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Posted by on in Main
Considering a nutritional supplement: Do your homework!

It is that time of year when clients and members are asking, what nutritional products should they purchase as gifts for family and friends, or for themselves to kick off another year of New Year's resolutions? 

We all have our favorite brands, for whatever reasons, and opinions will vary greatly relative to a particular product, product line or vendor. It can become very emotional and confusing. 

The purpose of this blog post is to educate, there are no endorsements or criticisms of any particular brand or specific product/ingredient, nor is it meant to be anything other than a simple guide to determine the approximate value of a product. I ask that anyone who is considering a nutrition supplement, regardless of the source (gym dudes or dudettes including personal trainers, health food store staff or your Uncle Conrad and Aunt Ginny touting their latest and greatest direct sales gig) to do their homework before purchasing any product. When I say homework, I don't mean social media where the BS piles up so fast you need wings to stay above it. I am referring to the nutritional information label, do a very rough assessment of the type and quantity of ingredients by costing them out and decide, is this product fairly priced? 

Below are two examples. The first is a legitimate product, from a reputable product line (Product A) label pictured in this blog. The second is a hypothetical comparison (Product B). 

Let's assume that what is listed on the information panel of the products in question are actually contained in the product, in quantities listed, are of high purity, free of contaminants that could trip a positive drug test for banned performance enhancers, and meets all FDA standards for nutrition supplements.  

First one must get past the endorsements from pro athletes and celebrities, MDs and PhDs, the picture of the male or female on the label that resembles a genetically altered farm animal and subtle inferences that, if one ingests a particular product they will become a high level athlete or physique competitor at any point in their lives. Let go of the emotional marketing appeal and direct your attention to the Nutritional Facts label because that is what really matters. 

See attached image as an example (Product A). 

First look at the serving size and servings per container. Do they add up to the total product weight? Next look at the grams of each (fat, protein and carbohydrate) per serving, do they add up to the bulk of a serving size? Ingredients are listed in decreasing order of quantity. Product A for example, first three ingredients, Maltodextrin, Protein Blend and Lipid Blend, from there ingredients such as flavoring and vitamin/mineral mixes represent a very small part of each serving and unless it is a very expensive ingredient, contributes little to the overall cost of the product relative to the first 2 - 4 ingredients. 

Next calculate the total of each main ingredient in the product. For Product A, focus on the maltodextrin, protein blend and lipid blend. By weight they make up about 93% of the total product. Go online and search for quality vendors of the main ingredients at retail pricing. For Product A, the maltodextrin, protein blend and lipid blend constitute, 52%, 36% and 5% of the total product, respectively. For example, serving size = 165 grams, there are 85 grams of carbohydrate per serving, assume all is coming from maltodextrin to keep it simple (85/165) x 100 = about 52%.

52% of 5 lbs = 2.6 lbs. Maltodextrin can be purchased for about $4.30 a pound (True Nutrition). The protein blend retails for about $12.50 lb and lipid blend at about $24.00/lb. 

By weight (approximate) there are 2.6 lbs of maltodextrin x $4.3 = $11.18, 1.85 lbs of protein blend x $12.50 = $23.13 and 0.25 lb of lipid blend x $24.00 = $6.00. Total $ 40.31. This product retails for about $42, a fair price for the product. 

Product B. Uncle Conrad tells you this is the best post workout drink you can buy. Will add 10 lbs of muscle in just 10 weeks. He really can't tell you why but he's sure it will work and cites multiple endorsements from folks way above his pay grade. 

Product B label. Maltodextrin, soy protein, vitamins/minerals, BCAAs and creatine. 4 pound container that he buys for $60 and since you're family, he'll sell it to you for $72.00. From the label, each serving contains 75 grams of maltodextrin and 25 grams of soy. About 17 servings (107 grams each) in a 4 lb jug. 

Let's do the math. 

The first two ingredients constitute the bulk of the contents. 17 servings of 75 g of maltodextrin = 2.8 lbs x $4.30 = about $12. 17 servings of 25 grams soy (non-GMO) = about 0.94 lbs = $6.20. Total cost $18.37 for the primary, throw in another $ 4 for the other misc ingredients, and the product costs about $22.

Product A (comparable product with better protein) is a 5 lb container and retails for $42. 

What is the cost of each, retail per pound? Product A = $8.40/lb, Product B = $18/lb or even at Uncle Conrad's cost $15/lb. 

Which does one choose? If it is a one-time deal and you want to support Uncle Conrad's best interests, probably not a big deal. If however one is consuming 6 lbs a month, perhaps a different story. 

Lastly, if you want to take it a step further, email the company or website and ask for ANY studies on their products. How and if they respond will tell you a lot about the company. Reasonable companies will at least honestly answer your question and be willing to fund some science as it relates to their products. 


Do your homework!

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The Journey Toward Better Health: Choosing the Right Path.

At the beginning of each new year the fitness industry bombards us with quick fixes, challenges, cleanses, magic potions and get your ass in shape fast programming that would crush an elite athlete on day one. There are promotions, offers, specials and deals promising instant salvation from the many years of a sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary selections and prioritizing life choices to include everything except one's physical wellness. Faced with declining health, rising health care expenses and poor functional capacity, many will get sucked into this emotional vortex of hope. They may lose a few pounds, hang with the program for a few months and then quickly find themselves in the junkyard of dysfunctional fitness, injured, frustrated, burned out and with less money in their wallets than when they started.


This brings me to the article below by Dr. Steven Devor, written earlier this month for Fleet Feet's Movement and No Boundaries program. While it targets their program, the message is clear regarding the process. Well worth a read regardless of what program you chose to transform your life. If you are not willing to institute a fundamental shift in your thoughts and behaviors, the chances of long-term success are very low.


Recently I have been thinking a great deal about the group of people enrolled in both The Movement and our No Boundaries programs. I know for many of you the primary reasons for being involved in one of the two programs are the combined goals of weight loss and improved health.


When you recognize and accept that it may very likely encompass more than a year to accomplish your goal of healthy and sustained weight loss, the proposition can seem overwhelming. However, you have support. All of us involved in The Movement and No Boundaries are fortunate to be working with you at the very beginning of your journey. What I hope you will accept is that this is not about a diet, or a short-term fix. This is the beginning of your lifestyle modification, a new healthy direction.


We know from research that many individuals faced with the sometimes seemingly insurmountable task of weight loss become defeated and give up before they even allow themselves to really try. It just seems so far off, so far down the road. And if you have experienced frustration or are not meeting your goals, I believe you need to be honest with yourself and ask a few hard questions. Is this something you really want to achieve? Are you truly and fully committed to doing this? Are you doing everything you can to achieve your goal?


There is one piece of advice I would offer each of you. Those that are attempting to responsibly lose weight, who are consistently engaged in that struggle. I believe you need to immediately stop concerning yourselves, filling your heads with worry, about what it is you will do tomorrow or next week to achieve your goals. Just think about and focus hard on what concrete and positive steps you are going to take today to pursue your long term goals of weight loss, enhanced health, and increased fitness. One day at a time. In my opinion, slow but steady progress will always carries the day for almost every human endeavor.


My goal for each of you is to create a true transformation in both your internal thought process and your outward behaviors. This is not about next year, next season, next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Start with today. Today, we all need to simply be more physically active, eat healthy and in moderation, and give ourselves our own best effort. And then repeat this effort every day. In the end all those points down the road, every tomorrow, will take care of themselves. Again, one day at a time.


In my experience, those that are successful in achieving long term weight control, health, and fitness have instituted a fundamental shift in both their thoughts and behaviors. Healthy living is a lifestyle that they have adopted. Slowly but surely, your own lifestyle adaptation will take root and the healthy, forever changed, individual grows and blossoms and inspires the next. But it has to be one day at a time.

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Noro Virus and Holiday Cheer. Spread the facts, not the virus.

Imagine sitting in Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, waiting for a connecting flight with your three children, husband already at Aunt Ginny's in LA. He missed the pre-Christmas dinner yesterday evening with your sister Sue's family because of work. Your plane is delayed by 3 hours, it's now 10pm EST and your youngest tells you she doesn't feel very good, then proceeds to vomit in front of hundreds of people also waiting for the same flight. After the initial drama, your other two children begin to feel ill, and you're feeling queasy and achy as well. Being a nurse, you know your best option is to seek private lodging with at least two bathrooms ASAP. Pay someone to bring you lots of oral rehydration fluids and hunker down for 24 - 48 hrs of complete misery while your husband enjoys Christmas dinner with family in LA.


How did this happen you ask yourself, I'm always so careful especially with the kids? You call sister Sue on a land line because your cell phone battery is now dead and ask her, was anyone at your house sick the past week? Oh yes says Sue, we all had that stomach flu thing last week, why do you ask? Because you invited me into a Hot Zone you inconsiderate dolt and never said anything about it, that's why. Click. Now understand Sue was consumed with emotions and good holiday intentions, let her kids prep food for dinner even though they still can't grasp the concept of washing their hands after using the crapper. Sue was 100% certain that the added garlic in last night's dinner would protect everyone from the plague that swept through her household the week before. She heard it on an afternoon TV talk show and thus never bothered to inform her sister.


Given that Noro is so contagious especially in closed places (holiday gatherings) it is a tough virus to avoid. However, knowing the facts and doing your part to prevent transmission and infection is still important. If you or your family have been infected, use common sense and take steps not to spread a gift that keeps on giving. Check out the CDC website and be informed. 

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Posted by on in Main

I was asked to keep this anonymous because of workplace confidentiality, but wanted to highlight another benefit of being fit and promoting the lifestyle, recognition in the workplace and doing their part to keep health care costs down. From a client below.

Wanted to share with you that I just had my annual review. A section of the review is ‘Promoting Health and Well Being”. Taken into account is participating in extracurricular health and fitness activities, lifestyle, leading by example, openly discussing health to promote health in others, participating in community events, etc. This score is given by both peers and managers who scored me at the highest level on this which put me slightly over the “allowed” raise and though my overall review has me at the top of my pay rate now, scoring high in the Health category just got me a one lump sum check for the overage which pays for almost 4 months of training. Pretty good!




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Posted by on in Main

I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2002 for ongoing symptoms of fatigue and generally feeling ill. After a weekend of freaking out over the possible outcomes I decided that I had to do something more than just change my diet. I enrolled in a major research study and was referred to Mark by the study coordinator. After almost 10 years with what is now MM Team Fitness, I have lost about 50 pounds. It's been a struggle to keep them off in part due to that midlife event that so many of us women have the fun of experiencing, major surgery in 2011 and the constant challenge of eating right. It has been hard, especially the transition to CrossFit® based training a couple years ago. At that time I just turned 55 and here we are learning the clean and jerk, working with kettlebells, pushing sleds outside on hot Summer days and climbing ropes. I almost quit several times but the alternative was losing a limb or ending up in a wheel chair like some of my family members.

Despite the challenges of high intensity, skill based exercise, I show up consistently (it's only 3 hours a week), stay positive (even on the toughest days) and do my best which is always better than nothing. As a result, my HbA1c dropped from the 7's to the low 5's and I am no longer diabetic. That my doctors say is directly related to my high intensity exercise program.

I try to live as if I am still diabetic because I don’t want to go back. I am proud (as a 57 year old) of the progress I have made and will continue to make. I move faster and I am in better shape than I was 30 years ago. Next year’s goal is another 50 mile (or more) Pelotonia ride!

- Cathy Tatum

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