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Archive for March, 2013

Spin

by on Mar.30, 2013, under Indoor Training

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Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

by on Mar.29, 2013, under Customers Bikes

Newly finished at Adrenaline Bikes.
If you want more information Call and ask for Matthew. 1-800-579-8932

IMG 0392 300x225 Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

IMG 0393 300x225 Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

IMG 0394 300x225 Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

IMG 0395 300x225 Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

Litespeed T5 Titanium With Wheels I Built 17lbs 13oz

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The Ultimate Interval

by on Mar.29, 2013, under Health

All it takes to develop blow-their-legs-off power is one hour—one brutal, agonizing, endless hour of astounding misery and pain. Just one.
ByIan Dille
Peter Herzig was not a fast cyclist five years ago. As an undergraduate student at the University of Queensland in Australia, he possessed only a mild interest in competitive cycling. Meanwhile, exercise physiologist Paul Laursen, also at the University of Queensland, was trying to figure out if, among all the programs recommended to cyclists worldwide, there was one interval that stood out as the most effective. Laursen enrolled Herzig in a study group he called T-Max.

Herzig subjected himself to the most brutal training of his life–holding back his vomit while a stereo blared the heavy-metal group Pantera. But after just eight of these interval sessions, Herzig was fast. His maximum power output jumped more than 10 percent. His VO2 max–a measure of how much oxygen your body can absorb and use–increased by three points. And he took four minutes off his 40- kilometer time-trial performance. Herzig is now a domestic pro in Australia.

Laursen’s findings, which have been backed by other recent studies, show that the workout he dubbed T-Max can, on average, increase maximum power output by 5 to 6 percent, and raise VO2 max sky-high. The T-Max Interval is effective because it tailors work and rest time, and intensity, to your genetic ability and fitness level, rather than prescribing an arbitrary set of conditions. Here’s how it works: T-Max is the length of time you can hold your peak power output before succumbing to exhaustion–or, scientific jargon aside, how long you can ride really, really hard until you feel so much like you’re dying that you stop. For most of us, that’s about four to six minutes.

Laursen found that cyclists improved the most doing intervals at 60 percent of their T-Max with double that amount of time for recovery between efforts. For instance, someone with a T-Max of four minutes would ride hard for 2:30, followed by five minutes of recovery. In a 2006 study performed at Ithaca College in central New York, members of the collegiate cycling team performed sets of eight intervals twice a week for six weeks; they improved their performance in a 5-kilometer time trial by 7 percent.

Exercise physiologist Andrew Coggan, a preeminent authority on training with power, gives his nod of approval to the T-Max: “It seems like a very logical, pragmatic approach to interval training. Here’s the maximum amount of time you can go hard. To do that intensity repeatedly, you have to go hard for a shorter amount of time.”

The one catch is obvious. Riding at peak power output is excruciating. “I could never forget the T-Max Intervals,” says Herzig. “They were and probably still are the hardest training I’ve ever completed.” In the Ithaca College study, says research project advisor Tom Swensen, “The guys could do about five or six intervals max. I think a goal of eight is too many.” In fact, Laursen admits that more than a third of his test subjects failed to complete the prescribed eight efforts, and that some of them gurgled puke by the end of the session. “The stress is quite significant,” he deadpans.

Cue the Pantera.

Find Your T-Max
1. Determine Your Peak Power Output. Using a power-measuring device from PowerTap, Polar, SRM or CompuTrainer, begin riding at 100 watts. Increase power by 30 watts every minute until you reach exhaustion. Laursen deemed test subjects fully exhausted when they could not keep their cadence above 60 rpm. You can use that benchmark, but let’s be honest, you’ll know when you’re done. The number of watts you produce just before collapsing is your peak power output, or PPO.

2. Find Your T-Max. Rest for a day or two. Again using a power meter, ride at your PPO until you can no longer sustain that level of output. The amount of time you can hold your PPO is your T-Max. For most of us, that’s between four and six minutes.

3. Calculate Your Ultimate Interval. Multiply your T-Max time by 0.6. This is the work phase of your interval. Double the work phase to set your recovery time between efforts.

4. Try It Out. The original study prescribed eight hard efforts. But if you’d rather avoid losing your lunch, start with two or three intervals. Do two sessions a week, with at least two days of rest or other easy riding between. Add one interval to each set every week until you achieve five or six intervals per workout. Build up to eight if you can.

If You Can’t Measure Power
Though the results likely won’t be as dramatic as with a power-based T-Max Interval, Laursen says unplugged cyclists can reap some of the benefits by performing 2:30-minute intervals at 95 to 100 percent of max heart rate (the point at which you cannot speak), followed by recovery to 60 percent of max, or until you can speak in full sentences. Do two to six sets twice a week, with at least two days of spinning or rest between.

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Quick Cycling Workouts for Power and Endurance

by on Mar.29, 2013, under Health

This is gonna hurt. But it’ll be worth it. These innovative workouts will make you faster and stronger—by next month. (Yes, we’re serious.)—Selene Yeager
Intervals. The very word triggers groans of dread from even the most training-obsessed cyclists. But these short, misery-inducing efforts offer a huge fitness return for a comparatively small time investment. Even 20- to 30-second micro-intervals have been shown to increase V02 max, burn fat, and improve endurance. And they work fast. “Just two weeks of interval training can enhance performance,” says Paul Laursen, PhD, of the University of Queensland in Australia.

Choose one of the following intervals and add it to a ride no more than twice a week. Warm up with easy pedaling for at least 15 minutes. Cool down as needed.
Flying 40s to Enhance Muscular Endurance

Build power and train your body to recover quickly between efforts for events that demand repeated surges. In a medium to large gear, push hard for 40 seconds; recover 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times. That’s one set. Do up to four, resting five minutes between sets.
10-Speeds to Improve Pedaling Efficiency

These lightning-fast efforts help you develop a fluid and efficient cadence. Pedal as hard as you can for 10 seconds in a gear you can push 90 to 110 rpm with effort, then spin easy for 20 seconds. Repeat for 10 to 15 minutes. Rest five minutes. Do another set.
Hill Charges to Climb Stronger

On a moderate incline, stand out of the saddle and charge up the hill as fast as possible for 30 seconds. Coast back to your starting point. Repeat, this time seated. Alternate between standing and sitting for six climbs. Recover 10 minutes. Do another set.
Tabata Intervals to Build Power

Developed by Japanese exercise scientist Izumi Tabata, these intense efforts train your body to use more muscle, as well as increase the intensity you can sustain over a 60-minute time trial, which corresponds to your lactate threshold. Sprint as hard as possible for 20 seconds. Coast for 10 seconds. Repeat six to eight times.
Attack Intervals to Increase Your Threshold

Raising your threshold pace will help you sustain attacks. Ride as hard as you can for two to three minutes (you will be flagging by the end). Recover at an easy pace for two minutes. Do up to three sets.

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Big Fat Lies

by on Mar.29, 2013, under Health

A surprising new approach to losing weight and keeping it off—and riding longer and stronger than ever.
BySelene Yeager
ONE OF THE LONG-ENDURING TRADITIONS at bike events of all stripes is the pasta dinner the evening before the big ride. After all, who doesn’t believe in the hearty, turbo-fueling quality of a whopping plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce?

As it turns out, the nonbelievers include a number of highly informed people, including Allen Lim, PhD. “There’s nothing nutritious about that,” Lim says. In fact, he has eliminated all processed wheat from the team’s diet, and at races has replaced traditional starchy foods with balanced, whole-food fuel such as rice cakes made with eggs, olive oil, prosciutto and liquid amino acids. If this creates the impression that Lim knows something you don’t, well, that’s probably true. His job is to make sure that, unlike the rest of us, his team doesn’t blithely adhere to old, counterproductive eating habits—habits that can lead to unnecessary weight fluctuation and diminished performance.

Here’s the good news. We’ve tapped into this new school of food science led by the likes of Lim to correct popular misconceptions about food, particularly about carbs and fat. Proponents of this new approach believe, for example, that a diet heavy in starch causes your body to burn sugar instead of fat, so you bonk more easily, often eat too much and end up overweight rather than properly fueled.

Even Joe Friel, who relentlessly advocated carbohydrates in his training bible series of books, has done a 180, turning his back on starches and relying instead on vegetables, fruits and lean meats as fuel. Consider this our effort to correct myths and misconceptions you’ve been exposed to over the years. Follow this advice, and you won’t just live lean. You’ll also be able to ride longer on less food and never bonk.
FALLACY #1

A calorie is a calorie
This might be the biggest weight-loss misunderstanding in existence. For years we’ve been told that weight loss is a simple calories-in, calories-out equation, and 3,500 excess calories will put on a pound whether they come from soybeans or banana cream pie. That’s simply not true.

“There are three key types of calories: carbohydrate, protein and fat,” says sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, creator and coauthor of the Flat Belly Diet (published by Rodale, Bicycling’s parent company). “They’re as different as gasoline, motor oil and brake fluid in terms of the roles they play in keeping your body operating optimally.” Sass says that many of her clients might eat the perfect number of calories, but they have cut their fat intake too much. So the jobs that fat does, such as repairing cell membranes and optimizing hormones, go undone, and the surplus carbs are stored as fat. By correcting her clients’ balance of carbs, protein and fat without changing their calorie intake, she says, she has helped them lose weight, improve their immune systems, gain muscle and boost energy.

The Get-Lean Fix
Eat a representative of each macronutrient group at every meal. Sass recommends getting 50 to 55 percent of your calories from carbs (fill half your plate with vegetables, fruits and some whole grains), 25 to 30 percent from fats (olive oil, avocado and so on), and 15 to 20 percent from protein (lean meats, fish, eggs and poultry). “Just be sure to skew your preworkout meals or snacks to be heavier in carbs and lower in fat and protein to fuel up properly and avoid cramps,” says Sass.
Fallacy #2

Starches are sensible fuel
At some point, starch became synonymous with carbohydrate. While pasta and bagels are carbohydrates, and you do need carbs for fuel, they’re often not the best sources, especially if you’re trying to keep weight off. Starchy carbs are easy to overeat, and any surplus goes to your fat stores. “Your brain operates on sugar, and when you eat bagels or potatoes, your body turns them into sugar and delivers them to your cells quickly, which makes your brain happy and leaves you wanting more,” says Friel. So in this case, you shouldn’t listen to your body.

Fruits and vegetables, by contrast, are rich in carbs but often lower in calories and also digest more slowly. You’re less likely to plow through so many berries and carrots that you end up with more fuel than you need. As a bonus, plant foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and immunity-boosting phytonutrients that make you healthier and stronger, so you can ride better and burn more calories.

The Get-Lean Fix
Choose carbs wisely. Eat starchy, quick-digesting carbs only during and right before and after training rides or races, when it’s important to get food that can be quickly digested and converted to fuel. Otherwise, get your carbs from fruits and vegetables.

How much is enough? If you’re eating considerably more than Sass’s recommended 50 to 55 percent, especially from starchy sources, then you risk changing your metabolism, says Friel. “When I see someone who has started eating lots of starch,” he says, “they not only have gained fat, they’ve also changed their metabolism from fat-burning to sugar-burning.” It doesn’t happen over one plate of pasta, but the body is adaptable. “Over the course of a few of months,” Friel says, “it will switch over to burn whatever you’re feeding it most.”

When possible, pair your carbs with some protein. Lean meats, nut butters, fish and eggs slow digestion, so you feel full sooner, get more even energy from your meals and stay full longer. The amino acids in protein also help repair, build and maintain muscle tissue.

It’s no coincidence that Americans got heavier as fat consumption went down. For years, the government preached low-fat, carb-heavy diets. “This wasn’t only misguided; it was flat-out wrong,” Friel says.
Fallacy #3

All fat makes you fat
As your body becomes more conditioned, you become a better fat burner. You need ample amounts of healthy fat, which, contrary to widely held belief, won’t make you fat. In fact, starchy foods turn to stored fat far more quickly. What’s more, evidence is stacking up that healthy unsaturated fats are essential for firing up your fat-burning metabolism. In a study of 101 men and women, Harvard researchers put half the group on a low-fat diet and half on a diet that included about 20 percent of calories from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). After 18 months, the MUFA-eating group had dropped 11 pounds; its low-fat-eating peers had shed only six. Fat is also slower to digest than carbs, so it helps you stay hunger-free longer.

Fat will help you ride longer so you can burn more calories, says Friel. Research shows that athletes who get about 50-plus percent of their diet from fat produce better average times to exhaustion in exercise tests than those eating typical low-fat, high-carb diets.

The Get-Lean Fix
Add healthy fats to every meal. Sass recommends getting about 20 percent of your calories from MUFAs, or about 55 grams per day at 2,500 calories, which is what most cyclists eat as training ramps up. “Because most athletes don’t have time to count fat grams, the simpler message is: Include small portions of good fats, like almonds, avocado and olive oil, with all meals and snacks,” she says. Try nuts and seeds, olive-based tapenades and even the occasional chunk of dark chocolate. Some healthy portions to shoot for:

Nuts and seeds Everything from pecans to pine nuts, almond butter to tahini. A serving size is 2 tablespoons.
Olives Black, green, mixed or blended in a spreadable tapenade. A serving is 10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of spread.
Oils Canola, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, walnut, sunflower, sesame or olive. Cook with them; drizzle them; eat them in pesto. One serving is 1 tablespoon.
Avocado As guacamole or just slice and serve. One-quarter cup equals one serving.
Dark chocolate Go for one-quarter cup of dark or semisweet, or about 2 ounces.
Fallacy #4

Food comes from a box
Many cyclists who think they’re eating healthfully often consume far more sugar and sodium than they realize because they eat so much pasta, cereals, energy bars and other processed foods. “The vast majority of grocery-store foods are packaged junk,” says sports nutritionist and exercise physiologist Tavis Piattoly, RD, LD, of Elmwood Fitness Center, in New Orleans. Some items also contain trans fats—the kinds of fats you want to avoid. The sugar is also troublesome for weight loss because it causes the body to step up its production of insulin, which in turn blocks hormones that control appetite. As a result, the food you eat is quickly stored as fat—and still, you’re always hungry.

The Get-Lean Fix
Eat mostly whole foods that are part of an animal or plant, Piattoly says. Fill most of your cart with foods from the grocery store’s perimeter first; that’s where the fresh produce, meats, fish and other whole foods are found. Then go down the center aisles to fill in the rest. That should reflect the proportion of processed foods you include in your diet.
Fallacy #5

Skipping breakfast is fine if you need to drop a few pounds
Eat breakfast. That bit of essential advice is food gospel. Still, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, fewer than half of us eat a morning meal. Breakfast is the key that starts your fat-burning metabolism. Without it, you go into an energy deficit that not only leaves you ravenous (and more likely to overeat) later, but also suppresses your calorie-burning furnace, so what you do eat is more likely to go into storage. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are 4 1/2 times more likely to be overweight than those who don’t. “It’s one of the biggest fueling mistakes almost everyone makes,” says Piattoly.

The Get-Lean Fix
Because you have a whole day of activity—usually including a ride—ahead of you, try to eat about 25 percent of your daily calories at your morning meal. That meal should include protein, healthy fat and fiber-rich carbs like fruit. A British study found that exercisers who ate a breakfast high in fiber burned twice as much fat during workouts later in the day than those who ate less fibrous foods.

For a power breakfast that’ll sustain you well into the day, try two eggs any style; cup whole oats, cooked; 1 cup yogurt; a cup of mixed berries; coffee; and orange juice.
Fallacy #6

You can eat the same at age 40 as age 20
Muscle is the engine that powers your pedals, but it also drives your calorie-burning metabolism. The more lean tissue you have, the more calories you burn and the leaner you stay. As we age, we naturally lose muscle and thus gain fat. Cycling and strength training help stem that loss, but the right foods are more important for muscle maintenance than most people realize. Because of age-related kidney changes, our blood becomes more acidic and we excrete nitrogen, an essential component of muscle protein, faster than we take it in, Friel says. “Essentially we end up peeing away our muscles,” he says. And with a net loss of nitrogen, you can’t form new muscle.

The Get-Lean Fix
Turn the tide on nitrogen loss and preserve muscle mass by increasing the alkalinity of your blood to neutralize the acidity, says Friel. One way is with supplements like Acid Zapper, but you can also eat foods that enhance alkaline. Fruits and veggies are the only foods that offer a net increase, says Friel. Fats and oils are neutral. All other foods, including grains, legumes and meats, have an acid-producing effect. If you don’t get most of your carbs from fruits and vegetables, Friel says, you’re losing muscle mass as well as calcium from your bones, which also gets leached away in an acidic environment as you age.
Fallacy #7

You’re never hungry… or you’re always hungry
Most diets treat hunger as the enemy. But it’s actually your closest ally, says Piattoly. “Once you start the fat-reduction process, you’ll be a little hungry, but not starving,” he says. “The trick is balancing the two, so you’re losing weight, but not setting yourself up for a binge.”

The Get-Lean Fix
Try to eat every three to four hours, says Piattoly. “Eat breakfast, then wait until you feel hungry and eat just until you’re no longer hungry,” he says. “That’s where people usually go wrong. They eat past the point of satisfaction until they’re ‘full.’ Eat only until you’re no longer hungry. If you don’t feel hungry again in three to four hours, you ate too much earlier.” Once you get the hang of it, weight loss and maintenance is much easier.

Where the Carbs Are
Fruits and vegetables are a more substantial source of carbohydrate than most people realize.

RAISINS, seedless (1/4 cup) 32g
BRUSSELS SPROUTS, cooked (1/2 cup) 7g
PEAS, cooked (1 cup) 25g
STRAWBERRIES (1 cup) 11g
SPINACH, cooked (1 cup) 7g
SUCCOTASH, cooked (1 cup) 47g
CARROTS, cooked (1/2 cup) 8g
ORANGE (1 medium) 14g
COLLARD GREENS, cooked (1 cup) 12g
CORN, sweet, cooked (1 ounce) 7g
CANTALOUPE (1 cup) 15g
SQUASH, winter, acorn, cooked (1 cup) 30g
SWEET POTATO, baked w/ skin (large) 44g
ARTICHOKE, cooked (1 medium) 13g
WATERMELON (1 cup) 11g
GREEN PEPPER (1 cup) 10g
BROCCOLI, raw (1 cup) 4g PEACH (1 large) 17g BANANA (medium) 30 g

Pasta & Grains
SPAGHETTI (1 cup) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40g
SPAGHETTI, whole wheat (1 cup) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37g
TAGLIATELLE (1 cup) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44g
WHEAT BREAD (1 slice) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12g
RYE BREAD (1 slice) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15g
MIXED-GRAIN BREAD (1 large slice) . . . . . . . . . .5g
FRENCH BREAD (5 inches) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18g
PITA BREAD, WHITE (6-inch diameter) .. . . . . . . .33g
LONG-GRAIN WHITE RICE (1 cup) . . . . . . . . . . . 45g
SHORT-GRAIN WHITE RICE (1 cup) . . . . . . . . . . 37g

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Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

by on Mar.28, 2013, under Wheels I Built for Customers

Newly finished at Adrenaline Bikes.
If you want more information Call and ask for Matthew. 1-800-579-8932

IMG 0383 300x225 Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

IMG 0384 300x225 Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

IMG 0385 300x225 Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

Chris King Universal Disc Hubs Mavic Open Pro Rims DT Swiss Competition Spokes Alloy Nipples 1730Gr

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How Stress Affects Your Heart and Gut Health

by on Mar.28, 2013, under Health

By Dr. Mercola

As much as you may try to ignore it, you cannot separate your wellness from your emotions. Every feeling you have affects some part of your body, and stress can wreak havoc on your physical health even if you’re doing everything else “right.”

The classic definition of stress is “any real or imagined threat, and your body’s response to it.” Celebrations and tragedies alike can cause a stress response in your body.

All of your feelings, positive or negative, create physiological changes. Your skin, heart rate, digestion, joints, muscle energy levels, the hair on your head, and countless cells and systems you don’t even know about change with every emotion.

Stress plays a major role in your immune system, and can impact your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, brain chemistry, blood sugar levels, and hormonal balance. It can even “break” your heart, and is increasingly being viewed as a cardiovascular risk marker.

Women are more vulnerable to feeling sadness and anxiety than men, according to research, and feel the pressures of stress more than their male peers, both at work and at home.

You cannot eliminate stress entirely, but you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body’s important systems.

By using techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), you can reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and meditation are also important “release valves” that can help you manage your stress.

How Women Experience Stress

Some stress is unavoidable; mild forms of stress can even be helpful in some situations. A stressor becomes a problem when:

Your response to it is negative.
Your feelings and emotions are inappropriate for the circumstances.
Your response lasts an excessively long time.
You’re feeling continuously overwhelmed, overpowered or overworked.

According to the featured article in The Guardian,1 certain themes connect women’s experience of stress. Stomach-churning anxiety, for example, is far more common in women than men. As is feelings of sadness in response to stress, and not being able to stop thinking about that which worries them.

This in and of itself may feed into a vicious cycle that makes matters progressively worse, because when you dwell on negative emotions you internalize the stress, which can make it more difficult to come up with constructive ways to address the problem.

According to Dr. Tara Chaplin, who led a 2008 study2 investigating the role of gender and emotion, sadness and anxiety are very passive emotions, so while you’re sitting there thinking and worrying, you’re less likely to assert yourself and engage in active problem-solving.

This could be particularly problematic in the workplace, she warns. She suggests finding other, more active methods of coping instead of ruminating and dwelling on negative emotions. What can you change about the situation to make it better? What can you do to lessen those stressful feelings?

“Take an active role and thinking of healthy ways to cope – which could be anything from exercise, meditating, using some new mindfulness techniques, taking breaks for yourself,” she told The Guardian.

“I focus my research on how women and men cope with stress, but we also need to have a conversation about what can be done societally to reduce stress on women… Are there programs that can be in place for subsidizing daycare so you have good daycare? Could we have longer maternity leave? These sorts of things are really important.”

How Stress Affects Your Heart

In related news, mounting research shows that people exposed to traumatic and/or long-term stressors, such as combat veterans, New Orleans residents who went through Hurricane Katrina, and Greeks struggling through financial turmoil, have higher rates of cardiac problems than the general population. According to NBC News:3

“Disasters and prolonged stress can raise ‘fight or flight’ hormones that affect blood pressure, blood sugar and other things in ways that make heart trouble more likely, doctors say. They also provoke anger and helplessness and spur heart-harming behaviors like eating or drinking too much.

‘We’re starting to connect emotions with cardiovascular risk markers and the new research adds evidence of a link,’ said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association spokeswoman.”

In one such study, which involved nearly 208,000 veterans aged 46 to 74, 35 percent of those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) developed insulin resistance in two years, compared to only 19 percent of those not diagnosed with PTSD.

Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and hardening of the arteries. PTSD sufferers also had higher rates of metabolic syndrome — a collection of risk factors that raise your risk of heart disease, such as high body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. More than half (about 53 percent) of veterans with PTSD had several of these symptoms, compared to 37 percent of those not suffering with PTSD. According to the featured article:

“The numbers are estimates and are not as important as the trend — more heart risk with more stress, said one study leader, Dr. Ramin Ebrahimi, a cardiologist at the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center and a professor at UCLA. It shows that PTSD can cause physical symptoms, not just the mental ones commonly associated with it.

‘Twenty or 30 years ago PTSD was a term reserved for combat veterans. We have come to realize now that PTSD is actually a much more common disorder and it can happen in veterans who did not undergo combat but had a very traumatic experience such as losing a friend,’ he said. That goes for others who suffer trauma such as being raped, robbed at gunpoint or in a serious accident, he said. Nearly 8 million Americans have PTSD, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates.”

Is It a Heart Attack, or ‘Broken Heart Syndrome?’

Extreme grief, regardless of the cause, can actually “break” your heart according to previous research. In comparing how grief affects your heart disease risk within a period of time, researchers found that losing a significant person in your life raises your risk of having a heart attack the next day by 21 times, and in the following week by 6 times.4 The risk of heart attacks began to decline after about a month had passed, perhaps as levels of stress hormones begin to level out.

The study did not get into the causes of the abrupt increase in risk of cardiovascular events like a heart attack, but it’s likely related to the flood of stress hormones your body is exposed to following extreme stress. For instance, adrenaline increases your blood pressure and your heart rate, and it’s been suggested it may lead to narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your heart, or even bind directly to heart cells allowing large amounts of calcium to enter and render the cells temporarily unable to function properly.

Interestingly, while your risk of heart attack increases following severe stress, so does your risk of what’s known as stress cardiomyopathy — or “broken heart syndrome” — which is basically a “temporary” heart attack that occurs due to stress. The symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome are very similar to those of a typical heart attack — chest pain, shortness of breath, low blood pressure and even congestive heart failure can occur. There are some important differences, however.

In broken heart syndrome, the symptoms occur shortly after an extremely stressful event, such as a death in the family, serious financial loss, extreme anger, domestic abuse, a serious medical diagnosis, or a car accident or other trauma.

This stress and the subsequent release of stress hormones are thought to “stun” or “shock” the heart, leading to sudden heart muscle weakness. This condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention, however it is often a temporary condition that leaves no permanent damage.5 In most cases a typical heart attack occurs due to blockages in the coronary arteries that stop blood flow and cause heart cells to die, leading to irreversible damage. But people with broken heart syndrome often have normal arteries without significant blockages. The symptoms occur due to the emotional stress, so when the stress begins to die down, the heart is able to recover.

How the Stress Response Affects Your Digestion and Health

Your heart is not the only organ that takes a beating when you’re stressed. While under stress, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and blood is shunted away from your midsection, going to your arms, legs, and head for quick thinking, fighting, or fleeing. All of these changes are referred to as the physiological stress response.

Under those circumstances, your digestion also completely shuts down, which can have severe ramifications for your overall health. Americans are notorious for “eating on the run,” which can negate the benefits you’d otherwise reap from eating a healthier diet (or make the effects of a poor diet worse). The stress response causes a number of detrimental events in your body, including:
Decreased nutrient absorption Elevated cholesterol Increased food sensitivity
Decreased oxygenation to your gut Elevated triglycerides Heart burn
As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism Decreased gut flora populations Decreased enzymatic output in your gut – as much as 20,000-fold!

Perhaps most importantly, when your body is under the stress response, your cortisol and insulin levels rise. These two hormones tend to track each other, and when your cortisol is consistently elevated under a chronic low-level stress response, you may experience difficulty losing weight or building muscle. Additionally, if your cortisol is chronically elevated, you’ll tend to gain weight around your midsection, which is a major contributing factor to developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Many nutrients that are critical for health are also excreted during stress, particularly:

Water-soluble vitamins
Macrominerals
Microminerals
Calcium (calcium excretion can increase as much as 60 to 75 mg within an hour of a stressful event)

Tending to Your Gut is Important to Help Combat Mental Stress

What this all boils down to is that when you eat under stress, your body is in the opposite state of where you need to be in order to digest, assimilate nutrients and burn calories. You could be eating the healthiest food in the world, but if your body cannot fully digest and assimilate that food, then you will not reap the benefits from it, nor will you be able to burn calories effectively.

Interestingly, neurotransmitters like serotonin are also found in your gut. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and suppressing aggression, is found within your intestines, not your brain. It’s no surprise then that scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the friendly bacteria with fermented foods or probiotics is extremely important for proper brain function, including psychological well-being and mood control. For instance, the probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 has been shown to normalize anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis.6

Research published in 20117 also demonstrated that probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry under normal conditions — in such a way that can impact your feelings of anxiety or depression.

In short, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA [an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes] levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior. The authors concluded:

“Together, these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.”

For Optimal Health, Take Stress Management Seriously

You cannot eliminate stress entirely, but you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body’s important systems. By using energy psychology techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), you can reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips while tapping on specific key locations, custom-made verbal affirmations are said repeatedly. This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist.8

Seeking the help of a licensed therapist is particularly recommended if you’re dealing with trauma-based stress such as PTSD or grief following the loss of a loved one. There are also many other stress-management strategies you can employ to help you unwind and address your stress, including:

Exercise. Studies have shown that during exercise, tranquilizing chemicals (endorphins) are released in your brain. Exercise is a natural way to bring your body pleasurable relaxation and rejuvenation, and has been shown to help protect against the physical effects of daily stress
Restorative sleep
Meditation (with or without the additional aid of brain wave synchronization technology)
Schedule time to eat without rushing, and make sure to maintain optimal gut health by regularly consuming fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, or taking a high-quality probiotics supplement

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