In this week’s newsletter
A review of Invoy. How is your mobility? Good Vibrations. How to stay on track while working in the office. 20 Common Diet Mistakes. Iron supplements are not always needed to correct iron deficiency. Fall Down Seven Times…
Mitch Tulloch is the Senior Editor of FitITproNews and a recovering fat IT pro who lost 50 lbs in midlife and is now on his way to becoming a fit IT pro. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies who has authored or been Series Editor of numerous books/ebooks from Microsoft Press. Mitch is also the Senior Editor of WServerNews and writes frequently for TechGenix.
Technology has been making great strides lately helping us monitor our health and make progress towards our fitness goals. Of course this doesn’t mean that the real hard work is still ours to perform! 😉
This month our feature article is by columnist Jimmy Vo who looks at Invoy, a company that sells breath monitors that produce real-time data on your current metabolism and provides nutrition and wellness programs built around the data collected from you. Wellness services are becoming big nowadays and we’ll be taking another look at them in next month’s newsletter.
Also in this issue are articles by:
Robin Camp who talks about working on weak areas of your mobility.
Kris Lall on how to safely listen to music when you’re outdoors in a busy city going jogging, biking, or scootering.
Kris Kane who shares a graphic he created with tips for staying on track while working in the office.
Lana Khazari who describes twenty common mistakes she sees with her clients.
Sarah Trammell on why iron supplements are not always needed to correct iron deficiency
Mitch Garvis on how a failure is not a failure unless you let it defeat you.
Enjoy this month’s issue of FitITproNews and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers!
Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor
My review of Invoy (Jimmy Vo)
Jimmy Vo is a cyber security professional in the financial sector. He’s a Jiu Jitsu hobbyist and a purple belt under Lucas Lepri in Charlotte, NC. You can find Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyVo
According to this study published in September 2017, researchers were able to determine fat metabolism (fat burn) rates by testing acetone concentrations in participant’s breath. This study most likely contributed to start ups racing to develop portable technology that can measure fat burn. Invoy, a health tech startup, has made a personal Bluetooth enabled acetone analyzer which is used for their personalized health planning services.
Fortunately I was able to participate in the pilot program through my employer. Here are some of my thoughts.
For all Invoy users, there is a 2 week calibration period where you have to eat less than 20g of carbs a day. This wasn’t easy but I was used to a low carb diet since I’ve done the ketogenic diet in the past. The one key difference between Invoy calibration and keto is, the 20g of carbs is total carbs, none of that net carb business (carbs – fiber = net carb). After the calibration period, analysts at Invoy provide you a diet plan that aligns with your goals. My goal was to maintain weight while lowering my body fat percentage.
Fat Burn Measurement User Experience
Invoy ships monthly supplies of one time use cartridges that are used for acetone analysis. This goes inside of the breath analyzer and is thrown away after analysis:
After workouts, I do my breath test with the Invoy device. I turn the device on and open up the Invoy app. This allows me to do a check in, which begins with the breath test. After the test, the app will ask for your weight for the day and several other questions that track your habits, mood, and [fat burning] accelerants. After the analysis is performed on your breath, Invoy will give you a fat burn score of 1-10:
Here are some more details:
Since I lost a lot of my pandemic weight during the calibration, my goal was to maintain weight. My analyst recommended I do a Mediterranean diet. The app provides a bunch of recipes for the diet recommended by the program.
The technology is very impressive. This is a new era of smart devices that creatively solve dieting in a unique way. The cartridges and breathalyzer can be a bit finicky but it’s expected since it is a pilot program. I’d also like to see better integration with Apple HealthKit since it asks for my weight even though my smart scale logs my weight into Apple Health. The app provides you guidance from a human and forces you to be accountable. I would guess there will be many more smart devices like this to hit the market.
Jimmy Vo | skype: jimmytvo | www.linkedin.com/in/jimmytvo
How is your mobility? (Robin Camp)
Robin Camp works as tech support for an Orthodontic Practice Management Software company called New Horizons Software ( www.nhsoftware.com). As a professional photographer on the side, Robin does fashion, glamour weddings and more in his spare time (www.dancingwithlightphoto.com). You can also now find him working out on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fitittech/.
With the start of the New Years, some of us are reeling from an overabundance of sweets and another round of lockdowns. With gyms locked down, and parks being closed it’s tempting to simply say screw it, let’s hit the bar, but there are better options.
One of the options that often gets overlooked when we have access to our facilities of choice is weak areas of mobility.
For example, now is a great time to work on loosening up those hips that have tightened up from sitting for endless hours. I would highly suggest https://www.healthline.com/ for their straight forward graphics of stretching and mobility exercises. The search function in the top right works great.
You can also work on your posture to fight the keyboard slouch, simply making a routine out of sitting up straight or standing up straight and squaring the shoulders can reduce chronic neck and back pain that has developed from poor posture.
Take the time to do a self-evaluation, how is your mobility?
Check things like, can I touch my toes? If you cannot, you might fight that your hamstrings are tight, try some hamstring stretches and see if you can get closer to your toes. Having full mobility here can help with fun things like your Romanian deadlifts, but more importantly it can help with daily little things like picking things up off the floor (especially if you have kids that can’t grasp the concept of putting things away when they get home ).
Can I raise my arms straight above my head? If not tight shoulders or biceps may be impeding your basic day to day movements like reaching up to grab stuff in the pantry, rewiring that nightmare of a server room or simply replacing a light bulb. Try stretching out your biceps and then see if your mobility improves, if not, try stretching your shoulders and try again.
Can I comfortably sit in a squatting position? If you cannot, work on holding the position as low as you can for thirty seconds, rest and try again, gradually you will find yourself able to hold the position longer and slowly you find yourself getting a better squat depth. This will not only help in the gym, but again, basic activities like lifting objects off the ground will be easier with this full range of motion, the more motion you have available to you, the more muscle recruitment you will have (muscles respond better to a larger range of movement than partial movements).
The little things may not be as mentally rewarding as slapping on another pair of 45 lb plates, or knocking another thirty seconds of your run time, but they can make a big difference in our daily comfort which should make life a little better in these trying times.
“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm” -African Proverb-
“Do not let yourself be contaminated by others’ ideas of what is best for you. Cast aside the shackles of destructive thinking.” -Kai Greene-
“If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied.” -Dwayne Johnson-
“If you can’t do something smart, do something right.” -Jayne Cobb-
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Alfred Pennyworth-
Good Vibrations (Kris Lall)
Kris Lall works as a product manager in the tech industry for an enterprise software manufacturer. As a youngster, Kris was consumed with soccer before technology came along. Now he’s consumed with both. You can find him on Twitter at the not-too-surprising handle @krisoccer.
A colleague of mine recently shared that a visiting friend was running near a railroad track and was very nearly hit because she didn’t hear the train through her headphones. She had been running, listening to tunes, and had no idea that a train was approaching.
I’ve heard similar stories of accidents and close calls for those enjoying their music while on the go — almost hit by a car while jogging, collided with another cyclist, or worse. Technology to the rescue (again!).
Another colleague of mine, a runner, recently shared that he discovered a product to address the dangers of these workout scenarios. Something called a “bone conduction headphone”.
Most techies I know like to understand the magic behind how amazing technology products work. Bone conduction technology enables bones to serve as the conduit of sound to the inner ear without blocking the ear canal. For more details, see this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_conduction.
Apparently this bone conduction technology has also been used for quite some time in modern hearing aids:
Music lovers can safely listen to their favorite jams while on the go with bone conduction headphones. Credit: Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Many of you are aware of these products and have used them. Even though I’m a music aficionado, I have not (at least not yet). To avoid dangers in the city while jogging, biking, or scootering, I’ve simply chosen not to plug my ears and listen to music.
Hence, if you know of someone who listens to music while working out among the dangers presented by the real world, suggest they make it a New Year’s resolution to switch their listening device to one of these bone conduction headphones. You just might save a life.
How to stay on track while working in the office (Kris Kane)
Kris Kane is a North Yorkshire based personal trainer, martial arts instructor and general fitness enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram at @koachedbykris and also view him professionally on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kris-kane.
Although your ‘office’ is now probably set up at home, it’s still important to maintain your health, fitness and overall well-being. Here’s some tips for the main areas to focus on in order to make sure you are performing at your best:
As always, good luck with your training and let me know if you have any fitness related questions.
You can drop me an email at: [email protected]
or via my social pages where I will be posting further tips on training, nutrition and mindset:
20 Common Diet Mistakes (Lana Khazari)
Lana Khazari is a Technical Support Analyst for the Corporation of City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is also a Precision Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and a Yoga 200-RYT Instructor. You can find her online at lanakharazi.com.
Welcome, January. It’s the season to get in shape and get healthy as fast as possible. Losing weight and getting fit are amongst the top resolutions every year, and this is the month the diet industry capitalizes gains. Supplements, pills, 5- to 30-day challenges, and quick fixes galore. Click over an ad once, and it’s haunting you on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And with that, there is a psychological discomfort telling you that you need to do something.
Our human evolutionary instincts tell us to seize the reward at hand. This instinct comes from prehistoric environments where the availability of food was uncertain. As such, we have a strong desire for immediate rewards, and our brain wiring prioritizes short-term needs over our long-term goals. If there is a strong enough sell to satisfy your wish today, you may just hit the “buy now” button. When you hit that button, the anticipation of your reward releases dopamine in your brain, a pleasure hormone that we all crave. In an online world where we can have anything and everything at the tip of our fingers, addictive tendencies and poor impulse control mean instant gratification is on the rise for all. Why wait to get fit and healthy when we can get fit and healthy fast?
But when we commit to these fast-fixes, it tends to be pressure-filled, unrealistic, and less likely for you to follow-through for the long-term. That is never something we want to hear, but it is the reality. Something a bit more realistic, maybe slowly cutting down on junk food or working on moving just a little bit more. It might be tough for me to sell you on the time it takes for real change to happen, but take a look at the following list and see if you can relate. Here are 20 common mistakes I see with my clients:
- Guessing at food intake or portions. You must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. It might be crucial to weigh/measure your food to help understand portions.
- Always eating out or ordering out. Deep-fried entrees, sugary salad dressings, and decadent desserts can be your entire day’s worth of calories. If you want to succeed and sustain a healthy lifestyle you will need to learn to cook. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you need to begin looking at fast food and junk food differently.
- Snacking and mindless eating. Leaving open bags of chips or crackers on the counter and eating off your kid’s plates are only two of many ways that calories can sneak up on you.
- Thinking you’re broken and that you have a slow metabolism. 99% of the time, it is false reporting, and you are taking in more calories than you realize.
- Drinking too much alcohol. Sneaky calories, impaired digestion, diminished uptake of nutrients, dehydration, and poor sleep are only some of the reasons why it can mess you up on a fat loss journey.
- Drinking too many liquid calories. Grande Cafe Mocha variations are 500 calories. That is a meal in a cup.
- Undereating protein and fibre. When you are in a calorie deficit, you get hungry. A manageable level of hunger is necessary for you to lose weight. To help you stay satiated you should prioritize protein and fiber. Most people are not eating enough protein, fruits, or veggies.
- Too many treats lead to hunger. Some snacks increase appetite. Also, treats are calorie-dense, and if you are trying to reduce intake, they do not help you stay satiated.
- Not realizing it is your food environment. Get junk food and treats out of the house. Never, ever, ever, rely on willpower.
- Emotional eating and going to food when stressed. Instead, start developing a better relationship with food.
- Refusing to food prep and plan your week including your grocery trips. As one of my old coaches often said, “Fail to plan, plan to fail!”
- Too much oil/fat. One portion of fat is the size of a thumb. Refrain from free-pouring oils and dressings. Fattier meats have a lot more calories.
- Too many sauces. Heavy sauces and dressings add up. Look for healthier condiments,
- Distracted eating. Eating in front of the TV or computer, while reading, or doing something else. Keep food and you a 1-1 relationship.
- Buying supplements before fixing the diet strategy. No protein powder, amino acid, whatever-extract, is going to fix a bad diet.
- Hiding from those who can help. Not building a support system of people to help you stay accountable. Let everyone know what you plan to do!
- Setting unrealistic expectations. 30 pounds in 30 days is BS. Also, resisting change instead of embracing modifications. Many people unrealistically think that life should be obstacle-free.
- Not recognizing the small wins. Not appreciating any progress you’re making and only looking for scale wins. This also means recognizing what is working from the inside-out, not only the outside-in, and building up from your successes.
- Working out more so you can eat more. Not only does this ruin the rewarding and fun experience exercise can bring, but you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
- Buying another diet book and or jumping from diet to diet. It would help if you stayed disciplined and committed long enough to create change. Change doesn’t happen overnight and there are no shortcuts.
Most of the diets out there do not focus on solving the above diet problems. These are the REAL issues that keep people stuck with the same frustrations over and over. Solving these exact issues is building the fundamental skills needed to make sustainable, long-term changes happen. Follow me on Facebook for more posts on how to build up these skills: https://www.facebook.com/lanakharaziPN, or reach out if you need help staying accountable: https://procoach.app/lana-kharazi
Iron supplements are not always needed to correct iron deficiency (Sarah Trammell)
Sarah Trammell is an application analyst at a university in Georgia. She became interested in health and fitness issues when she began making diet and lifestyle changes to lose weight back in 2007 and learned even more when trying to track down what to do about other health issues beginning in 2011 with not much input from doctors. You may follow her blog at ihatemyglutenfreelife.com.
Iron supplements may not always be needed to correct iron deficiency. Sometimes other nutrient imbalances may be to blame, and once those are corrected, the iron deficiency may fix itself. Iron supplements can be harmful if a person has an issue with iron overload, whether it’s hemochromatosis or another condition that can lead to iron overload.
One nutrient deficiency that I feel caused an iron deficiency that would surface at times over the years was zinc deficiency. Even though I took a multivitamin with both zinc and iron, my diet was extremely unbalanced. I had bought into the idea that meat and other animal foods were not as healthy as plant foods, so I would often rely on plant proteins that were high in copper to fill me up at meals. When a doctor discovered my iron deficiency by finding that my ferritin was low, I tried a low-dose iron supplement that I ended up having to stop after a week due to gastrointestinal symptoms. I tried alternatives which either didn’t work at all or only worked for a short time, like doubling up on my multivitamin. Finally, I tried a multivitamin that was high in zinc and low in copper, and that helped me to discover the imbalance. Correcting the zinc and copper imbalance definitely corrected the low iron issue. It got to the point that I was actually getting too much iron. I discovered that balancing iron with vitamin E keeps iron levels in check.
Another cause of iron deficiency for me was an improperly-formulated multivitamin. While trying to get everything straightened out in my diet and supplements, I made the mistake of stopping my multivitamin, which caused me to become extremely iron-deficient and anemic. I went back on the multivitamin in an attempt to correct the iron deficiency and anemia. Over time, the anemia only improved slightly, and my iron markers were still abnormal. The doctor wanted me to try an iron infusion, but I refused, knowing from past experience that I could not handle isolated iron supplementation in any form. I decided to try a different multivitamin whose formulation was quite different from the one I’d been using. It was higher in iron but lower in competing minerals like manganese, zinc, and copper. This multivitamin ended up being just what I needed. My anemia and most of my iron markers normalized pretty quickly. It look a year for my ferritin to creep into the normal range.
Too much vitamin D also caused my iron levels to become abnormal. However, what ended up being too much in my case was around 2,000 IU a day. My multivitamin already contained 1,000 IU, and because of that and because of vitamin D obtained through other means, I always used a calcium supplement that had just calcium and nothing else. However, when I was at the store to buy another bottle of the calcium supplement, the only ones available that day were ones containing vitamin D. Instead of trying to find something at another store, I just decided to buy one of the ones with vitamin D, not thinking it would actually hurt anything. About the time I finished the bottle, I had blood work to check my iron levels, and the ferritin that I had worked so hard to get into the normal range had fallen back to undetectable levels. My iron saturation was also low. By the time I had gotten the results of the blood work, I had switched back to the plain calcium supplement, and I could tell I was feeling better on it. I tried to tell the doctor that I believed the calcium + vitamin D supplement was the culprit, but instead of listening to me, she just decided to stop seeing me since I would not go on an iron supplement or take an iron infusion. I decided to check things on my own, and three months later, my ferritin level was still low but higher than it was when the doctor checked it, and three months after that, my ferritin rose to just inside the normal range. I now know that I do not need to use a calcium supplement with vitamin D as long as I’m getting enough from other sources.
Not only may iron supplementation not be needed to correct an iron deficiency, it could actually be harmful. Iron overload is a problem in those with genes that lead to hemochromatosis and in other cases as well. When I first began seeing the doctor who was monitoring my iron levels, she wanted me to take multiple iron tablets a day. My past experience with iron supplements was less than stellar, so I was not thrilled with this plan of attack at all. I thought I would start small and decided to try 100 IU of vitamin E with 65 mg of iron twice a week. I saw another doctor about three weeks later, and I asked her about running CBC and iron tests just to see how things looked. My iron results were normal, but my anemia was unchanged and even appeared to be worse. Not long after I had blood drawn for those tests, I stopped taking the extra iron and vitamin E. I started feeling awful, and the longer after the last dose it got, the better I felt. The next time I went back to the doctor who was treating my anemia, my CBC results had improved a good bit, although I still was slightly anemic. I feel that even that small amount of extra iron was just too much and was causing things to get worse. Unfortunately, to this day, I have no idea why I seem to be so intolerant of iron supplementation. I had whole genome sequencing done, and none of the usual variants for hemochromatosis or other iron overload conditions showed up. Fortunately, my primary care doctor was more than willing to put something in my records about my issues with iron that I’m hoping will prevent someone from giving me an iron infusion or some other kind of iron supplementation when I can’t speak for myself. I also have something on a medical alert bracelet.
If you end up being diagnosed with iron deficiency and are told to take iron supplements, keep in mind that iron supplements may not necessarily correct the problem and may even make things worse. Of course, there are cases where they are necessary and life-saving, but in other cases, it would be prudent to discover if other nutrient deficiencies or imbalances might be causing the iron deficiency and if correcting those would correct the iron deficiency.
Fall Down Seven Times… (Mitch Garvis)
Mitch Garvis has worn many hats in the IT industry, but his favorites have been teaching, writing, and helping companies to implement and improve their secure, well-managed infrastructure. In addition to being an IT Pro, Mitch is a Certified Cigar Sommelier, a Taekwondo instructor, a loving father of two, and a doting doggie dad. His blogs are www.garvis.ca and www.passionforcigars.com. You can also find him on Twitter @MGarvis, on LinkedIn, and you can find his dog on Instagram @PrincessSophie1.
I have mentioned in previous articles that I have struggled with my weight since I left the military… some 24 years ago. I resolved some time ago to get back on my diet and get fit again. When the editor of this publication reached out to me to start writing for it, I was doing well. In fact, I was at my lowest weight in over a decade. I was also about to hit a snag and fall into a hole of despair that would take me months to pull myself out of.
I started to write out the details of how and why it happened, but the details are not important. Why? I have fallen off my diet. We all have. Getting back on track that is the problem, because it is too easy to say things like: ‘I’ll start again tomorrow’ or ‘Well I’ve already cheated today, so what will a piece of chocolate hurt?’ The worst thing to do is revert to my legacy ways of thinking. Remember when your mother told you ‘Don’t eat the chocolate, have some fruit instead!’ Well, your mother was right insofar as fruit is healthier than milk chocolate… but it is terrible for weight loss, and especially any ketosis-based weight program. In fact, it is absolutely terrible for a keto diet, as all fruits are high in sugar.
As the end of December approached, I noted with horror how much weight I had gained since September. Of the 65lbs I had lost from May-September, I had gained back more than half of it. I was disgusted with myself, but more than that, I was disappointed. I had worked so hard… for what?
New Year’s Day fell on a Friday this year. While I am not usually one to make new year’s resolutions, I made a decision. I was going to take the weekend, and then Monday morning I was going to start my diet again… seriously. The problem was this: how many times over the last three months had I said that to myself? It could not be like that… I had to steel my resolve and go through with it.
There is a Japanese proverb that I am quite fond of that goes ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight.’ It means that one should never quit, and that failure only comes when you stop trying. I have used that as my weight-loss philosophy over the past couple of years. Yes, I have faltered… but I am not done. A failure is not a failure unless you let it defeat you, it is just an opportunity to learn something you did not know. In the case of my weight struggles, that could be something about myself, or a coping mechanism, or something that I have to remember not to do. I am currently down (or with regard to my weight, I suppose that would be up), but do not for one minute think that I am down for the count. When I fall down, I get back up again. I do not know if this is the seventh time I have fallen… however many times it may be, I have gotten up one more time.
I am submitting this article on Day Eight of my renewed diet program, and I have made significant progress in my renewed efforts already. I know it is meaningless — the first few days of a diet can be deceptive; with that said, I lost a little more than one third of what I had gained back in that terrible quarter. As they say, that ain’t nothing. It will encourage me to stay on track. I am resolved, I am motivated, I am going to stick to it. It is a new year, and this is the year when I will finally get to my goal weight. I may have fallen down a few times… but I got myself back up a few times plus one.
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