Tag Archives: health and fitness

Living healthy

Fitness Exercise Guru Jack Lalanne Epitomized A Healthy Lifestyle — And You Can, Too

Having demonstrated his strength by pulling a locomotive with his teeth, Jack LaLanne left no doubt about the benefits of his daily exercise and diet routine. LaLanne, who passed away recently at the age of 96 years young, was ahead of his time in not only promoting, but also performing and teaching proper exercise, strength and conditioning routines. While we don’t know how much LaLanne’s genes played a part in his longevity, we do know that it took hard work and commitment to gain his chiseled physique and stamina.

Much has been written about LaLanne over the years. He demonstrated his commitment to health and exercise by opening the nation’s first health and fitness center in 1936, which included a gym, juice bar and health food store. While a great idea in hindsight, he once told the New York Times that most people weren’t ready to bet on a healthy living craze.

“People thought I was a charlatan and a nut,” he told the Times. “The doctors were against me. They said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.”

Even in his 90s, LaLanne began each day with a two-hour workout that included weight training and swimming. It’s a lesson in wellness we could all heed and one that doesn’t involve complex diets, gym equipment or pricey trainers.

As 2011 begins, many of us are vowing to start or resume a healthy living routine. Some baseline suggestions include:

  • If you smoke, commit to quitting. If you need help, see your primary care provider to discuss a plan to help you achieve success.
  • Start exercising. No matter what your age or medical history, some form of exercise is a good and healthy idea — and one that LaLanne surely recognized. Your physician will know your health status and can help recommend an exercise program that includes at least four days a week at 30 minutes each time. Try to take the time, find a friend and make it fun. If you haven’t exercised regularly, at the outset you should start slowly and gradually work up in duration of activity. Remember that your physician should be your guide.
  • Improve your diet. Try cooking meals that use fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Reduce your consumption of soda and fast food. Concentrated sweets (candies and such) should be minimized, and if you take the time to read food labels you’ll be surprised by the amount of sugar and sodium hidden in foods. Finally, be adventurous; try new recipes and healthy cuisine. Spices tend to be low in calories, sodium and have no fat, so they are good, favorable salt substitutes.
  • Avoid stress. Today, we are busier than ever, so staying stress free and living a healthy lifestyle are all the more challenging. Try participating in simple stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, reading, meditation, journaling and exercise. Reducing stress can go a long way toward fulfilling a healthy lifestyle.
  • Routine and preventative care. You are the only one who knows how you feel. You should make regular visits to your primary care provider and complete regular screenings. Heed warning signs, know what to watch for and remember to follow your physician’s advice.

While no one will recommend pulling a locomotive with your teeth, we would all do well to remember LaLanne’s oft-quoted mantra: “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

Dr. Ben Bocchicchio

Get Fit Quick With Dr. Ben Bocchicchio’s 15 Minute Workout

I’ll be honest; the thought of hopping on a treadmill or sweating through push-ups will easily evoke a “Do I really have to?” whine from me.

But when I heard about a magical workout – 15 minutes, just two days a week – I thought it couldn’t get any easier. I was wrong.

Dr. Vincent “Ben” Bocchicchio’s workout is just that, work. For 15 to 20 solid minutes, you push your muscles to failure. But it’s worth it. I’ve never felt my muscles working that clearly or been so sore the next day from a short workout.

Bocchicchio, a veteran health and fitness expert, has trained celebrities like Christie Brinkley, world-class athletes and regular Joes during his 40 years in the business. His scientifically proven resistance training method involves “[instigating] the certain chemistry that is correlated to benefits” of exercise, Bocchicchio says.

He calls his exercise The SMART Exercise Program, which stands for Slow Maximum Response Training. Slow movements allow for maximum muscle stimulation and optimal metabolic response in the regimented training sessions.

Bocchicchio presented a study of 100 people comparing his exercise to cardio training over a five-week period to the International Congress of the American Physiological Society and American College of Sports Medicine. The study showed that his subjects saw more benefits than those who did more than three hours of cardio weekly. His patients, ages 18 to 74, reduced their body fat by 20 percent, while the other group had only a 1 percent reduction in body fat.

His exercise regiment is not only successful; it’s also sustainable.

“You can sustain this kind of lifestyle commitment for years. I have some people that have done this system almost 40 years,” he says.

When I saw Bocchicchio, I knew his method would work. He’s buff, almost intimidating, until you engage him in conversation. As a person who doesn’t work out, ever, I was scared at the thought of pushing my muscles to failure with the help of a muscular man who might not show mercy. But with Dr. Ben’s genuine encouragement I got through the whole 20 minutes without crying.

First, Bocchicchio explained to me why his exercise routine is successful.

“People ask me what’s the best exercise they can do, and I say it’s the one that you will do,” he says. “What I tried to do is eliminate the hurdles that people put up for exercising.”

The three main reasons people don’t work out are because they don’t have time, they don’t want to get injured and they don’t see results; Bocchicchio has eliminated all of these excuses, he says.

The injury rate is zero because of the slow movements he teaches – which make the workout grueling but effective. The workout is so effective that his clients can see results within two to three weeks, he says. Finally, there’s the pesky element of time, to which Bocchicchio shows no mercy.

“If you can’t give me 15, 20 minutes twice a week, then you’re just making excuses,” Bocchicchio says.

After an introduction to his methods, I stopped making excuses.

I did much better than I thought I would. I was actually impressed with the strength I didn’t know I had. The next day soreness was high, but Dr. Ben says that decreases with time.

You can learn Bocchicchio’s method at a free seminar on Jan. 8. The seminar includes a body composition test, exercise demonstrations, lessons on what to eat, what not to eat and more.

If You Go:

      Doctor’s Fitness Center
      2394 E. Camelback Road
      Phoenix, Ariz. 85016
      Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
      Reservations required
      Call 480-206-5017

Dr. Ben’s Metabolic Makeover website