Tag Archives: muscle

A Woman’s Guide to Building Muscle


Creatine is a substance known to help build muscle mass and increase performance. Even though there are a growing number of women pursuing bodybuilding, it’s predominantly used by men. A survey in 2007 revealed that only one percent of female athletes use creatine to help them achieve their goals. This is primarily because they see creatine as something that will bulk them up and make them larger, and our society teaches us women should be small. However, what they don’t consider is that it also keeps them weak. By implementing the use of creatine for women, they can build strength and look better than they ever imagined. Continue reading

Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

Flying In A Blue Dream

Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.


Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

I Am Addicted to CrossFit!

If you told me a year ago that I would be doing Olympic Weightlifting and gymnastics and loving it, I would have told you were a bit crazy! 🙂

I love to play outdoors.  I love to backcountry ski, downhill ski, trail run, hike, mountain bike, sail, kite surf, dirt bike, snowshoe…you get the picture!

Going to the gym is not one of my favourite activites so when a friend suggested I check out CrossFit, I resisted.  After doing some research on this CrossFit business, I decided to give it a go as this  type of training would help increase my growth hormone which, after being tested, is quite low due to the concussions I had when I ski raced.

I went to the first free intro which was great!  I then signed up for the CrossFit Fundamentals Classes where I learned all the CrossFit techniques.  I will back up and explain what Crossfit is!  Here we go…

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics. CrossFit says that proficiency is required in each of ten fitness domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.  Workouts include kettlebell swings, rope climbs, pull ups, jump rope, row, run, Olympic Weightlifting and much more!

Each workout consists of a warm up, skill development, and a WOD (Work Out Of The Day). What I love the best is that everyday is completely different!  Trust me, you will never get bored.  Plus there is a real community in all Crossfit gyms.  Everyone is so friendly so it makes working out fun.  I love the gang at my gym!

The Results

As mentioned above, I had my own reason for going to CrossFit.  Well, the results came in and my HGH (Growth Hormone) is heading upwards!  My preventive health doctor says this is definitely due to the CrossFit training, along with other things that I’ve implemented such as having a whey protein shake every morning and melatonin at night.

This wasn’t the only positive result.  My percentage of body fat is going down and muscle mass is going up!  I am much stronger now so when I head out skiing, ski touring, hiking, dirtbiking etc, I can go for much longer than my pre-CrossFit days which is fantastic!

Listen To Your Body

I have a few friends who stopped going to CrossFit because they hurt themselves.  I know that there are many people who hear of these stories and, therefore, don’t give CrossFit a chance.  Always remember that YOU know your body best.  If you feel like something is too heavy for you or an exercise is hurting you – don’t do it!  You ultimately know what your body can do – not someone else.  Always emphasize technique over weight.  Once you get the technique down, you’ll notice your weight/strength goes up.  And as hard as this may be, be competitive with yourself when it comes to weights.

You also need to remember that you have to stretch after these workouts and to rest when you feel your body needs it.  CrossFit recommends supplementing with Fish Oil to help with a faster recovery as Fish Oil is an anti-inflammatory.

CrossFit On Vacation

We go to a warm kite surfing destination every fall and last year was Maui.  My CrossFit addiction was in full swing by this point so I hunted down a Crossfit gym in Maui.  It turns out I had more fun going to Crossfit Maui Upcountry than I did kiting on this trip (the wind wasn’t great)!  It was great to workout with a local group and meet new friends.  Doing WODs in sugar cane fields is pretty cool too…so you can take CrossFit on the road with you which is pretty awesome!

Of course, it is not for everyone.  But if you are so inclined, check out your local gym and do the 1 free intro.

If you want to learn more about Crossfit, check out the main Crossfit Website.

Have fun!

Kim Duess
You Be Healthy

Jump Start Your Day with A Whey Protein Smoothie

Part of the ‘Nutrition Prescription’ by my anti-aging doctor is to increase the protein component in the mornings.  I now add 30 grams of protein (whey ion-exchange) to my breakfast smoothie which I drink while taking my supplements.  If I’m out of whey, I substitute with a large egg white omelette.  I’ll also have a protein shake immediately after heavy exercise.

What is Whey Protein Isolate?

It is the thin, watery part of milk which contains 1% whey peptides and is also the finest and highest quality proteins known in the world.  Whey is the highest biological value (BV) out of all protein and contains 90% pure protein which isn’t damaged by heat, thus preserving the integrity of each protein fraction.

What does it do?

  • WPI is a convenient, soluble, non-contaminated source of high quality protein.
  • Intake of liquid protein improves absorption into the bloodstream compared to solid tissue protein.
  • Supports the body’s immune system and gastro-intestinal health.
  • Supplies the building blocks for over 1 million different human proteins (making it a complete source of protein)
  • Stimulates the release of CCK (the "I’m full hormones") which modifies the appetite.
  • Raises metabolic rate through dietary-induced thermogenesis.

I love my protein shake routine in the morning.  I add blueberries, almond milk, and a scoop of yogurt – so delicious!

My ‘whey morning routine’ will also lower my cholesterol levels, increase mineral absorption, and keep my teeth and bones strong.  I know this has helped me decrease my body fat, increase my lean muscle mass and boosted my immune system.

To your health,

Kim Duess


You Be Healthy



Lack of Vitamin D Weakens and Injures Muscles

Because of injuries in the springtime, I missed six Boston Marathons back in the 1960s.  It wasn’t until 40 years later that I found the cause: my vitamin D3 blood level was 20 nmol/l (normal is greater than 75 nmol/L, equal to 30 ng/ml).  Recently I moved to Florida and have been relatively injury free for the first time in my life. I now know that people genetically susceptible to vitamin D deficiency are the ones most likely to suffer muscle weakness, injuries and poor athletic performance.  Many exercisers and even competitive athletes are vitamin D deficient even if they live in the sunbelt. I believe that sunlight offers benefits that cannot be obtained just by taking vitamin D pills.


Vitamin D acts directly on specific receptors in muscles to make them stronger and prevent injury (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, April 2010).  As people age, they become increasingly susceptible to muscle weakness and falls caused by lack of vitamin D.  Muscles are made of thousands of individual fibers that are classified into two types: slow twitch fibers that govern endurance, and fast twitch fibers that govern primarily strength and speed.  Vitamin D specifically maintains the function of the fast twitch strength fibers.  A review of the world’s literature showed that lack of vitamin D is associated with muscle weakness in older people (Molecular Aspects of Medicine, June 2005). With aging, you lose muscle fibers. For example, the vastus medialis muscle in the front of the upper leg has 800,000 fibers in a 20 year old, but only 250,000 in a 60 year old. Vitamin D slows this loss of muscle fibers, preserves muscle strength and helps to prevent falls, while lack of vitamin D increases loss of fibers, muscle weakness and falls (Pediatric
Clinics of North America, June 2010).

If you suffer muscle weakness, pain or injuries:

* check your vitamin D3 level. That is the only available dependable test. If it is below 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml), you are deficient.

* You can try taking vitamin D3 at a dose of at least 2000 IU/day for a month.

* If that does not bring your D3 level to normal, you can check with your doctor about taking higher doses.

* A certain percentage of people will have their vitamin D3 levels go above a normal 75 nmol/L and still suffer from muscle weakness, fatigue, pain and injuries.

* These people may benefit from exposure to sunlight.

* Since skin cancer is caused by cumulative exposure to sunlight over a lifetime, you should restrict exposure to sunlight on your head, face, top of ears, arms and hands.

* Try exposing your legs and bathing trunk areas. Be careful to avoid sunburn.

* Start at low exposures of less than a couple of minutes and work up gradually. You cannot tell that you have suffered a sunburn until the next day when your skin will burn, itch and perhaps blister.


Massage Therapy Supports your Immune System

Regular therapeutic massage sessions offer significant benefits beyond the instant relaxation we enjoy. People who experience high levels of stress are likely to get sick more than others. Mix stress with lack of sleep and poor diet, and our body’s ability to naturally defend itself against bacteria and infection is seriously reduced.

Stress management is a key factor for anyone striving to reach a balanced lifestyle. Massage therapy has been proven to be one of the most effective ways for achieving stress relief. Research studies show massage therapy in fact boosts the body’s immune system, which can become compromised from prolonged periods of stress.

Jitka Frajbisova, LMT




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