Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…the United States is the only developed country in the world that still fluoridates its citizens’ drinking water?

10 facts you need to know about fluoride:

1. More people in the U.S. drink fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined.
2. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries.
3. According to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.
4. Fluoride is naturally occurring in some areas, leading to high levels in certain water supplies “naturally.” Fluoridation advocates often use this to support its safety, however naturally occurring substances are not automatically safe (think of arsenic, for instance).
5. About 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis, a condition that refers to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel that are caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming.
6. Infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water may consume up to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amounts.
7. The fluoride supplements sometimes prescribed to those who are not drinking fluoridated water have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of tooth decay.
8. Water fluoridation is a form of mass medication that denies you the right to informed consent.
Many European nations have rejected fluoride for the very reason that delivering medication via the water supply would be inappropriate.
9. It is now widely recognized that fluoride’s only justifiable benefit comes from topical contact with teeth, which even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged. Adding it to water and pills, which are swallowed, offers little, if any, benefit to your teeth.
10. Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by conditions that occur much more frequently in low-income areas.
Mercola.com

…Fructose, not fat, has a linear relationship with the U.S. obesity epidemic.

The incidence of overweight and obese individuals, shown by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), has a striking relationship to fructose consumption in the United States. According to a USDA’s data below, total sugar and fructose consumption started to increase sharply in 1985, and reached a peak in 1999, which is congruent with the incidence of obesity. During 2000 through 2005, we see a slight drop in total sugar and fructose consumption, which is consistent with the leveling off of obesity rates during that same period. This drop in sugar ads up to 10 pounds of total sugar, with fructose contributing six of those pounds.

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Exercises you haven’t done but probably should, Part Two

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Ask anyone who’s been in the iron game that’s had any type of success and they’ll tell you, “stick to the basics and don’t try and reinvent the wheel.” I couldn’t agree more from a coach/competitor stand point. However, one needs to throw a wrench in their workouts in order to prevent or break through plateaus. Variation is a universal principle that, when applied correctly, can yield incredible results.

One of the most obvious and easiest ways to add variation is to incorporate different exercises into one’s program. Following the first installment in the series, here’s another list of recommended exercises that I’ve rarely seen used.

Band push-ups

Even though training with bands has been around for a while, and used successfully in conjunction with strength training and power lifting, most people who weight train have never been exposed to, let alone used, this outstanding tool.

The laws of physics dictate the specific characteristics of strength curves while performing exercises. The force of movement is more or less dependent on the joint angle during an exercise. For example, in the barbell squat, you may be able to quarter squat 500 pounds, but can only full squat, ass to the floor, 300 pounds. Another common example is the exercise I’m highlighting today: the band push-up. The force at the top of the movement is much greater than the force at the bottom.

Push-ups-with-bands

In a nutshell, bands work by applying more resistance where you’re strong and less where you’re weak. Bands accommodate that natural strength curve; this type of training is referred to as accommodating resistance. Researchers addressed strength curves in training as early as 1900 by putting a cam on selectorized machines. The cam on these machines is what accommodates the ability to apply force according to the strength curve. Nautilus equipment is a prime example of this type of equipment.

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Know your nuts!

Here’s some important information regarding testicular cancer.

http://www.ffw.com

  

HMB and Fitness

shirtless man working out with dumbell

A healthy diet and regular workouts are the two key ingredients to developing fitness, but to push your body that extra level by building serious muscle many top athletes use supplements such as HMB.

HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutryate) is a branch of the amino acid Leucine: a substance found in protein-based food like fish and chicken. However, HMB is in short supply and so the body cannot feel its benefits as much as it could do if given a larger dose.

An Ironmagazine.com report in 2010 discusses how the supplement helps protect the breakdown of muscle proteins and actively stimulates tissue growth, so you can take it either before or after exercise and you’ll get the best of both worlds. Studies have shown that leucine contributes to protein synthesis, especially the small amounts of HMB already in the body. Any addition, therefore, is beneficial when building muscle and you only need a small dosage – three grams per day – to boost your recovery and enlarge skeletal muscles.

Combine this dosage with regular exercise and a good diet or protein and vegetables – plus carbohydrate intake before you work out to fuel the body through intense periods – and you’ll soon discover you’re getting fitter and stronger.

According to Bodybuilding.com, those who take HMB over a three-week period are more likely to bench-press greater weights than others taking a placebo. The supplement is also used to increase fatigue endurance during long bouts of physical exercise, so you can work out for longer and push through previously unreachable targets.

Remember, HMB services all muscle protein so you should set targets in both the lower and upper body to reap the supplements full benefit. Try setting a simple timed 100 press-up target alongside a reasonably weighted leg-press target and see if you can beat it each day. The more you exercise and take the supplement the stronger you should become and that time will drop off the clock.

Achieving your physical peak is difficult without the aid of supplements such as HMB, which have proven beneficial for both men and women over long periods of time.

  

What to Look for When Buying Fitness Equipment

two people working out in the gym

When it comes to maintaining good health, the importance of sticking to a proper fitness regimen simply cannot be overemphasized. Fitness plays a major role in overall health, and is just as important as diet in many ways. A proper fitness regimen will help you to:

• Maintain good health
• Look your best
• Lower your BMI

For a lot of people, getting to the gym on a regular basis can be next to impossible. Whether it be based upon motivation, scheduling, proximity or otherwise, there’s no getting around the fact that sticking to a proper gym regimen can be difficult. One of the best ways to bypass this issue is to set up fitness equipment within your own home.

When shopping for fitness equipment, there are a variety of things to look for before making a purchase. Since machines can be rather expensive, you’ll want to do a fair amount of research before throwing money towards anything. For best results, keep the following in mind when you set out on your search.

Shop Online

The main reason why many people feel as if home fitness equipment isn’t for them is because they don’t believe they can afford it. While these fears can sometimes be valid, there are plenty of ways to find machines that don’t cost a fortune. One thing to consider is buying exercise equipment online for a way cheaper price than in-store. The Internet has taken competition in the marketplace to an entirely new level, and there’s never been a better time for the consumer to jump on-board. Plus, there’s more variety to choose from online than you would ever find at a brick and mortar retail store; just another reason to browse the web.

Don’t Overshoot Your Needs

When you’re shopping for new fitness equipment, you should always strive to look for machines that feature only what you need out of them. The more amenities a piece of equipment features, the more expensive it is likely to be. This can be very beneficial to those who are extremely serious about their fitness goals, but it can be overkill for those who are simply looking to get fit. Instead, look primarily for machines that feature all the basics without any of the extra fluff. You’ll not only end up saving money, but you’ll probably save yourself from a fair amount of confusion and headaches as well.

Be Careful Buying Used

Used fitness equipment can truly be perfect for those who are on a tight budget, but this isn’t to say that it doesn’t sometimes come with issues. Fitness equipment tends to take a beating – cardiovascular machines are especially affected. If you buy used without knowing what you’re looking for, you may end up with a machine that is ready to break down as soon as you start working out on it. This is not only dangerous, but can result in an utter waste of money. Only attempt to buy used fitness equipment privately if you know exactly what you’re looking for an are well-versed on the finer points of different machines.

Fitness equipment can be vital in improving your health, and outfitting your home with a few machines doesn’t have to be as out of reach as it might seem.

  

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