Sunday, December 30, 2007

Why Exercise Protects Your Memory!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-ZineDecember 30, 2007

Why Exercise Protects Your Memory

Recent research shows that a regular exercise program can help to prevent some of the loss of memory that comes with aging. A part of your brain called the hippocampus is the control station for memories that you store in other parts of the brain. Another brain structure called the prefrontal cortex is the central station that assembles data from other parts of your brain when you want to recall something from your past. Aging causes the brain to shrink and you lose synapses that transmit messages from one nerve to another. Exercise causes the brain to produce a substance called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BNDF) that strengthen old synapses and causes new one to grow (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2007). Researchers used MRIs of their human subjects to show that an exercise program of an hour a day, four days a week for three months caused new neurons to grow in the hippocampus. Several previous studies showed that exercise enlarges the hippocampus in rats and doubles or even triples the rate of the formation of new nerves. However, one way that rats differ from humans is that most of them like to run and need no encouragement to spend several hours a day on a treadmill. There is also emerging evidence that physical activity may be protective against neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, Parkinson's disease, strokes and spinal cord injuries. If you are not a regular exerciser, check with your doctor and get started.

New FEAR's Resolution

Over the past few years, I've noticed a trend in fitness as well as society in general.

People are afraid to commit to a lifestyle change....

I remember a time when clients would come up to me excited about their new year's resolutions and would actually have a list of changes they were committed to making. But by February, the list and memory of had disappeared.

Did most of them fail?

Perhaps... but just because something didn't work the first time, does that mean we can easily throw out the statement, "New Year's Resolutions don't work"?

No, we shouldn't, we can't. Because you see, it's not that New Year's Resolutions DON'T work, it's that YOU don't work your resolution!

Whether it's poor planning, lack of self-control or discipline, work excuses, or simply caving to peer pressure at parties or outings, if we verbally or contractually commit to something, we need to see it through. Yes, even if that means the words 'sacrificial' 'pain' 'resist' 'abstain' 'discipline' come to mind.

As Americans, we don't like being told:
- what or what not to do
- we are wrong
- what to eat, wear, buy
- and we don't like being told we have to wait

We have to wait for the results of a disciplined life. Whether that means saving a little more now to produce financial freedom later, or eating healthy now to have a six-pack later. No matter the goal, you're gonna have to work, you're gonna have to commit.

Are you ready to take that step?

Are you ready to change your habits?

Are you ready to live life more richly?

If so, I challenge you to make a New Year's Resolution AND commit to seeing it through.

2008 can turn out to be EXACTLY what you decide it will.

Are you ready to own your outcome?

Happy New Year!

Jimi Varner

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chocolate Hazelnut Bites are HEALTHY?!?!

I must admit, I am a huge fan of Dr. John Berardi. If you have been a client of mine, you've undoubtly heard me speak highly of this guy. His approach to nutrition is second to none. Below is an article from his newsletter that I wanted to share with the readers of my blog.

Being the nutrition guy is tough sometimes. I got a sharp
reminder of that last week, when I was out to dinner with some
friends. When the waiter offered us the dessert menu, everyone
else at the table looked at me. If I could put that look into
words, it would be about half a permission-seeking, "Can I
please, pretty please?" and about half an angry, "Why the hell
did we invite this guy again?"

Look, once and for all: I eat dessert too.

Especially at Christmas. Growing up in an Italian household is
an experience this time of year, I can tell you that. The
pastries never stop coming. Cookies and cakes and sugar dipped
creations that I don't even know the names of.

But my favorites were these things called "baci," which in
Italian means "kisses." Every region in Italy has their own
version; in fact, you can often find the ones from Perugia in
specialty grocery stores. They're these bite-sized chocolate and
hazelnut treats that are unbelievably addictive.

And that's the problem. You can't just eat one. When I
mentioned this to Jason Grenci, our photographer for Gourmet
Nutrition (and an Italian kid himself), he knew exactly what I
meant. But he decided to do something about it.

He came up with a Gourmet Nutrition version.

Let me tell you something: these things are delicious. He found a
way to turn them into a true Anytime meal: just 9 grams of carbs
and over 22 grams of protein per serving. Unreal.

I've just made a batch for Christmas Eve, and if you're looking
for a nutritious dessert that can fool ANYONE, this is it. Here's
the recipe.



2/3 cup roasted hazelnuts
4 omega-3 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda
1 tsp espresso coffee powder
5 scoops chocolate protein powder
2/3 cup crushed pecans
2/3 cup crushed walnuts
2/3 cup crushed unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, spread hazelnuts and
roast them in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. When finished, pull
hazelnuts out of the oven and place onto a towel. Put 8 of the
hazelnuts aside for later. Next, use the towel to rub the skin
off all but the 8 hazelnuts you put aside.

With an electric mixer, mix together the omega-3 eggs, Splenda,
and espresso coffee powder. Next, add protein powder, one scoop
at a time, mixing thoroughly. Finally, add the de-skinned
hazelnuts (leaving the 8 full hazelnuts aside), pecan meal,
crushed walnuts and peanuts. Mix well. The mixture should
become thick and dough-like.

With wet hands, separate the mixture into 8 equal portions. For
each portion, place one of the 8 hazelnuts set aside earlier into
the center of the portion, rolling the portion into a small round
shape until it completely covers the hazelnut in the center.
Place each bite-sized shape onto a baking sheet lined with
parchment paper. Place the sheet into the oven for 10 minutes.
When complete, pull from the oven and allow to cool. These can
be eaten warm, or stored in an air-tight container in the fridge
and served cool later.

Makes 8 servings.


Calories: 394 kcal
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrate: 9g
Fat: 30g
Saturated: 3.1g
Monounsaturated: 15.8g
Polyunsaturated: 11.2g



John M. Berardi, Ph.D.
Author, Gourmet Nutrition

Monday, December 03, 2007

Jimmy Smith does NOT have portion distortion!

One of my friends in the fitness industry, Jimmy Smith of had a quick post on his blog reminding us of the simplicity of portion control. Check it out below:


Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Portion Control 101

An issue with eating out or eating in general is portion control. Here’s a quick reference guide so that you don’t go overboard and don’t have to think too hard.

Fruit-1 serving is the size of a baseball
Vegetables-1/2 cup is ½ a baseball
Pasta or Rice-1/2 cup is ½ a baseball
Fish or Chicken- 1 serving is a deck of cards
Peanut Butter-2 tablespoons is a large marshmallow
Salad Dressing-2 tablespoon is an ice cube

Can't get much easier can it?

Real before and after shot!

Real before and after shot!
Over 50lbs of fat....GONE!