Boxing, MMA, Self Defense, and VersusFit

Gracie Barra Katy Texas & VersusFit

“Training with Intent” ; by Professor Ted Stickel, Black Belt Instructor, Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; Katy, Texas

I have been using the VersusFit Suspension training straps and have found them to be the most effective total body performance conditioning system I have ever used. Like everyone else, I have trained extensively with free weights during my lifetime and find VersusFit suspension training to offer far greater core strength, total body power, flexibility, balance and stability conditioning. This method of conditioning meets the requirements of what I call the “Four Pillars of Fitness”: cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and flexibility. In my profession of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, strength and flexibility are very important for competition and self defense events. The VersusFit suspension straps improve strength and leverage in a large range of angles; this is crucial to optimum performance in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and most other sporting events. I use and recommend the use of VersusFit suspension training straps to all people who want to improve their overall fitness level and manage body weight. A great amount of calories are burned while working out with suspension straps versus free weights, and especially weight machines, because most of the body’s muscle groups are used during each exercise. The VersusFit suspension straps are very heavy duty and are probably the most durable suspension gear on the market. VersusFit suspension straps are certainly built with durability to last in our rugged MMA and self defense training environment.
– Professor Ted Stickel

Types of Body Fat and What To Do About All

Burning Fat
VersusFit Studio Training

VersusFit is total body training simultaneously engaging all muscle groups. Your metabolism will burn more calories and more fat during and hours after a VersusFit workout. http://www.versusfit.com & VersusFit Studios.

(This article was first printed in the December 2006 issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch. For more information or to order, please go to http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens.)

Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As women go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more than it does in men. Especially at menopause, extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection, as the ratio of fat to lean tissue shifts and fat storage begins favoring the upper body over the hips and thighs. Even women who don’t actually gain weight may still gain inches at the waist.

At one time, women might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of postmenopausal life. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral, fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.
Abdominal fat locations

Generally speaking, abdominal fat is either visceral (surrounding the abdominal organs) or subcutaneous (lying between the skin and the abdominal wall). Fat located behind the abdominal cavity, called retroperitoneal fat, is generally counted as visceral fat. Several studies indicate that visceral fat is most strongly correlated with risk factors such as insulin resistance, which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes. Some research suggests that the deeper layers of subcutaneous fat may also be involved in insulin resistance (in men but not in women).

Where IS the fat?
fatLocations

Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where a woman’s fat ends up is influenced by several factors. Heredity is one: Scientists have identified a number of genes that help determine how many fat cells an individual develops and where these cells are stored (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 25, 2006). Hormones are also involved. At menopause, estrogen production decreases and the ratio of androgen (male hormones present in small amounts in women) to estrogen increases — a shift that’s been linked in some studies to increased abdominal fat after menopause. Some researchers suspect that the drop in estrogen levels at menopause is also linked to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes the accumulation of abdominal fat.

As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss. The most accurate measurement techniques, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, are expensive and not available for routine use. However, research using these imaging methods has shown that waist circumference reflects abdominal fat. It has largely superseded waist-to-hip ratio (waist size divided by hip size) as an indicator of fat distribution, because it is easier to measure and about as accurate. There’s also evidence that waist circumference is a better predictor of health problems than body mass index (BMI), which indicates only total body fat (see “Measuring up”).
Measuring up

Researchers have tried several ways of measuring the links between health risks and body weight or fat distribution:

Body mass index (BMI). A ratio of weight in kilograms to the square of height in meters, BMI helps identify people whose weight increases their risk for several conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. People with BMIs of 25–29.9 are considered overweight, and those with BMIs of 30 or over, obese. However, some researchers think BMI isn’t always a valid indication of obesity, because it gives misleading results in people who are very muscular or very tall. To calculate your BMI, go to http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi or use this formula: Weight in pounds × 703 ÷ (height in inches)2.

Waist-to-hip ratio. To find your waist-to-hip ratio, divide your waist measurement at its narrowest point by your hip measurement at its widest point. As a marker of a person’s abdominal fat, this measure outperforms BMI. For women, the risk for heart disease and stroke begins to rise at a ratio of about 0.8.

Waist circumference. The simplest way to check for abdominal fat is to measure your waist. Run a tape measure around your torso at about the level of your navel. (Official guidelines determine the level at which waist circumference is measured by locating a bony landmark: the top of the right hipbone, or right iliac crest, where it intersects a line dropped vertically from the middle of the right armpit.) Breathe minimally, and make sure not to pull the tape measure so tight that it depresses the skin. In women with a BMI of 25–34.9, a waist circumference greater than 35 inches is considered high risk, although research suggests there is some extra health risk at any size greater than 33 inches. A study in the September 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in women, a large waist was correlated with diabetes risk — even when BMI was in the normal range (18.5–24.9). Since abdominal fat can be a problem despite a normal BMI, health assessments should include both BMI and waist circumference. The relationship between waist circumference and health risk varies by ethnic group. For example, in Asian women, a waist circumference above 31.5 inches is considered a health risk.

The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels. Subcutaneous fat located at the waist — the pinchable stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004 found that liposuction removal of subcutaneous fat (up to 23 pounds of it) in 15 obese women had no effect after three months on their measures of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, or response to insulin. Weight loss through diet and exercise, on the other hand, triggers many changes that have positive health effects.
What’s wrong with abdominal fat?

Body fat, or adipose tissue, was once regarded as little more than a storage depot for fat blobs waiting passively to be used for energy. But research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It’s more accurate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. One such hormone is leptin, which is normally released after a meal and dampens appetite. Fat cells also produce the hormone adiponectin, which is thought to influence the response of cells to insulin. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.

Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by promoting insulin resistance and low-level chronic inflammation. These and other biochemicals, some not yet identified, are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

One reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle and liver cells don’t respond adequately to normal levels of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that carries glucose into the body’s cells. Glucose levels in the blood rise, heightening the risk for diabetes. Together, insulin resistance, high blood glucose, excess abdominal fat, unfavorable cholesterol levels (including high triglycerides), and high blood pressure constitute the metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Excess fat at the waist has been linked to several other disorders as well. A European study of nearly 500,000 women and men found that, for women, a waist-to-hip ratio above 0.85 was associated with a 52% increase in colorectal cancer risk. A long-running community study on atherosclerosis conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University found that even among normal-weight people, those with higher waist-to-hip ratios had just as much difficulty as those with higher BMIs in carrying out various activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of bed and performing household chores.

A larger waist measurement also predicts the development of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat, according to a 10-year study of Chinese adults published in the August 2006 American Journal of Hypertension. Finally, a study presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience found that older people with bigger bellies had worse memory and less verbal fluency, even after taking diabetes into account.
Now for the good news

So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. In a study comparing sedentary adults with those exercising at different intensities, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that the non-exercisers experienced a nearly 9% gain in visceral fat after six months. Subjects who exercised the equivalent of walking or jogging 12 miles per week put on no visceral fat, and those who exercised the equivalent of jogging 20 miles per week lost both visceral and subcutaneous fat.

Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. A University of Pennsylvania study followed overweight or obese women, ages 24–44, for two years. Compared to participants who received only advice about exercise, those given an hour of weight training twice a week reduced their proportion of body fat by nearly 4% — and were more successful in keeping off visceral fat.

Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.

Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help. But drastically cutting calories is not a good diet strategy, because it can force the body into starvation mode, slowing metabolism and paradoxically causing it to store fat more efficiently later on.

Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For example, studies of the weight-loss medication sibutramine (Meridia), which was approved in 1997, have shown that the drug’s greatest effects are on visceral fat. Rimonabant (Acomplia) — not yet FDA-approved — is the first of a new class of drugs that block a receptor in the brain that increases appetite. Acomplia has been shown to modestly reduce the accumulation of fat at the waist.

Because levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, better known as DHEA, decline with age, many people believe that DHEA supplementation can reverse age-related changes, including increased abdominal fat. DHEA is converted in the body to testosterone and estrogen and regulates various functions. Some studies have linked DHEA to longevity in animals and people, and others have linked it to modest health benefits. But the results of a two-year randomized trial published in the Oct. 19, 2006, New England Journal of Medicine showed that DHEA had no effect on aging markers, including body-composition measurements, in women and men ages 60 and over.

For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.

(This article was first printed in the December 2006 issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch. For more information or to order, please go to http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens.

Bodyweight Training – Angles of Attack

fit1 (2)

– Duane Stevenson

In a world of instantaneous gratification, starting an exercise regimen and then waiting months, or even years, to visually realize the full benefits can be disheartening. And while 30 minutes a day of cardio is touted as the be-all, end-all of healthy living by medical professionals, the truth is it’s not going to give you the body you want. While cardio is excellent for your heart health and your waist line, relying solely on cardio to get that dream body you’ve always wanted is going to fail every single time.

 Enter bodyweight training. Requiring significantly less equipment than traditional weight training, this system allows you to build and lengthen your muscles without keeping a collection of heavy weights or oversized machines in your home gym. And suspension training drastically increases the success rate of bodyweight training by making it possible for you to achieve nearly any angle, thus targeting and working every muscle in your body.

 The suspension training gear offered by VersusFit.com allows you to engage in a strenuous, results-driven workout. With just 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you can get the best in bodyweight training and, therefore, the most noticeable results. Our system allows you to utilize gravity to your advantage, varying the intensity of your workout all while building a solid core and targeting muscles throughout the body.

When it comes to a home gym, you’ll find nothing more multi-faceted than the VersusFit gear. The results speak for themselves! VersusFit.com products are available online at www.VersusFit.com.

 Image

Moderate or Extensive….Just Exercise

Exercise is about more than keeping in shape. It also can help with your emotional and mental health. Exercise can help you improve your self-esteem, keep your mind off problems, and give you a sense of control. In general, people who are fit have less anxietydepression, and stress than people who are not active.

Research suggests that exercise can help specific mental health problems. Exercise may help prevent depression from coming back (relapse) and improve symptoms of mild depression.

Be safe while you exercise
Image

Moderate exercise is safe for most people, but it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before increasing your activity. Anyone age 65 or older should talk to a doctor before exercise.

  • Start slowly, and gradually increase how much you exercise.
  • Stop exercising if you have severe pain, especially chest pain, or severe problems breathing. Talk to your doctor about these symptoms.
  • People who are likely to have high anxiety or panic may have an episode during exercise because of the buildup of certain body chemicals (such as lactic acid) from exercise. If you have any problems during exercise, talk with your doctor.

Tips for being active

It can be hard to be active when you feel depressed or anxious or have a mental health problem. But activity can help you feel better, so do your best to find a way to be active. It’s fine to start with small steps. You can build up from a few minutes a day.

  • Don’t overdo it. Start with simple exercises, such as walking, bicycling,swimming, or jogging.
  • Warm up your muscles for about 5 minutes before you start exercising. To do this, you can walk, slowly move your arms and legs, or do simple muscle stretches.
  • Use the talk-sing test to see whether you’re exercising at the right pace.
    • If you can talk during exercise, you’re doing fine.
    • If you can sing during exercise, you can exercise a little faster or harder.
    • If you are not able to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard. Slow down a bit.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes after you exercise. It’s okay to do some stretching exercises during cooldown.
  • Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Get regular exercise but not within 3 to 4 hours of your bedtime. This might make it hard to fall asleep.
  • You can make daily activities part of your exercise program. You can:
    • Walk to work or to do errands.
    • Push a lawn mower, rake leaves, or shovel snow.
    • Vacuum or sweep.
    • Play actively with your children, or walk the dog.

Do your best to slowly work up to moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week. Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or shooting baskets. But any activities-including daily chores-that raise your heart rate can be included. Find a pace that is comfortable. You can be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.

If you have problems exercising on your own, ask someone to exercise with you or join an exercise group or health club.

VersusFit Supercharged Bodyweight Training

VersusFit Supercharged Bodyweight Training
I have been training and competing for over 30 years. I have trained with VersusFit Supercharged Bodyweight Training for 2 years and I AM IN THE BEST INJURY FREE CONDITION OF MY LIFE.

Darrel Clouse, a 52 year old GRANDPA, trains with VersusFit suspension training gear exclusively for two years now. I have am in the BEST INJURY FREE CONDITION OF MY LIFE.