Soy Good or Bad?

Soy is a controversial topic with a lot of debate in the research for both sides. Here is a brief overview for you.

Background:

Soy is used in tofu and various dairy and meat substitutes. Over 90% of soy is produced in the U.S. It is genetically modified and the crops are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which may be associated with adverse effects on health. Further, because soy is inexpensive, you are more than likely consuming significant amount of soy every day without even knowing it. To put it in perspective, soybean oil supplied about 7% of total calories in the U.S. diet in the year 1999.

Nutritious or not?

Whole soybeans are rich in micro-nutrients. 100 grams of mature, boiled, whole soybeans contain large amounts of Manganese, Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B6, Folate, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1) and Vitamin K. This being said they also contain phytates which block absorption of minerals, therefore the micro-nutrients have no benefit.

Soybeans are also a pretty good source of protein. They’re not as good as meat or eggs, but better than most other plant proteins. However, processing soy at a high temperature denatures the proteins and reduce the quality. Although soy may sound good source of nutrients the truth is it has significant effect on the body!

Soybeans are mostly omega 6. As discussed in a previous article Omega 3 vs Omega 6 the western diet is already highly imbalanced in the favor Omega 6 which leads to inflammation. Omega 6 needs to be limited, therefore yet another disadvantage to soy.

Hormonal effect:

The isoflavones found in soy can activate and/or inhibit estrogen receptors in the body, which can disrupt the body’s normal function. This is coupled with numinous issues for both men and women as it causes an imbalance hormone levels.

In women soy is thought to cause mild disruptions in menstrual cycle and increase the risk of breast cancer. For men, even though men only possess a small amount of estrogen, it is believed that estrogen levels are significantly increased with the consumption of soy which can result in a decreased sperm count. However, these findings are still up for debate due to conflicting results.

With all the conflicting evidence, it must be stated that the majority of the studies showing beneficial effects where either sponsored by soy industry or had some financial ties to the soy industry. Therefore, these studies need to be taken with a grain of salt.

My Suggestion:

Limit your soy intake! Although, the evidence is inclusive on the effects of moderate soy intake, there is enough evidence that highlights the adverse effects of large consumption of soy on the body.

Just Breathe: Get on top of your Stress

When you are stressed, either your late for work, trying to meet a deadline, your sympathetic nervous is engaged, increasing your heart rate and speeding up your breath. If you become chronically (long term) stressed this can become a serious issue as elevated cortisol (stress hormone) can be incredibly taxing on your body with a whole list of adverse effects. Therefore, it becomes vital that we recognise these responses and regain control.
Stress is a greatly miss understood concept, I often get told by clients that they are not stressed because they believe stress to be a mental state. Stress is a multifaceted response to pressure and tension being placed on the body. Stress could be anything from: An unhealthy gut, injury, muscle imbalance, hormonal imbalance, poor hydration, work & life stress etc. Regardless of the stressor the body will respond the same with the secretion of cortisol (Stress hormone) and up-regulate your sympathetic nervous system.

 

Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic Responses
Sympathetic nervous responses
The body speeds up, tenses up and becomes more alert. Functions that are not essential for survival are shut down. Following are the specific reactions of sympathetic nervous system:
• Increase in heart rate
• Dilation of bronchial tubes in the lungs and pupils in the eyes
• Contraction of muscles
• Release of adrenaline from the adrenal gland
• Conversion of glycogen to glucose, to provide energy for the muscles.
• shut down of processes not critical for survival
• Digestive process is put on hold
• Decrease in urinary output

Parasympathetic nervous system
Counterbalances the sympathetic nervous system. It restores the body to a state of calm. The specific responses are:
• Decrease in heart rate
• Constriction of bronchial tubes in the lungs and pupils in the eyes
• Relaxation of muscles
• saliva production: the stomach moves and increases secretions for digestion.
• increase in urinary output
The sympathetic system is extremely vital in the right context but long term stimulations is extremely detrimental to our health as you can see above with all the adverse effects associated with the sympathetic nervous system. Therefore, it is key to intensify stress triggers and put strategies in place to regain control of your system.

Stressed? Just Breathe…….
Reducing stress is as simple as breathing. Breathing has been directly correlated to impacting the parasympathetic nervous system which controls your rest, relax, and digest response. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax, and your body is put into a state of calm and healing.
It is important to note that breathing will only assist with stress short term. Therefore, it is vital that you identify the root of your stress and get on top of it to prevent repeated stimulation.

4 : 7 : 8 Breathing Technique
There are many breathing techniques you can utilise from progressive relaxation to mindfulness to other breathing variations. Though my experience with stressed clients I have found this technique to be best bang for your buck as it doesn’t require much time and can be done anywhere in any position. It is a great tool to have in your back pocket when stress arises, this technique will give you the ability to regain that control over your bodies response. As you would expect a great tool to help induce sleep and to calm your nerves. I often use this technique prior to public speaking to calm my system.
Technique:
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
• Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
• Hold your breath for a count of seven.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
• This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice, you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

Functional Movement Screen (FMS): The Importance of Screening Movement

What is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS)?
The Functional Movement Screen is a product of an exercise philosophy known as the Functional Movement Systems. This system is based on sound science, years of innovation, and current research. In its simplest form, the FMS is a ranking and grading assessment system without judgment, which readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries that may hinder functional training and physical conditioning. Furthermore, it can help identify compensatory movement patterns that are indicative of increased risk of injury.
The FMS generates the Functional Movement Screen Score, which is then used to target problems and track progress. The scoring system is directly linked to a database of corrective exercises most beneficial to the individual to help restore mechanically sound movement patterns. It is a logical path to exercise choices and program design, which is communicable between the client, exercise professional and physician. The FMS looks objectively at quality of movement, and it is extremely reliable and reproducible.

The Test and Scoring Heirarchy

The FMS test itself is a seven movement screen accompanied by three clearing tests that requires a balance of mobility and stability. These are the: Deep Squat Movement Pattern; Hurdle Step Movement Pattern; Inline Lunge Movement Pattern; Shoulder Mobility Movement Pattern; Active Straight – Leg Raise Movement Pattern; Trunk Stability Push – Up Movement Pattern; Rotary Stability Movement Pattern. These movement patterns provide observable performance of basic loco motor, manipulative and stabilising movements by placing the individual in positions where weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and limitations become noticeable when appropriate mobility and motor control is not used.

There are three basic outcomes here, which are:
1. You will have an acceptable screen by which it is safe to proceed with full activities.
2. You may have a screen that is unacceptable, but you simply may require a corrective exercise strategy before advancing exercise and performance goals.
3. You may exhibit pain with movement, either in the screen or in one of the clearing tests, which will require referral to an appropriate health care provider.
This is quantified in a scoring system of 3 – 2 – 1 – 0, as mentioned earlier in the article. As outlined above in the three basic outcomes, a score of three would indicate an acceptable screen with an unquestioned ability to perform a functional movement pattern. A score of two would display a degree of compensation noted when performing a movement pattern. A score of one would indicate an inability to perform or complete a functional movement pattern. A score of zero would identify pain associated with movement pattern.
The FMS is designed for all healthy, active and inactive people, and it is used for those who do not present with pain or injury.

My experience with the FMS
My initial experience with the FMS fall back a little over two years ago upon stumbling across a list of recommended books from a website called the Personal Training Development Centre. One of these books was Athletic Body in Balance, and kudos is given to it’s author Gray Cook, a Physical Therapist from the United States for the development of the FMS. Athletic Body in Balance serves as an initial blue print of the FMS. I found this book to be a highly valuable resource in how I would assess and program individuals, as it reinforced the idea of eliminating dysfunctional movement, preventing risk of injury, and adding volume and intensity to a symmetrical, functioning body. The system proposed in the book gave me a better tool to assess, and after numerous practices I sought to become registered.
This was fulfilled in late July of this year in the Level One Functional Movement Screen Course in Auckland. It was the first time this course had been brought to New Zealand. This eight hour workshop was administered by some of the best leading figures in the system, including Greg Dea who has an impressive resume’. The workshop was small, which enhanced the quality of learning, and being highly practical, gave me the necessary training in order to administer the screen.
As a Certified Functional Movement Screen Practitioner, I can administer the screen and program you to avoid the risk of injury, create more symmetry in your body, and help you work towards your health and performance goals.

 

For further reading:
Cook, G. 2003. Athletic Body in Balance. United States of America: Human Kinetics.
Cook, G., Burton, L., Kiesel, K., Rose, G., Bryant, M. F. 2010. Movement. CA, United States of America: On Target Publications.
Iardella, S. Exposing the Importance of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Retrieved from www.breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/exposing-the-importance-of-the functional-movement-screen-fms.
What is the FMS? Retrieved from www.functionlmovement.com/fms.

 

Stressed out?? What is Adrenal Fatigue & how is it effecting you

What is it?

Adrenal Fatigue is characterised by its trademark symptom, excessive tiredness, which cannot be resolved by rest or sleep alone. This extreme tiredness has been labelled Adrenal Fatigue due to its unrelenting fatigue, whereby the Adrenal Glands are unable to cope with prolonged periods of chronic stress. In today’s world, our long – term or chronic stresses are governed by financial concerns, professional and personal relationship situations, and concerns over your health and body. These stresses activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), also known as the ‘fight – or – flight’ system. One of two components of the autonomic nervous system, the SNS acts like a gas pedal in a car. In times of stress, for survival it raises our heart rate, respiratory rate, and releases stress hormones, namely Adrenalin and Cortisol, while shunting blood away from the digestive tract and into our muscles to either flee from or fight our perceived threat. All of this is stimulated by the SNS, and when we are ‘stuck’ in this state over a long – term, the chronic stress hormone Cortisol is released as a second component of the stress response system, in order to keep the gas pedal down. This hormone is produced by the Adrenal Glands, and it is not until Cortisol levels drop too low, due to prolonged output, that we experience fatigue. It is suggested by this point the Adrenal Glands are no longer functioning optimally. Does this sound familiar to you? It is documented that chronic stress leads to negative changes in the gut. The communication between the Gut and the Brain is amazing, and commonly referred to as the Gut- Brain Axis. Along this pathway our mental state and stress response affects gut microbiota, alters intestinal permeability, increases inflammation, and lowers immunity. This communication is also bidirectional, meaning if the health of your gut is compromised, so to can your state of mental well – being.

Cortisol

Cortisol is the bodies’ daytime hormone, and its significance includes regulating your immune system, nervous system, anti – inflammatory responses, stops your body from feeling stiff, and maintains stable blood sugar levels. It also buffers the effect of insulin, helping you burn body fat for energy when produced in the right dose. Cortisol works to keep blood sugar levels elevated so we can meet the glucose demands of the brain and helps the body retain sodium to keep blood pressure up. It is a vital systematic process in order to keep us alive in a real ‘fight or flight’ situation. Sounds like the perfect hormone right? We run into trouble when we cannot produce the desired levels in relation to other hormones, and it is here where we begin to experience fatigue or burn – out.

Nathan Lardelli – Taylored Fitness