Age & Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)

Every story starts somewhere. We start not at the beginning and not at the end but about halfway along, somewhere along age 55.  Aging is unforgiving and it is accompanied by a progressive decline of muscle mass, muscle quality and muscle strength, a condition known as “age related sarcopenia

Primarily from middle-age, a 1% per year loss of muscle mass occurs. On average, people lose about 30% of their muscle power between ages 50 and 70. In severe cases a loss of up to 50% can be experienced by the age of 80’s’-90’s.

Age-related sarcopenia includes factors such as hormonal imbalance activity, lack of movement or inactivity, poor nutrition, chronic illness and loss of neural integrity and function in the peripheral and central nervous systems. One interesting hypothesis is that mitochondrial deterioration in muscles and motor neurons is the primary initiator of sarcopenia.  Mitochondria is the powerplant to all cells! Well, I know of a way to increase the quality and number of your mitochondria.

Exercise: Resistance training/lifting weights has long been the number one most promising method for treating sarcopenia. Understanding how age, gender and hereditary affects muscle-related gene expression, protein recycling and protein turnover will dictate how one can use weight training to our advantage.

Weight Training: Weight training has been shown to be beneficial across all age groups including those with chronic illness. Some of the most noteworthy benefits include an increase in muscles density and neuromuscular patterning and a ability to perform activities of daily living, such as carrying groceries, getting out of a chair, taking out the trash, walking and climbing stairs, gardening, and better balance and coordination.  But general weight training might not be enough.

It is possible that targeting specific dysfunctional mitochondria areas and increasing healthy mitochondria in motor neurons and muscle fibres could provide a better strategy for reducing sarcopenia.  Science has shown that resistance training can enhance muscle mass and function even in 90-year-old subjects. The theory is that by targeting specific dysfunctional mitochondria areas and increasing healthy mitochondria in motor neurons and muscle fibres with specific exercise can fast track muscular function in age related sarcopenia.

Many studies have shown that with eccentric weight training adults with sarcopenia receive greater benefits than traditional concentric weight training alone, improving muscle strength and mobility function. Benefits of eccentric training is that it produces relatively greater force with lower energy consumption, making it an attractive option in strength programs to improve physical performance.

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tracking Goals and Intentions: Are You Achieving Them or Just Treading Water?

Well, here we are near halfway through the year and I’m wondering are you achieving what you wanted to this year or do you feel as if you’re just treading water?

The 1st of Jan isn’t the only time to set goals or intentions, in fact it is often the worst especially if you are just thinking of a goal, ambition or intention just for the sake of it. Every day is a good day to do this especially when you get to the point of enough, I’ve had enough of dreaming or thinking but not doing!!

I love this saying ‘Foresight is good, Hindsight is better’! I use this saying when I have realised, I’ve missed out on something big or made a mistake and then realised I missed a great opportunity by not acting on it prior. Yoga is this for me.  I’ve started it and I’m going but I’m disappointed I’m not doing it every single week. After a month of big hikes and cycling I’m disappointed in myself as I’ve pulled up with sore knees and I know in hindsight Yoga would have helped with strengthening and stretching to minimise the pain (in my case maybe the PT needs to get a PT! or blame it on teens who need to be picked up from sport or taken somewhere!!)

So, when it comes to your fitness, health and wellbeing and how you thought the year might be looking but in reality isn’t, then talk to us. Linda & JC are taking one-on-one Goals & Intention coaching sessions to help you achieve them or set them – just click here and make a booking.  The cost is normal PT pricing, and as always we have got your back to help & support you achieve whatever it is for you.

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Beauty of Sunflower Seeds – By Estelle O’Keeffe

While we enjoy a lovely bouquet of sunflowers, their seeds are what we are really interested in. Sunflower seeds are harvested from the head of the sunflower plant. Their distinct nutty flavour and high calorie nutritional value provide a number of health benefits; helping to support your immune system and increase energy levels. The seed itself has a black and white striped exterior which is not recommended you eat. However, if you crack it open, inside you’ll find a white seed which can be eaten raw or roasted. Sunflower seeds are quite versatile, much like any nut and can be used in salads, sprinkled over a stir fry or your morning oats, used in your own trail mix or even used as spread instead of peanut butter! 
 
So what can sunflower seeds do for our health? 

Reducing inflammation 

For those with short-term or chronic inflammation, sunflower seeds can offer anti-inflammatory benefits. The seeds contain vitamin E as well as other plant compounds that can reduce inflammation. 
Sunflower seeds are also rich in ‘healthy’ fats, including polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated which are good for heart health. Consumption of these seeds have been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 
 
Support the immune system  

It’s very important to have a healthy immune system, especially in this day and age. Sunflower seeds are a source of many vitamins and minerals that can support your immune system and increase your ability to fight off viruses (covid or otherwise!). These include both zinc and selenium. Zinc plays a vital role, helping the body maintain and develop immune cells. Selenium also plays a role in reducing inflammation, fighting infection, and boosting immunity. 

 

Boosting energy levels 

Sunflower seeds are very high in protein and help boost your energy levels. While the high levels of protein within the seeds already help boost energy levels, other nutrients such as vitamin B and again selenium can help keep you further energised. Put simply, the vitamin B1 present in sunflower seeds can help you convert food to energy, which can keep you active throughout the day. Selenium can increase blood flow and deliver more oxygen to your body. 

Lab To Table – Be Chemical Free

As more and more chemicals are entering our lives through our food, skincare and cleaning products, it is time to discuss how they affect your body, cause harmful side effects, and how we can help reverse this trend and be healthier.

One way of doing this, as discussed by Cyndi O’Meara in her book Lab To Table, is to start practicing Counting our Chemical Calories.  That’s right, counting the amount of chemicals our body absorbs daily.

In times past, your body was able to naturally regulate and maintain weight and health. Life was simpler, with way less choices in the foods we ate, the cleaning products we used or the creams and cosmetics we put on our skin. However, our bodies are now being exposed to a toxic overload of chemicals in our everyday lives and we, as a society, are getting sicker and fatter, even though we are eating less fatty food and exercising more.

One of the reasons behind this is our bodies desire for homeostasis, a state of balance among all the body systems needed for the body to survive and function correctly. It tries to maintain a toxic free environment, taking the good stuff from what we consume by way of eating, breathing and skin absorption and excreting the rubbish and by products through urine, feces, carbon dioxide and sweat. If the body cannot eliminate all this toxic waste, and maintain balance, it stores it away until it can in our fat cells, often called Cellulite!

However, with more toxic chemicals entering our body through food production, skin care and household products, the harder it is getting for our bodies to get rid of them all and it is storing them for later in those fat cells.  That’s right, your fat cells, once used in times of fast and famine to store fat for when food was scarce, are now being filled with an overload of toxic chemicals.

Interestingly, our body does have a natural way of trying to eliminate all these excess toxins, and that is through a process called “having a cold or flu”. Our bodies will dump the toxins in mucus and try to excrete as much as is needed to again maintain balance.  Ironically, people don’t like having colds, so they take medication to stop the flow of mucus and thus stop the elimination of toxins. This is compounding the problem creating fattier, less healthy individuals, and eventually more severe colds!!

That is why I believe it is so important to try and change your eating and lifestyle habits. Some simple steps towards this are:

  • Eat only simple, good and wholesome food. Where possible, eat organic. Join the wave of people that growing their own vegies, even a pot of spinach on a balcony can help!
  • The skin is the largest organ we have! Take care of what you put on it! A great rule of thumb for cosmetics is: if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.
  • Eliminate harmful household cleaning products. Although we don’t consume them, we do inhale them, which cause an increase in chemical calories count.
  • Always read the list of ingredients on not only food but your skincare and cleaning products. My rule is: the less ingredients the better!

While balance is the key to a healthier life, we must acknowledge that we are never going to rid our lives of all toxic chemicals. Taking these active steps to decrease your chemical calories count will give our bodies a chance to eliminate the toxic load and rid itself of excess fat. We can regain our energy and be healthier, fitter and happier.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Colostrum: What is it and how can it benefit us?

Yes, it’s kind of weird, but slightly intriguing…That is, to most people who aren’t Mums or Dads. To them, colostrum isn’t strange at all, know it as the first milk the mother produces at the end of pregnancy and shortly after birth and value it as a natural, nutrient-dense superfood that gives their baby everything it needs to thrive at the beginning of life. It’s the liquid gold version of the stuff we’ve been told we should drink since the ‘80s because it “does a body good.”

So, if milk “does a body good,” in theory, colostrum does a body better? 

In fact, traditional cultures worldwide have used colostrum (both human and animal) in food, medicine, cultural, and religious rituals for centuries. However, only recently has colostrum been studied in the lab.

As a dietary supplement, colostrum has been shown to support immunity, strengthen the gut, and improve athletic performance. Without further ado, let’s take a look at colostrum: the substance, the supplement, the claims, and supporting evidence so you can separate the cream from the milk.

What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is a substance produced in a mother’s mammary glands shortly before and after birth. It’s the first food of all newborn mammals. Since newborns have undeveloped digestive and immune systems, they need a turbo boost of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies to jump-start their growth, form their gut lining, and fortify their immune system. Colostrum is naturally formulated to deliver these goods in a way that mature milk cannot and is essential for every newborns’ survival.  A growing amount of research shows that it may be beneficial at any stage of life, and as a dietary supplement, colostrum from cows (bovine colostrum) contains many of the same nutrients and has many health benefits as human colostrum.

Some of the compounds unique to colostrum include:

  • Lactoferrin: a protein that’s a crucial part of the immune defence system.
  • Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM): small proteins used by the immune system to seek out and destroy foreign antigens (invaders).
  • Growth Factors (IGF-I, IGF-II, EGF): proteins that assist with the maintenance and growth of specific body tissues, including muscle and the gastrointestinal lining.

The Health Benefits of Bovine Colostrum

Colostrum for Immune Support
The Claim:  
Colostrum may support a healthy immune system.
The Research:  
Two studies on elite athletes suggest that colostrum supplementation may be effective in boosting immune system function, with data showing significantly increased number of antibodies in distance runners’ saliva, and more favourable serum levels of immune cells post-exercise than a placebo. But you don’t need to be an elite athlete to reap colostrum’s immune-boosting benefits as it may enhance the immune response in ordinary subjects as well.

Colostrum for Gut Health
The Claim: 
Colostrum may strengthen the gut wall and decrease gut permeability.
The Research: 
Numerous studies have demonstrated that colostrum aids in the strengthening of the gut lining by stimulating the growth of the cells that line the gut wall, likely the result of the abundance of lactoferrin and it’s prebiotic properties. It is also suitable for the lactose intolerant as it does not contain lactose.

Colostrum for Athletes
The Claims: 
Colostrum may be superior to other proteins for the development of lean mass and strength and may improve athletic recovery.
The Research: 
Because colostrum is rich in various growth hormones and is a source of dietary protein, a growing number of hopeful athletes use colostrum to accelerate their strength and body composition gains. While it does not appear to provide many additional benefits when it comes to their strength and body composition goals, the effect on their recovery, on the other hand, is promising. Recent trials have shown that athletes that took colostrum demonstrated faster post-exercise recovery and optimal performance maintenance.

Quality is our top priority, which is why we personally like Kion Bovine Colostrum. It is sourced from grass-fed cows that feed on single-origin natural pastures and is GMO-Free, Hormone-Treatment-Free, antibiotic-free, and BSE-free.

As we’ve learned, our “first food” doesn’t just set us up for good health in our infancy. It’s also something that can promote health and vitality throughout our life.

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Words from JC – Exercise and Men’s Health and Wellbeing

I have been asked many times why men are hesitant to exercise and/or go to a gym. As someone who owns a gym, and loves exercise and the benefits you get from it, sometimes I do not really have an answer for questions like – “Why is my husband opposed to exercise” “Why are men over the age 50 reluctant to exercise and or go to a gym?  It is beyond my imagination why someone would not want to step into ALTA Fitness and embrace all that we have to offer!!

With Men’s Health and Wellbeing being such an important area of discussion in recent times, I thought I’d do a little digging and find out why men don’t take care of themselves and how we at ALTA can help change this.

Statistics have shown the following:

  • 61% of Australian men do not engage in regular General Practitioner (GP) visits.
  • Men that do visit a GP tend to keep their appointments short.
  • Men account for most statistics that relate to diseases that are linked to lifestyle factors, such as diet, smoking, exercise, weight.
  • Men who are under 75 are twice as likely to die from preventable AND treatable medical conditions.
  • Three out of four suicides are male.

I did ask around and found that the top 5 answers

  1. “I am ok the way I am”
  2. “Too expensive”
  3. “I get enough exercise from walking”
  4. “It’s boring”
  5. “I am too old”

I also asked our clients at ALTA why they DO visit, and their top 5 answers were:

  1. I want to improve myself, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  2. The trainers are great at understanding my needs and help me be the fittest and healthiest person I can be.
  3. Knowing that I will improve my life expectancy outweighs the costs.
  4. I love the sense of companionship I have with fellow patrons.
  5. It’s always fun to learn new things.

So next time you visit ALTA, let us know your thoughts and talk to us about how we can help you and the men in your life be fitter, healthier and happier

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

– The Four Female Archetypes – Which one resonates no matter what stage of life we are in!

Carl Jung explains archetypes as the symbols of our collective unconscious, the impersonal and inherited traits of human beings that present and motivate human behaviour and continue to influence feeling and behaviour even after our consciousness developed.

For us women we can often identify with the female archetypes at any time of day, week or month, even depending on where we are, or who we are with. Having us understand the archetypes can help to understand what motivates us and why. There are 13 female archetypes but there are 4 that are more common and may resonate with you.

Women today are often in a masculine role as well as feminine stepping in and out of the roles and often losing our femininity. So embrace your femininity and let me know if you are stronger in one or like me I’m often all four in one day!

Maiden

She is young at heart, full of optimism, energy, and a care-free nature. She embodies independence, strength and confidence. She revels in her femininity not ashamed or inhibited, has confidence in herself before others through self care and self love. She is full of enthusiasm & authenticity, intelligent, can plan, organise and confident in her own skin.

Nurturer / Mother

She embodies creativity, nurturing (of the self and others), and attention. She guides and protects her own children and others and she is not only a mother to her own she gives unconditional love to others. She is also connected to nature and the environment, brings harmony, balance and care.

Wild Woman

Knowns as the warrior, or witch she is playful, competitive and sometimes destructive. She is fierce in protecting her family and brings sexual and fertile energy along with strength & motivation. The dark and buried side is from burying emotions and energy when she just wants to be heard.

Wise Woman

She brings deep intuition and wisdom, the advisor, that has been brought about by deep pain and delivers the strength from our ancestry. Helping others to grow and strengthen as an advisor.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

10 Day Healthy Food Challenge – STARTS MONDAY!

Register here

This is a simple 10 day challenge where for 10 days you eat no processed foods or take away, just simple honest to goodness food. It is based primarily on my learnings and Changing Habits nutritional guidelines, and we can help you break down those unhealthy eating habits, guide you into eating wholesome home-made foods and meals.  I guarantee that you will learn so much about your food and how it makes you feel great when eating well.

To keep it as simple as possible, let’s not over complicate it, there is no weighing, no meal / portion sizes.  There is just a list of foods you can use to make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner or as JC and I do, make 2 nutritious meals a day.

So what will it all look like you ask?

  • Starts Monday 2nd May
  • In a neat little PDF guide you will get:
    • An allowed foods list – I highly recommend you go shopping Sunday and buy what you need for at least 3-4 days and go through your pantry and clean out anything that will tempt you
    • Recipes – including vegetarian options
    • Hints and tips to make it an easier transition
  • Each day I will email you a quick 5min run down
  • A Private Facebook Group, where you can ask me any questions, tell us what is happening to you, share pictures of your meals and be supportive to others in the group
  • For a one off cost of $67 (remember, it’s free for return participants!) – just a contribution to the effort and time we’ve put into this would be appreciated.

 

Count me in!

Register here

 

IMPORTANTLY: Please note that this program is not suitable for pregnant women and it is also recommended that all individuals seek professional medical advice before making changes to your exercise or diet. The information, ideas and suggestions we make in this program are purely from JC and I and they are not substitutes for consulting with your health professional.

A Wristful of Thoughts – An Introspect by Andrew Bui

A few weeks ago, while working at my “real full-time job” (JC joking around that PT isn’t my full-time job) as a Sales Consultant for 99 Bikes, I was in the bike storage room moving bikes around and awkwardly lifted a bike while twisting my wrist which caused soreness and weakened movement for over a week. It was such a small movement yet made a significant impact. During that week, my capacity to work was limited, and I struggled to lift, pick up, pull and move bikes around. I became less efficient or able to give 100% in everything I did.

A little overboard in my evaluation but I wanted to help my team, help my customers, assist in the shop, and most importantly share my joy of riding with everyone. Additionally, facilitating group exercises became tricky when setting up the exercises, moving weights and demonstrating movements. Furthermore, cooking and cleaning at home was done with more precaution and took more of my time. A small injury can stream into all aspects of your life. When you’re not able to live to your fullest potential and enjoy what you love to do most, at work or with family and friends, setbacks like this makes me rethink the importance of health and the corrective functional movement to be able continue to put my best self forward.

Similarly, it’s like someone not using their gifts for the world. Even though there are millions of people on earth, if one person doesn’t act and use their gifts, it may have a ripple effect.  That person may not be living up to their ambitions or use their gifts to help others go further in life. Unfortunately, we can’t physically see or acknowledge this outward result and can only imagine what could have been. The missed opportunity to share and reach out to the people we love, to the communities we are in or to the people we meet. We miss growth, we miss experiences, and we miss living life fully with vibrance and vigour. When we stumble to play our part, our unique talents, skills, gifts or potential to have a positive impact can be condensed to reduced thoughts, feelings and indecisions. The outcome is hidden because the vision is unclear.

The takeaway of all this is the importance of correct functional movements and correct techniques, focusing on alignment of mobility and stability with strength and coordination. This will ultimately reduce injury and create a stronger skill foundation for everyday movements. We may not see the immediate benefits during the one-on-one sessions with ALTA trainers, or group exercise classes but with emphasis on keeping healthy, upholding safety and correct movements, we can believe the future is brighter and we can go further in life to live fitter, healthier and happier.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Agnes Karll Schwest Krankenpfleger.

“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person only one”

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Happy Hiking Trails

I have a tale to tell –

While rambling along a trail, carrying a pail. I came across a male quail at his pale mailbox, reading his morning’s mail.  “Good Morning!  I said, “What do you mean” replied the quail? “Do you wish me a good morning or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on”.  Well, I thought to myself this is not something you see every day.  A quail with a pale mailbox, usually the mailboxes are red!

Now if you would like to meet a quail reading the morning mail on a trail, you need to get out of your house and find a trail. There are countless trails to be walked on, especially in and around Melbourne.  Phil Clarkston and Lyn Carter are avid trail enthusiasts and have compiled a list of walks they have done and give some handy tips.

‘In planning most of these walks we find the old Melways maps are especially good to consult. Once we are walking though, we normally use google maps on our phones if we need to work out just where we have made a wrong turn. or to find the nearest pub.’

Park​ and ​Reserves:

Lederberg Gorge. Located at Bacchus Marsh. (Some great climbing tracks which are not too difficult but be careful on the unmade rocky track. No good in the wet.)
Brimbank Park The end of the walking track along the Maribyrnong River.

Werribee Gorge, not to be confused with Werribee Park. Werribee Park is a nice relaxing place with rose garden, and a day spa, Werribee Gorge is the complete opposite. Located just 8k from Bacchus Marsh at Pentland Hills Road. The gorge has quite a few serious trails.  Not sure what parks Victoria were thinking when they created this park. The trails are steep and rugged with some parts with bolted in hand holds into the rocks
Lysterfield Park A walk around the lake is good or head towards Belgrave or come the other way which is also a good variation
Jells Park: Located near Wheelers Hill, The park attracts over 900,000 visitors a year, with over nine kilometres of paths and trails, 127 hectares of wide-open space and enough picnic areas for everyone to enjoy”.
Botanical Gardens – Melbourne and Cranbourne

Tracks and TrailsAlong waterways:

It is also fun to find where our creeks and rivers end up, most emptying into the Yarra but others into the bay. Finding their source is a bit more difficult for most since many begin on private property or up in the bush in Mt. Macedon, Dandenong, or The Great Dividing Range.’ PC
Westerfield reserve trail. Start at Clifton hill or Yarra Bend (Fairfield). Follow along Merri creek all the way to the Ring Road and continue to Craigieburn.

Koonung Creek For a good part you are following the Eastern Freeway and the hum of the traffic can be annoying. But once past the start of the tunnel, you are walking for quite some time through the bush which is much more enjoyable.

Yarra River Trail. Very long trail, starting at the CBD and ending up at Warburton which is about 85k. About 30 minutes past Westerfolds Park you can call into Petty’s Orchard for a coffee and some wonderful cakes and slices.

Gardiners Creek from its source in Nunawading through to its entry into the Yarra.

Tracking Railway Lines:

Caulfield down to Dandenong on the Pakenham Line (Some of is under the new elevated line.)
Mordialloc through to Seaford on the Frankston line; partly along the line but branching out to walk through the wetlands around the Patterson Lakes (Again can see the community facilities developed under the elevated sections of the line. Some wonderful water birds can be seen.) even a quail or two!
Frankston starts here and follows the Stony Creek line as far as the Freeway.

Box Hill to Ringwood A bit of navigation on roads needed between Laburnum and Blackburn. This is the start of one of the ways we walk out to Lilydale.
Capital City Circuit

Eastlink Trail Although I try to avoid the tracks along freeways since I don’t like the constant hum of traffic we have to walk some of them for some distance since they are colinear with other tracks; e.g. Eastlink and Dandenong Creek tracks are one and the same for some distance.

Road and Bay Walks:

We often taken one of the main roads that cut through Melbourne suburbs and walk its lengths, such as Warrigal Road from Surrey Hills down to the bay in Mordialloc, Waterdale Road starting near the Yarra in Ivanhoe, High Street starting Clifton Hill and heading out to Epping and further. You can also walk various sections around the bay, from Williamstown around through to Frankston. One of the most interesting sections is from the CBD in and out of Docklands and through to Port Melbourne. It’s a great way to see the wonderful variety and history that makes up Melbourne.

One of our favourite walks that we do each year is Surrey Hills to Lilydale. We follow the railway line to Ringwood, where there are two routes you can take. You can either get onto the Mullum Mullum track and then navigate through streets across the Croydon Hills until descending into Lilydale, or walk around the Ringwood Lake, navigating your way to the start of the old aqueduct and taking this in a straight line towards Olinda, but you will need to leave the track and head off through the streets to get into Lilydale. We normally head down near the Lilydale Lake where we enjoy a lunch by the lake or at a local café.

As with any activity plan, be prepared, wear the appropriate shoes and clothing and of course physical fitness is a key to enjoying the great outdoors. And who knows you just meet a quail on the trail reading the mail!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.