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Friday, September 17, 2010

The Quick Fix

I think humans will probably never give up trying to find magic bullets for health and weightloss. Unfortuntely, there is no substitution for healthy living. You can't take a pill that will make up for lack of sleep, poor diet, inactivity, smoking, and/or drinking. Some of the things we will try, especially in the name of weight loss, are truly astonishing. The latest I became aware of it the use of a drug meant to treat respiratory problems in horses, called clenbuterol. It purportedly can health boost muscle gain and fat loss in humans. At a cost, of course. It is extremely dangerous. Is there any safe product that can accelerate weight/fat loss? Not really. Science backs the use of things like caffeine and green tea, but the effects are very modest and if you O.D. on these substances you just end up jittery and peeing all day. The only healthy and effective way to keep your body working as efficiently as possible is getting enough sleep (this has a major impact on your metabolism), exercising, including strength training, and eating healthy, well-balanced meals at regular intervals. Oh, and cigarettes do increase your metabolism, so as long as you don't mind dying prematurely of emphysema or lung cancer, go ahead with it.

Yesterday I did a power (ashtanga) yoga class for the first time in years. I was scared I would leave frustrated like I sometimes used to, because I am simply unable to twist myself into a pretzel and do half the poses. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The level was not advanced and the teacher was not pushy. She showed different variations depending on your ability level and she didn't do some of the poses I hate (like the tree...I hate the tree and I am certain I will NEVER be able to do it). I remembered what it is about this type of yoga that I used to love - there are actually a lot of poses which feel great, including some of my favorites like the fundamental asanas. The following is a link to a document that shows graphics of the whole series.

http://www.ashtanga-yoga-canada.com/support-files/ayc-primary-combined-sm.pdf

My fitness recommendation this week is to try something completely new, a new class, a new activity...or do something you haven't tried in a long time, you might rediscover a love for an activity you have not done in a while.