Monthly Archives: June 2010

LDL, HDL, ABC, XYZ… WTF?!

When was the last time you had a full physical check-up with lipid profile done on you? If you’re under 35 you probably said ‘ummm… never!’.

Getting a full physical check-up is one of the more important doctor visits and it needs to happen every year. I don’t care if you’re doctor says you have to do it once in 3-5 yrs… you have to do it every year. Your lipid profile can change within a few months or weeks or even days in some extreme cases.  Keeping this in mind let’s have a good look at lipid profiles.

What are lipid profiles?

Lipid profiles are blood tests that are used to measure the total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood lipids)level of an individual. The test provides information on the amount of good and bad cholesterol that is present in the system. Abnormal blood lipids are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Cholesterol Group – HDL, LDL, Triglycerides & total cholesterol:

Cholesterol has gotten such a bad rap lately that people freak out when they hear the word! FYI… cholesterol is very very critical to the body. Cholesterol is a waxy lipid present on every cell membrane. It’s uses include insulating neurons, building and maintaining cellular walls, metabolizing fat soluble vitamins, producing bile, and helping the synthesis of many hormones (including the sex hormones). The body is capable of producing all the cholesterol it needs with or without dietary cholesterol intake and the liver ensures that the body always has  ~ 1000-1400 mg of cholesterol. This is 3-4 time the recommended daily amount of 300 mg. What is even more beautiful is that your body auto regulates the amount of cholesterol i.e. if you eat less cholesterol it will make more and if you eat more cholesterol it will make less! So next time you eat two egg yolks don’t run around crazy… be happy that you got all these goodies.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) a.k.a Good Cholesterol:

This is the good guy! This guy does the awesome job of transporting cholesterol from the arteries & other body tissues to the liver (which is then excreted as bile). A higher value of HDL is favorable and is arguably more important than having a low LDL. As a matter of fact experts consider a HDL value of over 60 as ‘immunity’ against CVD.

Low (Risk)                          : Less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women
Average (Normal)             : 40-50 mg/dL for men and between 50-59 mg/dl for women
High (Favorable)              : 60 mg/dL or higher for both men and women

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) a.k.a Bad Cholesterol:

If there’s a good guy… that’s because there is a bad guy! This poor fellow has the cursed job of transporting new cholesterol from the liver to the tissues in the body. Let me make it clear, as negative as LDL is made to sound, transporting cholesterol to the tissues is a super critical function.

Optimal (Favorable)        : Less than 100 mg/dL
Near/above optimal         : 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high                 : 130-159 mg/dL
High                                     : 160-189 mg/dL
Very high (Risk                 : Greater than 190 mg/dL

Triglycerides:

This is the form in which most of our body fat exists. When you eat a large meal the calories that your body doesn’t need are converted into triglycerides right away and stored in fat cells (and will be used for energy later). If you regularly pig out i.e. eat more than what you need i.e if you’re fat… your triglyceride count will be high (hypertriglyceridemia). Triglycerides are a very important measure of heart health.

Desirable                            : Less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline high                : 150-199 mg/dL
High                                    : 200-499 mg/dL
Very high                           : Greater than 500 mg/dL

Total Cholesterol:

This is calculated as follows.

Total Cholesterol = HDL + LDL + (Triglycerides/5)

You don’t have to worry about this math because most labs will do the calculation for you.

The Ratios:

One way of assessing CVD risk from lipid profiles is by looking at the Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio (Total Cholesterol/HDL).

Risk/Gender             Men           Women

Very Low Risk               3.4               3.3

Low Risk                          4.0               3.8

Average Risk                  5.0               4.5

Moderate Risk               9.5               7.0

High Risk                       >23               >11

The other important ratio is the HDL to LDL (HDL/LDL). A value of 0.3-0.4 or high is desirable.

Lots of numbers in this blogpost… but these are numbers that will save your life and keep you healthy for long time to come! If you haven’t had a physical ever or in a year please get an appointment now… you will be happy you did.

Eat clean. Laugh much. Live well.

Peace.

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Workout 29th June ’10

Been pretty conservative for the past few days with my workouts to help my elbow & wrist heal faster. Todays was a good workout and I thought you guys will enjoy doing it.

5 rounds NOT for time…

10 Frog Jumps

10 Half Moons (15# or 10% BW)

10 One Arm Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift (50# or 1/3BW)

20 Situps

20 Jumping Lumges

20 Leg Raises

After all 5 rounds… Run 1 mile (again… NOT for time)

Remember this is NOT for time. The idea is to hold a medium intensity for extended period of time (~30-40mins). So rest as required between sets.

This is definitely an enjoyable workout. You wont be beating the piss out of you but will learn to pace yourself so you dont burn out. Do it as prescribed and see how you feel. I made it biased towards core work because I needed it… but you can replace situps with pushups or similar exercises to work the chest and/or shoulder.

Enjoy!

Fitness 101 – Jump Training

I’ve mentioned a few functional movements previously and today I’d like to look into ‘jumping’ in some detail. Jumping is a very basic movement that pretty much all of us can do without any training per se. Here is why, how and when.

Quick Anatomy:

Movement: Compound (involving multiple muscle groups)

Muscles involved: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abdominals, calf muscles (gastrocnemius & soleus), lower back muscles, shoulder & arm muscles.

Joints involved: Ankle joint, knee joint, hip joint & shoulder joint. (Try jumping without using one of these joints. You won’t jump too far/high!)

Benefits of jumping:

– When done by itself or when included as a part of a workout jumping can ramp up your heart rate very quickly which is great for fat loss.

– Provides greater utilization of lower body muscles.

– Helps in increasing ability to generate power.

– Aids in developing better full body coordination.

Types of jumps:

I personally do stand alone box jumps or add jumps to my workouts 2-3 times a week and have my clients do jumps at least 1-2 times a week. These are the various types of jumps I recommend you start off with.

– Squat Jump: Demo

– Tuck Jump: Demo

– Jumping Lunges: Demo

– Frog Jumps: Demo

– Box Jumps: Demo

– Jump Rope: Demo

– Double Unders: Demo

Incorporating jumps into your workout:

– Include 10-15 reps of squat jumps or tuck jumps or frog jumps  or box jumps as a part of your conditioning workouts.

– Double under are hard to learn. But once you get them they’re an awesome conditioning tool. Do a bunch of double unders for time or add 20-30 reps as a part of your conditioning workouts.

– Jump rope (single unders) can be used as warm up, cool down or even as a medium intensity workout.

– Burpees, in addition to all the beautiful things, has a jump component too! So… do burpees!

– Include box jumps as a stand alone workout. Start with a 20″ box for example. Do 3 jumps. Move on to a 24″ box. Do 3 more jumps. Add more height by placing a 45 lbs bumper plate on it. Do 3 jumps. Add more height. Keep doing till you think you’ve reached your max. You’ll get here soon.

And yes… anyone can jump. So no excuses!

Peace.

Workout 25th June ’10

There’s a bridge about 1/2 mile away… so that’s where the workout happened today.

– 1/2 mile run to bridge (warm up)

– 10 squats, 20 lunges x 3 (warm up)

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 30 s) [ Bridge comparable to ~ 8% incline on treadmill]; [2-3 min rest between sprints]

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 26 s)

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 26 s)

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 27 s)

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 26 s)

– 150 m sprint up the bridge (~ 27 s)

– 1/2 mile walk back

– Tabata situps (15, 13, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10)

My endurance sucks so bad my 6 month old dog almost beat me during the sprint today. In my defense I have about 160 lbs to drag along while he has 8 lbs! Dude’s got heart though… he never ever gave up! He made me run my ass off!


What was your workout today?

Think Behind The Box – Soft Drinks

‘All soft drinks are not created equal… some will kill you sooner and some later’

Let’s look  at a few examples to see why that line is true. Consider the ingredients in some of the famous sodas.

Coke:

Carbonated water, sucrose, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine.

Sprite:

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate and sodium benzoate.

Pepsi:

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors.

Funny shit right? There are people who’re like ‘Dude! Coke is wayyyyy better than pepsi!’ or vice versa… but the ingredients are all the same!! The diet/zero versions of these drinks just replace sugar with sweeteners and have more chemicals added!

Coke Zero:

Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine, aspartame, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium

Diet Coke:

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine, aspartame, potassium benzoate (to protect taste),citric acid.

Ingredient Analysis:

Carbonated water = Water + carbon dioxide. Wait… isn’t carbon dioxide what we exhale? Ouch! Read more here.

Sugar/Sucrose = Table sugar. Like we don’t get enough of this! Each can has ~ 40 gm of sugar!

High fructose corn syrup = Corn syrup + enzymatic processing + mercury poisoning! Nice! Read more here.

Caffeine = Stimulant

Caramel Color = Food coloring. All healthy food is brown right? Read more here.

“Natural flavors” = Nothing natural about it! Read more here.

So from the little analysis above…

Soft drinks = Sugar + Carbon dioxide + Stimulants + Chemicals + lab made “natural flavors”

and you down several cans of these everyday… perfect!

Negatives of soft drinks:

1. Each can of soft drink has 41 gm (~ 10 teaspoons) of sugar. Say you have jussssst one a day. Now that is

365 cans = 3,650 teaspoons of sugar = 15,000 gm of sugar = 15 kg of sugar!!!

and this is in addition to all the other sugar you get… from sweets, chocolates, cereals, coffee etc etc etc!

2. Diet coke/pepsi to the rescue! No sugar right? Right. But feeding your body a truck load of artificial sweeteners & chemicals ain’t any better for you. A whole blog post needs to be written on artificial sweeteners to explain the dangers that arise.

3. The Phosphoric acid neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This lead to digestive difficulties and interference with nutrient absorption. Read article here.

4. People who consume soft drinks are more prone to tooth decay. Read publication here.

5. Soft drinks are associated with higher risk of obesity and decreasing level of blood calcium and increasing urinary calcium excretion, which may lead to osteoporosis later in life. Read publication here.

6. There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems. Read publication here.

7. Fructose ingestion elicits an increase in blood pressure. Read publication here.

I’ll admit… I was one soft drink guzzler too (well… who wasn’t!). I inhaled a liter or more of these everyday. But dumping soft drinks was one of the best things I ever did. Do it and you will not regret it. Trust me on this one!

Solution:

Water for thirst. Some coffee for caffeine.

Peace.

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