Thursday, October 29, 2015

Muscle Soreness, Hidden Sugars & A Better Halloween Treat

No Pain, No Gain??

Success? Yes, No or Maybe?

Why You’re Sore:   Exercise, particularly eccentric exercise which lengthens the muscle as it is working can cause microtears in the muscle fiber, and the connective tissue surrounding it.  This sets up an inflammation which results in waste products that stimulate nearby nerve endings.  This in turn causes localized pain and soreness.  You may have heard this referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

While there are numerous studies targeting various therapies or remedies for preventing DOMS, another pertinent question is whether such soreness is essential for developing muscle.

The answer is yes…and not necessarily.  The damage to the muscle fibers stimulate muscle satellite cells which join with the muscle fiber.  This results in the release of growth factors that help repair the damage, and enhance the regeneration of the muscle fiber.  Thus, soreness is indicates damage, which can be the precursor to muscle growth.

However, the more you exercise, the more efficient your body and muscles will become in adapting to the exercise induced damage.  The sensation of pain can gradually be reduced.  Experienced exercisers may feel some fatigue with a particularly hard workout, but can have little DOMS afterwards.

Remember also, that too much soreness (soreness lasting more than a day or two) from over exercising, or doing “too much, too soon” can stress your body’s ability to repair and regenerate quickly.  Subsequent workouts may lack some of the intensity necessary to continually challenge your muscles to develop. Plus, going up or down stairs may be interesting for awhile!

Bottom Line:  Moderate soreness is good, but lack of soreness is not necessarily bad.  It is possible to titrate a workout progression so that there is a gradual overloading of the muscles that doesn’t produce DOMS.  For more detail, see this link.

Hidden Sugars

There’s lots of research coming out lately about the dangers of refined added sugars – school kids got healthier in 2 weeks when sugars were controlled.  In adults, its been found that those extra calories can be deposited in your belly, increasing your risk of heart disease and cancer.  Added sugar can also raise your insulin levels, increasing the risk of insulin resistance & diabetes. 

Need more convincing?  Refined sugar can age your cells more quickly, as well as causing inflammation which has been found to be related to increased risk of many other diseases.

With the holidays fast approaching, this might be added incentive for not indulging too heartily.  Here are some sneaky foods to beware of:

Granola Bars & Cereals – these can have up to 25gm of added sugar in a one cup serving.  The RDA for added sugars is 10 gm/day.  Keep in mind a teaspoon of sugar is 5 gm, and that there are 4 calories per gm of carbohydrate.

Ketchup based salad dressings – these pack a surprising 9-10gm of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving.  You wouldn’t sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar on your salad, would you?  Better choices – home made dressings including oil/vinegar, garlic, or balsalmic vinegar.

Yogurt contains lactose (milk sugar) which is naturally occurring.  However,  yogurt with added fruit will have up to 30 gm or 120 calories of sugar.  That sort of defeats any healthy feelings you might have that you chose yogurt as a snack.  Plain Greek yogurt with a little stevia, maple syrup or honey will have fewer calories.

Frozen Meals – surprised?  In addition to 500-600gm of sodium, many frozen meals can have 30 – 40 gm of added sugar

Dried Cranberries – ¼ cup or a handful can have 29gm of sugar.  We’re talking about Craisins here.  Compare to the 4 gm that a whole cup of fresh cranberries have.

Fruit Juices – these often have 20-30gm of sugar added for flavor.  Look for 100% juice.

BBQ & Other Sauces can have up to 12gm of sugar per serving – that’s close to 3 teaspoons of sugar.  Ask for sauces to be served on the side so you can control the amount.

White Wine.  Reds have less sugar than whites.  Whites also vary by varietal.  Rieslings can have up to 6 gm per glass, while dryer whites might be as low as 1.5 gm.

Canned Fruit – the problem here is the syrup often contains high fructose corn syrup.  There can be 30gm or more per cup of canned fruit.  Look for water or natural juice packed varieties.  Or choose fresh whole fruit.  You’ll get fiber, as well as the benefits of the nutrients in the fruit. 

More information here

 A Healthier Halloween Treat 

Cheesy Colby Jack O’Lanterns

You'll Need: 4 whole-wheat sandwich thins, 2 teaspoons butter or margarine, 1 (8-ounce) block of Colby Jack cheese, sliced
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Split four sandwich thins in half (so you have 8 slices) and butter one side of 4 of the slices. Lay butter side down on a baking sheet and layer Colby Jack cheese on them. Cut out jack-o'-lantern faces on the other 4 slices, then butter one side and lay butter side down on baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and place jack o'-lantern faces on top of the sandwiches.  Link

© Fitness Spark Personal Training, October 2015