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Since receiving her medical degree from Yale in 1994, Christine Lydon, MD has made it her life's work to educate people about sound nutrition, effective training techniques, and healthy approaches to permanent weight loss. A fitness personality and physique model with a long list of television and print credits, Dr. Lydon has served as a nutrition consultant to large corporations, as well as a personal fitness consultant to a diverse clientele ranging from housewives and firefighters to celebrities like supermodel Carre Otis, Quentin Tarantino, and the late Richard Pryor. Dr. Lydon currently devotes herself to writing and speaking about weight management, disease prevention, and nonpharmaceutical alternatives for increased longevity. People place their confidence in Dr. Lydon's commentaries because, as her photos clearly illustrate, she practices what she preaches.


Name: Christine Lydon



Birthday: July 19, 1966



Location: Rochester, NY






Diet Detective: Hello Christine, I can't believe all you've accomplished-you really are an example of a renaissance woman. But I'm sure you've heard that before. What motivated you to work in the area of nutrition and fitness? Was there a specific event or situation that inspired you?



Christine: Thank you! And believe me-- given my politically-incorrect approach-- I've run into enough roadblocks to appreciate that compliment very much. My continued involvement in this industry is out of sheer stubbornness-- and ego! When I see multinational corporations getting rich by selling lies that make people sick, all I want to do is fly in like a superhero and save the day!



Diet Detective: You went to medical school, and I've heard so often that medical doctors learn so little about nutrition, fitness and health prevention - is that a myth?



Christine: That's no myth. The first two years of medical school provided an invaluable foundation-- that's when you learn the basics. Without a fairly comprehensive understanding of biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy-- not to mention the scientific process itself-- it would be impossible to correctly interpret emerging research in the areas of metabolism and exercise physiology. It's the final two years of medical school-- when you're actually working on the wards learning how to treat patients-- that's when the mammoth influence of the pharmaceutical industry takes over and the whole idea of "prevention" gets wiped from the collective consciousness. We were never taught about prevention-- and I believe that was a deliberate omission. Everything I ever learned about nutrition, fitness, and preventive medicine I learned after graduating from medical school.



Diet Detective: You offer quick results in you book-- why the rush?



Christine: There's no rush-- that's just how the program happens to work. Ten Years Thinner has the dual advantage of providing fast, dramatic results-- but in a healthy, sustainable manner.



Ten Years Thinner is not just about weight loss; it's about fat loss. This is not a fad or a magic bullet that will cause your weight to plummet by ten pounds in the first two or three weeks just so you can regain it all in the months to follow. Unlike other popular diet programs that contradict human physiology, Ten Years Thinner harnesses natural processes that transform your body into the healthy, energized, fat-burning furnace it was born to be.



The cornerstones of Ten Years Thinner lie in stabilizing your physiological equilibrium and building a symmetrically-balanced muscle base. These two processes work synergistically to stoke your internal furnace so that it becomes a full-time fat incinerator.



Think of your body as the most brilliantly designed machine in the universe. It wants to run clean. It wants to burn fat around the clock. It feels good when things are working properly. This program simply provides the tools and fuels that your body needs to function according to the manufacturer's specifications.



Diet Detective: You also promise: "Slimmer hips, firmer thighs, flatter abs, more defined arms, and clearer, younger-looking skin in just six weeks?" Do you really think that is medically possible without completely changing your entire life? It seems like so many empty promises that publishers write on book covers to sell books.



Christine: I don't just think it's possible-- I KNOW it's possible! I've seen it over, and over, and over again with my test subjects. But don't take my word for it-- check out the testimonials page of the Ten Years Thinner web site. Look at the before and after photos. Read the testimonials. In fact, I'd be happy to provide you with a list of names and contact information of former test subjects. These are people who lost weight two, three, and four years ago and have kept it off. The most compelling promotional tools at my disposal are the actual people who have tried the program!



Diet Detective: Can you explain the rationale behind the dietary guidelines?



Christine: The organization of the dietary component of TEN YEARS THINNER is based on anthropological data and cutting edge research in the areas of immunology, physiology, and metabolism.



During the first three weeks (phase 1), the reader adopts a meal plan that includes anti-inflammatory foods including antioxidant-rich fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, fish, poultry, eggs, game, and organically raised livestock. The second three-week phase adds limited amounts of dairy, soy, potatoes, dried fruit and fruit juice, grain-based carbohydrates, high glycemic and processed foods, feedlot meat, and dark chocolate. During the third and final ‘maintenance phase,' alcohol is reintroduced along with a weekly cheat meal during which he/she can eat and drink whatever her heart desires. Throughout each phase, readers are advised to follow a supplementation regimen that includes the omega-3 essential fatty acids lacking in contemporary diets.



This multi-tiered organization serves a dual purpose. First, it helps to reestablish physiological equilibrium by combating insulin resistance-- the number one inflammatory process contributing to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. And second, it permits an objective self-evaluation, providing individuals the opportunity to identify particular foods to which they may be sensitive so they can reduce or avoid their consumption in the future.



Diet Detective: You claim that your 25-minute workout delivers equal or better results than one that takes three times as long. How is this possible? Can anybody do it?



Christine: Exercise physiologists are now proving experimentally what I've known empirically for years-- namely that the most efficient way to induce progressive (and permanent!) fat loss is to elevate metabolic rate around the clock-- an endeavor best accomplished through a combination of resistance training and intense, short-duration exercise. Resistance training builds muscle, and a little muscle goes a long way toward increasing metabolic rate, caloric expenditure, and fat burning. Likewise, brief intervals of intense exercise induce a hormonal response that raises resting metabolic rate and increases overall fat burning for up to two days.



And yes-- the Ten Years Thinner exercise routines can be performed by almost anyone. As long as you can climb a flight of stairs without pain, and lift your arms over your head, you should have little difficulty doing the routines. The 20-minute beginner workout routine permits even previously sedentary individuals to train for fast, visible results. The more strenuous second phase routine has a built-in mechanism to allow for a lifetime of gradual, progressive improvements in conditioning and fitness. The optional third phase routine can be used as a stepping stone to more physically demanding activities like sports or as a training adjunct for competitive athletics. No matter what the phase, two pairs of light dumbbells are the only exercise equipment you will ever need.



Diet Detective: What do you think is the one most important thing that makes or breaks a diet/fitness program?



Christine: Long-term sustainability.



Diet Detective: Do you think that women need to exercise and train differently then men? If so, how?



Christine: Nope.



Diet Detective: In your book you talk about how no gym is needed. I'm wondering, does that mean that you don't think weight / strength training is critical? Can you explain?



Christine: That's not what I mean at all.... What I mean is, you don't need to join a gym, spend a fortune on exercise equipment, or devote your life to the human hamster wheel to see rapid, dramatic improvements in your physique. The Ten Years Thinner routines are built around light resistance training that can be done just about anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. In less time than it would take to watch your favorite sitcom, you can get a safe, balanced, full-body workout that harnesses several physiological principals to accelerate fat loss, build strength and stamina, and endow you with a youthful posture and a toned physique.



Diet Detective: How do you get someone motivated to stick to a fitness program?



Christine: That's tough to do. I'm convinced that motivation must come from within. But when people see and feel results, they are automatically motivated to stick to a fitness program.



I believe the reason that most people find it hard to stick to an exercise program is because the vast majority of exercise routines that are compact enough to fit into their busy schedules are inefficient for promoting appreciable changes in body composition or improvements in health. Not only that, most exercise programs are tedious and boring. And who in their right mind would bother investing their limited time and energy into doing something they may not particularly enjoy, especially when the promised rewards are so completely exaggerated?



In contrast, the exercise program described in Ten Years Thinner embodies sustainability because it actually DOES deliver the promised rewards with a minimal time commitment. In addition, Ten Years Thinner improves your fitness level as it teaches you how to exercise efficiently. Hence, if you have the time and inclination to take up a sport, join an exercise class, or begin a weight-lifting regimen, you will have at your disposal both the necessary conditioning to undertake more physically-demanding activities, as well as the requisite knowledge to structure your training so that it best supports your health and physique goals.



Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge). Can you also explain how to do the exercise?



Christine: Interval training, consisting of all-out sprints (95-100% MHR) for as long as you can sustain the pace (45-60 seconds in a well-trained individual) followed by two to three minutes of moderate-intensity activity (or until HR has recovered to 60-70% MHR) and repeat. Twenty to thirty minutes of running, swimming, cycling, skating (etc.) intervals will provide a vastly superior workout to doing any of these activities at a moderate, sustained pace (60-80% MHR-- i.e. the "aerobic zone" or "target HR") for 90 minutes.



Diet Detective: If you could only do only one strength training exercise (using weights) what would it be?



Christine: A compound, multijoint movement that utilized free weights to challenge the full motion range of as many muscle groups as possible-- a wide squat (holding two dumbbells) combined with a bicep curl followed by an Arnold Press.



Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise for women? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?



Christine: Ab exercises using a Swiss ball.



Diet Detective: What's your favorite "junk food" - I realize that you don't believe there are any "junk" foods - but indulge us?



Christine: I never said there weren't any "junk foods;" I just said there weren't any bad food groups. We evolved eating plenty of healthy animal protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbohydrates. Unfortunately, the healthy, whole foods that comprised our genetically-perfect diet have been largely eliminated from our contemporary food supply in favor of grains, processed foods, dairy, and feedlot meat. There are lots of crappy foods that humans were never physiologically-designed to eat and would do best to avoid as much as possible. My personal favorite is tiramisu.



Diet Detective: What's your favorite healthy breakfast?



Christine: Dinner leftovers. Or a frozen fruit, yogurt (plain), and whey protein smoothie.



Diet Detective: What do you consider the world's most perfect food?



Christine: Any meal that combines lean protein, healthy fat, and fruits and/or vegetables is a nutritionally "perfect" meal. An example-- chicken kabobs with peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms, generously basted in olive oil and herbs de provence.



Diet Detective: Who do you respect most, or who motivates you?



Christine: Brilliant, passionate, funny people-- truth seekers-- people who don't bury their heads in the sand in the face of adversity. My heroes are Oprah, John Irving, John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.



Diet Detective: If you had to choose a specific song or band to get you excited for your workout, what would it be? What other songs are on your iPod ?



Christine: I have fairly eclectic (and not terribly sophisticated) tastes in music-- I think I like one song from every band that ever existed. Stuff that currently spins through my iPod includes a lot of Queen, Blink 182, and Jimmy Eat World.



Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi?



Christine: I read novels. And I write novels-- though I have yet to sell one!



Diet Detective: What's the most bodacious chance you've ever taken?



Christine: Graduating from Yale Med School with six figures in student loans and then quitting my orthopedic surgery residency.



Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?



Christine: Being an orthopedic surgery resident.



Diet Detective: Define failure.



Christine: Accepting defeat.



Diet Detective: What's the best book about health that you've read? (aside from your own)



Christine: The Anti-Inflammation Zone by Barry Sears, Ph.D. and The Paleolithic Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D.



*Thank you!!!! *



Christine: Thank you, Charles, for providing me this wonderful opportunity to spread the word!



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The Why: It's a very stylish watch that has all kinds of interesting features including a built-in pedometer to help keep you on track for walking 10,000 active steps per day without a transmitter belt. Using the latest in activity technology, an altimeter helps measure active steps and active time to provide an effective calorie count. The Activity Watch is great for hiking, running, or simply walking around and doing your regular activities. If you find yourself too busy for exercise, just strap on the Activity Watch and leave the calculating to the watch.


The Health Bonus: According to a recent walking study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, when you use a pedometer or a device that tells you how long you've walked or run, you are more active.


What We Liked Best: Polar finally came out with a great looking watch that has some cool features besides a heart rate monitor with a strap.


What We Liked Least: While the watch has no familiar chest strap (that you typically find with almost every Polar watch), it also doesn't have a heart rate monitor. Polar, what were you thinking? Can't you please come up with this style watch along with a strapless heart rate monitor like the Mio ( )?


What It Replaces: Timex Ironman


The Price: $199.95


Other Offerings: This particular watch comes in only one style, but Polar offers many heart rate monitor / watches. See their offerings at


Where to,, or you can go to the store finder at


Nutritional Information: Walking at 3.0 mph will burn about 231 calories per hour for a 155 pound person.


Ingredients: The Activity Watch's accelerometer specifically measures forward motion and allows for the precise measurement of everyday physical activities such as choosing the stairs versus the escalator or walking the dog. It then combines personalized information including height, weight and age to provide accurate and useful output throughout each active period. The Activity Watch also features a built-in altimeter and barometer to measure both altitude and weather conditions for a more informed experience.

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(Source: JAMA and Archives Journals ) Individuals who are physically active during their leisure time appear to be biologically younger than those with sedentary lifestyles, according to a report in the January 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Regular exercisers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis, according to background information in the article. "A sedentary lifestyle increases the propensity to aging-related disease and premature death," the authors write. "Inactivity may diminish life expectancy not only by predisposing to aging-related diseases but also because it may influence the aging process itself."



Lynn F. Cherkas, Ph.D., of King's College London, and colleagues studied 2,401 white twins, administering questionnaires on physical activity level, smoking habits and socioeconomic status. The participants also provided a blood sample from which DNA was extracted. The researchers examined the length of telomeres-repeated sequences at the end of chromosomes-in the twins' white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukocyte telomeres progressively shorten over time and may serve as a marker of biological age.



Telomere length decreased with age, with an average loss of 21 nucleotides (structural units) per year. Men and women who were less physically active in their leisure time had shorter leukocyte telomeres than those who were more active. "Such a relationship between leukocyte telomere length and physical activity level remained significant after adjustment for body mass index, smoking, socioeconomic status and physical activity at work," the authors write. "The mean difference in leukocyte telomere length between the most active performed an average of 199 minutes of physical activity per week and least active minutes of physical activity per week subjects was 200 nucleotides, which means that the most active subjects had telomeres the same length as sedentary individuals up to 10 years younger, on average." A sub-analysis comparing pairs in which twins had different levels of physical activity showed similar results.



Oxidative stress-damage caused to cells by exposure to oxygen-and inflammation are likely mechanisms by which sedentary lifestyles shorten telomeres, the authors suggest. In addition, perceived stress levels have been linked to telomere length. Physical activity may reduce psychological stress, thus mitigating its effect on telomeres and the aging process.



"The U.S. guidelines recommend that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week can have significant health benefits," the authors write. "Our results underscore the vital importance of these guidelines. They show that adults who partake in regular physical activity are biologically younger than sedentary individuals. This conclusion provides a powerful message that could be used by clinicians to promote the potential anti-aging effect of regular exercise."



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Yes, that's the cover story on the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal. The story is about Tony Gonalez of the Kansas City Chiefs, and his vegetarian ways. According the Journal he lives "solely on plant food, a combination of nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains and the like..." Why did he convert his diet -- . If you have WSJ subscription you can read the story here.

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Q&A wth Kacy Duke

Posted by DietDetective Jan 19, 2008

Kacy Duke is one of the world's most sought-after personal trainers and fitness consultants. She has served as a spokesperson for Nike and LifeFitness vitamins. She has developed some of the most innovative fitness programs for the prestigious Equinox Fitness Clubs and corporations in North America, Japan, and throughout Europe.


Name: Kacy Duke


Birthday: March 28th 19 something (smile)


Location: New York City and beyond





Diet Detective: Hey Kacy, so glad that you're participating in this interview. I remember when Equinox just opened up on the upper west side in Manhattan, I used to see you there training and teaching classes (always the most popular I might add). My first question is something that we all would like to know: How did you get into the fitness business?



Kacy: Honestly, I feel as though I was born into it. Even as a kid, I loved the feeling of movement. Wildly energetic, I excelled at track and field and literally danced my way through my teens. As an adult, I let my body lead the way as I searched for a way to combine the power of running with the grace of dance. I studied dance therapy (healing through movement), taught aerobics, became a Nike Body Elite Personal trainer, and helped create the Equinox Fitness Clubs. Today I feel like my mission to help fitness find a home in everyone's life. My job now is to help the world understand that fitness is not just about the external. It's about the power and grace that also comes from within. It's about understanding that being fit is LIFE SUPPORTING and can give you much more than just a firm butt.



Diet Detective: You train many celebrities? It always amazes me how they can transform their bodies for a particular movie part. How do they do it? What are some secrets you can tell us?



Kacy: I honestly wish there was some secret to tell you! Getting in shape is a celebrity's job, so that can make it somewhat easier. But at the most basic level, they are just people like you and me and they still have to do the work. There are no shortcuts or magic potions. It's interesting that you ask about how they get in shape for a particular movie role, because though that's obviously important for their careers. I do try to have my celebrity clients, whether it's Kirsten Dunst or Rachel Weisz or Bruce Willis, look to themselves, not any particular role, for the motivation to get in shape. It's my experience that once you appreciate your body and believe in yourself, the tough physical work of getting in top shape comes so, so much easier. So I guess that's my secret, look inside, not outside for your motivation. Do it for you.



Diet Detective: Can you explain the concept: "I Am," "I Can," "I Do?"



Kacy: It's a 3-step process for getting, and most importantly, staying in shape. You can think of it as getting the body of your dreams from the inside out. It breaks down like this:



I AM = The Mindset. Taking a complete emotional inventory and exploring your relationship with your body. This is far and away the most important step to getting in shape, but it's the one everyone skips...even most trainers. Nothing positive can happen out of hate. Yet how many women use hate as their motivation? They hate their thighs. They hate their arms. A negative self image may get you in motion. But it can't sustain you; only burn you out. Only positive affirmation can get you where you want to be.



I CAN = The Motivation. Once you believe in yourself, you can start tapping your true strength and potential. This is HIGHLY motivating for clients. I know I really have them when they're in the gym beaming from ear to ear because they can't believe what they're capable of! The more you see you can do the more you want to do. You, not any outside influences, are your own motivation.



I DO = The Movement. This is the final step. This is where you push out of your comfort zone, tap into your inner goddess and make magic happen! Seriously, once you reach I Do, you won't believe the reflection starting back at you from the mirror...or how much you love it from the inside out.



Diet Detective: How do you get a client motivated to stick to a fitness program?



Kacy: I have them go for the unrealistic. It sounds counter-intuitive. But if you come into a training program not believing you can really get what you want, you're not going to be very motivated to hang with it. If you come in and think, "Okay, I'm really going to do it this time" (and of course you have the plan to make it happen), you'll be more motivated to stick with it.



Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don't tell their clients, but should?



Kacy: I have to go back to I AM on this one. You really, really need to start your fitness journey on the inside, in your heart and in your mind. Develop a relationship with your body, don't berate it or beat it up. Love it. Love yourself. Show your body some love. To me, that's what it's all about.



Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge)?



Kacy: Well, obviously I'm a little biased, but I think my Warrior moves (long lunges combined with high knee sweeps) are hands down the best non-weight moves for toning and tightening on the outside while also making you feel really, really good on the inside!



Diet Detective: If you could only do only one strength training exercise (using weights) what would it be?



Kacy: Honestly, I would rather do high-energy I DO moves, where you're leaping and jumping and using your own body weight for resistance than weighted moves any day. You end up feeling stronger, lighter, and more agile than if you do heavy weighted exercises. But to answer your question, I would probably pick flip squats.



Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?



Kacy: I would have to say crunches. When they're done properly and with precision, they can be an excellent exercise. But they're easy to cheat or do incorrectly. I recommend one or two similar ab moves in my book, but I'm very careful to give explicit directions for making them work.



Diet Detective: Can you tell us one strength training myth that we probably have not heard about? Or would be surprised to learn?



Kacy: A lot of people still insist that women cannot "bulk up." I'm sorry, but that's just not true. No, maybe they can't get quite as big as a man; but depending on your muscle fibers and genetic makeup, it is possible for some women to bulk up. That doesn't mean they shouldn't strength train. They just need to take a different approach. I don't worry about this too much with my clients, because I don't use heavy weights. I increase the resistance and work effort in other ways that I find creates lean, pretty muscles.



Diet Detective: If you could eat one forbidden or unhealthy food (candy, cakes, etc..) whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?



Kacy: I really don't like the term forbidden food. It puts the food on some impossible pedestal and gives it a prominence in your life that it shouldn't have. Food is food. There's no forbidden food. I eat steak and bread and chocolate and drink alcohol. It's all about appreciating your body enough to understand the role those foods play. When everything is in its proper place, and you're respecting and loving yourself, your diet naturally falls into a balance where the most nutrient dense foods take prominence and the sweets and accessories round it out.



My favorite treat? That would be Red Velvet Cake! All my friends know it has to be from Make My Cake, a great bakery up in Harlem here in New York City. I love it!!



Diet Detective: What is the one food or meal you always eat before training? What do you advise clients to eat?



Kacy: I try not to be that rigid about what I eat. Because what happens if I can't get that food? Then I'll be thrown off, and I don't like that. I do have my own energy mix of almonds and dried cranberries, which is perfect for keeping hunger at bay while providing me with lasting energy, and of course valuable nutrients. I tell my clients to eat something nutritious and light one to two hours before their workout. A handful of nuts. Half a banana. Just a little something so they're fueled up, but not weighed down, for the work ahead.



Diet Detective: What's your favorite breakfast?



Kacy: 0% fat Greek yogurt with a little honey, blackberries and Fiber one cereal.



Diet Detective: What do you consider the world's most perfect food?



Kacy: Edamame. They're the perfect blend of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You can also flavor them with darn near anything. I've been known to spice them up with everything from curry powder to strawberry juice! Love ‘em.



Diet Detective: On those days when you're not motivated to work out, but you should, what's the one thought that gets you going?



Kacy: How much better I'll feel 10 minutes into my workout. Listen, we ALL have those days when we'd rather sink deeper into the sofa than get up and move; but that's when your body needs movement most. It's all physics. Once you get in motion, your body wants to stay in motion!



Diet Detective: What person do you respect most, or who motivates you?



Kacy: My mother. She would say "Jump Kacy and let the net appear" but she has always been my net. That was her way of saying dream big and never give up! I love her so much.



Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi?



Kacy: I'm very spiritual. I talk to God. I study about the Goddesses from long ago. I burn candles and mix teas and tinctures. I use bath salts. I practice positive affirmations every single day. I live a pretty hectic life here in NYC. It's important to use all the tools I can to reduce stress, stay focused, and center myself. I talk about that quite a bit in my book, because I think inner peace is the first step to outer fitness.



Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain?



Kacy: I don't necessarily think in terms of calorie bargains, but I know what you mean. It would probably be Wasa Crispbread. I love it with sashimi-style salmon. It's satisfying without being overly starchy.



Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?



Kacy: Not having one



Diet Detective: Define failure.



Kacy: Not using the gifts God gave me to my fullest potential.



Diet Detective: What's the best book about health that you've read? (Aside from your own)



Kacy: I've read so many great ones, this is tough. How about if I tell which one I'm loving right now? This book is not so much about health, as it is about your body and the muscles you're training. I think it's a great one. It's called Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier.



Diet Detective: Do you have a pet?



Kacy: Not currently. I did have Starr, my most beloved dog, who passed away last year. Right now Starr still has my heart and I'm not yet ready to take it back. I do miss him so.



Diet Detective: What did you want to be at the age of 5? (as far as a career)?



Kacy: A dancer actor doctor!



*Thank you!!!! *



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More research from Dr. Noakes (read the DD interview with Dr. Noakes here) from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. The researchers tracked 79 healthy women with an average age of 49 and a body mass index of about 33 (basically obese). After one year, the researchers found that weight loss was greater in the study participants who reported consuming a higher-protein diet, both in grams and as a percentage of energy. Read the abstract of the study here.

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"Valerie Waters is Hollywood's Hot Trainer;" says US Weekly Magazine. Seventeen years experience getting celebrities ready for important movie rolls, events, magazine lay outs and awards ceremonies has established Valerie as the premier personal trainer in Los Angeles--one who can produce the results, and fast. Appearing on Good Morning America, E News, VH1 and CNN among others, and regularly featured in top publications ranging from Glamour, Vanity Fair, In Style, Fitness and Self, to People US Weekly and Life & Style, Valerie is the first person called by Hollywood's elite when they need to either get in shape or stay that way. They call Valerie, because Valerie is the ultimate fitness problem solver. She has won the reputation for a quick turn-around, and a trademark look that is more tone and trim than bulk and build. For females she draws from the very physiques that inspire her: athletic, elegant, and toned, while still feminine. For males, she avoids excess mass in favor of a fit, lean appearance. It is her natural connection with people that truly sets her apart. Her capacity to translate a person's emotions whether positive or negative into a customized workout is her forte, making her client's experience a transformation of the mind as well as the body.


Valerie also designs and builds home gyms, thus keeping, her clients equipped to stay in shape whether at home or in the office. For movie locations, Valerie developed the Muscle Truck, a fully outfitted, high-end gym packed neatly into the back of an eighteen-wheel rig. An on site fitness center for Hollywood's power players, the Muscle Truck has been used on such feature films as A Beautiful Mind, The Italian Job, Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and 13 going on 30 with Jennifer Garner.


Valerie lives and trains her clients in Brentwood, California.


Name: Valerie Waters


Birthday: (12/28)



Location: Los Angeles, CA






Diet Detective: Hey Valerie, wonderful that you agreed to be interviewed-I know our readers are excited to hear what you have to say about health and fitness. My first question is something that we all would like to know: How did you get into the health area-what is your background?



Valerie: I learned to love exercise during high school. I was on the varsity track team and what I learned is greatly responsible for where I am today. I learned that when there is great effort, you get to feel really good about the result. I learned that it feels amazing to power through a challenging workout. I learned that it takes practice to master a new skill. Even now when I try something new, especially if coordination is involved, it takes some time. I don't get it right away but I know if I just run the pattern 8 - 10 times it will start to click. And finally, at this very young age, I learned that exercise could make me feel better. This single facet of physical exercise, the ability to leave negative thoughts or feelings behind a tough workout, has carried me through life's inevitable ups and downs and by the time I graduated high school I was addicted to exercise. I started studying everything about it and eventually ended up at Matrix One, a very exclusive Westside gym. Within one month of becoming a trainer I was booked solid 8 hours a day, and knew I'd found my calling. From there I continued to perfect my technique by studying and staying on top of industry news and working with some of the best in the fitness world.



Diet Detective: Ok, we're dying to know, what's different when you train a celebrity versus the average "Jane" or "Joe?"



Valerie: Believe it or not it is about the same, with the exception that when I train an actor there is usually a tighter deadline and they are either going to be on the big screen or photographed on the Red Carpet. This greatly increases one's motivation. In addition to that, it's fun to work with my celebrity clients because they always have good stories, such as, "At the Oscars last night..." or "last weekend I was at a gala at the MET..."



Diet Detective: What do you do each day? Do you train at a specific gym? Move around a lot.... What is a "day-in-the life" of a celebrity trainer?



Valerie: I train most of my clients at a small private training facility called Pro Gym, but sometimes I train clients at my home gym. I like to do my own workout first thing in the morning and then have breakfast. From there, I head to Pro Gym for a couple of clients, then back home for lunch, emails, phone calls, etc, and then back to the gym for one or two more clients. Afternoons are more office based, working on my website (, my new product ( and my latest project Red Carpet Ready, my 6 week accelerated program now available at



Diet Detective: Out of all the celebrities you've trained-who is the hardest working? And why? What can we learn?



Valerie: Jennifer Garner, Rachel Nichols, and Poppy Montgomery



These women first made fitness a priority, and then learned to love it. Now they look forward to their time in the gym as well as the results they can both see and feel. I think what people can learn from this is that they didn't really start to love it until after they had committed to it and started experiencing the benefits.



Diet Detective: You've been called the ultimate fitness problem solver-what do you think the biggest issue that people have when it comes to training and getting in shape?



Valerie: Usually the hardest part is the diet and/or someone's schedule but it starts with really wanting it. You can wish you were in shape all you want but until you are ready to take action it's not going to happen. Once someone has made the decision to commit, they make it happen. They don't eat the cookie, they don't make excuses and they get up early to workout.



Diet Detective: Would you mind telling us about the Muscle Truck-I just think that is amazing. How did you come up with the idea?



Valerie: Basically, the Muscle Truck, is a fully outfitted, high-end gym packed neatly into the back of an eighteen-wheel rig that can be booked on any movie set in any location. The Muscle Truck has been used on such feature films as A Beautiful Mind, The Italian Job, Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and 13 going on 30 with Jennifer Garner. The idea came about while I was training a client in a remote location. They had a 18 wheeler with some free weights thrown in it, and I thought, "wouldn't this be great if this was set up like a gym at your house with great lighting, air conditioning, the best equipment and a rockin' sound system." So I hired a contractor to build me one.



Diet Detective: What about the Valslide? How did you come up with that?



Valerie: The Valslide is my secret weapon. I created it to help my clients get the most effect results in shortest period of time. The unique sliding motion makes the exercises seem easier, but because the Valslide keeps your muscles engaged through the full range of motion it's actually more effective. It is specifically designed for flowing, controlled range of motion that activates the muscles that lift your butt and slim your thighs. I got the idea when I was training at an athletic performance facility and they were doing all these great exercises with a slide board. I loved the concept of the slide board, but I didn't like the idea of it taking up 8 ft. The Valslide uses the same principals of the slide board and then some, and will grant you results that no machine can match. The Valslide will improve your balance, shape your body and help you burn a greater amount of calories in less time. What's not to like about that?



Diet Detective: How do you get a client motivated to stick to a fitness program?



Valerie: I simply remind them of their goals. By doing this, they themselves decide to stick to it. If they are complaining about doing the next set, it often just takes me saying:



"Bikini. Hawaii. 3 weeks. You decide." (or whatever their goal is).



Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don't tell their clients, but should?



Valerie: I tell my clients this, but I don't know if other trainers do and that is: When it comes to having the body you want, it is more about the diet than it is about the workout. You still need to workout in order to create shape and build muscle, but in terms of reducing body fat you must pay attention to what you eat.



Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge)



Valerie: The Valslide Reverse Lunge. This single exercise delivers the most bang for your buck. You work your glutes, quads, and core, you challenge your balance and you burn a ton of calories.



Diet Detective: If you could only do only one strength training exercise (using weights) what would it be?



Valerie: Valslide reverse lunge with one arm pulley row or with a dumbbell shoulder press. By incorporating an upper body exercise with the Valslide reverse lunge you work your entire body.



Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?



Valerie: I see so many exercises being massacred and it's usually because they are using too much weight. Proper form is always more important than the amount of weight you are lifting.



Diet Detective: If you could eat one forbidden or unhealthy food (candy, cakes, etc..) whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?



Valerie: Chips and Salsa



Diet Detective: What is the one food or meal you always eat before training? What do you advise clients to eat?



Valerie: I don't eat a lot before I workout, but I do want to have something in my system to give me energy. I always have a combination of protein and carbohydrates before I workout. My favorite snack would be a small handful of almonds and an equal amount of California Raisins.



Diet Detective: What do you consider the world's most perfect food?



Valerie: My top 4 in order are: 1. Salmon 2. Egg whites 3. Quinoa 4. Broccoli



Diet Detective: On those days when you're not motivated to work out, but you should, what's the one thought that gets you going?



Valerie: My motto. Which is: "you are just one workout away from a good mood." I absolutely believe in the power of exercise to put you in a better mood.



Diet Detective: Do you have a favorite recipe? Can you share it?



Valerie: ½ cup of oatmeal (cooked according to package), with one scoop of chocolate protein powder stirred in, and topped with 1 tablespoon of California Raisins. This is my favorite breakfast!



Diet Detective: What person do you respect most, or who motivates you?



Valerie: Strength and Conditioning Coach, Michael Boyle.



Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi?



Valerie: I like yoga but I also find a good circuit weight routing does the same thing.



Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain?



Valerie: A few strawberries with jus a little warm chocolate sauce. Feels and tastes decadent but is still low calorie.



Diet Detective: Define failure.



Valerie: Not trying.



Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?



Valerie: Selling food at the fair at age 14



Diet Detective: What did you want to be at the age of 5? (as far as a career)?



Valerie: I'm not sure I was thinking about a career at 5. I remember wanting to be a fairy princess but I don't think that held a lot of potential as a career.



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Scientists have found an explanation for runners who struggle to increase their pace, cyclists who can't pedal any faster and swimmers who can't speed up their strokes. Researchers from the University of Exeter and Kansas State University have discovered the dramatic changes that occur in our muscles when we push ourselves during exercise.



We all have a sustainable level of exercise intensity, known as the ‘critical power'. This level can increase as we get fitter, but will always involve us working at around 75-80% of our maximal capacity. Published in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, this research shows why, when we go beyond this level, we have to slow down or stop altogether. This is the first time that scientists have looked at processes taking place inside the muscles when we exceed the critical power.



The study showed that when we exceed our critical power, the normally-stable pH level in our muscles, is quickly pushed to levels typical of exhaustion. Moreover, the level of phosphocreatine in the muscles, a high-energy compound which serves as an energy reserve, is quickly depleted when exercise intensity exceeds the critical power.



Professor Andy Jones of the University of Exeter, lead author on the paper, said: "The concept of ‘critical power' is well known by sportspeople, but until now we have not known why our bodies react so dramatically when we exceed it. We were astonished by the speed and scale of change in the muscles."



The research team used a magnetic resonance scanner to assess changes in metabolites in the leg muscles of six male volunteers who exercised just below and just above the critical power.



The research offers a physical explanation for the experiences of exercisers of all levels of ability. Professor Jones concludes: "The results indicate that the critical power represents the highest exercise intensity that is sustainable aerobically. This means that it is likely to be an important intensity for maximising training gains. Exercising above the critical power cannot be sustained for long because it is associated with changes in the muscle which lead to fatigue."



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America's escalating interest in health and wellness, the boundless passion for discovering authentic ingredients and cooking techniques from around the globe and the increased desire for local and artisan food are all driving forces in evolving our collective palate. McCormick explored these and other trends to develop the top 10 flavor pairings for 2008.


    • Oregano and Heirloom Beans: The intersection of functional food and fantastic flavor, this coupling is an antioxidant powerhouse.







    • Vanilla Bean and Cardamom: A flavor match made in heaven taps into America's growing passion for indulgent, yet approachable luxury.




    • Chile and Cocoa: Old world authenticity in a modern context -- the result is complex heat, depth, dimension and richness.




    • Coriander and Coconut Water: The essence of the tropics coaxes nuances of a chameleon-like spice bringing forth light, clean flavors.




    • Lemon Grass and Lychee: Exotic fruits from far away and the ever-growing popularity of Asian cuisines pave the way for this refreshing match.




    • Red Curry and Masa: This duo brings together Latin and Asian influences to create a unique flavor experience.




    • Orange Peel and Natural Wood: A new taste sensation is born when the smokiness of wood is matched with tangy orange peel.




    • Allspice and Exotic Meats: This adventurous combination represents America's pursuit of experimentation.




    • Poppy Seed and Rose: An elegant and sensuous pair that captures the pursuit of cuisines from North Africa and the Middle East.




    • Rubbed Sage and Rye Whiskey: A powerful, all-American team -- sage is a wonderful complement to the dry, gutsy nature of rye whiskey, a historic brew poised for a great renaissance.


1,608 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon

Q&A with Jenna Phillips

Posted by DietDetective Dec 20, 2007

Jenna Phillips is on a mission to motivate and encourage people to make smart lifestyle choices. One source of her own motivation came in February 2000 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Jenna tackled the challenge head on by making simple changes including daily physical activity and healthy foods. She began studying nutrition and holistic healing, and became a certified teacher for classes in both spinning and pilates. Since then, Jenna has been developing a loyal following of students and an extensive list of clients whom she personally trains.


In February 2007, Jenna’s love of inspiring people to get moving and get healthy motivated her to found her own fitness company, Mission Possible. Featuring her trademark outdoor training sessions, Mission Possible was an instant hit, and people from all over LA were hooked: some still drive over 30 miles to attend a workout.


Today Jenna is moving her business to the next level as she makes her students enthusiastic about taking care of themselves. By being active and making smart choices, Jenna has achieved her goal of being able to take only a miniscule amount of insulin to control her diabetes. As a result, she is enjoying a quality of life that has impacted her health as well as every aspect of her life. This balanced approach to nutrition and wellness is the foundation of her business, and she can’t wait to help more people experience the same benefits!


Name: Jenna Phillips


Birthday: August 6th 1982


Location: Los Angeles, CA




Diet Detective: Hey Jenna, so glad that you’re participating in this interview. You’re a wonderful, motivating and powerful force—and we appreciate you sharing some of your wisdom and excitement with readers. My first question is something that we all would like to know: How did you get into the fitness business?


Jenna: Thank you, Charles! It is absolutely my pleasure. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000. That was how I realized the importance of nurturing my body with healthy food and daily exercise. This became my lifestyle and the benefits I experienced made me passionate about health and fitness. I decided to learn all I could to improve my diabetes even more. I also wanted to teach others how to reach a level of optimal health. I majored in nutrition in college and became certified as a Spinning and Pilates Plus instructor. That’s how it all began!


Diet Detective: Can you give me a bit the details behind the name “Mission Possible?”


Jenna: Ever since my diagnosis, I have been on a Mission to prove that it was Possible to reverse the severity and complications of diabetes. I want to show everyone, not just diabetics, that they can live more comfortably if they eat consciously and exercise efficiently. So many of my students were amazed that I had dropped some extra pounds and reduced my insulin dosage just from diet and exercise alone. I found myself talking about my grocery list and personal workout routine with so many different people everyday. I realized that I could be of more help if I just invited people to join me on my Mission. And so my company, Mission Possible, came to life! It’s a complete package. I host outdoor group exercises and offer nutritional mentoring and personal training.


Diet Detective: I’ve read that you were 30 pounds overweight—looking at you I find that hard to believe—you look amazing. How long did it take to lose the weight and get in shape?


Jenna: I was taking so much insulin in the early stages of my diabetes. I was a skinny kid my whole life, and I gained all that weight in just 18 months after my diagnosis. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew that it was up to me to turn things around. I finally created my own workout and meal plan that was everything but deprivation. It was all about moderation. It took me about 6 months to lose the weight and get my glucose levels under control. At that point, my body needed very little insulin.


Diet Detective: How do you get a client motivated to stick to a fitness program?


Jenna: I call my clients “agents” because we are all on some kind of a Mission. The most important element of my training is that I make it fun. I never create an atmosphere where my agents feel like working out is a chore so they always look forward to training. We all want instant gratification, but I remind them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Healthily transforming our bodies cannot happen overnight. If my agents want long lasting results they have to stay committed to a plan. Being active is a must. It’s just like brushing your teeth.


Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don’t tell their clients, but should?


Jenna: No matter what exercise you are doing you should always use your stomach. Imagine pulling your belly button into your spine. Having a strong core is no different from a house having a strong foundation.


Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge)


Jenna: Pushups! If they are done correctly they work the entire body all at the same time.


Diet Detective: If you could only do only one strength training exercise (using weights) what would it be?


Jenna: Squats with a weighted bar. The extra weight gets your heart pumping so it’s almost like doing a little cardio while weight training. Your whole body gets attention because you have to use your core for balance, glutes and legs to squat, and upper body to stabilize the weighted bar. I love multi tasking!


Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?


Jenna: Lateral deltoid raises with hand weights is one of the most painful ones for me to watch! I often see people using momentum and “throwing” the weights up. This makes their arms go up too high and can cause injury. When done incorrectly, they miss out on the purpose for doing lateral raises in the first place. Deltoids are beautiful muscles and should not be ignored.


Diet Detective: Can you tell us about the concept of training the “core.” You talk about using resistance cords, run, sprint, lunge, hike, climb stairs, stretch, jump rope—how is that different?


Jenna: That’s just it, there is no difference. All of my exercises are core-based. I teach them in a way that you have to use your core for balance and longevity in each exercise. I make sure that everyone uses their core at all times while training with me. I even encourage people to “engage” their abs while they’re doing nothing at all. Soon enough it becomes second nature. Once the core is strong, every other body part becomes stronger much faster. If the core isn’t strong enough it’s really hard to efficiently work out.


Diet Detective: If you could eat one forbidden or unhealthy food (candy, cakes, etc..) whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?


Jenna: Anything chocolate, but definitely LAVA CAKE! Yummy!


Diet Detective: What is the one food or meal you always eat before training? What do you advise clients to eat?


Jenna: I always make sure to have a good balance of fat, protein, and complex carbs. I usually have a whey protein smoothie before a workout, and I suggest that my agents do the same. They are easily digested and fuel the body. In my smoothies, I always add flax seed oil for my essential fatty acids and Acai berry juice for the phytonutrients and antioxidants.


Diet Detective: What’s your favorite breakfast?


Jenna: I love egg whites and oatmeal with flax seed. I flavor the oatmeal with cinnamon (very good for you!) and stevia instead of Splenda.


Diet Detective: What do you consider the world’s most perfect food? be specific and try not to answer with a category but rather with a specific food item: for example, not “whole grain” but “raisin bran cereal”?


Jenna: I’m sure the last two answers gave it away. Flax seed is my favorite ultimate super food. The health benefits of adding this to your diet everyday are endless. Some of the most important things about flax seed is that it lowers cholesterol and has tons of fiber. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and omega-3s. You can literally add flax seed to anything: salads, soups, yogurt, cereal, desert, and you can even bake with it!


Diet Detective: On those days when you're not motivated to work out, but you should, what's the one thought that gets you going?


Jenna: I will never beat my diabetes if I slack off. My blood sugar levels are higher if I get out of my routine. I remind myself that I’m not staying active for just me alone. My Mission is much bigger than that. I have to set a good example if I want to show people how to attain their optimal level of health and fitness. This is my life’s purpose.


Diet Detective: Do you have a favorite recipe? Can you share it?


Jenna: I love to throw a bunch of veggies in a pan and sauté them just a bit so they are warm but still crunchy. I make sure to keep the heat on low to medium and spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray. I put carrots, snap peas, bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, red onions, broccoli, and cauliflower all together and add about 2-3 ounces of balsamic vinegar for some low-calorie flavor. After about 5 minutes, I remove the veggies from the heat and put it all on a plate. I finally top off the veggies with a little bit of hummus. Yummy!


Diet Detective: What person do you respect most, or who motivates you?


Jenna: All of my agents motivate me. I love training with them because I see their focus and perseverance. Watching their bodies transform is so rewarding! I have so much respect for anyone who makes the choice to make the change. I remind my agents that making the decision to get off the couch and come work out with me is the most challenging part. It isn’t easy to get out of a comfort zone. It takes a lot of determination to stick with a routine.


Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi?


Jenna: I do yoga whenever I can, but the one thing that relaxes me the most is Reiki. I am a certified practitioner and I do Reiki on myself every night before I go to bed. It’s a Japanese healing technique that allows for deep relaxation, decreases stress, destroys energy blockages, and detoxifies the system. It’s rejuvenating and calming at the same time.


Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain?


Jenna: I love these apple chips that I’ve only seen at Whole Foods. They come in a canister like Pringles. That really makes me feel like I’m buying a true snack food! They are dried and made without any added sugar, but they are so delicious! I love that they are crispy like chips, full of fiber, low in calories, and can totally satisfy me when I want a snack.


Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?


Jenna: I was a barista at a coffee shop when I was in high school. I had never consumed more caffeine or sugar in my life! It was endlessly available to me, and I just didn’t know any better back then. I can tell you right now that eating that way did not help my diabetes in any way!


Diet Detective: Define failure.


Jenna: I view it as the opposite of success in any given situation. I owe all my success (including my health) to having no plan b, no other plan of survival. Failure is not an option for me.


Diet Detective: What’s the best book about health that you’ve read?


Jenna: The one that is closest to my own beliefs about nutrition is probably The Great American Detox Diet by Alex Jamieson. She was Morgan Spurlock’s girlfriend in the movie Super Size Me. She put him on a very needed detox diet after he ate so much garbage for 30 days! Her book is full of simple recipes. It also has a lot of valuable information to incorporate into the way we buy our groceries and cook at home.


Diet Detective: Do you have a pet? Name?


Jenna: Not yet! I’ve been wanting to have a little workout buddy. I like Jack Russell terriers. They are so full of energy!


Diet Detective: What did you want to be at the age of 5? (as far as a career)?


Jenna: I really wanted to be a teacher or a doctor. I guess I’ve always wanted to be a leader and help others. I absolutely love what I do! It is so fulfilling and I wake up morning looking forward to the entire day. I literally have my dream job.


Thank you!!!!

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The Why: The weather's nice ... so hit the road, Jack. And don't just guess how far you'll go. Thanks to, you can go the distance and a whole lot more. This is a great tool for travelers, avid wanderers looking for new journeys, and/or those who want to share their favorite routes with family and friends. In a nutshell, this is how it works: 1) You enter your starting location and are shown a map. 2) You can zoom in and out, select satellite images to show photos of streets and landmarks, and even mark pit stops along the way. 3) You can save your route and get info such as distance, time, speed and calories burned.


The Health Bonus: Exercising at the appropriate intensity for the right length of time helps you lose weight and is key to keeping it off. Knowing how far you went, your pace and the approximate number of calories your workout burned will help you schedule and account for the physical activity.


What We Liked Best: You can label and save your routes to your own profile, choose to share them with the public, and/or e-mail them to share with others.



What We Liked Least: Never knowing about this before - "Where've you been all my life?"



What It Replaces: Overestimating or underestimating your workout. There will be no more "fish stories" ... now you'll really know the ground you cover.



The Price: Free.


Other Offerings:,,,



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Exercise increased the growth of new muscle cells and blood vessels in the weakened muscles of people with heart failure, according to two studies reported today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2007.


"If you have heart failure, exercise training can improve your health status, increase your ability to exercise and reverse patterns of muscle damage that are common in heart failure," said Axel Linke, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author on both studies.


In chronic heart failure, the heart can't pump enough blood to other organs in the body.


"In addition to getting out of condition because it becomes difficult to exercise, people with heart failure have cellular-level changes in their muscles that make them weaker, more prone to fatigue, and in later stages results in actual muscle shrinkage," he said.



In one study (abstract 3797), researchers investigated whether exercise training could activate progenitor cells, a pool of immature cells in skeletal muscle that can divide into various mature cells as needed for muscle repair.



Compared with healthy people, those with heart failure have about a 50 percent reduction in the number of progenitor cells in their muscles, Linke said.



Researchers examined biopsies of the vastus lateralis, the largest quadricep muscle in the outer thigh, in 50 men, average age 56, with moderate to severe heart failure - a level at which any exercise is uncomfortable. Researchers took the biopsies before and after a six-month period in which 25 men remained inactive and the other 25 participated in an individualized, physician-supervised endurance exercise program.



Study participants rode a stationary bicycle at least 30 minutes a day (usually divided into two sessions) at about half their peak exercise capacity.



At the end of the six-month study, levels of progenitor cells stayed the same in the inactive group but changed significantly in the exercisers:





  • Total number of progenitor cells (identified by c-kit+ protein marker on the cell surface) increased by 109 percent.

  • Progenitor cells differentiating into muscle cells (identified by c-kit/MEF2+ marker) increased by 166 percent.

  • Progenitor cells actively dividing to form new cells and repair muscle damage (identified by c-kit/Ki67+ protein marker) significantly increased six-fold.


"With exercise, the number of progenitor cells became almost normal, the cells started to divide again, and they began to differentiate into myocytes (muscle cells). And that's exactly what patients with heart failure need - replacement of muscle cells," Linke said.


Participants in the exercise program also felt better and increased their exercise capacity 20 percent during the six-month study, Linke said.


Whether exercise can induce similar changes in heart muscle is not known, researchers said.



"We also have c-kit+ cells in the heart but we don't know whether they are similar to those in skeletal muscle," Linke said.



In the second study (abstract 3796), researchers tracked endothelial progenitor cells that are created in bone marrow and circulate through the bloodstream. The cells help repair damaged blood vessel linings and spur new vessels to form in a process called vasculogenesis.



In heart failure, the linings of blood vessels are damaged, blood vessels in muscle do not dilate normally, and the number of small blood vessels (capillaries) in muscle tissue is reduced.



Researchers randomly assigned 37 men, average age 65, with severe heart failure to receive either 12 weeks of exercise training or to remain inactive. They took blood tests and biopsies of the quadricep muscle before and after the program. After 12 weeks, researchers found no changes in men assigned to the control group. In contrast, exercisers changed significantly:





  • Circulating progenitor cells (identified by CD34+ marker) increased 47 percent.

  • Circulating progenitor cells beginning to mature into endothelial cells (identified by CD34/KDR+ marker) significantly increased 199 percent.

  • Functional activity of the circulating progenitor cells (measured by migratory capacity) significantly increased 149 percent.

  • The density of capillaries in skeletal tissue significantly increased 17 percent.


"Whether you have moderate or severe heart failure, you can benefit from exercise therapy," Linke said. "These studies show that the benefits come from both the regeneration of muscle cells and the formation of blood vessels."


More than 5 million people in the United States have heart failure. About 1 percent of people over age 65 start having heart failure annually.

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The Why: This is a great opportunity for those of you who've ever aspired to run, but haven't been sure about how. Training to run long distances is much harder than putting one foot in front of the other. These downloadable workouts provide both companion and coach. The companion is Lance Armstrong (as in 7 time Tour de France winner and sub-3 hour New York City Marathon finisher), and the coach is Chris Carmichael (as in Lance Armstrong's long time trainer). Together they guide and accompany you through two different running workouts (see offerings below for descriptions), which you can download to your computer and then upload to a portable MP3 player. The workouts are in real time, meaning that if you are instructed to jog for 10 minutes or sprint for 2 minutes, the minutes are timed for you as you listen to instructions, support, and/or music. You'll be sprouting wings on the backs of your sneakers in no time...


The Health Bonus: Cardiovascular exercise! Even if you're not up for a sub-3 hour marathon finish, just a little exercise can help lower blood pressure. Current recommendations are to get 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise on at least five days of the week. Even a few minutes a day is better than nothing.


What We Liked Best: It's free, portable, and reusable-indoors and out!



What We Liked Least: Might not be great for beginners.



What It Replaces: Sitting on the couch, or forking out big bucks for a trainer. (Maybe you can save that for later, when you're a pro...)



The Price: Free through November 22, 2007. Each workout is valued at $9.99.



Audio Workout #1 - Running Intervals - 58:20 - Emphasizes speed and your body's ability to transport oxygen at maximum capacity. Alternates between 1 and 2-minute speed intervals with 2-minute recovery periods.



Audio Workout #2 - Tempo Intervals - 1:13:20 - Designed to improve aerobic development, help establish a good running rhythm, and simulate race conditions. This workout includes running at tempo pace for 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12-minute intervals with 2-minute recovery periods.



Web Site:



Where to Buy: Download free!


Nutritional Information:

FYI, a 155 pound person running for 60 minutes at 5 miles per hour would burn about 560 calories. The same person running at 6 miles an hour would burn about 700 calories in an hour. To estimate your own customized calorie burn from these workouts (and/or other activities, too!), use our Calorie Burn Rate Calculator.




1 Runner, with sneakers

2 Audio Workouts

1 Computer

1 MP3 player

Water, as needed.



Instructions: Upload audio workouts onto MP3 player. Apply MP3 player to runner and push play; take off slowly. Monitor temperature, drink water as needed.



1,325 Views 0 Comments Permalink

I've Got Your Back

Posted by DietDetective Sep 28, 2007

I thought it would be interesting to ask a back surgeon a few questions about fitness, weight control and back problems. I contacted famed NYC Dr. Nathaniel L. Tindel. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon who practices in New York City and Long Island. Dr. Tindel is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital and is an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine and chief of spinal surgery, at the Jacobi Medical Center. From 2001-2006, Dr. Tindel was the Director of the Spine Service in the Department of Orthopaedics Surgery at the Montefiore Medical Center. He has been honored by New York Magazine as a top doctor in the New York metropolitan area.


He is the Director of the New York Center for Spinal Disorders that offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment for all back and neck problems including back and/or neck pain, scoliosis, back related trauma, fractures, deformity, infection, cancer, osteoporosis, sciatica. (


Dr. Tindel's first book I've Got Your Back: The Truth about Spine Surgery Straight for a Surgeon was published in January 2007 by New American Library and is entering its second printing. The book is designed to help patients make the match between a particular back problem and the treatment option most likely to work for them.


Name: Nathaniel Tindel, M.D.


Your Location: New York City





Diet Detective: Hello and thanks for agreeing to do this interview! Back pain is a big problem for many of us. What was the biggest surprise you found in about back pain and a person' weight (aside from the obvious of carrying around more weight)?



Dr. Tindel: Despite many scientific studies looking at people who have back pain and a person's weight, the question of causality has not been conclusively established. Intuitively, many people assume that the evidence is clear, but it's not. That doesn't mean that there isn't a link between the two, just that researchers haven't found it, yet. A literature review of 65 of the best studies addressing the link between body mass index and back pain concluded that body weight can only be considered a possible weak risk factor for back pain, and the lack of good quality research precludes further commentary. What surprises me most about this important question (and I get asked by several patients every day) is how little high-quality scientific research has been conducted in this very important area and that we haven't figured out the answer.



Diet Detective: Is your weight one of the major contributors to someone having back pain, or is it just one of many contributory factors? And will weight loss "heal" or stop the back pain?



![!Dr]. Tindel: Scientifically, as I mentioned above, body weight can only be considered to have a weak link to back pain. But you asked an important second question that has been given some attention recently. Namely, if you are overweight and you DO have back pain, does weight loss help the back pain? With the rise of bariatric surgery, several researchers have looked at this and found that if you do have back pain and you do lose weight then there is a good chance the back pain will get better (but not necessarily "cure" it) but more importantly, that your overall functionality will improve, as well. So my answer is that if you do have weight issues and you also have back pain, losing weight may be of benefit for the back problem.



Diet Detective: How and why is your posture so important? Is there anything someone reading this can do other than "stand up strait" to help his or her posture? Something failsafe?



Dr. Tindel: Posture is important but constantly nagging for someone to "stand-up straight" doesn't seem to work. If you have ever asked someone to "stand-up straight" (whose mother hasn't told their child this?) you've probably noticed that it works for about 15 seconds, and then they go back to their natural position. I frequently get asked by the mom's of my adolescent scoliosis patients to tell them to "stand up straight." To the mom's dismay, I always take the side of the adolescent. We are all packaged differently and we all have different postures that are uniquely balanced and in equilibrium with our bodies. This is not to say that sitting posture and posture while walking and doing sports and physical activities isn't important: it is! It's just that everyday standing posture is so unique that it's almost impossible to change.



Diet Detective: What's your number one back suggestion for active people?



Dr. Tindel: Exercise in moderation and keep it going! Aerobic condition is the best for the back and it's also good for the heart and lungs.



Diet Detective: I often hear Doctors recommending physical activity to help alleviate back pain, but it seems that those that are physically active constantly have aches and pains - especially the back. Can you comment and offer a few (non-obvious) advice?



Dr. Tindel: There is a big difference between having a chronic or intermittent back problem (whatever that might be) and having a little muscle ache after a work-out. Either way, if the problem persists, it should be evaluated. I've found that even professional athletes can have back pain because of improper technique and with the right coaching have cured their pain. You can start with your trainer and if that doesn't work, consider a physical therapist that specializes in sports medicine. I can't stress enough, though, that if your pain continues or gets worse, you should seek medical advice.



Diet Detective: If someone is physically active what are some things they can do to prevent back pain, assuming they already have it? Also, I've read research that shows that stretching doesn't not prevent injury, so is there anything we should be doing to prevent injury or re-injury?



Dr. Tindel: Being physically active is the best advice we give patients with back pain. But being "active" doesn't mean you are doing the right activities that have been shown to make the back stronger. Weight-lifting, per se, is very physically active, but hasn't been shown to help back pain. What works best is low-to-moderate aerobic activity. Walking, swimming, biking, hiking and yoga all are good examples.


The advice on stretching has gone full circle. What we know for sure is that it's good to stretch, at least a little and that overstretching is worse than not stretching at all. If someone is re-injuring themselves, it's worth taking a close look at their exercise strategy with a trainer or physical therapist. Often times, it's a simple solution.



Diet Detective: I used to enjoy getting massaged regularly-especially for my neck and back, however, it started to hurt more than help. I know the therapist was good and well trained-are there certain situations where massage is not recommended?



Dr. Tindel: Everyone loves a massage and I'm included. But, aside from a short-lived stress reduction and feel-good experience, there is no lasting effect of massage for back pain. Rarely, patients report worsening symptoms with a very aggressive massage, but that is not common. Overall, I recommend massage, but not as an alternative to exercise and re-conditioning.



Diet Detective: For those weekend or part-time athletes, are they at an increased risk for back injury / pain? Any suggestions (other than to your doctor.. J)



Dr. Tindel: Weekend or part-time athletes are at increased risk for back pain and a whole host of other joint and bone injuries including knee injuries, stress fractures, tendonitis, muscle strains and ligament injuries, to name a few. Instead of doing a few "hard" work-outs during the weekend, it's better to do a couple of easier ones, spread out over the week.



Diet Detective: I've heard that you should "work through" and continue being active if you have pain or injury. Does staying active help?



Dr. Tindel: Staying active is the most important message I tell my patients but "working through" the pain is a different story. Pain is very subjective so how one person experiences pain may be entirely different from another's experience. "Working through" the pain is a very individual experience and I don't generally advise it. More importantly, if you find yourself continually doing so, your pain should be evaluated by a medical professional.



Diet Detective: What about yoga in terms of back pain? It seems obvious that it's helpful, but can it hurt you? When shouldn't you be doing yoga or Pilates?



Dr. Tindel: Yoga and Pilates are two great ways to stay fit and they are at the top of my list for anyone, with or without back problems. The only downside that I come across is that many people unfamiliar with these type of activities do not realize how strenuous they are and how important a good instructor can be. I'm always happy when a patient of mine tells me they are doing this type of activity.



Diet Detective: Okay, enough of the medical stuff. I would like to ask you a few personal questions. If you could eat one forbidden or unhealthy food whenever you wanted without gaining weight, what would it be?



Dr. Tindel: Ice cream



Diet Detective: If there were one healthy food item (something you love) that you had to eat every day, what would it be?



Dr. Tindel: Bananas



Diet Detective: What's your favorite breakfast?



Dr. Tindel: Cupcakes



Diet Detective: Do you have a pet?



Dr. Tindel: Yes, a mixed-breed rescue dog names Sally.



Diet Detective: Last book read?



Dr. Tindel: The Master and Margarita



Diet Detective: What did you want to be at the age of 5? (as far as a career)?



Dr. Tindel: A brain surgeon



Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?



Dr. Tindel: Fortunately, I loved all of my summer jobs, from fixing pools and being a life guard to summer camp counselor.



*Thank you!!!! *



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Why: These days, home cooked meals are scarce, and time is always of the essence. And so are whole grains. Here's a quick (90 seconds!), whole grain Calorie Bargain.


The Health Bonus: Whole grains are good for you (for reasons like dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, etc...).


What We Liked Best: A short cut to whole grains? Even better!


What We Liked Least: Some members of our tasting panel aren't crazy about eating microwaved foods. (But they were happy to see that you can also prepare this product stove top!! NOTE: This takes just a bit longer than 90 seconds,) Also, this was one of the only ones that we thought was great--the others have too many "unknown" ingredients for our taste.



What It Replaces: White rice, cous cous, or "regular" brown rice that takes over 30 minutes to prepare.



The Price: Suggested retail of about $1.99.


Offerings: There are 12 varieties of Ready Rice, but they are not all Calorie Bargain picks. The Whole Grain Brown is our favorite.


Web Site:



Where to Buy: Most major supermarkets.



Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 cup (140 g)

Servings Per Container: 2

Calories: 220

Calories from Fat: 35

Total Fat 4g

Cholesterol 0mg

Sodium 5mg

Total Carbs 41g

Dietary Fiber 2g

Protein 5g



Ingredients: Oh, how nice and simple these are: water; whole grain parboiled brown rice; canola oil and/or sunflower oil.



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