Acupuncture can help you lose weight using a holistic, multi-level approach
For many people, the holidays signify a deep sense of tradition, belonging and celebration—we spend time with our families, we strengthen our faith, and we give to others. Unfortunately, the holidays can also signify a time of excess—we use more energy, we buy more stuff, and we eat more food. Trying to make healthy food choices amidst all of the cocktails parties, cookie exchanges, and holiday feasts can challenge the best of us, and by January we might find ourselves resolving once again to lose weight and get fit. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Year after year, “losing weight” ranks as the number one New Year’s resolution in America. People join diet programs and gyms, hire nutritionists and personal trainers, and harness all of their will power with the hope of losing fat and gaining health.
With so many people in pursuit of weight loss, I am often asked if acupuncture can provide help in shedding unwanted pounds. Certainly, the importance of a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet and consistent exercise can not be understated. These practices, along with adequate sleep and stress management, are the most powerful cornerstones of health and optimal body weight. That being said however, there are several other factors that can contribute to weight gain and obesity by causing dysregulation in the hypothalamus, including hormone imbalances, gut dysbiosis, chronic stress, and inflammation. Because acupuncture has the ability to regulate the hypothalamus, it may be an effective adjunctive therapy for weight loss in these circumstances.
The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain that is responsible for maintaining “homeostasis” or physiological balance. It achieves this balance by coordinating the activities of the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary to regulate hormones, neurochemicals, circadian rhythms, body temperature, thirst and hunger. If physiological communication to and from the hypothalamus is disrupted, this can cause a misfiring of signals which can ultimately result in weight gain.
Acupuncture may help restore proper functioning of the hypothalamus through a variety of mechanisms, but one of particular interest is the ability of acupuncture to influence the secretion of obesity-related hormones. A study by Güçel et al. (2012) measured the effect of acupuncture on hormone concentrations in 40 overweight women. After the 5-week study, it was found that acupuncture had positive effects on the concentrations of leptin, ghrelin, insulin, and cholecystokinin. These hormones play important roles in appetite regulation, fat accumulation, energy intake, and metabolism, therefore cumulative modulation of them through acupuncture may help individuals lose weight.
Because acupuncture has a regulatory effect on the hypothalamus and autonomic nervous system, it can be a powerful addition to other weight loss strategies by curbing appetite, suppressing food cravings, boosting metabolism, improving digestion and elimination, enhancing nutrient assimilation, balancing obesity-related hormones, and supporting the liver in metabolizing fats. Furthermore, acupuncture may increase smooth muscle tone in the stomach, which helps people more readily identify when they are full, so they are less likely to overeat.
So, “why weight?” Consider adding acupuncture to your weight loss regime, in order to give yourself every advantage to be successful. Alchemy Acupuncture & Apothecary wishes you a clean, lean, and healthy 2017!
Jami Rose L. Ac., Dipl. O.M. • Alchemy Acupuncture & Apothecary • www.alchemyacu.com
By The Beating Heart Center
January is the month for new years resolutions, and the number one resolutions is I need to get in shape. This is the time of year when everyone starts running, cycling or joining a gym. Did you know that working out at the gym is safer than working out in other locales?
We all know that aerobic exercise is good for your heart. Although there is a slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at the time of exercise for both physically active and more sedentary individuals, overall your heart gets healthier from aerobic exertion. And if you are getting your aerobic exercise dose at a “traditional exercise facility”, i.e. a gym, that slightly higher risk of SCA is mitigated by this: your chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest are about 10% higher if you experience the SCA at a gym as compared to other exercise locations, such as a bowling alley.
Why are gyms safer? The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, points to the high number of automated external defibrillators (AEDS) located in gyms. Although compulsory AED placement varies by state, generally more AEDs are located in gyms because of that slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest that can occur during strenuous exercise. Most gyms are on alert and more prepared than other exercise locations to handle that rare occurrence of a sudden heart attack.
And it doesn’t hurt that gyms have personal trainers and staff members who are certified in CPR/AED and First Aid.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a non-profit organization that claims to have trained more than 58,000 Certified Fitness Professionals, requires their students pass a CPR/AED training course in order to complete their personal trainer certification.
The CPR/AED training for ACE students must come from a recognized CPR training provider that requires hands on skills assessment as well as course work. (The Beating Heart Center training classes, approved by the American Health and Safety Institute and the American Heart Association, provide CPR and AED training that meets those criteria.)
The personal trainers at your gym will have received infant, child and adult CPR training as well as instructions on how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). (If you are pursuing your personal training certification and need CPR/AED classes near you in the San Diego area, click here for a schedule).
Yes, the gym is busier in January than almost any other time of year. Many of us are working on keeping our heart healthy resolutions such as that thirtyminute per day aerobic heart work out.
So you may have a slight wait for a treadmill or other aerobic exercise machine because of the high traffic at your local establishment. Don’t give up! Getting your time on the machine is so beneficial to your heart’s well being. Not only is it safer than working out at some other locales, you will be burning off some of those Holiday Calories soon.
By Level One Training and Fitness
There have many discussions and more than a few research projects regarding the efficacy of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and the "afterburn effect" it purportedly results in. One can reasonably infer from the questions posed that there is indeed something to pushing yourself harder than you would with regular cardio.
How well do anaerobic workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT) beat steady-state cardio? Why do many consider it the holy grail of weight loss and fat loss? Is it really "the miracle cure" so many people have been looking for? Does the science behind it in fact measure up? Are HIIT workouts something anyone can do?
Let's just say that hard work as part of a thoughtful strategy aligned with clearly defined goals produces results. In other words, if you are in the clear to do HIIT workouts and you know what else is required of you, particularly when it comes to nutrition, and you know what end result you are passionate about striving for, then HIIT may be the answer for you.
Studies have shown that hill running (sprints) can burn fat at seven times the rate of regular cardio. Can you imagine having to do only one round of hill sprints versus 7 bouts of standard cardio to achieve the same desired effect? How's that for motivation! Of course, the hard part is that running up hills is, well... difficult! The rewards, however, are just that - quite rewarding.
In a study by Dr. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs. high intensity exercise was examined. A low intensity exercise group cycled at a steady rate of 3.5 minutes. The higher intensity exercise group required three 15 second sprints as fast as the subjects could run.
This is why hill sprints and HIIT classes can work so well at burning off those unwanted calories! It's very challenging though because you're having to work very intensely for short periods of time. The key to most HIIT classes is to workout like you're sprinting!
Burn, burn, burn
Regardless of whether you're sitting at your desk working, watching TV, sleeping, or driving to school, your body is expending energy. Your body, right down to the cellular level, requires energy for you to do everything you do, even when it seems like you’re doing nothing at all.
The concept of anaerobic/HIIT workouts to induce the "afterburn effect" revolves around this premise: the more intensely you make your body work, the more work it needs to put in to repair itself over the next day or two. This repair "work" the body does, just like any other activity, burns calories. We'll lay out the data from Marc's quote above for visual ease:
Virtually identical total calorie expenditure despite the fact that one group exercised for 210 seconds and the other for only 45 seconds!
Rachel Cosgrove a well-respected trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) has the following to say:
Fat loss is all about caloric expenditure. You must burn off more calories than you consume in order to lose body fat. Even among the proliferation of diets—low carb, low fat, high protein—this simple rule remains.
The key to achieving this is not aerobic training, which will burn calories only while you are doing it. It is anaerobic training, which burns calories while you are working out and increases the calories burned for hours afterwards. In the case of weight training, building muscle burns calories as long as that muscle is retained—even during sleep.(1)
Need more proof? Dr. Len Kravitz, program coordinator of exercise science and a researcher at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque provides this synopsis from the body of HIIT work:
Perry et al. (2008) showed that fat oxidation, or fat burning was significantly higher and carbohydrate oxidation (burning) significantly lower after 6 weeks of interval training. Similarly, but in as little as two weeks Talanian et al. (2007) showed a significant shift in fatty acid oxidation with HIIT. In their research review, Horowitz and Klein (2000) summarize that an increase in fatty acid oxidation is a noteworthy adaptation observed with continuous endurance exercise.(9)
Even Angelo Tremblay and his team at the University of Colorado get in on the action with a study of 27 men and women, aged 18 to 32 years, who were then divided into two groups, one endurance training and the other high intensity interval training. What happened when all was said and done? "...the results of the present study show that for a given level of energy expenditure, a high intensity training program induces a greater loss of subcutaneous fat compared with a training program of moderate intensity."(8)
So what's the catch?The catch to all of this HIIT talk is that in order for HIIT to be effective at burning your fat away, you must perform your work interval at a level greater than 80% of your maximum effort, even approaching 100% of your maximum effort.
It's no wonder that despite its effectiveness, more people have not jumped onboard with HIIT: it's a tough pill to swallow! And for others? They're just not in that big of a hurry. It will take a certain type of individual to do the necessary gut check and then double-down to make it happen.
The beauty of it all is that everyone is capable of performing that gut check and everyone is capable of doubling-down; they just need to be at the right time and place in their lives in order to make it happen for them. Did you notice the statement didn't say "at the perfect time?" Did you notice the statement DID say "make it happen?"
For individuals who are up for a challenge or want to arrive at "point b" a bit sooner than everyone else, HIIT is a potentially great way to do just that - make it happen. These individuals will be tired of remaining the same and will be ready for the next step with minimal investment in both finance and time.
HIIT also provides great variability with little complexity. In other words, it's always interesting!
In the end, it's about who you are, what you’re capable of doing, and what you're looking for.
Freddy Saluna is the Founder of Level One Training and Fitness. Together with Brittany Johnson, a Registered Dietitian and Charlie Satter, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, they work holistically at helping people effectively and efficiently achieve their health and fitness goals by utilizing a "back-to-basics" approach. They are "Saving the world, one person at a time" through one-on-one and group personal training sessions, outdoor HIIT (high intensity interval training) "bootcamp" classes, and Online/Virtual Training for clientele throughout the United States.