|Q: Tracy, I walk an average of fifteen miles (20 km) per week. I am very lean, nutrition conscious and follow a complete vitamin program. Why do I need to weight train?
A: The basis of a healthy lifestyle consists of the following: whole foods, supplements and training. While physical activity such as walking is therapeutic, it does not prevent the atrophy of muscle (sarcopenia or muscle loss) and is not strenuous enough to release growth hormone or elevate testosterone. Strength training (a.k.a. as weight or resistance training) targets every muscle and keeps your anabolic drive alive. It increases bone density, improves tolerance to stress and improves resistance to disease and infection. The conclusion of each exercise should include stretching of each muscle group to retain flexibility. While I commend you for incorporating whole foods and supplements, science dictates that exercise is the means; whereas physical activity is the end.
Q: Tracy, my GP informed me that I have developed fibroids and cysts and recommended I reduce my coffee intake. I love my three cups per day, is there any way I can still enjoy my coffee and not suffer the consequences?”
A: Coffee should be your treat not a staple. It’s important to understand that coffee combined with sugar may cause over-stimulation of the adrenals and chronic fatigue, leading to a habit-forming experience, which changes our physiology. Caffeine may cause or amplify fibrocystic breast disease, as cysts often decrease in size and number when coffee drinking is eliminated or reduced. You can however use coffee therapeutically. Use only Certified Organic Whole Beans (ground just prior to brewing). Commercial coffee is typically grown with pesticides, herbicides and insecticides and when pre-ground becomes susceptible to rancidity. Use pure filtered water. Drink your coffee strong and black. Cream, milk and white sugar are equally damaging. Learn to enjoy the taste of a short very strong blast of pure java as a treat.
Q: Cory, after exercise my legs and calves often cramp up when I’m watching TV or trying to sleep. What can I do or take to relieve this condition?
A: The most common cause of cramping is simple dehydration. After that, electrolyte loss and insufficient mineral intake is a strong correlate. To optimize body hydration, drink 30 ml of clean, filtered water per kg of lean body mass daily. To determine your lean body mass you’ll need to get a body composition assessment. This quantity is based on the logic of how much cellular space you have to fill with water. Medical science teaches that an optimum percentage of body water for the entire body is 65-70%. Muscle cells hold up to 75% water whereas fat cells max out at 15-20%. We also know that athletic performance and risk of sports injury increases as percentage of body water decreases, which is why all fitness athletes should consume an extra 1-2 litres of water during workouts to compensate for fluid loss. I recommend adding an electrolyte/carbohydrate powder to your workout water bottle. Look for a mix that contains potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, chromium, manganese and selenium. Ideal potassium/sodium ratio is 7:1 in favor of potassium, which is the same average ratio found in natural food. For maximum absorption, the carbohydrate percentage should not exceed 6%-8% when added to the water. B-6 also regulates fluid balance as do the essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Brouns, F, Nutritional Needs of Athletes (1993): p 51
Colgan, M. PhD, The New Nutrition (1994): p 93
CSNA 201 Education Program (2003): Ch 8: p 40