Friday, April 11, 2014

Benefits of Regular Exercise for Kidney Dialysis Paitents and Other Chronic Disease Populations: Our Ongoing Study and Observations

Imagine if fitness could mean the difference between keeping your job or going back to work!  Imagine if fitness gave you the ability to play with your grandchildren or it may just mean the ability to live in your own home.

Two days a week at McNabb Park Community Centre in Ottawa, TopShape Fitness with the support of the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project,  provides a 1 hour group exercise class for those suffering from chronic kidney disease. This project started in the summer of 2013 and continues to improve the lives of those who are lucky enough to know about it.  Please help spread the word.

Why does simple exercise mean so much to these individuals?
  • More energy
  • stronger muscles and bones
  • control blood pressure
  • fight depression
  • reduce the risk of heart disease and insulin control, to name just a few.....
A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephorology, 2004; studied 11 patients exercises in a group class 2x week for 1 hour. The results show a "significant" improvement in reducing arterial stiffness and insulin resistance. These are two independent risk factors for cardiac mortality rates in this population.

Shana Boland is an Alive to Strive participant working with a personal trainer here at TopShape Fitness Studio.  She is an example of someone who was not well enough to even start the group exercise class. She definitely wasn't able to join a regular gym in town nor would her doctor okay her for regular exercise or class at a gym. Where does someone with a chronic condition turn? "I couldn't walk without a walker or cane. Then I was on the verge of not being able to walk across the room without severe pain. I couldn't go by myself without assistance or walker in my own home.  I was losing my independence. I was frustrated and gave-up and didn't know where to turn", says Boland.
"Then I learned about the Alive to Strive Fitness Project. When I started exercising I couldn't walk on a treadmill for 1 minute. After exercising for just 1 month, my endurance, balance and energy has improved. My sleep has improved! I can walk outside, down the block to the corner and back. I can walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes or even more. It's amazing! It has changed my life!"

Each exercise session includes strength, cardiovascular and a flexibility component.
 Strength is the key to endurance.  Having more energy throughout the day is one of the first goals class members listed. This is one reason why a class such as "Alive to Strive" can produce such dramatic results.  In the class we use weights, dyna-bands, body weight exercises and stability balls.
Cardiovascular exercise can help cut down or cut out blood pressure medications. cardiovascular exercise in conjunction with strength training can reduce body fat, control cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart problems.
Flexibility : By making muscles stronger  and joints more flexible, it becomes easier to reach, bend do other daily activities. This training leads to a better sense of balance and coordination.
The biggest benefit in having a class like this is the expertise. Having instructors and trainers who are familiar with yours' and other chronic conditions is essential in protecting the individual and helping them get the most out of each workout.

Many kidney patients feel washed out and exhausted without doing anything at all.  Striking the proper balance of intensity and duration of movement is essential for boosting immune function and not fatiguing or causing adrenal stress.  This is why joining a regular exercise class at your local gym may not be the best idea.  TopShape has worked and researched for 20 years to understand the proper balance between type of exercise, time of exercise and intensity of movement.  This results in reduced weakness, reduced fat stores, and an increase in heart and lung efficiency and an increase in coordination of movement.

Can I even exercise?  This the first question that most dialysis patients ask when informed about this program. If you are healthy except for kidney failure, you can exercise. The real question should be: what if I don't exercise. It will most certainly lead to secondary disabilities requiring a cane or wheelchair to get around.

Lastly, one of the most important benefits of exercise for dialysis patients is the efficiency of dialysis.  If your body could help remove toxins without dialysis, then sessions could be easier, faster and less frequent in some cases. A study by Alberta Health Services in 2010, showed patients with kidney failure removed significantly more waste and toxins from their blood when pedaling a stationary bike.  Regular exercise showed an increased removal of 'Urea'.  Dr. Davina Tai said, "It's very exciting. Urea removal is related to the clearance of other toxins and we know this is associated with better survival and decreased morbidity (disease) in hemodialysis  patients".

The new session for the alive to strive class begins May 6th. Our goal is to add more classes in the future as the word gets out and the number of participants demand it.

Also, TopShape is proud to sponsor the 5K wheelchair portion of the the Alive to Strive 2014 charity race on Sunday, April 27th at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.  Please show up and lend your support for this great cause. We guarantee great weather.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to keep your New Years resolution!

Recording goals in a fitness diary, reflecting on the successes and failures and being held to account by others are some of the key strategies that have been found to maximize the achievement of goals to get fit.

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These findings will be presented January 8, 2014, to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology in Brighton by Dr Cheryl Travers, Dr Ray Randall and Dr Harry Hogarth from Loughborough University.

Dr Travers and her colleagues asked 60 students to complete questionnaires about their chosen fitness goals as well as keep a diary about their reflections on the ingredients that would help them reach the goals, which were analyzed.

The results show that successfully reaching the goal was more likely if a few key habits were present. Firstly, if the student reflected back on their diary of attempts, identifying what worked and what did not in their techniques.

Secondly, if the person was held accountable and had feedback through a support group, an expert, friends or family. Thirdly, if progress was recorded through the diary and the student reflected on strategies that worked previously. Lastly, if mini-goals were created that lead up to the larger goal.

The act of looking back at the fitness diaries lead students to consider their attempts in different ways and gave them a motivational boost in self-esteem and self-confidence. Dr Travers suggests that the benefits of fitness goals go beyond physical fitness and can enhance our psychological fitness by building skills necessary in the workplace, such as self-organization, self-insight and discipline.

Get expert help! Rome wasn't built in a day, having someone to take the guess work out of the routine will help you see results faster and help with adherence to your program!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

8 Foods Even The Experts Won’t Eat.

8 Foods Even The Experts Won’t Eat.

Clean eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they’re organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today’s food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both. So we decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what’s safe–or not–to eat. We asked them a simple question: “What foods do you avoid?”

 Their answers don’t necessarily make up a “banned foods” list. But reaching for the suggested alternatives might bring you better health–and peace of mind.

1. The Endocrinologist Won’t Eat: Canned Tomatoes Fredrick Vom Saal, is an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A. The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.” The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi. Exposure to BPA Causes Permanent Damage In OffSpring

 2. The Farmer Won’t Eat: Corn-Fed Beef Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming. The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin. The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

3. The Toxicologist Won’t Eat: Microwave Popcorn Olga Naidenko, is a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group. The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize–and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then. The solution: Pop organic kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix. Make it organic and use coconut oil. If You’re Still Eating Microwave Popcorn, You’re Not Fully Grasping The Health Consequences

4. The Farm Director Won’t Eat: Nonorganic Potatoes Jeffrey Moyer is the chair of the National Organic Standards Board. The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes–the nation’s most popular vegetable–they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. “Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won’t,” says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention).

“I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.” The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough if you’re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh. Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional spuds.

5. The Fisheries Expert Won’t Eat: Farmed Salmon Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, published a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish. The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals. The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. Farmed Fish vs. Wild Fish: How Healthy Is The Fish At Your Favorite Grocery?

6. The Cancer Researcher Won’t Drink: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones Rick North is project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society. The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. “There’s not 100 percent proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.” The solution: Buy raw milk or check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products. Why Do Humans Still Drink Milk?

7. The Biotech Specialist Who Won’t Eat Convenional Soy: GMO Unfermented Soy Michael Harris is biotech specialist who has directed several projects within the biotech sector including those for genetically engineered food. He has been a consultant, manager and director for companies such as Xenon Pharmaceuticals and Genon Corporation. The problem: Genetically engineered food is a cause of great concern due to the manipulation of DNA and genetic code including transfers from one species to another. Fermented Soy Is The Only Soy Food Fit for Human Consumption and since almost 90% of soy in the world is genetically modified, if you are not ensuring sources are organic, long-term health problems are inevitable, especially since soy has been found to affect hormonal balance and even cause cancer. The solution: Check labels to ensure soy is Non-GMO or organic and never consume unfermented sources. If possible contact the company to find out exactly where the Non-GMO soy was obtained.

 8. The Organic-Foods Expert Won’t Eat: Conventional Apples Mark Kastel, a former executive for agribusiness, is codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods. The problem: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Is going gluten free really good for you?

Check out this article on the gluten free craze!
People need to realize like any fad it's about the money not the health!
A business worth 90 million in Canada and 4.2 billion in the U.S.!

Here is an excerpt! Check out the link for the whole article!

Many medical professionals are actually seeing eating habits take a turn for the worse once individuals avoid gluten. That’s because they are relying on processed gluten-free foods that often lack important vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are made with substitute starches such as rice and tapioca flour that “really have no nutritional value at all

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why I get so Many patients from Cross Fit!

Crossfit gyms are springing up everywhere. Their growing popularity has even spawned an ESPN show "Crossfit Games," which displays gifted, attractive athletes competing in intense competitions. Unsurprisingly, I’ve received numerous emails, texts and questions about the new craze. After studying Crossfit, listening to CF podcasts, watching videos, and talking to former and current participants, I’ve formed my educated conclusion: Crossfit is too risky and too inefficient.

In an exercise program, one main goal should be enhancing movement capabilities. The better your movement, the more functional you become in sports and everyday life. You reduce your chance of injury, increase your range of motion, increase your strength and become more athletic. Crossfit doesn’t promote these traits. Crossfit promotes ass-kicking workouts that get you sore, burn calories, and might make you fit in your swimsuit better—but it’s not worth a lifelong dysfunctional shoulder, back or hip.

Crossfit’s too risky for a serious athlete, someone with an old injury, and anyone over 35 years old. CF’s random routine can exacerbate an injury or eventually cause a new one. There’s no progressive plan of action. Each workout is tailored to that day, without an overall fitness plan and long-term strategy in place. Today’s workout of the day (WOD) won’t help you next week. There’s no deep concentration on initial assessments, warm-up strategies, corrective exercise, and functional training.
Crossfit coaches provide little help. While some are pretty knowledgeable, very few actually have a broad understanding of biomechanics and human movement.  Few coaches can teach clients about health or technique, and CF routines rarely employ proper workout progression. Additionally, coaches’ weekend certification process only provides the bare essentials to train people—they’re mostly “certified” to run clients through the WODs.
There are smarter ways to reach your goal.

Looking at recent WODs, I see high repetition workouts combining too many pull-ups with excessive amounts of jumps, dead lifts, and risky cleans and lifts—often with the goal of completing as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. I’m already warming my X-ray machine up for the dislocated shoulders and thrown hips that will wind up in my office.

This routine may look intense and even fun to non-educated enthusiasts, but to the educated eye, this is a terribly designed program suffering from poor structure that neglects the functional elements good programs implement.

Some Crossfit exercises are unnecessarily risky, and can lead to serious injury due to improper form. One suspect exercise is the “Kipping" pull-up, where you kick your legs up before pulling yourself up to the bar. It’s a sure-fire way to ruin your gleno-humeral joint and wind up with a bum shoulder due to excessive friction, especially when done in high repetitions. CF trainers claim kipping pull-ups are great for explosiveness and power—they’re not!—and fail to mention the risk of injury from such a ballistic motion. Any other pull-up variation is much tougher and much more effective.

Another high-risk movement is the Olympic lift, which is actually a decent exercise when performed correctly. Unfortunately, bad form is very common, so beginners shouldn’t attempt it. For most people, the full range of motion required to perform this exercise properly is difficult or near-impossible to achieve, especially since many have restrictions in their knees, hips, lower back, and shoulders.

Additionally, Crossfit Endurance provides a very poor selection of strength work for endurance athletes, who should be focusing on clean and functional movements that will enhance balance, symmetry, stability and bio-mechanical movement in their specific sports. They already risk overtraining and CF’s high repetition workouts only exacerbate their muscles.

I won’t be surprised if the Crossfit craze fades in five years and people return to smarter, more functional methods. I advise any CF current members, or anyone interested in CF, to take a step back and think about the long haul of training. Performing a Crossfit workout once a week to help with metabolism or add some variety to your routine won’t hurt you, but doing it everyday will eventually hurt you—it may take days, may take months, but your chances of injury go through the roof with erratic exercise selection. You don’t want chronic pain to affect you and your lifestyle. A workout should leave you feeling better, opened up and your functional movement has been increased. Not sore and burdened with chronic pain.

Remember: Hard training doesn't mean smart training. Anyone can throw together a series of exercises and make someone sweat. It’s harder to develop a progressive program that actually helps athletes achieve their goals. Smart, consistent and functional training will improve your life and your performance and keep you injury free.

Stay healthy LA
Robert Pomahac, D.C.
Clinic Owner and Head Chiropractor

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Increase your cardio and fire-up your metabolism!

As we know the GCWCC Statistics Cup soccer tournament is in August and this fall Statistic Canada will feature a 5K run in October.  As an employee and participant I decided to give my fellow civil servants some help to prepare.
If you're planning on participating in these activities or if you just want to increase your level of fitness for your own personal goals, here is how you can boost your metabolism using interval training which will help  fat loss and to increase of your endurance. 

Before I get into the details, many people assume that doing your traditional cardio (steady state cardio) will help you burn fat.  Research shows that this is simply not the case!
Doing an hour on the elliptical or a treadmill will burn approximately 600 calories, but keep in mind that all of the different machines typically overestimate calorie expenditure.  Also, it does not increase your metabolism to the same degree as interval training or strength conditioning programs.

What is interval training?  It is a form of cardio in which you repeatedly alternate periods of high and lower intensity effort.  For instance, someone can repeatedly alternate a 30-second sprint with a 90-brisk walk which is a form of interval training.  This is optimum for raising your metabolism as well as your cardiovascular.  You will notice the effects of your metabolism being increased throughout the day as well as the following day and you will realize you don’t fatigue as quickly and your recovery time is quicker which a sign of improvement in your cardio.

If you are just a beginner then I recommend starting with steady-state cardio as you want to slowly condition your body into doing interval training.  Spend time in building your baseline of cardiovascular fitness with steady-state cardio.  Below is a breakdown of 3 different phases.


Do your traditional steady-state cardio gradually moving into low-intensity interval training.  For instance perhaps start with 10 minutes and gradually increase your time so you are able to do 30 minutes of one of this type of cardio. 

·         Walking
·         Jogging
·         Biking


Once feeling confident and you know your body is conditioned then attempt the first phase of interval with 20 seconds on and 60 seconds off. 

·         20 seconds on/60 seconds off x 8-10 repeats
·         30 seconds on/90 seconds off x 6-8 repeats
·         60 seconds on/180 seconds off x 3-4 repeats


This is a more advanced style of high-interval training.  Note:  I do not recommend this if you have never done any interval training!

·         30 seconds on/60 seconds off x 8-10 repeats
·         60 seconds on/60 seconds off x 6-8 repeats
·         90 seconds on/90 seconds off x 3-4 repeats
Follow these protocols and you’ll decrease your body fat level and increase your cardiovascular in no time!

Mike Azzi, C.P.T.
TopShape Fitness Inc.