School and Calories

I’m baaackkk!

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since last September, shame on me.

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One of the main reasons for my blogging absenteeism is academic. Yes, I am back in school.

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You know how some youngsters take a gap year while in school, in the name of personal growth? Well, I have had about about 15 years worth of gap life (only in academics, I have been working you know). I used my GI Bill to go to school, off and on, from 1996 to about 2000, and I completed a good amount of units. I didn’t quite finish school. I just focused on being a personal trainer, and I am proud to say that I have become fairly proficient at it.

Me and my crew after they completed a Dirty Girl Mud Run. You go girls!!!

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Oh yeah, about school. One day, yes, one day, about a year ago, I was training at a now defunct personal training studio, and I looked around at all the personal trainers and I realized that none of us really had a niche. Or, at least I knew I didn’t have one, and something told me to go back to school and specialize in an area which could help me grow as a person, and help my personal training business grow too. After thinking for a bit, and then asking my wife and friends for advice, I decided to major in Gerontology and Aging Services at UMUC, because I have noticed over the years that my “older” clientele has grown, and that there is a lack of understanding in the personal training world, on how to work with and train clients over 65 years of age. Hector to the rescue!! One of my senior clients calls me Hector Protector, and she even had a T-shirt made for me with an HP logo on it for Christmas. Thanks Rhona! And sorry Hewlett Packard, HP now stands for Hector Protector.

One last thing about school. I don’t like to curse, but I will say this, I have learned a shit-load. I figure that’s better than learning a load of shit.

Wait, one more thing about school! I recently completed a research paper that focused on different types of exercise modalities for fall prevention-intervention in the elderly. Studies have looked at physical therapy, yoga, tai chi, elastic band training, balance training, and weight training for their effectiveness in reducing fall rates in seniors. To make a long story short, nothing comes close to the effect weight training has on increasing strength and balance in the elderly. Interestingly, walking is not very effective as a fall prevention measure. This is all backed by research and is not “bro-science”. What is “bro-science”? This is…

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My training business is going great! I have a coed bootcamp on Saturday mornings at 8am. It is really cool to see men and women working out together. I keep pushing them, and they keep coming back! I love it. I am very lucky to do something for a living which has such positive effects on the well-being of others, and because of the coed bootcamp I have made new friends. I am truly blessed.

Rows from the push-up plank position.

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Squat and press before walking up the hill with weights.

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Hill sprints! 5 times.

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On a personal note, my workouts are going pretty well too. I run about twice per week, anywhere from 3 to 5 miles max (or hill sprints) and I lift weights about 3 to 4 times per week, mostly at home. My weight training routine is computed and formed by a hypertrophy power-lifting template I bought from Juggernaut Training (http://store.jtsstrength.com/collections/training). At 44 years old, I knew I needed something just a bit more scientific then doing “legs” today and “chest” tomorrow. I am not a competitive power-lifter, but I think it is impressive that by following a program based on research and results, I have gotten stronger, even at my age. When I am done with my first 5 weeks of training which is what the template calls for, I will let you all know the progress I made, strength-wise.

I also recently read a book by Juggernaut called “The Renaissance Diet”. It has great information about nutrition written by extremely knowledgeable people. Here’s a bit about the authors: “Dr. Israetel, Dr. Case and Dr. Hoffman not only have PhDs and are actively serving as professors and researchers, they are also high level competitors and coaches in powerlifting, bodybuilding, rugby, and combat sports. This combination of scientific knowledge and practical experience is the best in helping you achieve your goals.” Yes, they know there stuff. Or as I like to say, they know a shit-load.

I have read some of the book, and one thing that is clear from the authors, as far as weight loss goes, is that it still boils down to calories. Too many calories for your activity levels, you will gain weight. Not enough calories for your activity levels, you will lose weight. Of course, the book is much, much, more than just that, but I thought I would let you know that calories do count, as I am sure many of you already suspected.

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Before I forget, you can follow me on your bike or skateboard if you want, or you can follow me on Instagram @healthyhomeboy, which is much more convenient.

 

It’s All About Balance

Ok, time for some Hector-isms regarding weight-loss, exercise, and the such. These are just some simple fitness and battle of the bulge tips to keep in mind. My clients hear the following from me over, and over, and over again.

1. Women, mujeres, muchachas, you cannot eat like a man unless you want to weigh what a man weighs. Why can’t you eat like a man ladies? Because on average, men are bigger/taller than women, and men carry more muscle mass than women. Being taller and carrying more muscle mass allows for more calorie consumption. So ladies, every time you sit down to eat with a man who is bigger than you, make sure your plate’s amount doesn’t match his.

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2. Women, you cannot drink  as many adult drinks as a man does for the same reasons I just stated above. If your male friend has 10 beers over the weekend, and you do to, you will pay the price more than he will, in the form of fat accumulation.

3. Women, lifting weights will not make you buff or bulky. To be buff or bulky you would have to be really, really strong. Like WAAAAYYYYYY stronger than you probably are right now. Very few women have the genetic predisposition to get bulky/buff. If it was that easy to be buff, you would see buff men everywhere, and that is simply not the case. Ladies, don’t be afraid of getting strong.

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And now for my compadres, the men.

4. Vigorous exercise helps circulation/blood flow to all parts of the human body. Good blood flow helps your friend downstairs stand at attention. Get it!!!

5. Men, if you’re not sure if you have gained weight in the form of eff-aye-tee in the last 10 years, there is a simple way to find out. Go find a pair of pants and a shirt that fit you well ten years ago and try them on. If they are super tight or don’t even fit, you have gained weight. The four things that don’t lie about weight gain are clothing, the mirror, the scale, and children. If a child says “you’ve gained weight”, you probably have. I once was told by a kid that I have big ears, and guess what, I have big ears. But that’s ok because guess what they say about men with big ears? They say we hear well. (Get your brain out the gutter).

6. Men, do you like how women look who workout? You like a nice firm and toned body?  Well guess what? Women like how men look who workout too. You don’t believe me, just ask a few of your female amigas.

7. Men, take advantage of the testosterone you produce naturally and do resistance training. Your body will thank you for it, and you might build some muscle too.

Now some Hector-isms for everyone.

8. Just because you can stomach it, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Think junk food.

9. Your stomach is not a garbage can.

10. Do you have a car? Do you take your car in for its maintenance and scheduled tune ups? Well, guess que? Your body is a much more complicated piece of machinery than a car, so give it its tune-ups too, in the form of exercise, and provide it with clean fuel/food while you’re at it. You can always replace a car, but the last time I checked, you get one body. Yep, just one. True Dat!!!

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11. You don’t run on batteries. If you’re constantly tired and addicted to caffeine, check your food quality and sleep amounts.

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12. And finally, I believe life is about balance. Go ahead, have fun, eat some pizza, drink some beer, stay up late, but make sure you balance it out by eating clean, drinking water, exercising, and getting your sleep.

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How Much Exercise Do You Need?

How much and how often you should exercise depends on your goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Are you training for endurance, like a marathon (if you are, you so crazy)? All of the previous goals require different routines, intensity levels, and frequency.

I have read and heard various theories on the amount of exercise one needs to maintain a decent level of fitness. I was recently asked by a client if taking 10,000 steps a day is a good goal? I couldn’t answer because I had no idea how far 10,000 steps is for the average person. So I Googled “10,000 steps”, and I was shocked.

10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles! That is f-a-a-r. At a 3 mile per hour pace, you would have to walk for one hour and forty minutes straight, without a break, to walk 5 miles. If you accumulated 10,000 steps a day, six days a week, you would be walking 30 miles per week, and approximately 120 miles a month. 120 multiplied by 125 calories per mile burned would be 15,000 calories a month used as fuel from walking. That’s almost 5 pounds of fat burned, in one month!!! Ok, did you feel that free-fall descent back to earth? Wheeeeee!! That was the realization that very few people walk 5 miles per day, erry-day.

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I used to tell people that they needed to accumulate 5 hours of exercise/movement per week. Boy, I tell you, I was being kind. Because if 10,000 steps a day is the going rate to stay fit, I was undershooting with my advice, big time. If you are one of those rare folks, rare like a flawless diamond and not like a steak, who walks 5 miles a day, you are a beast!!!!! Being called a beast in the exercise world is a good thing. So I guess you can call my wife and I “Beauty and The Beast”. (I had to write that one).

Now to be fair about calling myself a beast, I doubt that I walk 5 miles a day. I am sure that on days I exercise (cardio+weights) and work, I might get in 10,000 steps, but that’s a stretch.

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Let me share with you what I can do: I can dead-lift 315 lbs about 3 times. I can do anywhere from 12 to 15 full range of motion pullups without kipping. I can do about 5 to 8 pullups with 20 lbs attached to my body. I can overhead press (barbell) 105 lbs about 3 times without my legs helping (so it’s not a push-press). I don’t bench press anymore.  I can do a boxing class without having a heart attack. I can run pretty fast, and jump decently high. That’s me touching a 10 ft high basketball rim, but that was like a year and a half ago. I might have to try that again.

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Peep the Vans I’m wearing.

Please keep in mind that I am 42 years old, 5’11”, weigh 185 lbs, and do not use steroids. I was much stronger in my 20’s, without steroids of course. (I have nothing against roids, it’s just not my thing.)

The previous braggadocious paragraph does serve a purpose other than narcissism. It is to show you that I practice what I preach, because no one should hire an out of shape trainer, and that I maintain those fitness/strength levels with about 5 hours per week of not so easy exercise. I lift weights 3 times per week for an hour per session, and do a one hour boxing class twice per week (most of the time). That’s it!! The rest is diet. FYI, six-pack abs are created in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Sorry.

More on food.

Nutrition is the foundation of how you perform when you workout. The crappier your food, the crappier your workout. Your nutrition is also the main factor that will determine how you look, known as body composition, and how much of your hard work in the gym will show on the outside. The cleaner your diet, and the more you eat according to your desired weight, the more “tone” your body will reveal. Tone=reduced body fat levels. We often say “he or she has good muscle tone”, but what we are really saying is that he or she has body fat levels low enough to show muscle definition. Here’s the ultimate heart breaker. You can workout all you want, do millions of situps, lift weights, and walk everywhere, but if you have a crappy diet, you know what I’m talking about, pizza, burgers, fries, and beer, three to four days per week, chances are you won’t have much muscle tone. Trust me, I see these types at the gym I workout at, everyday. And please don’t forget your New Year’s Resolution, it’s only February. By the way, am I the only one that finds it kind of odd that the day many of us get plastered is the day we swear we’re going to make a positive change? It reminds me of a Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you say you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”.

Ok, gotta go. I will keep you posted on my attempt at touching a 10ft high basketball rim later in the spring. The older I get, the higher the rim appears, and the heavier weights feel.

 

 

 

Group Exercise

Happy New Year!! I know, I know, it’s already the 5th of January, but better late than never, right?

Guess how I’ve been bringing in the New Year? I will give you some hints: a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, headache, body ache, and just feeling overall crappy. Yep, you guessed it. Healthy Homeboy is not so healthy today. I have the flu. For you edge-a-macated folks, I have influenza. Yuck!!! My symptoms began on January 2nd, in the evening.

I scoured my thesaurus and dictionary for the perfect word to describe influenza, found it!! Sucks. Yes, the flu sucks. But I will keep this post positive, like all my posts, and talk about positive experiences I had with my personal training business last year. (One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stay away from negativity and be as positive as possible).

By far, without a doubt, the best experience I had last year with my personal training business was, and continues to be, group training.

It all started in the spring with a group a women who wanted to exercise together and needed a trainer to monitor and push them. I obliged. We agreed to train outdoors at 6am twice per week. Before I knew it, they were doing weighted sled pulls, running and sprinting, push-ups, lunges, and everything else I asked of them. workout-collage

The group stayed together through spring, summer, fall, and now winter. We are no longer outdoors though. It’s muy frio. So we have taken the bootcamp indoors. Guess what some of my neighborhood bootcamp crew asked me to do for them on January 1, 2015? They asked me to run a bootcamp for them. What!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Even some of the husbands showed up. To top it off, the bootcamp we did was outdoors, because our indoor facility was closed on January 1st. Through a camera lens the day was beautiful, but physically, it was a bit cold. Here are some action shots.

Flutter kicks for abs. This was after jogging, sprinting, sled pulls, lunges, squat and press, and whatever else I had my motivated New Year’s day bootcamp crew do. (If any of you are observant enough to notice that one of the participants is wearing flip-flops, good job. No, she did not do the bootcamp in flip-flops. Exercising on a muddy field in flip-flops is a safety hazard).

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Push-ups to focus on triceps. (Elbows close to body).

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And after the torture, I mean bootcamp, they all had protein shakes that I made for them. Trust me, they were protein shakes, despite what the red cups might allude to.

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Even my sisters, Norma and Vicky, who were visiting from Florida and Cali, showed up for the bootcamp. Everyone said the protein shakes hit the spot.

Thank you, Stonegate bootcamp particpants. You all gave me and continue to give me OJT, on the job training, when it comes to group training, and I love it. Keep up the great work. And remember ladies, strong is the new skinny. (I challenge any man over 40 to do as many push-ups as the lady on the right can. How many can she do? It’s more than 40). strong-beautiful-women

And to my UCG workout crew, your story will be next.

Inspiration

This past weekend my friend and personal training client, Salomeh, participated in a two-day, 150 mile bike ride here in Maryland. Even though she did strength training with me on the weekdays, and did bike ride training with her friend Jamie on weekends, leading up to the event she was nervous, anxious, and at times questioned if she would even be able to finish the event. Well, she did finish the event.

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I personally never questioned if she could finish the 2 day event. Salomeh is inspirational because not only has she been exercising and dieting to lose weight, she has lost 30 pounds this year, but she also trained for the bike ride while dieting. That takes some serious discipline and guts. So I interviewed her yesterday. The day after she crossed the finish line.

How are you feeling today? “I am actually surprised. I feel great. My legs are a bit stiff, but that’s about it.”

What did you eat after your event? “I had Famous Dave’s. I had beef brisket, cole slaw, and maccaroni and cheese.”

When did you start training for the bike ride? “I started with 5 to 8 mile bike rides in March.”

What is the longest training ride you did leading up to the event? “I did 78 miles on mostly flat ground in July. My ride time was 5 hours and 24 minutes. That’s just ride time, so not including breaks.”

Did you always ride with someone? “No, sometimes I trained solo.” You go Salomeh.

What was the most difficult part of the training rides? “By f-a-r, the hills. They sucked. But I did get better at them because my ride time got better/faster.”

Did you ever hit a wall during your training? “Yes, but it was diet based. I had cut back too much on my carbs. But once I increased them, my performance improved.” On a side note, I am the one that had to convince her to INCREASE her carbs. For someone like Salomeh on a weight loss mission, this is very hard to believe and implement. But she trusted me, I kept my fingers crossed, and it worked. Whew!!

What motivated you to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer? “Within the last year I have lost 4 people to cancer, so I decided to do my part.”

How much money did you raise? “I raised $3,200 and all the riders raised 2.6 million dollars total.”

What were the riding conditions, like for the actual two day ride? “The first day sucked. It was rainy, a bit cold, and I was soaked. It was a tad dangerous out there with the slick roads. At the 3rd pit stop I totally felt like quitting, but I just couldn’t. 120 riders dropped out the first day, for a multitude of reasons. The first day was very tiring. I started at 7:30am and finished at 4pm. I ate some chicken, rice, and a bit of a salad and went to sleep.” I think if I ever ride 75 miles in one day, I will skip the food and just go to sleep.

How was the second day? “Well I didn’t have restful sleep, so I woke up feeling rundown. I had scrambled eggs, French toast, oatmeal, a bagel, and beacon for breakfast, and I felt much better. I started at 7am and finished the ride at 5pm. At 7am it was a bit cool, almost cold. The first 4 miles were hilly, and that SUCKED, and about half way through the ride, my legs were gone. I was tired. The 3rd pit stop was about 5 minutes from my house and I was so tempted to come home, but I couldn’t. I had come too far to quit. At the 4th pit stop I had 22 miles left, and my hip was killing me. There was a physical therapist at the pit stop, and she worked on my hip. It hurt like hell when she was working on it, but it worked because I finished the ride, and today it feels fine.”

What kept you going on the ride? “I was doing it for my friends, and on the ride I saw a shirt, on one of the other riders who is a cancer survivor, that said ‘If you think this is difficult, try chemotherapy’. The shirt reminded me that it wasn’t all about me.”

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line? “I was in disbelief and burst into tears (Yes I was there, she was crying so much I almost cried. Ok, ok, maybe I did shed a tear, but just one. It’s simple, when I see a woman cry, I tend to do the same). I couldn’t believe I actually did it. I’m still in disbelief.”

Do you feel that our strength training helped you on your ride in any way? “Oh yes. During the ride I heard riders complaining about pain in their back, shoulders, and neck, but I didn’t have any of that. Probably because of all the strength and core training we did.”

Well there you have it. A woman in her late 40’s (she said I could mention her age), who in the midst of her weight loss mission, decided to take on a challenge of riding to conquer cancer. Not only did she raise money, but she did finish the two day 150 mile bike ride, and ahead of others. I witnessed it. Wow!!!

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And stay tuned, because guess what Salomeh is doing next year? She is doing an “Iron Girl” event. Isn’t that swimming, biking, and running, all in the same day!? Daaannnngggg! You go Salomeh. And don’t you dare doubt her because not only has she biked 150 miles in two days, but she has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I am not kidding. In the fitness world we call that “BEAST MODE”.  And in my world I call her my Home-Girl. (Yes, Home-Girl is capitalized. It is like a proper name or something).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bootcamps and Fish

Hello everyone. Wow, I haven’t blogged since July or something. Summer does that to me, and there’s only so much I can write about when it comes to weight loss, exercise, and overall fitness, but I am back.

Summer has been busy. I started a neighborhood bootcamp with neighborhood mothers who wanted to get in shape, and it has been quite the pleasant surprise. I learned that group training holds people accountable, is inspiring for participants, and creates a workout ambiance that cannot be duplicated by one on one training. This is the group below. The whole banner thing and blue outline was done courtesy of one of the women in the group who is also a blogger, a very popular blogger, I might add. Her blog is at aparentinsilverspring.com. You should go check it out. Her name is Jessica and she’s very funny. Thanks Jessica. hector-vargas-dc-trainer

The ladies above have accomplished plenty. They all have got stronger, lost some el bees, increased their endurance, and made some new friends. But their biggest accomplishment was convincing my wife to join the group, which is very impressive because my wife is not a morning person and the bootcamps are Monday and Thursday at 6am! Thanks ladies. And because of the above group, I am starting other bootcamps and weight loss groups in the area. It is the way to go.

I also started a walking group that has now morphed into a bootcamp at United Communications Group, also here in the Silver Spring area. I sort of tricked them though. I advertised it as a walking group, knowing all along that I could never be paid to just have a group of humans walk. We walked once, just the first time, and now they they are jogging hills, lifting weights, doing abs, regular and modified pushups, squats, lunges, and anything else I can think of. I even had them do weighted pulling sleds once. We have varying fitness levels, but it works out well. No one has complained, and I think they all enjoy it. I will try to get some pictures, and their permission, to post on my blog soon.

Below is a picture of my first neighborhood co-ed bootcamp. This is how it happened. The husbands of the women in the bootcamp had been requesting to participate, so this past Labor Day we had a co-ed bootcamp, and it went off great. The men were huffing and puffing, and I think they were very impressed to see and feel what the women in the group had been doing twice a week at 6am since May. The picture and graphics are once again compliments of Jessica the awesome blogger.

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Ok enough about the exercise. How about some other stuff I did this summer.

I saw a turtle lay some eggs and cover them up at my local park that has a small pond in it. I was so mesmerized by the egg laying that I didn’t take my camera out until the turtle was headed back to the pond. This in not a picture, it’s a video. Turtles move so slow that videos of them look like pictures.

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I also started fishing this summer. Maryland has small and large bodies of water everywhere, and I enjoy the outdoors, so it was the perfect activity to start doing. But don’t be too impressed, locally I only caught bluegill, perch, and a catfish. Here’s a bluegill. That’s my sun weathered hand next to it so you can get an idea of the bluegill’s size. I know, it’s small. photo(39)

Here’s a perch I caught on a tiny lure. I am shocked that you can catch fish with a lure. Every time a fish hits on a lure, I am amazed at mans ingenuity.

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Over the summer I went to California to visit friends and family, and I also did some fishing. In So Cal I went fishing with my best amigo. Guess what I caught off some rocks by Malibu beach? An octopus!

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Then by best amigo and I went to Northern Cali to visit my father and family, and guess what we did there? We went fishing. I didn’t catch anything worth noting, but my best amigo did catch a pretty big bass. Not only did he catch a bass, but he caught it with a lure he found stuck in a tree! Seriously? Yes. No kidding. This is him and the bass.

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And then, this past weekend, I went to visit family in Florida, and guess what I did while I was out there? Bingo! I went fishing. And I caught my catch of the summer! A 3ft, 22 pound, King-fish. This is me and my catch, or is it my catch and I?…what evs.

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We had a nice dinner that night. Thanks Kingfish!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Anyone?

The more I learn about the human body, not through school but just reading, the more it impresses me with its adaptability. Walk outside when it’s 100 degrees, and you will sweat to keep cool. Walk outside when it’s zero degrees  in shorts and a tank-top, and your body will eventually shake violently to keep you warm. Try to go more than 48 hours without sleep, and your brain will take over and you will start dozing off to encourage you to sleep. The body is constantly adapting to its external and internal environment.

I used to say that the body has not adapted to the excess food we consume, but I was wrong. It has adapted. The body, when given too much food, stores the excess as fat, and that is its adaptation. But give it excess food, over and over and over again, and it’s machinery of storing fat and releasing insulin to deal with the high glucose levels might start to malfunction and BAM!! type 2 diabetes might rear its ugly cara. So I downloaded “Sugar Nation” by Jeff O’Connell to learn more about type 2 diabetes, it’s manifestations, and if any solutions, other than medicine, are on the horizon. Here are some excerpts.

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“Beyond all science being presented at the ADA (American Diabetes Association) conference, type 2 diabetes really boils down to the sum total of a very long trail of personal choices, made over a lifetime. Whether you worked the treadmill for twenty minutes or turned on the television. Whether you stuck with your diet or ordered that fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream, promising yourself that you would repent later. The truth is, by the time you have or even flirt with type 2 diabetes, there’s probably a lot more out of whack with your life than just your blood sugar. That certainly was the case with me.” The author of this book developed pre-diabetic symptoms, and he was not overweight, so he was shocked when this happened. But looking back on his life, he realized that for many years he ate high carb, high fat (mostly bad fats), and highly processed foods. The irony of it is that he was a writer for several men’s health and fitness magazines. Because of his career, he had access to many respected nutritionists and doctors and he took it upon himself to learn as much as he could about type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes, along with obesity, is looming as the biggest epidemic in human history” says Paul Zimmet, M.D., Ph.D., director of international research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Australia.

“Those diabetics who are obese, but who are at least moderately fit, have a much lower death rate than diabetic patients who are normal weight but unfit”

If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic “If you can afford it, see a personal trainer once a week, or a nutritionist once a month”. The doctors the author talked to, and all the nutritionists he talked to ALL agree on the importance of learning to eat right and exercising to combat type 2 diabetes, and even prevent it.

“Insulin helps the body metabolize the sugar in the blood, which is called glucose. This blood sugar can come from diet, but the liver and kidneys can also produce it. What isn’t needed for energy can be stored in the muscle tissue and liver. This stored form is called glycogen. But because storage space is limited, at a certain point, the liver begins turning excess glucose into triglycerides, which often become fat. The human body has evolved such that it possesses a very low capacity to store carbs but a very high-capacity to store fat. This phenomenon is evident in buffet lines across the heartland”… “Thats in a relatively healthy person” says Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. “Even before glycogen levels fill up, people with insulin resistance dispose of carbohydrates by converting the majority of them to fat.”

“Particularly if you don’t exercise, those excess carbs will cause blood sugar to spike and then crash, at which point the body bellies up for another round of sugar.”

How about some scare tactics (with pictures provided by me):

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“Cancer as it turns out, has a sweet tooth. Recent research shows that the consumption of high amounts of sugar and refined grains boosts the odds for cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, and pancreas.”

“High blood sugar can sour your mood. In a recent study, researchers found that people who drink two and a half cans of sugary soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious than those drinking less pop.”

“High blood glucose levels can break your heart. When researchers study large populations, elevated blood sugar levels correlate with a greatly increased risk of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans.”

“Your joints might ache and creak prematurely, too.  A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology linked insulin resistance with rheumatoid arthritis.”

“The kidney disease rate is 22 percent higher among diabetic men than among all men, and diabetes is the leading cause of irreversible kidney disease requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.”

“Diabetes skyrockets the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as extra triglycerides produced from carbs overrun the organ.”

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“If passing on jelly doughnuts seems difficult, imagine living without eyesight. In fact, nothing causes more new cases of blindness among twenty to seventy-four-year olds than diabetes.”

The scary and alarming stats go on and on. From here on I will just talk in Hector terms. Basically, type 2 diabetes effs up the body really bad. But what get’s me is that its not a disease like cancer, where many times its diagnosis is a surprise and can’t be traced back or linked to anything in particular. Type 2 diabetes follows a well established trail of lifestyle choices (too much food, and not enough movement). “What you talkin-bout Willis?”

what you talking about willis.

Yes, that was pretty much the conclusion of the book. We just eat too much, especially carbs, and blood sugar skyrockets, day after day. Eventually our pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the sugar levels, and we have to be given MORE insulin, think medicine, so we can function properly, somewhat.

I don’t know if I got the above paragraph correct, but I know I have been super-duper correct in what I preach now, and have been preaching for years: Put down the sodas and the rest of those sugar drinks,

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Pass on the big ass bucket of fries. No one needs a bucket of fries! Really America, a bucket? How does that go down? You are just hungry and decide “I know, I will have a bucket of fries.” Or even worse, “Oh, you’re hungry little Johnny, or little Juan in my case. Here why don’t you have a bucket of fries.” Stop, please. What’s better than a bucket of fries? How about a small serving of fries?

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Cut back on the pizza. Notice I didn’t say eliminate pizza. I just said cut back. Like no more than twice per week.

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Chill on the desserts. Unless your are in super-duper shape, six-pack abs, and you move everyday, you probably don’t need dessert. I just learned today that desserts is stressed spelled backwards.

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And M.Y.A. Yes, Move Your Ass!!!!! That means exercise.

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Do anything, I don’t care, just move. I also learned in the book that the more intense the exercise, the more your body can tolerate and process carbohydrates correctly.

And last but not least, there is one part of the book I didn’t quite agree with. When the author said that type 2 diabetes results from a lifetime of “personal” decisions (no exercise, too much food). True, but not. How about the 10-year-old boy with type 2 diabetes? He just ate and drank what his parents provided, for years. That young boy probably ate fast food day in day out, drank soda, and didn’t move much, and then developed diabetes. The effed up part is that those decisions were made for him, and not by him. Very few children under 10 or even 12 choose what they eat every day, and how much they are going to move. So when I see an overweight child, with regular soda in hand, of any race, I hate to think of their future health because I know chances are type 2 diabetes is on the horizon, with the rest of that very preventable disease’s complications.

And yes, some people are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes because of genetics. And guess what I know, and didn’t have to read a book to learn? None of us can control our genetics, for better or worse, but many of us, except children, can control what we eat, how much we eat, and how much we move.

If you look like this, that’s Christiano Ronaldo,

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or like this. (Just some guy showing off at the local park doing pull ups)…

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and sprinting,

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You can probably eat a bunch of carbs here and there without any ill effects.