Super Food of the Week:

Bison is a nutrient dense food thanks to its proportion of protein, fat, minerals and fatty acids to its caloric value, making bison a great alternative to beef or pork. Bison also trumps turkey and chicken in terms of calories, protein and total fat. A 3.5 oz. of bison meat provides 146 calories (less than lean beef, pork, and turkey), 20.23 g of protein (more than beef, pork, turkey, and chicken) and 7.21 total grams of fat (less than beef, pork, turkey, and chicken). In addition to the minerals found in bison meat, bison is also grown without growth hormones and are grass fed, making bison providing much healthier alternative to other types of meat sources for those with concerns of steroid fed animals.
According to the University of Michigan, bison is a rich source of iron providing 36% of the recommended daily intake for iron according to the USDA. Bison has been listed in “Readers’ Digest” as one of the five foods women should eat because of its high iron content. Iron is an important part of many proteins and enzymes that maintain good health, circulate oxygen in the blood, and is important for hair health. Often hair loss is linked to an iron deficiency.
One serving of provides about 20 g of protein and according to the Mayo Clinic, this is about 40 percent of your daily recommended intake of protein. Protein, as we well know, plays an important role in maintaining healthy nails, skin, hair, and is also necessary for healthy muscle growth and repair in the body. With a low fat content, bison is considered a very lean source of protein, more so than chicken and turkey.
Bison is also a rich source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps provide immune support in the body. Vitamin E may also play a role in preventing heart disease and certain types of cancer, including skin, prostate, and breast cancer. Vitamin E is also important for skin, helping to provide anti-aging benefits, and maintaining healthy hair. In addition to vitamin E, bison a single serving of bison also contains 36.5 percent of the recommended daily value (RDV) of vitamin B-6 and 53.8 % of the RDV of vitamin B-12.
Bison can be used in place anywhere you would use beef or chicken. Bison can be added a stir-fry, salads, burritos, and pretty much any meat dish. You can even find ground bison meat to make leaner, more nutrient rich burgers.

Fit Tip of the Week:

Shaking Down the Shake Weight

I’ve been hearing about this “fitness product” for some time now and upon seeing the comical and awkward demonstrations in commercials I had to do some research.So what is it? The Shake Weight is a “dumbbell” in which the weights on either end are attached to the handle by a spring. It’s sold by a company by the name of Fitness IQ. It can be purchased on-line, in some retail stores, and from television infomercials and usually includes one Shake Weight, and a workout DVD with instructions. But does it work?
According to the advertisements, the Shake Weight works by a method called “dynamic inertia”. The weight bounces off the ends of the handle by the spring as it is shaken back and forth. The user performs this shaking motion in various positions to target the major muscles of the upper body (chest, shoulders, and arms.) The movement is solely user generated. Basically, you shake it and it moves. The DVD included with the Shake Weight includes a 6-minute workout DVD that focuses only on upper body exercises. In between “shaking sets”, an active recovery is done, which involves either some type of stretch or a movement similar to traditional dumbbell training while holding the Shake Weight. There are no instructions about how often the workout should be performed.
First let’s analyze the pros. The Shake Weight is affordable with a price of $19.99-29.99. The exercises are easy to do and the weight can be carried almost anywhere. The exercise plan offers a quick workout and the weight is very light (about 5 pounds for women 10 for men.)
Now for the cons. For a muscle to be fully stimulated, resistance must be applied though a full range of motion. The Shake Weight does not deliver this and will not result in the same muscular activity as traditional exercise, no matter what the company says. Also, additional weight cannot be added to the device and it offers limited exercises. A muscle improves in strength and endurance when it is continually challenged with increased resistance and a variety of exercises. That being said, very little (if any) results should be expected with the Shake Weight. The company that manufactures the Shake Weight claims that for women the Shake Weight will result in lean muscle (implying fat loss) and men can expect an increase in muscle mass. A quick workout is a pro for anyone with a busy life but the Shake Weight’s quick workout is a little too quick. Six minutes is not enough exercise to actually burn a significant amount of calories, nor is there enough weight to increase muscle mass with the Shake Weight. My last con (and my biggest vexation) with this product is the use of words for marketing. The “Dynamic Inertia” concept may sound unique, complex, and ten kinds of awesome, but it’s really none of the above. The word dynamic is used in relation to energy or objects in motion. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in motion. Basically, ALL forms of resistance training involve dynamic inertia, so there is nothing really new or innovative about this concept.
So, what’s the take home message on the Shake Weight? Save your money and skip it. Honestly, you would probably get the same type of workout by adding chocolate syrup to a half gallon container of skim milk and shaking it vigorously for 6 minutes. Then when you’re done you can pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk to help your muscles recover from your strenuous workout. All joking and sarcasm aside, the hands-down best way to sculpt your arms, tone your muscles, and decrease body fat is the usage of a well-designed workout routine that offers a variety of aerobic and traditional resistance training exercises.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 2-3 days per week of total-body resistance training exercise for most people who want to increase or maintain muscular fitness. In addition, the ACSM also recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week for improvement in overall health. Although it may be better than no exercise at all, the Shake Weight simply does not come close to meeting the researched, published and well-respected scientifically based exercise guidelines. Keep the purse strings tight on this one.

Until next week…

Very Respectfully,
G. Nicole Shea, ACSM-CPTACSM
Certified Personal Trainer

Zumba® Fitness Instructor