintaining higher metabolism.
2. Not eating enough.
Another mistake I frequently see is lack of total calories for extended period of time. While restricting calories for a short time is a sureway to stimulate weight loss, doing it for too long can have negative effect on metabolism, inhibiting thyroid function and leaving body in starvation mode that leads to fat gain.
3. Having unhealthy GI tract.
This is where everything starts: before your food becomes macro- and micronutrients, it has to be broken down, mushed and emulsified in order to go down the intestines for nutrient absorption. If the digestive system does not function as it supposed, it could be the leading factor of nutrient deficiencies and lack of fitness progress. Keep in mind that a huge fraction of our nerve cells surround our stomach alone. Food intolerances, allergies and low acid level can contribute to malnutrition, release of stress hormone cortisol and increase of belly fat.
4. Staying inactive for too long.
Whether you want it or not, human body was meant to be moving. Like, all the time. Just an hour of sitting can drop metabolism and start an unpleasant hormonal cascade that can slow down weight loss. Now, movement doesn’t necessarily have to always be a strenuous one, but next time you want to drive to the corner store, consider taking a walk instead.
5. Avoiding fats.
Despite common belief, fat does not make you fat. Despite even more common belief, saturated fat will not give you a heart attack. In fact, fatty acids and cholesterol are the building blocks for the hormones and the membranes of our cells. Those who gain weight due to excess dietary fat, would most likely gain it from excess carbohydrates and protein coming with it.
6. Being too strict to your diet.
I admit that weight loss (or any fitness goal for that matter) requires a certain level of discipline and determination, and for many people it would not come easy. However, do not join the ranks of the food-Nazis: unless you are a physique athlete getting ready, having an occasional cheat meal would do more good than harm. Just don’t make it too frequent: one meal every five to seven days would relieve the stress of the nutrition plan, boost your metabolism, prevent from becoming a social outcast and generally make your nutrition much easier to maintain.
7. Doing too much cardio.
Yep. That’s right. All those wasted hours of walking on incline treadmill while reading a magazine could have been spent much more efficiently to rid of that flab around waist. Now, I do admit that for very inactive individuals with high levels of body fat, that kind of activity can be of a benefit (just as ANY activity would). Otherwise, long steady-state cardio will give you nothing but muscle loss and extra belly fat. Instead, focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) for 10-15 minutes at a time. But remember, you do not feel like dying at the end of those 15 minutes, you’re not doing it right.
8. Having poor sleep.
Not enough sleep or irregular sleeping patterns can damage your progress as well. It can disrupt daily cortisol cycle and alter the hormone levels that would make your fat loss more difficult.
9. Buying “heart-healthy” food.
Yep. All those “healthy” cereals that became a staple of the North American diet is nothing but a scam. Low in protein, high in simple sugars, low quality added vitamins and pro-inflammatory ingredients, the only thing that’s good about them is the dietary fibre (yet still less than most unprocessed sources of whole grains).
10. Counting calories.
Another characteristic of a typical food-Nazi: knowing how many calories is in every food item, adding them up, and god forbid if they shoot over their ‘calculated’ requirement. We are humans: living beings, not mindless machines. Our bodies do not work like calorimeters, it is more important to understand where those calories come from than how many. When we look at our plates we see the food, not abstract form of energy. So don’t stress yourself through food and go enjoy that steak!
Another new year has arrived, people’s minds absorbed in their go. The only issue is that most of them won’t remember what those resolutions were in about a month. Getting all excited over positive changes in life is good, but it doesn’t get too far without a solid action plan. The comfort
zone of already settled life will suck you right back in. Does that mean you should give up an idea to come of it?
Personally, I don’t expect anyone to plunge into a whole world of unknown. Instead, I’d prefer to expand already existing comfort zone by embracing changes and turning them into habits that you’re comfortable with. Here are the strategies to set up goals that call you for action every day and make you get off your bed with a smile on your face:
Tip#1: Set 3 goals at a time.
Commit to only 3 goals at a time max: this way you can actually focus on what you need to do instead of bouncing from one objective to another. For example:
Gain 15 lbs of muscle;
Drop Body Fat to 8%;
Learn to play guitar.
Once you have all three down, start achieving them. Do not set new goals unless you achieved all three.
Keep in mind that these goals don’t have to be only focused on fitness: these can as well be your financial, personal, business or any other goal that is important at this moment.
Tip#2: Make your goals specific.
An absolute majority of people that I sit down with for a consultation and talk about what they want to achieve in their fitness, give me something like:”I just want to be healthy/fit/toned etc…”, which makes me certain in only one thing: they have no clue what they want. These people are relying on their emotions: they imagine their ultimate ‘dream body’ or ‘well-being’ in their heads, but emotions come and go, and same people will wake up the next day oblivious of how to get there. That’s why it’s important to set up a solid path you want to take. Fail to plan means plan to fail, right? You should set up objectives that are measurable, as precise as possible, make sure they are realistic, and set an attainable deadline for them: Ex. “I want to lose 10 lbs of fat in 5 weeks”.
Tip#3: Keep your goals in clear view
Write down your goals on a piece of paper (by hand) and post it somewhere you could frequently see it (eg. fridge, mirror, work desk, computer screen etc.). This way you will keep them in your focus as a reminder what all the work is for.
Tip#4: Hire a specialist
If you want to learn to play musical instrument, you hire a tutor. If you want to excel in the business you start, you hire a business advisor. And if you want to accomplish your fitness or athletic objectives, you’ll need a personal trainer or a strength coach. There’s no shame in asking for help from someone who is an expert in a given field, as you’ll need someone to keep you accountable, someone who can motivate, educate, and provide you with all the right tools for success.
Tip#5: Acknowledge and reward
Besides a long term goal, you (and/or your coach) should be setting up short term goals as well. Consider them as checkpoints on your journey. This will help you to stay motivated and focus on something tangible in the next 3-4 weeks, as oppose to 6-12 months from now. Come up with some kind of reward to give yourself once you reach that mini-objective. It could be anything from a cheat meal, to allowing yourself to buy something you wanted. This way you’ll train your mind to anticipate reward, and develop the mindset of a winner.
If you read my previous post on protein, you now know that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are the amino acids with an extra side carbon chain, that
Instantly dissolving branched-chain amino acids by ATP labs
simplifies their conversion into energy during intense exertion. There are 3 BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. Their major advantage over other amino acids is that they are not degraed in the liver, but go straight into the blood stream. This makes them a great source of energy during workout. Here are my top reasons to add BCAAs into your regime:
Save your muscles during workout – our bodies are in catabolic state during intense anaerobic training. That means that the muscles are broken down to supply amino acids that are used for energy source. Consuming BCAAs during workout minimizes the damage and gets your body into anabolic (muscle building) state faster after workout.
Increase strength – taking leucine during workout translates into having greater strength gains.
Improve body composition – BCAAs help regulate blood sugar levels. Also because they help to train harder and longer during the workout, thus burning more fat in your body.
Reduce muscle soreness.
Increase protein synthesis – BCAAs are shown to stimulate protein synthesis in the body, which is good news for those who want to increase muscle mass.
Improve mental function – generally, high protein diet improves cognitive function and reaction time. It is believed that most of the benefit comes from leucine.
Improves mood – it is believed that BCAAs improve synthesis of serotonin in our brains, thus improving mood. Either way it was shown they help reduce depressive symptoms in elderly population.
The best sources for BCAAs are:
Red meat – highest BCAA content in whole foods.
Dairy – primarily fermented products like kefir, natural yogurt, cottage cheese etc.
Other meats – all meat proteins are complete (that means they have a full amino acid content)
Protein drinks – whey protein is the best, other sources are casein (milk protein), wheat protein.
High quality BCAA supplements in powder or capsules form.
Get at least 5g of BCAA for every hour of training during workout. For those who are doing heavy resistance training, take up to 12g. You may also take 3-5g post-workout for best results.
When I coach my clients on their nutrition, I pay particular attention to the amounts of protein they consume. In fact, adjusting their protein amounts is one of the first changes I make in their diet. Protein (greek proteios – primary) is the foundation of any nutritious meal whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle mass.
What is it?
The proteins you consume are broken down into amino acids, that are in turn used as the building blocks for the proteins in your own body. Those new proteins form your muscle and organ tissues. The whole process is quite energy demanding, and it raises body’s basal metabolism.
Here are the reasons why adequate amounts of protein are necessary:
Boosts metabolism- your body has to put some effort in breaking down proteins consumed into separate amino acids, thus increasing energy demand.
Repair tissues – Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair.
Protein is a building material for your muscles- it’s used for muscle cell and tissue growth and repairment.
Protein plays a major role in detoxification – amino acids participate in Phase II detoxification in the liver. They bind to the toxins for the following excretion from the body.
Reduces fat gain – Consuming protein can increase levels of the hormone glucagon, and glucagon can help to control body fat. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down. This causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for the body.
The more protein you have, less carbohydrates you can eat- if protein makes up a smaller percentage of total energy, carb intake will be increased, which can lead to persistently high insulin that inhibits fat loss.
The amount of protein required depends on many factors, like the activity levels, gender, goals. It is suggested to consume 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 g per pound) of body mass as a baseline requirement for untrained individuals. For example, 170 lb individual needs around 61g of protein per day. However, this amount is just to stay alive so to speak, or to prevent deficiency.
For people doing high intensity training, protein needs might go up to about 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass. Our hypothetical 170 lb (77 kg) person would thus need about 109-153 g of protein per day. Those who are looking to gain muscle mass can go as high as 2.0 g/lb of body mass.
Keep in mind, that there’s only so much protein we can store at a time. That’s why it’s important to consume even amounts of protein throughout the day.
Now here are some of the best sources of protein you can find:
– Chicken breast
– Salmon (ocean caught)
– Turkey leg or breast
– Bizon (Buffalo)
– Cottage Cheese
– Any other game meats (eg. wild boar, moose, deer etc.)
Those who train with me know that I’m a big advocate of supplementing polyunsaturated fats, particularly
Omega-3 fats derived from fish oil. Nowadays, especially in cities, everyone is exposed to harmful forms of stress, whether it’s mental, chemical or physical. Common forms of inflammatory processes in our bodies are both the contributor and the outcome. Poor nutritional choices do not help either. Here are the 10 reasons fish oils can maximize your training progress and overall well-being:
1. Fish oil reduces inflammation.
Particularly it’s major ingredient EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a fatty acid that is shown to be effective against inflammatory processes. A common example of inflammation would be muscle soreness and slight swelling after anaerobic training. Chronic inflammation is very bad for muscle tissues, joints and overall health, and can prevent weight loss and muscle development.
2. Improves insulin sensitivity.
That means your body will not produce as much insulin hormone, therefore less nutrients will be stored as fat.
3. Improves cognitive function.
Second main fatty acid found in fish oil DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is responsible for brain development and nervous system function. Our brains are mainly formed of fats, and DHA is the active part of it. Studies have shown that DHA can be effective in treatment of various mental disorders. I often suggest those who need to study for exams to up their fish oil intake.
4. Involves in formation of cellular membranes.
You are what you eat. That especially true when it comes to fats. See, your cell membranes are made of lipids (fats). Just like with your brain, depends on what kind of dietary fats prevail in your diet, that type of fat forms lipid layer. With lots of omega-3s, muscle cells become more sensitive to insulin, meaning more nutrients will go into muscles instead of fat.
5. Turns on lypolytic genes, and shuts down lypogenic.
Another words it triggers genes that break down fats and inhibits those that are responsible for their formation.
6. Fish oil protects your heart.
As I mentioned above, fish oil combats inflammation very well. Consider heart attack as a spike of inflammation in your heart tissue and you get the point. Chronic inflammation in the body is also the major reason of elevated VLDL cholesterol that builds plaque in the arteries.
7. It is anabolic.
Recent studies shown that omega-3 fats participate in protein synthesis in your muscles. It also reduces stress, which is a big roadblock of muscle development for many.
8. Easiest way to improve Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio.
With the abundance of processed foods in North American diet, the ratio between Omega-3 (typically anti-inflammatory) and Omega-6 (typically pro-inflammatory) is around 1 : 30 (and I’m being optimistic), whereas the healthy ratio should be at least 1 : 1. This huge imbalance causes havoc in human body. The good news is that it’s very easy to shift the ratio in the right direction: all you need to do is to reduce processed foods in your diet and start taking fish oil.
9. Fish oil helps reduce stress.
Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids inhibits the adrenal activation of steroids, aldosterone, epinephrine and norepinephrine elicited by a mental stress. Therefore, for the same amount of stress, one will produce fewer stress hormones if consuming fish oils on a regular basis.
10. Lowers blood pressure.
Omega-3 fats trigger vasodilation of arteries. They also make them more soft and elastic, means they are less prone to damage.
How much should I take?
While there’s no visible symptoms of overdose by a fish oil (don’t confuse with cod liver oil!) and everybody’s needs are individual, I’d suggest at least 5-10 g of fish oil a day. Be careful however if you have a history of cardiovascular disease or you are on blood thinners, and consult your physician whenever necessary.