Mouthpiece for better athletic performance

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Athletes have been wearing mouthpieces for years to prevent any dental injuries.  New performance mouthpieces are based on the premise that jaw position can have a significant impact on athletic performance. Research suggests that the position of the jaw influences the entire bodies musculature. In addition, the use of these mouthpieces enables better oygen intake, reduces lactic acid, and lowers cortisol production.

From the late 70’s to early 90’s there have been numerous reports and antetodal evidence regarding such devices.   Around 1996, Tufts  A series of well-designed, well-controlled studies examining jaw position and strength under a number of different conditions were published; these studies showed significant improvements in strength while using well-designed oral appliances.

In 1999, the University of Tennessee examined how the device affects strength and endurance, measuring grip strength as well as heart rate and blood pressure during aerobic exercise. Results proved its effectiveness.

A study in 2008 at  Rutgers  found that athletes wearing Pure Power Mouthguards could jump higher and perform better at their peak.

Although a better understanding of this link, and further research is necessary to draw conclusions on this subject, the use of mouthpieces do look promising.  In fact, several professional athletes have started using them such as Shaq, Manny Ramariez, Derek Jeter, Adrian Peterson.

Under Armour has begun marketing their own product in stores, along with several other brands.

We should not overlook the impact of a placebo effect, which in itself can produce significant results. Mouthpieces are never going to dramatically improve athletic performance and potential.  But for higher level athletes, every last bit makes a difference in competition.  Time will tell whether this is a clever marketing gimic, or a legitimate performance enhancer.

Resources and References:

9.    Abduljabbar T, Mehta NR, Forgione AG, et al. Effect of increased maxilla-mandibular relationship on isometric strength in TMD patients with loss of vertical dimension of occlusion. Cranio. 1997;15(1):57-67.
10.    AL-Abbasi H, Mehta NR, Forgione AG. The effect of vertical dimension and mandibular position on isometric strength of the cervical flexors. Cranio. 1999;17(2):85-92.
11.    Chakfa AM, Mehta NR, Forgione AG, et al. The effect of stepwise  increases in vertical dimension of occlusion on isometric strength of  cervical flexors and deltoid muscles in nonsymptomatic females. Cranio. 2002;20(4):264-273.
12.    Abdallah EF, Mehta NR, Forgione AG. Affecting upper extremity strength by changing maxilla-mandibular vertical dimension in deep bite subjects. Cranio. 2004;22(4):268-275.,9171,2007404,00.html



Average crowd in Dairy Queen…….

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

” The worst thing I can be, is the same as everybody else. I’d hate that.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

The average person in America is overweight or obese.  Most people are soft, physically and mentally. The average person is in debt or living pay check to paycheck.  The average person is miserable during M-F 9 to 5. The average person knows they should be going to the gym and practicing better health habits, but promise themselves next time or tomorrow will be different.  The average person  has no idea how it feels to push their body to the limit and the feeling of exhilaration and pride when conquering a tough goal, or succeeding in a tough challenge.

Who in the world would want to live like this?

This is no way to go through your short existence.

Now you can call this self-centered or arrogant, but I don’t view myself as average. And I hope you don’t either.  For some people, they are content to be average.  And that’s fine.  But some people strive to be better than average.  And that should be acceptable as well.

Recently, I have been thinking about this mentality often.  I cannot think of a better example then walking into a fast food establishment such as a Dairy Queen.  The crowd is unattractive, unfit, and unsightly due to excess fat and lack of muscle tone.

It is a nice feeling when you know you look nothing like the rest of the crowd.  It is nice to know you have put in the time and effort to improve and maintain the permanent place you live. (your body) It’s nice to know display gratefulness of your body and health by taking proper care of it.

In this sense, yes you are better than everyone else.  And there’s no reason to feel guilty about this.  That is of course as long as you keep your thoughts to yourself.

Binge and fast for fat loss and health

June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nutritionists and, “experts,” have claimed that eating small meals throughout the day is advantageous because it will, “keep the metabolism burning,” akin to throwing kindling on a fire.  In addition to this argument is the notion that large meals cannot be properly digested and metabolized by the body because of the high caloric values of the meal.  In other words, we cannot use all those calories at once, so they will be stored as fat.

Consequently, the advice in the media and mainstream has been to increase meal frequency to maintain a healthy metabolism and to avoid the metabolic drop due to starvation.  ( Like skipping a mid-after noon snack will really set us in starvation mode)

These arguments make the case for “grazing,” and eating small meals frequently. I believe it is time to challenge these myths.  In fact, a mainstream media outlet already has.

In our culture, we are constantly in a fed state,  meaning our bodies are continually digesting and processing food.  Is this really necessary?  Just because we have access to an abundance of food, does that mean we have to eat it around the clock?  This logic is flawed for two main reasons:

1.  The hormone, insulin is raised when we consume food.  Insulin is needed to deposit and store nutrients to different locations in the body.  Unfortunately, when insulin is raised, fat-burning comes to a halt.

2. Eating frequent meals per day is a new dietary habit.  Looking back to our evolution, we were not raised to eat every couple of hours. We would go through periods of feast, or famine.  Food was not avaliable at our disposal so our bodies have been designed to accommodate that.   Physiologically, we are not equipped to continually process food as this is unnatural.

Let’s take a look at the studies supporting intermittent fasting.

Three meals per day is superior to several small meals for appetite control

Studies using whole-body calorimetry  to assess total 24 h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging.

No significant effect of meal frequency on 24 h EE or ADMR

Increasing MF does not promote greater body weight loss under the conditions described in the present study.

Alternate-day fasting was feasible in non-obese subjects, and fat oxidation increased

Fasting every second day increased the insulin sensitivity approximately sevenfold according to the homeostatic model assessment (2) and decreased the incidence of diabetes

10 overweight subjects lost an average of 8 percent of their original weight at the end of the eight week experiment. A shift in energy metabolism toward utilization of fatty acids was also noted.


References also used in this article and sites that you should check out:

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Brad Gatens, CSCS

New Food Guide Pyramid !!!

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Big deal….

So our Department of Agriculture thought it was necessary to update the atrocious Food Guide Pyramid.  This is the best they could come up with?

What exactly are they trying to achieve with this?  I mean do they really think this is going to help the obesity epidemic that we face in this society? Or is it just another pathetic attempt to cater to the grain/corn farmers of our county? Granted it beats a recommended 6 to 11 servings of bread, as we have been told previously. Despite what we are constantly being told, grains are not necessary or essential for optimal health.

It’s hard to argue with the food groups emphasized on the plate, however.  Composing the majority of a meal with fruits, vegetables, and protein is a step in the right direction for anyone.  Nevertheless, these guidelines still seem too impractical to make a difference.

Was anyone unsure of what to eat in the past, and since this informative info-graphic became public now completes every meal just like the picture?

So what’s the solution?

How’s this for starters:

Top 5 Reasons to avoid P90X

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

P 90 X-treme, disappointment

P90 X deserves credit for their excellent marketing tactics and motivational presentation.  Unfortunately, this program is unlikely to deliver on it’s bold statements such as

Get absolutely ripped with this 90 day workout!
Your Total Body Transformation is Only 90 Days Away!

Here’s why:

1.  The concept of this program is based off of what they call, “Muscle Confusion.”  This is a made up term used by the company to sell this product.  The concept behind this product just doesn’t make any sense.

2. They claim muscle confusion,” accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and your mind never gets bored.”  There is a term in exercise physiology called adaptation.  This refers to the body’s ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands..  The body will adapt to the demands it is placed on it.  If this style of training can’t even be classified, how can the body adapt to it ?

3.  The Principle of specificity states that training a certain body part or component of the body primarily develops that part.  For instance, if you want to become a better cyclist, don’t focus on gymnastics.  If we are constantly doing new moves and routines, what exactly are we improving?

4.  Frequency of exercise.  The program calls for sixty minutes of exercise, six times per week.  Except for healthy, advanced athletes with years of experience, this is simply too much volume.  At best it will be a waste of time.  At worst, it will invite injuries, discourage adherence, and decrease motivation.

5.  If people start this program to become ripped, then why would the company include yoga, stretching, and core training/abdominal work?  These are vastly inadequate methods to improve body composition. Plyometrics is also included.  Again, this should be reserved to highly trained, advanced athletes.  I am willing to bet this is not most people starting P90X.

Granted, P90X states that this program is not for beginners.  I would say it’s not for anybody.  Beginners have no business trying to complete a workout like this.  Intermediates would not do well on this because of the poor foundation of the program.  And advanced people would have no need for a program like this, and have already found the means to a solid physique.  And it wasn’t through P90 Extreme Disappointment.

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Does exercise really influence body weight? Article Review

May 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

The Scientist and the Stairmaster, Gary Taubes

It is reasonable to believe that the more someone exercises the leaner that person will be.  After all, the leanest people tend to exercise often, while overweight people exercise less.  According to Taubes however, there is little evidence linking exercise to weight maintenance.

Here is the problem with the association between exercise and fat loss.  Low intensity exercise simply does not burn enough calories to produce a measurable impact and higher intensity exercise increases hunger. It is much more efficient to skip the 200 calorie pop-tart then go for a two mile run.

With more strenuous exercise, appetite increases because of massive energy expenditures.  Consider lumberjacks for example.  The average lumberjack will consume close to 5,00 calories per day.  So whatever was burned is likely to be consumed later on.

Until the 1960’s, doctors would not prescribe exercise to obese and overweight individuals. Clinicians who treated obese and overweight patients dismissed the notion as naïve.

Even today, we base our beliefs in this area from one influential nutritionist, Jean Mayer.  Despite any hands-on clinical work with obese individuals, and the inability to produce any meaningful studies to back up his exercise for weight control messages, he was appointed Chair to  Richard Nixon’s White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health in the 1969.

Jean Mayer worked to promote this message publicly.  It was around this time that America entered an, “Exercise explosion.”

Further, obesity research from the last sixty years on body weight regulation focused on thermodynamics.  Calories go in one side, they come out the other, and the difference (calories in minus calories out) ends up as either more or less fat.  The problem is, humans, rats, and all living organisms are ruled by biology, not thermodynamics.  The question as to why some people store energy and fat, and why some people expend that energy instead of storing it, is far more complex than this type of explanation.

Simply blaming fatness on some combination of gluttony, sloth, and perhaps a little genetic predisposition thrown in on the side is absurd.

It is physiology, not psychology that needs to be further investigated in this area.  The author explains the concept of fuel partitioning.  Do we burn calories as energy or do we store them as fat ? An enzyme called LPL (lipoprotein lipase) is responsible for using fatty acids and energy as fuel, or pulling calories and energy into fat cells.  Obviously, the latter being disadvantageous to body composition.

And it just so happens that insulin (produced from eating carbs and sugars) drives LPL activity in fat cells.

Brad Gatens, CSCS

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Burn fat like a Porsche, not a Prius

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Efficiency.  Always a good thing, except with fat loss.

Mastering a movement or aerobic exercise is not desirable in the fat loss realm.

A key to understanding exercise is adaptation.  The body will go through the necessary changes to adapt to any stimulus that is being placed upon it.  Moving from the couch to the desk to the kitchen each day is not enough stimulus for the body to change. But start running for thirty minutes most days of the week, and the body will be forced to change.

The reason the body changes is to make it easier on you to continue doing what your doing.

So what was once a struggle and maybe even unattainable, is now no problem.

That’s great, but the problem now is the body requires less energy to complete this task.  So if you started running to burn calories, you are now burning less for doing the same amount of work.

The same could be said about any aerobic exercise.  Walking, running, swimming, cycling, ext..

This is why strength training is so good for fat loss and conditioning.  All you have to do is add a couple more reps or more weight.  Or you can stay with running, but choose shorter distances like the 100 meters, or a short hill sprint.

This type of work will keep your body burning fuel like a Porsche, not a Prius.

Check out this video by strength coach, Dan John, to further understand this concept.