Quick and Easy Pizza Recipe, Yes Please!

The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day of working is to run to the grocery store, pick up ingredients, and come home to make dinner. This is where I have become the Queen of making something out of what you have already at home. One of my go to easy meals is homemade pizza. I would love to say I am ambitious enough after work to make my own pizza crust, but let’s be real. I use the pre-made crusts you can find at pretty much any grocery store. My favorite kind is from Whole Foods in their 365 Everyday Value Brand. It is easy to keep the crust in the freezer and just grab out one morning when you know you are going to want to have a quick and easy dinner.

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Now what goes on the pizza is where my creativity gets to come out. Instead of buying specific pizza toppings I like to use what I can find around the house. I have tried almost every type of vegetable, meat, and even various fruits, potatoes, and eggs. I have to say I have made some delicious concoctions. This last week I made two pizza’s, one savory and one sweet.

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For the savory pizza I used marina sauce, 1 red bell pepper, mushrooms, and beyond meatless chicken which is just a soy protein meat alternative. In order to make this pizza pop I added some garlic salt, a little cumin, a pinch of sea salt, and basil. Now you might notice there is one key ingredient missing from my pizza that most people find is a pretty integral part, cheese. I typically tend to pass on adding cheese to homemade pizza. Although I love cheese and I eat it quite often, I find pizza tastes just as good without it and saves a ton of calories. In order to save time I buy a lot of my vegetables pre-cut from trader joes, this makes throwing something together even faster and easier.

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For the sweet pizza I skipped the sauce and sprayed the pizza with some olive oil to start. Next I sliced up a red pear, added sliced mushrooms, beyond meatless chicken, and arugula. I drizzled some balsalmic vinegar over the top, added a splash of salt, and some rosemary.  For both Pizza’s I put in the oven for about 10 minutes and everything was cooked perfectly. If you are cooking thicker vegetables like squash, cauliflower, or broccoli I recommend cooking them a little first before adding them on the pizza. I will roast those types of veggies for about 10 minutes before putting onto the pizza and then cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Of the two pizza’s this sweeter one ended up being my favorite!

The Whole Foods pizza crust clocks in at 160 calories a serving with 8 servings in a total pizza. I typically will cut my slices into smaller slices so it feels like I am eating more. I find I am typically satisfied with about 3 small slices (about 2 actual servings according to the food label) as long as I am eating it with a giant salad. Partnering pizza with a bunch of veggies is a great way to balance the indulgence with something nutritious.  Also by getting full on greens first you end up eating less pizza, but you still feel like you have not had to deprive yourself. If you mainly use vegetables and fruit for your pizza and avoid cheese you are looking at around 200 calories a slice, not too shabby!

 

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Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 4/27/14

New F.D.A. Nutrition Labels Would Make ‘Serving Sizes’ Reflect Actual Servings – This is one of the better articles I’ve come across that explains the FDA proposed changes to nutrition labels.

Two-thirds of fish to come from fish farms by 2030: FAO – “Chinese consumption of fish is expected to reach 38% of the global total by 2030, and China has been increasing its production of farmed fish accordingly. Asian consumption as a whole, including that in South Asia, Southeast Asia, China and Japan, is predicted to account for 70% of all global fish consumption by 2030.”

3D model of child’s heart helps surgeons save life – Experts created a 3-D model of a child’s heart using images from a CT scan. The model helped doctors figure out the best approach to fix the child’s multiple heart defects. The result of the Rapid Prototyping Center’s work was a model heart 1.5 times the size of the child’s. It was built in three pieces using a flexible filament and required about 20 machine hours (and only about $600) to make, and was a “game changer” for the planning of a complex surgery, the surgeon involved said.

Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms – “A large, 25-year study of Canadian women aged 40 to 59 found no benefit for women who were randomly assigned to have mammograms. The death rate from breast cancer was the same in both groups, but 1 in 424 women who had mammograms received unnecessary cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.”

The secret of my most successful clients – A food journal/calorie counting app that I highly recommended is MyFitnessPal. For those of you who are already using it you can probably attest to the awareness it provides with its comprehensive food database that also includes a barcode scanning feature. Whether you’re trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight give food journaling/calorie counting a try for a couple weeks. You might be surprised on what your daily/weekly nutrition totals are. Particularly for those who are scratching their heads on why they are not losing, gaining, or maintaining weight.

 

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Dustin
Certified Personal Trainer
NASM-CPT, EMT-B

Indoor Rowing and Channeling House of Cards

Perhaps it is just everyone around me, but House of Cards is all any of us can talk about. If you have not tuned into this show yet, it is a must! It is a Netflix original series with two seasons under its belt. Netflix brilliantly releases all episodes of a season at once, which makes binge watching the show pretty much inevitable.  Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright not only play ruthless and complex characters flawlessly, but the show portrays how relentless people will be for power and prestige. While being all engulfed in the show I noticed how exercise is a big part of both characters lives and one of their go to workouts outside of running is rowing.

Now rowing machines are common at most gyms, however they typically are stored somewhere in the corner almost out of sight for most people. In my many times at the gym I rarely see people frequent the indoor rower. I myself have utilized the machine a hand full of times before, but  it has been for a quick 10 minute cardio set prior to a strength training class. Also to be honest the only reason I gave it a shot in the first place was because my legs were in desperate need of a break and the thought of running made me cringe. After watching House of Cards it made me re-think about my past rowing quickies and made me wonder if this exercise machine could be more?

In true San Francisco fashion I went straight to my site for all information, Yelp.  I started a search for rowing and happened to stumble upon a gym called APEXWellness Center that offers various fitness classes and an indoor rowing class was just one of them. For your first time at Apex you are able to try a class for free, so I thought why not and signed myself and Dustin up for last Saturday. 

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The class was located in Apex’s Lite Gym down a little alley in the Financial District. Walking down the paved road I almost missed the small studio and felt like I had stumbled into a European street opposed to a place where I was about to get my sweat on.  We walked into the gym and met Leo our instructor for the day. Leo is from South America and although his English was still a work in progress he was able to guide us through the class perfectly.  Now I have to say I was a little skeptical, how was I going to be able to row for a whole hour and either not bored out of my mind or in so much pain that I was going to want to pass out by the end of it.

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Leo started the class off by working with us individually on our form. Once we started to prefect that he would give us goals to hit in terms of pace and strokes per minute. We would then perform one minute on of rowing followed by a one minute break. After the first 20 minutes we started to incorporate 15 second sprints towards the end of our sets and would row as hard and as quick as we possibly could. It is amazing how rowing utilizes your entire body  from your shoulders down to your calves. Your heart rate goes up quickly and the motion of pulling with all of your strength is exhilarating. After 45 minutes of the interval training on the machine Leo had us we finish the workout with 10 minutes of stretching to cool down.

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 I had no idea until this class just how much form is required to perform rowing properly. Once you start to research rowing you find out it is an excellent exercise for improving cardio-vascular abilities, weight loss, cross training, and just general fitness. It is also great at blasting calories with a 130 lbs woman burning about 280 calories in 30 minutes. So next time you see the rowing machine standing all alone in the corner at the gym try testing it out. I highly recommend the high intensity intervals. It keeps it fun and interesting, while also giving you a great cardio workout. Here is a great 20-Minute Total Body Rowing Workout from Shape Magazine to get you going. Enjoy!

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 4/20/14

10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy Without Thinking – “What you eat is important, but even healthy food can stop you from losing weight if you eat too much of it. Your brain is easily fooled by shifts in perspective. It’s also more responsive to external cues like an empty plate, than internal cues like a full stomach. Understanding these influences can show you how to tilt them in your favor. Usually we eat more than we should because of the mindless margin, but you can use the same principles to subtly influence your behavior and mindlessly eat less. Over time this calorie difference can help you drop weight. It’s slow, but it’s steady. And best of all, it’s painless” -Darya Rose (source).

Plant egg entrepreneur raises $23m in latest funding round, led by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing – Founded in 2011, San Francisco based food company Hampton Creek has been taking on chicken eggs with non-GMO plant-based products (Just Mayo and Beyond Eggs) and has raised a total of $30 million in funding to date.

The Truth About Nutrient Timing – A thorough review of the research published on post-workout meals and the perceived benefits is suggesting that depending on when you have a meal prior to training, you might actually have a 4 to 6 hour window as opposed to the current belief of 30 to 60 minutes. If you find the article to be a tough read, simply skip to “The New Rules of Nutrient Timing” at the bottom of the article for a quick summary.

What’s the Difference Between a Romanian Deadlift, American Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift, and Straight Leg Deadlift? – Great article explaining the differences and how to properly perform the exercises. If you are new to deadlift exercises I recommend looking at his suggested beginner hip-hinging drills at the bottom of the article. Deadlifts are not gender specific and are arguably one of the best compound exercises (meaning they target multiple muscle groups) you can have in your workout program. FYI – you might encounter a pop-up window that is missing the “close” or “X” button but just click the upper right hand corner of the pop-up box and it should go away.

Carb Controversy: Why low-carb diets have got it all wrong – “Strict diets aren’t the answer. If your eating plan isn’t working for you, it’s tempting to make it more restrictive. You might assume that if you aren’t losing fat going kinda low-carb, you should go full ketogenic (low-carb). But more restriction almost never works. Don’t take your nutrition to extremes — unless you have extreme goals. Strategic moderation, as unsexy as that sounds, is the only sustainable method.” -Bryan St. Pierre

 

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Dustin
Certified Personal Trainer
NASM-CPT, EMT-B

Things I Love This Week

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 There is nothing better then walking through the city in Spring to find everything in blossom. The flowers are starting to add an aromatic fragrance and whimsical feel to the urban streets.  This cluster of flowers particularly caught my eye, along with this patch of ferns.

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The other cold, grey Saturday I ventured over to one of my favorite cozy neighborhood bars The Homestead for an afternoon cocktail to celebrate one of my nearest and dearest girlfriend’s birthday. There is nothing quite like sitting in front of an old wood burning fire place, wearing a navajo inspired sweater, sipping on a Old-Fashioned, snacking on peanuts while throwing the shells on the floor, all at 4:00 in the afternoon. If you are not an afternoon drinker it might be time you try becoming one.

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Keeping with the theme of birthdays the other weekend I took my favorite yoga partner and dear girlfriend to the Asian Art Museum for their current yoga exhibit.  The exhibit explores the history of yoga through visual art in the form of sculptures, paintings,  and drawings. My favorite part however was a simple wall where visitors could pick a card with their birth year bracket and write a note on how yoga has affected them personally. You are then able to place your card along a wall to share with your fellow yogis. Above is a snap shot of mine and my girlfriends. The simple things are always the most inspiring to me. 

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Walking out of the San Francisco court house after paying an unpleasant car ticket to stumble upon a pet bird sitting on the stoop. I love the randomness the city provides on a daily basis.

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I think I have become obsessed with the mural art in the mission. I seem to find myself on a regular basis with my morning coffee in one hand while snapping a photo of a wall with the other. This one seemed to have a Frida Kahlo vibe to it. I love the organic, slightly morbid, and dark feel it brings out.

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Coffee has become so much more then what it used to be. It is not about the quick starbucks grab and go, but has become a decadent morning splurge. We wait for individual cups to be slowly made and poured to order. At this neighborhood spot the barista will actually open a  tube of beans from your recently ordered choice so you can take a lingering whiff of the fragrant beans just to enlighten your overall coffee experience.

A Sonoma Morning with Dogs, Hiking, and Wine

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Saturday Dustin, Cooper, and myself got ourselves up bright and early, packed the car, and headed out for an adventure in Sonoma County. The plan which, was a surprise to all in the car but me, was to go up to the beautiful Kunde Family Estate Winery and join in a dog hike through the vineyards. The hike started at 9:00 am at which meant we had to leave the city by 7:30 am in order to get there on time.  I  have to say getting up when it is still slightly dark out on a Saturday morning is not my usual cup of tea, but once we made it to the Estate I was glad we had made the trek.

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 Once we parked our car and walked up to the meeting point it was fun to see how many people would be joining in on the morning festivities. There were about 50 people in total along with all various types of dog breeds.  As Dustin and I scoped out the group it was interesting to see how many of our fellow hikers dogs resembled them. This of course made me wonder if Cooper looks like myself or Dustin? There were labs, golden retrievers, a very macho french bulldog, a wise looking bloodhound, and my favorite an adventurous bichon frise named Biscuit  just to name a few.

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 The hike was conducted by Jeff Kunde himself a 4th generation owner of the vineyard and his two yellow labs.   The slightly strenuous hike covered 1,850 acres across the breathtaking and may I even say magical estate. As we started the hike I was overwhelmed by the beauty all around. The morning air was cold and brisk, however this did not stop the dogs from flying, jumping, and running all around us.

 

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 We made our first pit stop alongside a large lake where the dogs jumped into immediately. I have never seen so many grinning labs paddling as fast as they could. At this point in the walk we were in the valley where the white grapes are grown and harvested. Glasses were handed out and at 10:00 am I was able to start my day with a tasting of their Sauvignon Blanc. Thank goodness I had eaten a banana before we started, I was not anticipating drinking while on the hike. However those are what I consider the good kind of surprises. The Sauvignon Blanc was light, crisp, and refreshing and I might even say a great spring morning wine.

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 As we continued to the next valley the sun started to peak out and the cool morning air was quickly rushed away. We had made it into the red grape valley and there we were able to taste the Reserve Zinfandel. Zinfandel’s are my absolute favorite wine varietal in red’s. They are typically robust and full bodied. This Zinfandel was delicious, although not as rich as I would prefer. However at 11:00am I was still very happy.

 

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The last stop in the Valley was in a beautiful little area nestled in between a meadow of trees. It also happened to be at the part of the property where Jeff Kunde himself grew up. His family home was standing 500 feet away from where we were all stood and enjoyed the last wine tasting of the morning. Here we indulged in the Dunfillan Cuvee which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This wine was a little dry for my liking, but was Dustin’s favorite of the morning.

 

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We made our way back to the tasting room where we were served with a delicious picnic style lunch. There were salad greens with ranch dressing on the side, potato salad, various wraps, and of course cookies. In my typical fashion I loaded my plate with a ton of the green salad and skipped the dressing since 1 tablespoon of ranch can sometimes be upwards of 75 calories! This means 2 tablespoons of dressing would be the equivalent of 1 glass of wine.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a glass of wine. I then grabbed a smaller portion of the potato salad and one half of the veggie wrap as it seemed to be filled with the most delicious stuff. I skipped the cookies, but did manage to steal a small bite of Dustin’s.

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As for the puppies they also had a nice lunch treat waiting for them. Along with the Paw Bar filled with various kinds of dog treats they also had a water tasting for the dogs. Chicken Water, Bacon Water, Mojito Water, and Beef Water. Cooper tried all 4, but ended up just going for the plain water. Boring choice, but I guess the dog knows what he likes.  Overall the hike was fantastic and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to take a day trip out of the city and enjoy time drinking with their pooch. Their next eco-dog hike will be June 7th, so if you want to go I say make a reservation soon as they book up fast!

 

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 4/13/14

11 Graphs That Show Everything That is Wrong With The Modern Diet – In regards to #5, there seems to be a recent upward shift in butter sales. In 2013, the U.S. reached its highest consumption level in four decades with average butter intake rising 25% since 2002.

Do cold temperatures cause colds? – Interesting research and theories on why we get colds.

No Candy Bars Here: This Vending Machine Sells Only Fresh Salads And It’s Seriously Delicious – Great concept and so far it’s working! Currently only in Chicago and receiving great reviews on Yelp.

‘Lung In A Box’ Keeps Organs Breathing Before Transplants – Warning NSFW. This article contains graphic images of a human heart and lung contained in experimental devices that keeps them alive longer for organ donor recipients. Just FYI if you’re squeamish. This new technology could be particularly beneficial for Hawaii where according to the article 30 to 40 hearts annually go unused because they cannot be transported.

KITCHEN 101: COOKING FATS & OILS – Awesome graphic depicting the best temperatures and uses for common cooking oils. In regards to nutritional value and weight loss, pay attention to the serving size of oils. One tablespoon of coconut or olive oil is approximately 120 calories.

 

Dustin
Dustin
Certified Personal Trainer
NASM-CPT, EMT-B

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question

To eat or not to eat, that is the question. I have stated before one of the challenges faced with getting your morning coffee at a donut shop is temptation is always looking you right in the eye. I am always good at avoiding the sugary delights on my own, but sometimes it will happen.  One of my fellow patrons bestows me with a gift. Now what can one say to a free treat. It has to be one of the best ways to start your day. Someone gives you a gift for no reason except to put a smile on your face and to just give you something truly enjoyable. I am all of a sudden filled with pure gratitude at how thoughtful people can be, but I am now I am faced with a morning struggle I was not anticipating.

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This morning the Sticky Bun was the gift given to me. Now I have never really been a sticky bun fan, however dynamo donuts version looks to be a in a whole different ball park.  Dynamo makes their sticky bun from leftover donut dough and then it is baked in a sticky sauce. My eyes start to tell me I want it, however my mind knows eating it would completely derail the hour long spin class I just did. After how torturous getting through spin was this morning there is no way I can negate all of those calories I just burned for one pleasurable moment. Yes it will taste delicious for a minute, but then after the sugar spike wears off the sick feeling and tiredness will start to creep in.  However to pass up something so good would also be a sin.

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Here is the compromise I made with myself. I cut off a small sliver of the bun so I can try the sweet, sticky, doughy, goodness. I then decided to surprise a close friend at work with the rest of the sticky bun. Now I am careful as I would not want to put someone else in this same morning dilemma. Therefore I had to pick a friend who loves sweets and would feel truly excited about the early morning indulgence.  Now I have been able to pass on the feeling I just received of enjoyment from being surprised with an early morning gift to kick off  their day.  Hope everyone can pass on a surprise to someone else this Wednesday morning!

Cheers to National Beer Day- In Pursuit of a Yeti

When writing I usually try to diversify the topic or theme I am blogging about in order to keep interest and variety in my posts. However knowing today is National Beer Day I felt compelled to write another post related to and in celebration of beer. First you might be asking yourself why April 7th for National Beer Day? Well it all stems from a little over 80 years ago when in 1933 the  Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect, thus making alcohol legal to drink again after 13 long and dry years. Aka as we know it the end of prohibition.

The second question you might be thinking is how did National Beer Day come about? From what I found in my research 2 friends Justin Smith and Mike Connolly in 2009 started a National Beer Day Facebook page campaign to make April 7th the “un-official National Beer Day. Through their own grass roots marketing it did not take long for the idea to resonate with beer lovers across the United States and hence a holiday was born.

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In celebration of today I wanted to highlight my all time favorite brewery The Great Divide.  Great Divide is a micro-brewery located  in Denver Colorado not too far from Denver’s ballpark area. Walking into the tap room  there is always a bustle of beer enthusiasts sipping on various hand crafted selections sharing in stories and laughter.  The tap Room features 16 taps of seasonal and year-round beers which cover everything from IPA’s, Imperial Stouts, Barley Wine’s, Rye’s, Red’s, Saison’s, you name it. I have tried almost every beer on tap and I have to say hands down all of the beer is some of the best of the best. This is also very evident if you go to their website and look at the many awards their beers have earned. Great Divide is able to craft beers rich in flavor and truly unique in taste. My favorite out of all of the beers though is the Yeti Imperial Stout, shocking I know.

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Now when I say this beer is good, this is how good it is.  When going home for the holidays  I spent hours driving from one local liquor store to the next on a man hunt to find this beer. With no luck there I combed through bars and restaurants until I found it on tap. Luckily this operation ended successfully at my neighborhood Old Chicago Restaurant. Upon coming home  to the bay area I set up alerts with local beer stores in hopes of getting notified of yeti finally making it’s way to  Northern California.  After almost a year it happened, my alert went off and I learned yeti was finally being distributed in a local beer shop.   I proceeded immediately over  to Ales Unlimited and bought out almost their full shipment. I had also seen in my alert they had one of my other favorite beers from Great Divide the Collete, which is a farmhouse Saison. Of course Ales Unlimited informed me  upon arrival some other beer enthusiast had been there earlier in the week and bought their entire Collete shipment. So yes, their beer is that good.

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With that said I want to lift a pint and say cheers to all of my fellow beer enthusiasts out there! I hope everyone can find a beer that is so rewarding it will make you go to absurd measures in order to just get one taste of it. I myself had a small pint of Triple Voodoo Breweries Inception this evening. Nothing beats a cold beer on a Monday night.

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 4/6/14

Top 5 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working – A study in 2010 “compared two groups of overweight non-smokers on calorie restricted diets for 14 days. One group clocked 8.5 hours of sleep per night, and the other logged 5.5 hours of sleep per night (which the authors point out is a “norm” for people in this day and age.) Both groups ate roughly 1,450 calories a day. After two weeks, the people who slept more lost more fat than the group who slept less. More than half of the weight loss during the 8.5 hours of sleep was fat versus only one quarter of the weight loss during the 5.5 hours of sleep. People literally burned fat while they slept. The folks who slept less lost more muscle (60% more muscle was lost by the sleep-deprived group.) Those three hours of lost sleep caused a shift in metabolism that made the body want to preserve fat at the expense of muscle. When the researchers compared circulating blood levels of appetite-regulating hormones in the two groups they found those who slept for three fewer hours had produced more of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin. They woke up hungrier!” -Woodson Merrell

Fitness Reborn: The Real Truth About Carbs – The Top-10 countries in the world with the lowest obesity rates all consume a carb-dominant diet. Of the 10 countries with the lowest obesity rates, 8 are in Asia, and the remaining 2 are in Africa.

Shivering ‘as good as exercise’ for producing brown fat – New research shows that adults are capable of transforming energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat by two similar muscle contracting mechanisms: exercise and shivering.

Drug Use in Sports: Can We Ignore It Any Longer? – The sports adage “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying” seems to be the line of thinking taken too seriously among athletes these days. In cycling, more than a third of the top finishers of the Tour de France have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in their careers or have been officially linked to doping.

Training to Bobsled – This is a short video about U.S. Olympic Team bobsled training and a few exercises in their workout. Chris Fogt, the American bobsledder in the video is also a Captain in the U.S. Army and participant in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (located in Fort Carson for you Coloradans) which allows soldiers the opportunity to train and compete at national and international sports competitions.

 

Dustin
Dustin
Certified Personal Trainer
NASM-CPT, EMT-B