Should I be Drinking Juice?

The short answer is no! Juice is perceived to be healthy because it comes from fruit and/or vegetables but really juice is just one big glass of  sugar! This is a very “touchy” subject because people are almost religious when it comes to drinking juice especially OJ at breakfast. For some people, juice in the morning is a “staple” much like coffee is for most many others. I wonder if this has anything to do with being addicted to sugar? The main problem with juice is that is lacks fiber. Unless you have been living under a rock you know we need fiber to be healthy. Believe it or not fruits and vegetables provide way more fiber “per calorie” then just about any other type of food even whole grains. But juice has very little, if any fiber, basically zero. Fiber helps to regulates blood sugar, which means the sugar is absorbed at a much slower rate. When fiber is not present the sugar in juice instantaneously enters your blood stream thus spiking your blood sugar just like drinking a soda or eating a candy bar.

The staple breakfast drink for many people.

The staple breakfast drink for many people.

The other big problem with juice is that it is less much less nutritious than real fruits or vegetables. The juice is only a small part of the entire object. Also many juices are heated during processing to kill germs and make the juice more shelf stable. The heating process not only kills bacteria but it kills off a lot of the nutrients.

V8 V-fusion juice is a popular “healthy” juice because not only does it taste great but it claims to contain one serving of both fruits and vegetables. If you click on the link you will see lots of choices. For this article I picked the acai berry mix. Really it does not matter because juice is juice. The nutritional information provided is for an 8-ounce serving. What is the sugar content?

V8 V-fusion acai berry mix:

  • Sugar = 24-grams (8 ounces)
  • Fiber = 0-grams

Or how about everybody’s favorite juice, OJ (12-ounces):

  • Sugar = 33-grams
  • Fiber = 0-grams

A regular soda contains around 30-40 grams of sugar for a 12-ounce serving. Not much difference between a soda and juice is there?

I know these juices have some vitamins and nutrients but it does not contain anything that you could not get from the real fruit or vegetable. It is ALWAYS better just to eat real fruits and vegetables instead of just drinking their juices. Real fruit and vegetables provide fiber and are more nutritious then juice. Calorie for calorie real fruit contains more nutrition and much less sugar!

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Addicted to Sugar

Are you ready to take back your life and finally become that strong, healthy, sexy person you have dreamed about? Well, the good news is it is not too late and I am here to help! I am 100% dedicated to helping you become healthier, better looking, functionally fit, and injury proof. But first, I am going to let you in on a little fitness “secret”, what you eat plays a major role in determining your overall health and body composition. In fact your diet is even more important than your work out. Always remember this, “You can not out work a bad diet!” However the real magic happens when you are both eating healthy and working out on a regular basis, this is a recipe for phenomenal results. So with all that being said let me introduce you to the six-pack killer, enemy number 1, SUGAR! Below is a post I wrote a few years back but unfortunately sugar consumption continues to rise and it still remains just about the worst stuff you can eat.

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Are you addicted?

It is believed that sugar is a highly addictive substance. An addictive substance, when consumed, causes certain behaviors, these behaviors include binging or over-indulging in the presence of the substance, signs of withdrawal when the substance is no longer available, and huge cravings after the withdrawal period. The average amount of sugar an American eats is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day this adds up to anywhere from 150-lbs to 170-lbs a year! Still don’t  believe me this stuff is addictive? According to US News in 1967 the  average American ate 114 pounds of sugar per year. That’s approximately a  44% increase in 44 years or about 1% increase per year!

Think about what you or other people binge on, it is usually eating a whole bag of Oreo’s or eating a whole gallon of ice cream, nobody ever binges on eggs. Have you ever heard someone say “man I just ate the whole carton of eggs, it was crazy, I just could not stop myself”.  No, we only binge on sugary foods and processed carbohydrates such as chips or crackers which guess what,…your body converts to glucose, and glucose is…drum roll please…sugar!

Going back to sugar being an addictive substance check out this study. I will summarize the study if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing (it is long). Basically what you need to know from this study is that rats were withheld food for 12 hours a day and then given both food and a liquid sugar solution for 12 hours. Over the course of the study the rats would significantly binge on the sugar solution upon first access and then have numerous other binges through out the 12 hour “feeding period”. The rats also ate less and less food because the were drinking more and more of the sugar solution. When the rats were withheld from from the sugar solution they experienced withdrawal symptoms such as shakes and teeth-chattering and they repeatedly pawed at the sugar solution dispenser.

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Can you resist these? Soon you will be able too!

Do you have sugar cravings? Can you go 1 month without eating sugar or anything sweet for that matter? Just because it doesn’t contain sugar it could contain other sweeteners such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, or Stevia, or whatever new “healthy” sweeter is currently popular. They are all bad and when consumed on a frequent basis still trigger “sweet tooth” cravings.

I will tell you not only are we addicted to sugar we have also become desensitized to just how sweet sugar is. I am probably lucky I have never had much of a sweet tooth to begin with, however I have significantly cut out sugar in my diet. I haven’t had soda in years or overly sweeten desserts such as Oreo’s or a 3 musketeers bar and this has resulted in an increase sensitivity to sweets. What once was sweet has now become too sweet almost to the point of grossing me out I know this sounds dramatic but it is true. I can now taste sugar in sauces or I can’t eat meat with a honey glaze it taste like candy and it is gross. Try it! Cut out sweets for about a month and you will see how sweet food has become.

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So besides being addictive sugar also has many negative side effects such as:

  • Cancers preferred fuel is glucose.
  • Sugar promotes fat storage
  • Increase insulin production with leads to diabetes
  • Promotes food binges after a blood sugar crash
  • Lowers immune system (this means more colds)

Sugar is an additive substance and we need to significantly reduce the amount of sugar we eat. Lets start today, can you go on a 30 day sugar fast? Give it a try, go cold turkey! Let me know of your progress.

Benefits of Kickboxing for Women

This is a copy of my article that I wrote for Women’s Fitness.

My name is Garett Renon and I am the head trainer of a Cardio Kickboxing gym located in Seattle, Washington. When most women hear the word kickboxing, the 1989 Jean Claude Van-Damme movie appropriately entitled “Kickboxer” and it brutal fight scenes usually come to mind. Don’t get me wrong I loved that movie and I even love kickboxing as a sport but there is an entirely different type of kickboxing, cardio kickboxing. Kickboxing is just not for the men; in fact it is becoming increasingly popular with the ladies and for good reason!

Not the type of Kickboxing we do

Not the type of Kickboxing we do

Cardio kickboxing provides nearly all the benefits of kickboxing without any of the negative side effects such as getting punched in the face. Believe me; getting punched in the face is extremely overrated. When kickboxing is used primarily as a workout (as opposed to a contact sport) it provides numerous heath and movement functionality benefits for women, not to mention that it is a complete total body workout! Want tone arms and legs? Want that sexy flat mid-section? Well, cardio kickboxing will help you reach your ideal body quicker than most other fitness methods. Other kickboxing benefits include weight loss, time efficiency, motor skill improvement, increased bone density, muscle growth, and increased confidence.

Kickboxing is a full body workout

Kickboxing is a full body workout

The benefits of Cardio Kickboxing are:

  • Weight loss– Cardio Kickboxing is a form of High Intensity Training better known as HIT. HIT has been proven to be a superior form of training when compared to long slow cardio.  Don’t believe me, Google the images of sprinter versus marathoner. High intensity training gives an individual the most bang for their “fitness buck”.  HIT is the most effective way to help women lose weight and build muscle simultaneously. This is important because not only do we want to lose weight but we also want to look good. A little muscle ALWAYS looks better than zero muscle (skinny fat).
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Who looks better or even healthier? My vote – Sprinter on the right!

  • Time efficiency – Today’s women have to balance both work and family commitments and that does not leave a lot of time for working out. When it feels like every minute of every day is accounted for, wouldn’t it be nice if you did not need to spend multiple hours in the gym in order to lose weight. Well, you are in luck! Cardio kickboxing gives you a complete total body workout. In fact women can burn up to 1200 calories in an hour. When a person can commit to kickboxing 3 -4 times a week they will begin to see noticeable results in their body composition in as little as three weeks. What other form of exercise can you achieve these results from only working out 3 – 4 hours per week? Even the busiest of us can spare 3 – 4 hours a week!
  • Motor skill improvement – This is probably the most underrated benefit of kickboxing yet the most beneficial to one’s quality of life. Whether it is our sedentary lifestyle or just a fact of getting older, we humans once we hit our 30’s, slowly start to become an uncoordinated mess. Our movements have become very stiff and ridged as opposed to fluid. Think of the way a tiger moves in the wild. It is very fluid and even beautiful, where as your typical 9 to 5 office dweller waddles very “sloppily” through life and for most of these people, just the thought of doing something athletic causes them to pull a muscle. However when experienced kickboxers walk around, their general movements closely resemble that of a tiger in the wild, their movement is extremely fluid.  Also, in my experience of the fitness world there is very little to rival kickboxing in the motor skills improvement category especially for women. Our bodies are our vehicle and we need to take care of and be able to use our bodies to their full potential.
  • Increased bone density – As we get older our bones start to become more fragile. Even though it is unfair women are at a much great risk for osteoporosis when compared to men. But once again kickboxing comes to the rescue. Believe it or not our bones are a lot like muscles, if you don’t use them you lose them. Our bones are stimulated through exercise such as resistance or weight bearing movements and this stimulation encourages new bone growth and increases the overall strength of our bones. A true cardio kickboxing workout incorporates the use of a heavy bag (over 90-lbs). Punching and kicking a heavy bag significantly increases the resistance of the training while minimizing the harmful hard impacts that can be hard on an individual’s joints. Stronger bones mean we are less likely to become injured!
  • Muscle growth – Increasing ones overall strength is probably the single most important aspect for general fitness and quality of life. As in both sports and life, if everything else is equal the stronger person will always come out on top! Only the strong survive, right? Resistance training increases muscle strength. In cardio kickboxing gyms such as CKO you are punching and kicking a 125-lb heavy bag. These types of heavy bags provide a significant amount of resistance and thus you are stimulating your muscles for the entire workout. Most typical cardio type workouts such as running or Zumba just mainly work your cardio vascular system but provide little muscle stimulation as those methods provide very little resistance. Stronger people not only perform better, are less prone to injury, and they look better too! Remember strong is the new skinny!
Be strong, be healthy, be happy!

Be strong, be healthy, be happy!

  • Increased confidence – Let’s be honest. Is there anything better than being really strong and fit, having “cat like reflexes”, moving with a fluidity the way the human body was designed to move, and let’s not forget looking extremely sexy in a swim suit?! When you feel physically strong and look great, your mental state improves positively. Whether it is being able to move like you did back in your 20’s, or compliments from your significant other and/or your co-workers, your increased confidence will be noticed!

Cardio kickboxing helps you lose weight, become injury proof, tones muscle, improve your mental state and make you feel and look young again! In the busy world of today why would you waste time doing anything else? Remember life is too short to be in the gym for multiple hours a day. Cardio kickboxing can positively change your life for the better!