Blog/Newsletter 3rd quarter 2007

Copyright Max Wettstein, 2007

Welcome to my new and improved quarterly blog/newsletter!  While the focus will still remain on health and fitness, my new style will take on a more personal touch to include more personal opinion, anecdotes, testimonials and, rather than discussing only one single topic in depth, I may talk on several points and be more short and concise.  I decided to take a hiatus from writing for my fellow pilots at JetBlue to allow more time for my own fitness, coaching, and writing endeavors.  Life keeps getting busier and I had to decide on how my writing would be best served.  So without further a due:

 On aging and dealing with (joint and muscle) pain:

 Eating to control inflammation and pH: As I get older I have found that my workouts and nutrition goals are shifting.  More and more I focus on a diet that is abundant in anti-inflammatory and alkalinizing foods (PH-balancing).  Eating whole foods and organic when possible, has always been a priority, but even more so, I’m including ‘green’ foods, raw nuts, fruits and vegetables to control/combat systemic and joint inflammation, and systemic acidic conditions.  Don’t get me wrong, protein is still an essential, muscle building, macro-nutrient that is important to me, and I try to consume 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day, thru eggs, cold-water fish, nuts, cottage cheese, chicken, and protein powder supplements.  However, most if not all dairy, meat and refined foods have an acidic effect in the body when digested.  Prolonged exercise also produces lactic acid and an acidic state in the body.  Coffee and soda are acidic as well.  When the PH of the blood shifts towards the acidic scale slightly our health is compromised and we are prone to illness and not at our optimum.  Offsetting this with alkaline foods such as anything raw and green, avocados, apples, almonds, Green tea, Olive oil, garlic, lemons and most veggies is entirely possible.  One of the first symptoms that you will clear up right away when you shift to an alkaline diet is the healing of cold sores and canker sores.  What’s more, a nice secondary benefit of eating ‘green’ foods, (loaded with chlorophyll), is that they are very cleansing.  So much so, unwanted hygiene issues such as bad breath and body odor virtually disappear.  When you eat clean and are at your optimum health, you’ll find you don’t even need to put on deodorant as your sweat won’t even stink. (PH-Balancing - Go!)

                An alkaline diet also goes conveniently hand in hand with an anti-inflammatory diet, (and anti-aging diet!).  The type of foods are almost the same, but should also emphasize abundant amounts of cold-water fish (choose wild over farm-raised), olive and flax oils, ginger root,  nuts and seeds.  The key micro-nutrients to look for are vitamin E and Omega-type fats.  A few bites of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine, are also some fun indulgent foods you can add to your anti-inflammatory protocol, as they have a dilating effect on blood vessels and keep vessel linings elastic and slippery.  Full of powerful Flavonoids and anti-oxidants, red wine and dark chocolate also combat free-radicals, lower LDL-cholesterol and raise HDL-cholesterol…when enjoyed in MODERATION!

 Joints and soft tissue and supplements: Supplements can really help when eating a balanced variety is not possible, or when traveling.  But now supplements for joint support and fighting inflammation are essential even when eating a well-balanced diet.  Anyone who wants to continue being an athlete past age 40 had better look into some of the outstanding new joint formulas that are available now, because they really work!  An optimal joint-support blend should contain at least these ingredients: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Type-II Collagen, and the latest discovery, Hyaluronic Acid.  These powerful, synergistic micro-nutrients, (these are NOT brand names...I'm not trying to sell you anything!), actually regenerate cartilage and soft tissues such as fascia and tendons.  They enrich the synovial fluid that bathes your joints.   They also knock down inflammation with sulfur compounds.  However the cartilage and tissue regeneration does take about 2 weeks of use to begin showing improvement.  This is no BS – these compounds actually regenerate your joints and prevent and even reverse symptoms of osteo-arthritis!  (‘Wear-n-tear’ arthritis)  So if you’re letting your aching joints and tendonitis pains prevent you from working out and playing hard, then take action because there is hope.  NSAIDs have a place and time for sure, for controlling acute pain and inflammation, but if you’re beginning every day or every work-out with Ibuprofen, then you are abusing this drug and harming your health, and you need to reevaluate.  Did I mention that not only does ibuprofen causes stomach and intestinal lining damage, but it also offsets muscle gains because it limits the prostaglandins that you produce while lifting weights, (Ibuprofen reduces the growth stimulation effects of DOMS, Delayed-onset-muscle-soreness)?  Cortisone shots should be an absolute last resort, as once you receive an injection, the soft tissue area/tendon/ligament is now prone to rupture without warning.  Believe me when I say you can do a lot with nutrition and natural supplements – I should know:  I routinely skateboard pools and fall 10 feet onto concrete!  I run hills on rugged terrain.  I lift weights twice per week.  I ski double-black trails with moguls.  I’m my own guinea pig and fight my own aches, pains, and stiffness battles on a daily basis...  Sooner or later with persistence and the right protocol, every injury and ‘–itis’ will heal!

 Acute injury chronic injury: Don’t forget to apply R.I.C.E. after an acute injury – rest, ICE, compression, and elevation for 48 hours after a sprain or strain.  After 48 hours, then treat with ice/heat/ice/heat, for 20 minute cycles.  Chiropractic adjustments, traction, massage, and stretching are all weapons in your arsenal to stave off chronic, over-use injuries.  All this combined might sound a little drastic, but it is up to you.  How long do you want to be able to keep playing the sports and activities you love?  Do you want to be one of those parents who just sits around and watches their kids’ activities, or do you want to be able to join in the fun?  More than just fun and games, left unchecked systemic inflammation over time, leads to all kinds of diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.  Adjust your lifestyle now.

 Systemic Inflammation, Obesity and Disease: An anti-inflammatory diet is also important to offset chronic, systemic inflammation that leads to central obesity, and diseases such as atherosclerosis, and type-2 Diabetes.  Inflammation is closely associated with all these ailments, and is either a major symptom or the cause, or both.  Inflammation causes insulin-resistance, the storage of more visceral, or ‘belly-fat’, ‘fatty-liver’, and clogged, sticky, stiff blood vessels.  In fact, the key to living a long, active life, IS, controlling inflammation and obesity.  They are interrelated like the chicken and the egg paradox.  (Belly Fat - Go!)              

 Exercising:  Lastly, over the last few years I find my work-outs have shifted from gaining muscle as the number one priority, to maintaining my current muscle mass and just being healthy...imagine that!  Of course I go a little above and beyond for vanity’s sake as a fitness model, but let me tell you I don’t mind because being a fitness model has served as great motivation for years.  Without fitness-modeling I would probably be carrying another 5% of body fat.  More stretching, more warm-up, higher reps with less weight, and just more overall recovery time is where my work-outs are progressing towards.  More required recovery time means that every work-out I do has to be thought out and have defined purpose.  Luckily, over the years I have gotten smarter about what my body needs and when, and have learned to pay attention to how tired I really feel instead of overriding any sign of fatigue with will power and caffeine.  Sometimes no-pain, no-gain just doesn’t apply.

 Health first, vanity second: Now a short story about a fellow model at a recent shoot I did for a supplement company.  This model had a great personality and was easy to talk too, but in my opinion was not a professional and had his priorities skewed.  First, I was informed by the art director that he would need 3 weeks to prepare himself, (R U kidding me?!), so they needed to know my availability 3 months in advance.  Then during the day of the shoot, after we introduced ourselves he started asking me what I did to get ready, “You know, what did you take?...Clenbuterol?”  I was like, “Excuse me?...what is that?”.  Apparently this so-called fit-model was taking a drug originally made for treating horse allergies for anabolic and fat-burning to prepare his physique.  I told him I just watched my sodium intake the day before and carbo-loaded on brown rice pasta.  He said, “Oh.”  I think he got the point and he got real quiet.  I’m sharing this story with you because in my opinion a professional fitness model is photo-ready in appearance 24/7/365 and especially does not use dangerous prescription drugs to morph and distort their physique.  Ridiculous.

                All the best,


               Max J

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