While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise programs to a new population. Joe Weider became a significant force in bringing health, fitness, and bodybuilding as close as the mailbox through his magazines and pamphlets. Because of fitness pioneers such as Weider, Gold, Fonda, and Simmons, fitness continues to play a significant role in modern society. The importance of being in good health and physically fit has made and continues to have an impact.

 

Located between Panama and Nicaragua in Central America, Costa Rica boasts a proud culinary heritage. Many scorn Costa Rica food selections for being high in saturated fats, but in actuality Costa Ricans are far more active than other cultures.

Costa Rican’s, locally called Ticos, never eat excessively. Limiting their portions is one way they stay so healthy. Also, lunch is the most important meal of their day. In fact, like many Latin nations, businesses and schools close down for a couple of hours at lunch so that employees and students can go home and have a leisurely meal with their family. This allows both a strong focus on family life, but also on slowing down a meal. In America, a typical school lunch lasts a mere twenty minutes at most and work breaks are usually an hour tops, so many must eat at their desk or machine. A Costa Rican’s lifestyle is completely different.

Costa Rica food often revolves around rice and beans, such as Gallo Pinto, a dish that translates to “Spotted Rooster”. Gallo Pinto is a dish that includes black beans at a three to two ratio to rice. Also added are onions, garlic, and salt. Meats are eaten sparingly, while beans provide a high content of fiber. Fiber can help counteract the saturated fats. Costa Rica food choices rarely include dairy or cheese.

As Costa Rica has water on both sides with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the east, fresh seafood is always available. Unfortunately, the seafood is also extremely expensive as the country exports the bulk of its seafood. Chicken, pork, and beef are the more popular meats. Costa Rica food supplies use organ meat as well; so expect to find dishes involving stomach, brains, and other organs on the menu. Other staples of Costa Rica food choices include fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and a variety of beans, fruits, including plantains, and rice.

Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, is packed with outstanding restaurants and cafes. In San Jose, one can experience bold foods and beverages. Staple beverages such as sugarcane soaked in hot water are second only to the nation’s delicious Costa Rican coffee. Drinks mixing corn meal and milk are also common. Plantains are similar to bananas in appearance, but they cannot be eaten raw. Plantains are pounded flat, battered, and fried tender.

As one travels to other regions, the choices for Costa Rica food also decrease and become more traditional with the beans and rice dishes. Beans and rice dishes are usually served alongside a carrot and cabbage or lettuce and tomato salad. Sometimes Arroz, (fried shrimp or chicken), are found on the table instead of beans and rice. The salads are typically larger than the portion of beans and rice and that helps the Ticos to stay fit.

It is possibly to choose healthy selections of Costa Rica food. Stick to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy the delightful blend of culinary flavors.

Can fish and meat textures and tastes be found in a vegetable? Chinese Black Fungus is renowned for these qualities, its vital nutrients and its valuable contributions, as a dietary supplement, to overall fitness and health. Usually obtained in dried packaged form, it requires washing before use.

As a Health Supplement

Enriching blood and preventing iron deficiency anemia, Western medical science has found Black Fungus very effective in blood viscosity modulation as it inhibits platelet aggregation thus lowering blood-viscosity levels. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) its applications include anaemia, uterine bleeding, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. It also figures significantly in cancer prevention and relief.

A very common and inexpensive ingredient in Chinese cuisine, it also has been recognised within TCM as a medicinal food for thousands of years. Black Fungus, rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, fat, vitamins and polysaccharides, also contains vital trace elements like potassium, selenium and manganese essential to the body’s long-term health.

Black Fungus’ bittersweet taste is not particularly strong, its texture is decidedly meat-like however. Its’ presence in dishes serves rather to enhance the flavours of the main ingredients.

As a Diet Aid

Black Fungus is a potent ally in the fight against obesity. Whilst very low-calorie, its meat-like texture (and taste) when boiled make it particularly appetite satisfying. It is frequently added to other dishes to ‘enrich’ them, to bulk these up for dieting/ slimming purposes as well as for its valuable nutritional contents.

Definitely not ‘fast-food’ it needs extensive soaking and cleaning before use. Available from most Chinese supermarkets, Black Fungus is sometimes stocked by inner-city branches of Tesco.

‘Fat Busters’ to Enjoy Alongside It

Keen dieters can wash down their Black Fungus with other proven Chinese slimming, weight-loss and nutrition aids like Green Tea (Lu Cha) and Bojenmi Tea.

Green tea stimulates the heart, aids digestion and provides a general ‘wake up’ call. Encouraging fat metabolization and popular for dieting and slimming, general bodily detoxification is also encouraged by Green Tea drinking.

Anaemia sufferers (and women during their menstrual period) should avoid Green Tea as it inhibits iron-assimilation somewhat. These should switch to Bojenmi Tea (see below) and/ or consume Black Fungus to remedy iron deficiencies.

Bojenmi Cha, also known as “good health, nice appearance flesh-reducing tea” also encourages slimming and weight loss. A blend of 12 medicinal herbs based upon an ancient Ming Dynasty remedy, this pleasant tasting tea aids digestion, lowers cholesterol levels and has a mild laxative effect.

Overall

Both teas help flush out fatty deposits from internal systems. Inexpensive Green Tea’s fat removal effect’s are such that Chinese restaurants use left-overs to clean grease from tables at closing time.

Black Fungus, Green Tea and Bojenmi Tea all have internal cleansing, detoxifying and longevity-inducing effects encouraging their inclusion in anti-aging and health and fitness dietary regimes. All three can be found in most Chinese Supermarkets

 

Tea’s origin was China. The Zhuo (1034-246 BCE) Qin (361-296 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-226 CE) Dynasties all embodied extensive tea-drinking. Tea use for medicinal nutritional, health, fitness and longevity purposes is determined via the ‘Wuxing’ or 5 Elements School system underpinning (TCM) Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Health Qigong, Feng Shui, Keep-fit, Wu-Shu-Kung Fu, Chinese herb-use and more.

Chinese tea, purchased in boxes of sachets or in delightful crystallised blocks involves an astounding number of forms tastes, textures, herbal and nutritional ingredients. Applications-including for health, youthfulness and longevity are guaranteed by the long history of TCM. The history of the 5 Elements or ‘Wuxing’ is longer still.

Drunk at home or work Chinese tea is delightful. Consumed at Tea Houses like ‘Up Tea!’ situated in Little Newport Street is London’s Chinatown such tea-drinking can be a delightful experience.

Tea, Health and the Wuxing

The 5 Elements School ‘Wuxing’ links each of the body’s 5 major internal organs (and much more) to Elements as follows: spleen (Earth) lungs (Metal) kidneys (Water) liver (Wood) and heart (Fire). The Wuxing is a proven internal and external balancing health-system. Many teas involve remedies to cure or prevent common complaints, or encourage optimum health, youthfulness and longevity springing from the 5 Elements system still in popular and official use today.

INSTANT CHRYSANTHEMUM BEVERAGE (ju hua cha)

This chrysanthemum tea comprises 45% dried flower extract crystallised upon 55% cane sugar. Chrysanthemum tea treats irritation and inflammation in the lungs, nasal passageways and throat via its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It also encourages improved vision and helps to cleanse the liver in particular.

Wuxing Students learn how eyes and liver are inter-connected, correspond to the Wood Element and can be both naturally nourished by ju hua cha. They also practise 5 Elements Qigong routines with similar effects.

TIEN-CHI (Heaven Energy) GINSENG FLOWER TEA (ren shen cha)

Tien-chi Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) ginseng tea variety from southwestern China is mainly cultivated in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. Tien-chi plant root is used as a health product for regulating blood circulation. The flower functions as a heat clearing and toxin cleansing herb used to reduce inflammation, feverish feelings, skin eruptions and sore throats.

XIAMEN GREEN TEA (lu cha)

Green tea stimulates the heart in particular, aids digestion and banishes fatigue. Encouraging the body to metabolize more fat and thus much used in dieting and slimming, green tea also encourages longevity and general bodily detoxification.

However as it slightly inhibits iron-absorbption from the diet, green tea should be avoided by anaemia sufferers and women during their menstrual period

JASMINE FLOWER TEA (mo li hua cha)

There are several distinct jasmine tea varieties including green, jade or black. Good for oral hygiene and palate cleansing (before after or during eating) Jasmine tea’s highly aromatic soothing nature also stimulates digestion, encourages relaxation and helps prevent insomnia.

MORNING STAR GINGER BEVERAGE (sheng jiang cha)

Ginger tea stimulates and balances the activity of the heart, lungs and spleen in particular and assists the balanced functioning of the 5 major internal organs as a system in a tonic fashion. Its anti bacterial properties also make it a popular cold and flu remedy.

LUO HAN GUO EXTRACT TEA (luo han cha)

Luo Han Guo (luohanguo) aka ‘Monk Fruit’ (one of many longevity links) is member of the Gourd Plant Family and a fruit well-known for its sweet taste. Luo han cha. It is also well-known medicinally for treating coughs and sore throats and also encouraging longevity. Luohanguo has more recently been developed into a low-calorie sweetener.

When prepared this tea, dark brown and toffee-tasting, can be drunk hot or cold.

CHONG JI 5 FLOWERS TEA (wu hua cha)

This blend of 5 Chinese medicinal herbs cleans away internal heat, encourages diuresis and detoxification. It can also be used to treat sore eyes, sore throats, dysentery and constipation. Delivered concentrated upon cane sugar crystals it has a pleasant caramel taste

Overall

Drinking Chinese Tea in accord with Elements theory enhances health, youthfulness and longevity in many related ways. 5 Elements Qigong provides internal breathing and external massage routines towards the same ends.

The above brands and types of tea are readily purchaseable at your local Chinese Supermarkets the teas’ Chinese names appear in brackets. They are all inexpensive, represent tremendous value for money, are the real thing and offer the true ‘thrill of the swill’!

 

1. Decide – You must first decide that you have the ability to lead a life of improved health. As time goes on your understanding will expand and within one month you will go from desiring improved health to living for optimal health.

2. Detach – The next step is to detach from emotional burdens you’ve been harboring.

3. Detoxify – After the emotional/psychological component to wellness and health has been resolved all that remains is to rid your body and life of toxins. Since endothelial dysfunction is the foundation of 100% of all disease toxin is defined as anything which interferes with endothelial activity. In the detoxify step I explain all the actions you may choose to perform in order to guarantee yourself a life of optimal health.

4. Everyday – There are multiple activities to promote endothelial function however there are only two simple actions which allow the Joy spot to persist. Doing them over the course of 30 days effortlessly replaces your belief in disease, suffering and discomfort with a belief in your power to control every experience in your life.

Health Benefits:

A private session of this technique has proven to prevent, treat and/or reverse both emotional and physical disease. It has remedied ailments including overeating, anorexia, weight loss, bulimia, stress, social anxiety, performance anxiety, anger, depression, blockages in career, fear and all phobias. It reduces wrinkles and signs of aging making you feel more youthful, vibrant and full of energy. The Perfect Health M.A.P. is superior and unique because it physically improves the function of every organ in the body. Its power is its efficiency which makes it far better than other modalities of attaining emotional freedom. You will experience lasting improvement after just one session.

What is a toxin and why detoxify?

Considering that the endothelium is the root cause of nearly every ailment a toxin is anything that impairs or deplete endothelial function. The scientific research is conclusive. Detoxifying your life stops, reverses and eliminates 95-100% of all physical ailments resulting in perfect health and an optimal quality of life.

How to improve perfect works?

Optimal health is the result of the healthy endothelial function. Emotional distress is the primary cause of endothelial dysfunction throughout the entire body. Once stress has been eliminated you will learn the simple steps to detoxify physically and promote endothelial health in everyday life. This easy to follow process is 100% holistic and effective. It is the scientifically supported way to naturally eliminate the root cause of disease.

 

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!