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Drink Beer, Be Healthy

Health and fitness notes from Eric Starnes
Features March 19, 2005      
Written by hopscotch

Vero Beach, FLORIDA -

Hi folks! As a person who has dedicated my life to helping others improve the quality of theirs, I thought I would pass a few interesting factoids on to you, my fellow beer raters. As a personal trainer, I can’t have my belly hanging out below my shirt when I make house calls as this would be very bad for business. I also refuse to give up my quest to continue enjoying one of the finer things in life; i.e. high quality beer! I am a huge advocate of proper diet and cardiovascular and resistance training (weight training). Here are some tidbits that I hope prove useful and interesting:

• One gram of fat provides nine calories which the body can easily place in one’s fat stores for future use if not used as energy right away.

• One gram of protein provides four calories and cannot be converted by the body to fat. In fact, protein consumption actually burns calories as it takes a lot of energy to digest.

• One gram of carbohydrates provides four calories which the body can easily convert to fat and place in one’s fat stores for future use if not used as energy right away.

• One gram of alcohol provides seven calories, but cannot be converted by the human body to fat, nor can it be placed in one’s fat stores for future use if not used as energy right away. This pretty much “busts” the “beer belly” myth. It’s not the beer you drink while kicking back to watch March Madness or Sunday football, it’s what you eat while drinking the beer. In fact, I am an advocate of drinking BIG BEERS to cut back on carbs. The higher a beer’s alcohol content, the less room available in your pint glass or snifter for other nutrients such as carbohydrates and even protein (in unfiltered beers).

• One pound of muscle burns fifty calories per day at rest, while one pound of fat burns no calories. A combination of cardio and weight training is much more effective in losing body fat and keeping it off than cardio alone.

• Dumbbell movements activate more stabilizing muscles and therefore will be more difficult to perform. In addition, they isolate each side of the body, not allowing one side to take over for weakness in the other. They are especially good for beginners to help them develop muscle control.

• While exercising with weights, exhale during the lifting (concentric) phase, and inhale while lowering the weight (eccentric phase). Do not hold your breath (valsalva) as this will increase blood pressure and may cause dizziness.

• There is no one way that is best to build muscle for everyone. As an individual you have to try different techniques and programs until you find one that works for you. Then you will have to adjust your program over time as it will not work forever. Your body will get used to it and adapt.

• If you have a group of opposing muscles, one of which it tight, and the other which is lengthened and weak, such as the pecs being stronger than the muscles in the back, then, before working the longer, weaker muscles, stretch the short tight muscles. This helps correct the imbalance and develops better posture and symmetry in your physique.

• It is especially important to consume quality protein in the mornings, as your body has used its supply during the night to heal and rebuild. Without consuming adequate protein in the morning, your body will begin to dip into the protein stored in your muscles thereby negating the process of building muscle.

• Carbohydrates are the nutrients which fuel your muscles. You must also have an adequate intake of carbohydrates in order to build muscle. Males should intake around 2-5 grams per pound of bodyweight, females slightly less. This number should be adjusted depending on bodyweight, training intensity and goals.

• Getting adequate sleep is vital in building quality muscle, as this is the time when your body rebuilds and repairs itself. The amount of sleep required by each individual varies. However, most adults need between seven and nine hours per day. If you are a male, you have probably woken up most days with “morning wood.” It’s not because you have to go to the restroom. If it were, then theoretically one would “spring to life” throughout the day each time one needed to urinate. “Morning wood” is a result of the high levels of human growth hormone and testosterone released during stages three and four sleep in order to repair and grow existing muscle.

Feel free, at any time, to beermail me at [email protected] to ask any health, fitness and/or diet related questions you may have.

Next month I will provide a hyper/hypoglycemic chart which should assist in explaining why I advocate eating a small meal every three hours instead of the traditional three meals per day.

… And, as always, “everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Eric Starnes

ACE and IFTA certified personal trainer




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