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Will A Paleo Diet Work For Athletes?

Being an Athlete

Athletes are a unique subset of the population. The demands placed on their bodies can sometimes be staggering, especially when compared to the average person. Athletes tend to have higher requirements than most. The need to support higher metabolic rates and intense training schedules can present a challenge when trying to match the appropriate diet to the athlete.

Athlete

Diet Myths

In general, athletes strive to be healthy individuals on many levels, including their food selection. Dietary myths for the athlete such as carbohydrate loading and excessively high protein diets have seemingly permeated the culture. Yet, in this present day, we realize that better options are available. One such option is the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet provides a diversity of nutrients, is inherently anti-inflammatory, and provides the necessary components to support recovery. These are all crucial for enhanced athletic performance.

Understanding that the diet of the athlete is highly critical for success, a closer look is required for the athletic population. Add to this that not all athletes are the same in their requirements. Some athletes, such as endurance athletes, have to be able to derive energy over a long time frame. On the opposite end of the spectrum, strength athletes often go for only a very short duration of time, but need a diet that can support muscle development to move large amounts of weight quickly. For most however, somewhere in the middle is ideal. But is the Paleo Diet flexible, but yet useful enough to support both extremes and those in the middle.

Enough Calories?

The advantages of the Paleo Diet are many, especially for the athlete. However, one of the limitations that has been presented against the Paleo Diet is that it does not supply enough calories to support the metabolic needs of the athlete. There are many confounding problems with this viewpoint, the first of which is the assumption that calories are the primary concern where the athletic diet stands. This is a fallacy. Yes different athletes will require different amounts of calories, but the true importance of the Paleo Diet as it relates to the athlete is the hormonal stage that it sets. The diet of the athlete must be such that it promotes an anabolic state. This is regardless of the type of athletic activity.

What is an anabolic state?

An anabolic state is required for healing and recovery. It is necessary to prevent excess muscle breakdown. When the diet is low in inflammatory foods such as refined foods and grains, the ability to repair tissue is enhanced. The time needed to recover from a high intensity workout is decreased. Ultimately, a quicker recovery time and an improved recovery make for enhanced athletic performance.

Carbohydrates

The Paleo Diet has more than adequate amounts of carbohydrates to fuel the average athlete. For those that are working out longer periods, this just means that some of the less attractive foods like potatoes may need to be brought into the diet. By doing so, you continue to maintain the tenets of the Paleo Diet, eating real foods that are not processed. Accompanying the intake of carbohydrates will certainly be adequate protein and fat, for which the Paleo Diet has not been accused of under-delivering.

If you are an athlete, look deeper into the Paleo Diet and the idea of eating real, unprocessed foods. Like others, you might be surprised how your performance actually increases when properly applied.

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Gut Bacteria and Paleo Diet Lead to Weight Loss

 Gut Bacteria

We find microorganisms everywhere in our environment. If you leave a piece of produce out on the counter, in just a few days it will have bacteria or fungus on it. This just emphasizes that these “micro-bugs” are a part of our world. We don’t think of bacteria being a good thing, often considering it a forerunner to becoming sick. However, bacteria are an essential part of our environment, especially the microenvironment of the gut. They work to keep us healthy and support the immune system. Their effect is so strong that they are able to alter our body composition, influencing whether or not we are able to stay lean, or if we put on a few extra pounds.

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Proven Research

The composition of the bacteria in the gut creates a state that either helps maintain lean body mass or promotes fat deposition. Originating from studies on mice, it was noticed that the makeup of the bacteria in lean mice was different from that of obese mice. Interestingly enough, to drive home the impact of these microorganisms, when the gut bacteria between lean and obese mice populations was interchanged, lean mice became obese and obese mice became lean. From this research, we can clearly see the impact of having different strains of bacteria in the gut.

The idea of having an altered bacterial profile as part of the metabolic syndrome presentation gave rise to the adiposity index, a measure of the different categories of bacteria in relation to each other. Compromised of two groups of bacteria, this ratio is highly influenced by the forms of foods that one consumes. The diet is not only an energy source for the microorganisms of the gut, but also has the ability to shift the balance of bacteria, possibly leading to fat loss.

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet has a significant influence over shifting the bacterial colonies more towards those that promote fat loss and a leaner body composition. At this point, you may be asking yourself how food can have such a significant impact over bacteria. It is not just any food, but the food that makes up the Paleo Diet. A key point to consider is that the Paleo Diet focuses on real, unrefined foods that have the potential to rot or spoil due to their living nature. The part of the Paleo Diet that offers the most direct impact are the colorful constituents of the diet, particularly those from produce. The compounds that provide color are known as polyphenols and they are potent antioxidants and antimicrobials. Fortunately for the person eating a Paleo Diet that concentrates on adequate intake of vibrant colored vegetables and fruits, their balance of bacteria will favor fat and weight loss.

The gastrointestinal tract is the foundational system of the body. It holds influence over every other bodily system. Therefore, why would we expect that it would not have an impact on our body composition? Creating an intestinal environment that makes weight and fat loss easier is all about making the right food selections. A balanced diet like the Paleo Diet centered on the intake of colorful plant based foods is the foundation to not only improving your body composition, but overall good health.

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Trouble with the “wheat belly”

What is”Wheat belly”

You’re probably wondering what a wheat belly is; it’s a belly on a person who consumes gluten and has a rather large belly from it. It doesn’t happen with everyone but it’s a common issue for most. Not many people know why they can’t lose their belly fat.

Gluten-free is actually the way to be to get rid of this stubborn belly fat. You may not know if this lifestyle is for you, but 30 days of your time will tell you. You may be wondering why gluten free would be the way to go. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. It can leave you with that big wheat belly. If you were to try the gluten-free lifestyle for 30 days, that would be enough time to tell if this is the right option for you.

The Paleo Diet.

Having a larger belly can not only cause you discomfort, it can lead to health problems. One of the most leading causes of heart disease is belly fat. There is an eating plan that you could easily acquire yourself too. The Paleo diet is a great way to cut wheat out of your diet. With this diet, you will be grain free, dairy free, and free of refined foods; it’s simply the best option for someone who is trying to eliminate gluten.

The 30 Day challenge

Often times people will go to their doctor trying to tell them that no matter what they do, they can’t lose weight. Usually a doctor will tell you a certain amount of calories to eat and tell you to exercise; then you will be on your way. I’m sure that can be quite frustrating. You leave the doctor’s office and feel like they didn’t even listen when you said you tried everything.

If this is the case with you, then you need to try to cut out gluten. If every other option has failed, this could be the cause. You may wonder why gluten free would help; this is because when the body has even the slightest reaction to gluten, it can cause it to swell up and give other symptoms.

The best way to find out if you have a gluten intolerance would be the 30 day challenge. It’s healthy, especially if you go with the Paleo diet. Eating lean meat, healthy fats, and not having any wheat, dairy, and refined foods will do your body well and you should notice your belly should start to go down from all the bloating. It can be a hard battle to conquer but with a diet like Paleo, you won’t feel starved or limited to what you can eat. You can only set yourself up for success and a healthy lifestyle with Paleo.

Even if you go through the 30 days and your belly didn’t go down, it’s not like you did it for nothing. Gluten is actually not good for anyone. However, it affects people in different ways. You may even decide to stay with this lifestyle.

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The Benefits of Bodyweight At Home Workouts – No Equipment Required

Bodyweight Training

Have you been looking for some at home workouts that you can do that don’t take a whole lot of time and there’s no equipment required? If so, you’ll be happy to know that bodyweight training is always an option. Unfortunately, bodyweight training doesn’t get the respect that it deserves. However, anyone that knows anything about fitness will tell you that bodyweight training is extremely beneficial. As a matter of fact, many people would rather do push-ups than doing bar bell presses.

A lot of “experts” say that you can’t become toned from bodyweight training. This is a common misconception about bodyweight training; because it can help you get toned, lose weight and get in excellent shape. Plus, it’s one of the easiest forms of at home workouts that you can do! It takes a short amount of time and you won’t have to splurge on a ton of equipment to do it. Your body isn’t going to know the difference as to whether or not you’re pushing on a bar or if you’re pushing against your own bodyweight

 Fewer injuries and more results.

This is one of the many benefits to doing bodyweight workouts. If you’re one of those people that want to get in great shape and you go to the gym often, there’s a high chance that you’ve experienced some workout-related injuries. For instance, you could feel some pain in your shoulders after doing bench presses. You may even experience some lower-back pain after performing squats in the gym or your knees could be killing you. After doing tri cep extensions, your elbows are probably not feeling to good either.

All of these injuries mean that you will be spending less time in the gym. This is bad news if you’re trying to get toned like the guys on the cover of Men’s Fitness. A person that doesn’t sustain as many injuries is going to workout much more often and he’s going to be in much better shape than the guy that only gets to workout here and there, because he has to take time off for injuries.

If you do bodyweight workouts, you’ll stand a much better chance at getting toned up versus someone that goes to the gym and uses equipment all day long. Gym equipment has a very limited range of motion, which leads to gym-related injuries. However, bodyweight workouts will give you a much more natural range of motion. Therefore, there’s going to be less stress on the joints of your body.

 Accomplish cardio and strength training all in one easy workout.

This is another major benefit to bodyweight workouts. If you’re pressed for time, you need a workout that’s going to be fast, easy and give you results. You’ll be happy to know that you can combine strength and cardio training all into one single bodyweight workout. In other words, you could save yourself a ton of time. For instance, you could do a minute of burpees and then switch to jumping jacks. Rinse and repeat this workout and you’ll be able to get that heart pumping in no time. This at home workout will also burn calories, build muscle, and increase your overall level of fitness.

 At home bodyweight workouts help you burn fat quickly.

So, you want to shed some pounds, but you want to do it quickly? With only a few minutes of a bodyweight workout, you can get your heart pumping and burn fat in no time. Below, you’ll find one of my personal favorite bodyweight circuits to do that will get you in shape and looking good in no time.

  • Squats – 25 Reps
  • Run in Place – 30 Seconds
  • Push Ups – 25 Reps
  • Run in Place – 30 Seconds

Repeat three times or until failure.

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High Intensity Fat Burning At Home Workouts You Can Do

If your short on time you can still get a good workout in!

High Intensity Interval

This is a workout that is going to take you less than 20-minutes to complete, but it’s going to work for you. This high intensity interval workout is going to get your heart pumping in no time. In other words, it’s a great way to get in shape and to get your body toned. If you want to see maximum results while only putting in a minimal amount of time, this at home workout has been designed for you.

How it works

There are going to be six exercises listed below. You should commit 60 seconds to each workout and then you will need to complete 20 seconds of jogging in place between each exercise. Use the 20 seconds of jogging as somewhat of a rest period. The goal isn’t to jog at an intense pace, but you do need to keep your body moving during the rest periods, so that’s why I’m suggesting that you jog in place.

These at home workouts / exercises are not going to require you to have access to any equipment. Instead, it’s all bodyweight workouts. If at any point you feel like you can’t complete one of the exercises for the full 60 seconds, you can take a bit of a rest, but you should start exercising again as soon as you catch your breath. If you commit to performing this workout on a regular basis, you’ll begin to see results in no time. Your stamina and overall fitness level will begin to increase dramatically.

Below, you will find a list of the exercises you need to do and in which order. Also, there will be a little bit of information as to why they are the suggested exercises for this particular at home workout.

  1. 1.       Jumping JacksJumping jacks

There’s a reason that you had to perform jumping jacks in P.E. class. Jumping jacks are a classic exercise that is great for getting your heart pumping. You will expend a ton of energy by performing jumping jacks and you’ll be a lot of calories.

 

  1. 2.       Lateral Jumps                                                                                                                 Lateral jumps

Lateral jumps will help you build strength in your knees, ankles and hips. Lateral jumps will also help build your core.

 

  1. 3.       Jumping Oblique TwistJumping oblique twist

This is an excellent exercise when you want to shed some pounds and fit into that old pair of jeans. This exercise will

help you burn a ton of calories and also targets the muscles in the midsection.

 

  1. 4.       Burpees

This is one of those exercises that everybody hates, but you still love to do them. Burpees are great for burning calories and increasing your fitness.

Burpees

Pendulum Exercise

  1. 5.       Pendulum Swings

Pendulum swings are a great at home workout that you can do to increase your heart rate. They’re also great for working your thighs.

 

  1. 6.       High Knees

This may look like an easy exercise at first, but once you start performing them, you’re going to quickly realize that they’re much harder than you thought.

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Gluten and common sickness

Gluten Intolerence

If you know you have a gluten intolerance, the best thing you can do for yourself is to simply stay away from it. The reason why gluten free is the way to go is because, when you do have an intolerance and you consume foods with wheat, you will stress your body out and that’s how you receive all the symptoms. Another important reason why gluten free is the way to be, is because if you keep consuming it when you’re not supposed to, you can cause worse conditions to come along. Many people find themselves getting a cold more than the average person when it comes time for the winter season. Not to mention, any minor sickness that goes around, they catch it. This is because when consuming gluten, it can cause your immune system to be significantly affected.

The Paleo Lifestyle

The best and foremost way that many people are able to succeed on a gluten free diet is a Paleo lifestyle. In my practice, I recommend this diet to all of my patients. A Paleo diet consists of having no wheat, dairy, or refined foods. It can be quite simple to follow as you are still eating normal food. The Paleo diet doesn’t consist any gluten; that’s why many gluten intolerant sufferers choose to go with this lifestyle. The Paleo diet in itself, can help you to build up your immune system and protect you against health conditions, even life-threatening ones. With the lean meat, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, you will be able to eat healthy, while not restricting yourself and feeling the need to indulge. There are many Paleo recipes to get you through this lifestyle.

It’s an allergy

The reason why gluten affects the body so much is because it’s allergic to it. You’re bound to never let your immune system recover if you keep consuming it. If you don’t already know you have a gluten intolerance, the best way to find out, is to try the elimination diet; this means taking gluten out for 30 days and following the Paleo diet.

I’m sure if you don’t know you have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, you have been to your doctors telling him/her how much you’ve been sick lately; they will write it off as the season it is and prescribe you some medication. They will tell you to get a lot of rest and make sure to take vitamins and drink a lot of water. Yes, water and vitamins help but when you are allergic to gluten and are still consuming it, the vitamins and water don’t matter anymore. Cutting it out entirely will help you feel better. Now that you know why gluten free helps common sickness, you can eliminate it if you want to feel better. When it comes to trying this lifestyle, you have absolutely nothing to lose; except maybe that constant sickness. The energy and the healthy way of living will be worth every single day that you’re gluten free and on the Paleo way of living.

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Assessment of Hormone Levels is Critical to Balancing Hormones

What are Hormones?

What are hormones? This may be a question you have asked yourself. Your doctor may mention your thyroid or your sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. Occasionally they will even refer to the stress hormone cortisol. But if you have not had any previous association with hormones, the discussion of hormones can leave you baffled. However, it is important to know that hormones are vital components to your health and that adequate assessment of them can be the difference between feeling good or dragging through the day.

Chemical Messengers

In short, hormones are chemical messengers. They are produced within our body from specific hormone secreting glands, where they then proceed to enter the blood stream and influence activity in various tissues. They have a very distinct role in the body. This is the primary reason that many symptoms can be associated with a specific hormone. When hormones are imbalanced, they lead to a multitude of symptoms that can make life seem miserable. Just ask any female that deals with PMS if she enjoys this time of the month. PMS is an indication of imbalanced hormones, but it is also a testament to the power of hormones.

Assessment

Clearly no one wants to feel hormonal or like their hormones are out of balance. Hormone balance is critical to life. There are many proposed ways in which to support hormones, but all of these should have a similar starting point. This point should be assessment of hormone levels. Hormone level assessment is critical due to the need to have a measure of the success of intervention. I often see patients in my Houston clinics that have undergone no form of hormone level assessment, only to be placed on a replacement regimen without first being sure of their particular needs. Such actions can be detrimental long term as hormone levels can build up in the system. Many times this leads to low hormone symptoms. This can seem paradoxical until you realize that often low and high hormone levels symptoms overlap each other.

Get Tested

There is a better way and that is through testing. Testing hormone levels is a critical step in the balancing of hormones. Hormone levels can be tested through saliva, urine and blood. Each method has its benefits and weaknesses. The critical aspect however is that with testing you are able to outline a specific repletion program based on your individual needs rather than simply applying a hormone to a particular symptom or state of dysfunction. I am still amazed at the amount of estrogen I see recommended in light of the evidence suggesting that estrogen therapy alone is not a good idea, at least not without proper hormone level assessment to know that it is being balanced with progesterone. Women commonly tell me of symptoms such as chronically itching skin, weight gain, a full feeling in the legs and increased irritability. All of these are indications of excess estrogen. The important point is that they could all have been avoided if proper hormone level assessment had been considered.

Hormones are vital to life. We need them. However, we need them in adequate amounts. The application of hormone replacement therapy is a viable method to reestablish adequate levels, yet if it is not guided by hormone level assessment, overshooting the level of hormones administered can easily take place. Nevertheless, when properly guided by hormone level assessment, application of hormones can be a difference maker in your life offering you a sense of health and wellness.

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Always Feeling Bloated? Maybe Gluten is to Blame

Bloating

Are you always feeling the undeafeatable feeling of bloating? It can become such a nuisance; you may not understand what’s going on. I suppose you may be like everyone else and decide to go to the doctor’s and you feel that no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get rid of this feeling. You get frustrated when you leave because you feel they didn’t listen to a word you said and send you off without an explanation. Maybe they prescribed you something that didn’t even work. Am I right?

Unfortunately, bloating is a common symptom among millions of people. A lot of times gluten can be the culprit. Of course, I’m not saying everyone has this problem; but it’s more common than you think. Even if someone doesn’t have Celiac Disease, they can still have an intolerance to gluten. When you ingest the gluten, your body is going to react and it’s only natural that your stomach will bloat; you just put something in it that it’s allergic to.

Gluten Allergy?

I know what you may be thinking now; how do you know if you have a gluten allergy, right? You can go to the doctor and request a test for it. However, most of the time the test gives a false negative. If you want to save yourself from the hassle, you can try eating a strict Paleo diet for 30 days to see if that benefits you; it usually does benefit many people.

Paleo

On this Paleo diet, you will need to cut out grains, dairy, and refined foods. Those types of food aren’t the best on your digestive system anyway, regardless of a gluten intolerance. So, you may ask yourself, “Why gluten free? Why with the Paleo diet?” The answer is simple really; gluten is found in almost everything, unfortunately. The best way to cut it out completely is a Paleo lifestyle. Many Celiac sufferers actually turn to this way of dieting and they love it. You’re still getting all of your nutrients and much more. If you are having any kind of intolerance to gluten, it’s not a definite, but you might have an allergy to milk, corn, among other things. The best way to be on the road to feeling better is strictly eating fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and healthy fats. If you keep consuming gluten, chances are you’re going to remain bloated and have other symptoms as well.

Many people wonder why gluten free is the best option. Regardless of an intolerance or not, cutting out gluten can help you with preventing illnesses and provide you with so many health benefits. Some people claim that they haven’t got sick in months or even years after being gluten free and on the Paleo lifestyle. I suggest if you want to feel better, give this a try. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle change; you will succeed with that way of thinking.

 

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At Home Interval Workout – No Equipment Required

At home workout-That works

Do you not have enough time to go out to the gym and get your daily workout in? I hear this in my practice a lot. If so, you’re probably looking for some at home workouts that you can do. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, you’re going to be happy to know that this article has you covered. This easy at home workout is going to get you sweating and in great shape in no time. This at home workout isn’t going to require any equipment and it’s been designed for people that want to lose weight very quickly, but they also do not want to spend any money on going to a gym or gym equipment.

Easy Workout Schedule

All you need in order to complete the workout plan below is your own body and just a little bit of time. In total, this at home workout should only take you 15-minutes or less per day to complete. Also, this isn’t one of those at home workout that you need to do every single day to be successful. Instead, you should do these workouts on the following days:

Monday
Wednesday
Friday

Overall, you’re going to be performing 6 different exercises and a grand total of 15 minutes or less or until failure. Follow the list below to complete the total workout. Do the exercises in the order that has been specified. There should be no rest between each exercise, unless otherwise specified. As soon as you’re finished with one, you should hop directly into the next exercise.

If the interval below is too difficult for you to complete, you could add a 10-20 second break between each exercise. As you continue going, you will notice that your endurance and overall fitness level is beginning to increase quite substantially. If you find that the interval below is too easy for you or becomes too easy, you could try resting for a couple minutes after completing the whole interval and then doing it again.

Squats – 2 minutes or until failure.
Lunges – 2 minutes or until failure.
Jumping jacks – 2 minutes or until failure.
2- minute rest period.
Pushups – 2 minutes or until failure.
Mountain Climbers – 2 minutes or until failure.
Dips – 2 minutes or until failure.
1-minute cool-down period. Don’t sit down.

Easier than you think!

This workout is designed to give you a full at home bodyweight workout. In other words, you’re going to be targeting a ton of different muscles in your body. Even though this at home workout doesn’t require weights, although you can add some if you wish, you’re going to get quite a workout after doing this interval. This interval definitely is not going to be an easy one to complete, even though you may think the opposite.

One of the best things about this at home workout is the fact that you can start doing it today. You don’t have to go to a gym and it isn’t going to take much time to do. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any excuses.

 

 

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What are Human Hormones and Why do You Need them?

 Incorrect Hormone Diagnosis

One of the medical buzz words out now is hormones. This has been the case for the last several years. In talking with my patients, I have come to learn that while many are interested in the concept of maintaining their hormone levels, few really understand what that means. More shockingly, I am also noticing that some of the clinicians that my patients have been working with, are fixated in the model of seeing an individual with a low hormone, and restoring only that particular hormone. Human hormones are far more complex than this. Pushing too much of a single hormone without consideration to the effects on other hormones, is a recipe for disaster, with you the patient, being the one suffering.

Human Hormone Balance

Human hormones have very specific roles. These roles are defined not just by the action of an individual hormone, but also by the interplay that occurs between hormones. Human hormones are most often talked about by their larger categories. These include the stress hormones, progesterone, the androgens, and the estrogens. Each of these categories when taken alone has a unique role that makes them worthy of consideration.

Hormone Roles In The Body

When looked at in isolation, we can think of the broad actions of these categories. For example, the stress hormones, specifically cortisol, help us accommodate to stress by controlling glucose availability and managing the inflammatory response. The androgens are the building hormones of the body. When tissues need to be repaired or when there is the necessity for increased growth of a tissue, the androgens are the responsible human hormone category. Estrogens are our stimulators. They promote growth and activity, especially in the female body. In contrast, progesterone has a slight building response, but it also acts to counter act the actions of estrogen.

Complex Hormones

The isolated action of human hormones is to some degree an unrealistic way to think about hormones. It is a good way to begin to think about some of these hormones and learn the basics, but it is not the way that hormones function in the body. Human hormones are synergistic and antagonistic. It is these balances, or lack thereof, that are often the reason for the hormone symptoms we often think about.

Stress Hormones & Androgens

Let’s think about the relationship between the stress hormones and the androgens. With chronic stress, the stress hormones are consistently released to aid in accommodation. As this process is prolonged, cortisol begins to affect muscle and bone tissue. It breaks them down. It can even have effects on the brain and short term memory. To balance this breakdown activity, you need to be able to build the body back up. This is not going to happen without the stimulus from the androgens. Androgens are going to offset the negative effects of the stress hormones to the extent possible. We can extrapolate this to the aging process and the reason that many become interested in their hormones anyway. If you are breaking your body down faster than you are building it back up, you are accelerating the aging process.

Estrogen & Progesterone

What about estrogen and progesterone? These two categories are directly antagonistic. The estrogens stimulate and progesterone inhibits. Thus, if you are “hormonal” and suffering from symptoms such as breast tenderness and PMS, you have a hormone deficiency, likely progesterone. The ability of both of these hormones to balance each other is at the core of procreation and motherhood.

Clearly human hormones are important. They are the chemical messengers our body depends on. Yet, if you truly want to know what hormones are and how to deal with human hormone deficiencies, you have to consider the interplay they have between each other and not their isolated role. May be the question should not be what are human hormones, but rather what are human hormones as they relate to each other.

 

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