News

How Fat Turns to Muscle Through Exercise

By Maire,

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells

BY: Gretchen ReynoldsNY Times

Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial magic — what physiological steps are involved and in what order — remains mysterious to a surprising degree.

Several striking new studies, however, provide some clarity by showing that exercise seems able to drastically alter how genes operate.

Genes are, of course, not static. They turn on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from elsewhere in the body. When they are turned on, genes express various proteins that, in turn, prompt a range of physiological actions in the body.

One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. In this way, the behavior of the gene is changed, but not the fundamental structure of the gene itself. Remarkably, these methylation patterns can be passed on to offspring – a phenomenon known as epigenetics.

What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by how you live your life. Many recent studies have found that diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes, and scientists working in this area suspect that differing genetic methylation patterns resulting from differing diets may partly determine whether someone develops diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

But the role of physical activity in gene methylation has been poorly understood, even though exercise, like diet, greatly changes the body. So several groups of scientists recently set out to determine what working out does to the exterior of our genes.

The answer, their recently published results show, is plenty.

Of the new studies, perhaps the most tantalizing, conducted principally by researchers affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and published last month in PLoS One, began by recruiting several dozen sedentary but generally healthy adult Swedish men and sucking out some of their fat cells. Using recently developed molecular techniques, the researchers mapped the existing methylation patterns on the DNA within those cells. They also measured the men’s body composition, aerobic capacity, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and similar markers of health and fitness.

Then they asked the men to start working out. Under the guidance of a trainer, the volunteers began attending hourlong spinning or aerobics classes approximately twice a week for six months. By the end of that time, the men had shed fat and inches around their waists, increased their endurance and improved their blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.

Less obviously, but perhaps even more consequentially, they also had altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. In fact, more than 17,900 individual locations on 7,663 separate genes in the fat cells now displayed changed methylation patterns. In most cases, the genes had become more methylated, but some had fewer methyl groups attached. Both situations affect how those genes express proteins.

The genes showing the greatest change in methylation also tended to be those that had been previously identified as playing some role in fat storage and the risk for developing diabetes or obesity.

“Our data suggest that exercise may affect the risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing DNA methylation of those genes,” says Charlotte Ling, an associate professor at Lund University and senior author of the study.

Meanwhile, other studies have found that exercise has an equally profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells, even after a single workout.

To reach that conclusion, scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and other institutions took muscle biopsies from a group of sedentary men and women and mapped their muscle cells’ methylation patterns. They then had the volunteers ride stationary bicycles until they had burned about 400 calories. Some rode strenuously, others more easily.

Afterward, a second muscle biopsy showed that DNA methylation patterns in the muscle cells were already changing after that lone workout, with some genes gaining methyl groups and some losing them. Several of the genes most altered, as in the fat cell study, are known to produce proteins that affect the body’s metabolism, including the risk for diabetes and obesity.

Interestingly, the muscle cell methylation changes were far more pronounced among the volunteers who had ridden vigorously than in those who had pedaled more gently, even though their total energy output was the same.

The overarching implication of the study’s findings, says Juleen Zierath, a professor of integrative physiology at the Karolinska Institute and senior author of the study, is that DNA methylation changes are probably “one of the earliest adaptations to exercise” and drive the bodily changes that follow.

Of course, the intricacies of that bogglingly complex process have yet to be fully teased out. Scientists do not know, for instance, whether exercise-induced methylation changes linger if someone becomes sedentary, or if resistance training has similar effects on the behavior of genes. Nor is it known whether these changes might be passed on from one generation to the next. But already it is clear, Dr. Ling says, that these new findings “are additional proof of the robust effect exercise can have on the human body, even at the level of our DNA.”

10 Reasons Exercising on Vacation is Worth it

By Maire,

With the last days of summer upon us and the holiday season rapidly approaching, we want to know: Do I really have to workout when I’m on vacation?

It only took a little research to find a clear answer. While it might feel like vacation is the perfect excuse to hit the beach chair rather than the gym, there are actually a ton of benefits to working out on your time off. And best of all, it really doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t “forget” your running shoes on your next trip.

 

1.It’s meditation in motion.

According to the Mayo Clinic, focusing on a single task, such as physical activity, can result in energy and optimism. It can calm you down and clear your mind. The Fit Radio yoga mixes can help you get in the zone for a relaxing yoga session.

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2. It improves your mood.

Elle Woods said it first: “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy.” And isn’t the whole point of vacation to be happy?

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3. It’s a chance for extra alone time.

We’ve all wished for just five minutes of alone time on family vacation before. Going for a run, or even just a brisk walk, is a great way to enjoy some time to yourself. (Plus, have you tried our new Running Feature?)

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4. Or, it can be a great family activity.

Maybe you just can’t get enough of your loved ones, in which case physical activity is a great way to bond. Plan a family tennis tournament or basketball game. Go for a hike or rent kayaks. No matter the activity, it’ll bring everyone closer together and get everyone’s heart rate up.

 

5. It’s a great way to sightsee.

If you’re in a beautiful location with a lot to see, don’t spend valuable sightseeing time on the treadmill! Run through a local park or on the beach or up a mountain. Use exercise as an opportunity to do things you might not otherwise, like hitting the other side of town or catching the sunrise.

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6. It doesn’t have to take long.

Strapped for time? Don’t stress yourself out by trying to fit in an hour-long workout. Exercise trends like HIIT and tabata training can be done in as little as seven minutes and there are plenty of Fit Radio mixes to keep you entertained.

 

7. It doesn’t have to involve any equipment.

Skip taking the elevator and put on Fit Radio’s Stair Climber station as you take the stairs to your room. Workout complete.

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8. It’ll get you outside in the fresh air.

Running outside is reportedly connected with “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Plus weather conditions can be a bonus; wind resistance creates a tougher workout and sunny skies provide much needed Vitamin D.

 

9. It will help you sleep.

It’s much-cited fact that exercising can help you sleep better. Vacation workouts will help you not only catch up on sleep, but get better quality sleep.

 

10. It’s part of your routine.

Could you really go a week, or even a long weekend, without listening to your favorite Fit Radio DJs? We sure couldn’t.

The Key to the Perfect Spinning Workout Mix

By Maire,

Last week, we caught up with DJ Monopoli – a Fit Radio DJ favorite and creator of his wildly popular workout cycling mixes on our ‘Spin’ workout station. But how exactly does he craft these perfect spinning mixes? He broke it all down for us here:

Q: How do you choose your music?

A: I tend to gravitate toward tracks that build into a really intense drop, but also have a very melodic breakdown. I also love digging for unique remixes of classic tracks.

 

Q: How does your mix formula help during Spin classes?

A: Every instructor likes to do things a little bit differently. The general formula consists of a warm up track (something relaxed that allows everyone to get their mind right as they begin to pedal and get warm), followed by something that’s very high energy to get everyone going. After that, I tend to mix it up. I love to use a variety of different genres and tempos to really keep people engaged. More focus on the music = less focus on how bad your legs are burning!  And then I always try to end with a feel good track that leaves everyone in a positive state of mind.

 

Q: What do you think about when you put a spin mix together?

A: I really try to visualize myself being a part of the class so that I can determine which tracks will provide the boost riders need to keep pushing forward.

 

Q: What is most important element in a Spin mix?

A: ENERGY! Every track has to play its part in fueling the riders to keep going. A track’s energy can single-handedly provide that little extra push even when someone thinks they have nothing left. But with that, there must also be balance. People can’t cycle at full speed forever, so the music needs to provide that balance.

 

Q: What feature do you love about Fit Radio?

A: I LOVE having the ability to set my intervals and rest periods. I’m in the gym listening to Fit Radio daily, so setting my intervals really keeps me working at the pace I want to.

 

Q: What are the benefits being a Fit Radio DJ?

A: I really enjoy having the ability to interact with my listeners. Everyday I have new listeners reaching out via Twitter to let me know how much they enjoyed my mixes. That’s what it’s all about and Fit Radio provides that platform.
Learn more about DJ Monopoli and listen to his latest mixes here.

Fit Radio Success Story – Meet JT M.

By Maire,

I’m a physical educator/coach and I’ve been teaching Physical Education for 17 years in Texas. I was at a conference in early June and another teacher told me they had read about Fit Radio and it might be a good app for us to use and safe to play for the kids.

After my 3 hour trial ran out I was SUPER sad! When I figured out that Fit Radio was $28 for the year I decided it was worth the investment. I’ve had Spotify Premium before, but felt like it was a little expensive. I don’t normally buy a year’s subscription to anything yet alone pay for a music service, but Fit Radio was SO dramatically different than anything I had used before.

Since July, I have deleted Spotify and Pandora.

Maybe it’s my ADD, but I like Fit Radio–even just to enjoy music–not necessarily for working out, but all the time.

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I plan tell our teachers about Fit Radio because it’s the perfect fit. You can safely play continuous music with clean lyrics without pauses or ads, you can start/stop whenever you want, and there are plenty of genres/mixes/etc. to choose from.

I also plan to use it for my after-school teacher workouts that I do for my staff members. I’m always genuinely excited to play Fit Radio during these classes because I know they will most likely ask what app I’m using. They agree, nothing is more annoying than using Spotify and having an ad interrupt a workout.

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Every Summer I try to find a few new games/activities/strategies for my gym – this year Fit Radio is at the top of my list!
Music is HUGE in my gym/classroom so Fit Radio is something that I need everyday.

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Do you love Fit Radio? Tell us about your experience for your chance to be featured! Click here to learn how.

Fit Radio DJ Spotlight: Treblemonsters

By Maire,

Our team had a chance to catch up with Fit Radio‘s, Treblemonsters last week. This is what they had to say:

 

Q: Of all your pet-peeves, which is the strangest?

A: Wasteful people. I.e. the ones at the gym that use about 4 towels per person or run through half of a paper towel roll to wipe something small down.

 

Q: What is your favorite animal? Why?

A: Cats. They are clean and do not need much attention. (Like everything else in this world.) Also, most cats have a spontaneous/random/energetic, but innocent personality.

 

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A: FIJI

 

Q: What would you do with one million dollars?

A: First, I would just cash it and pile it in my living room to stare at it for a small period of time. Then, invest most of it.

 

Q: Would you rather have money or love? Why?

A: LOVE. Because if we were able to materialize LOVE, than it would be worth much more than MONEY.

 

Q: Are you a good dancer?

A: Rusty now, but yes. I used to break-dance back in the day.

 

Q: What is the best feature about Fit Radio for our users?

A: It’s a mobile app. Anyone can access at anytime and anywhere.

 

Q: What are the perks being a Fit Radio DJ?

A: Other than a good resume builder and exposure, it challenges me as a DJ to come up with new and creative ways to supply high energy mixes in different genres. It steers me away from the generic and overplayed songs.

 

Learn more about Treblemonsters and listen to their latest Fit Radio mixes here.

Workout Tip: Fitness Experts Weigh In On Sports Drinks and Hydration

By Maire,

Do I Need Sports Drinks?

By Jen A. Miller
Author, “Running: A Love Story”

Do you need a fitness drink when you run? Or is water good enough? To answer these questions, Anahad O’Connor, a NY Times Well reporter, spoke with a few experts on the need for hydration during exercise. Here’s what he learned:

If you’re running for less than an hour, then water is just fine. But for longer sessions – or a marathon – you should consume some kind of carbohydrate-based sports drink, says Dr. Jordan Metzl, a marathoner, endurance athlete and sports medicine doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

“After an hour you start depleting muscle glycogen stores to the point where it becomes difficult to keep the level of energy expenditure,” he says.

That being said, you should also be careful not to overdo it on sports drinks. A little goes a long way.

“If you just drink sports drinks, you’ll be taking in a lot of sugar and your stomach won’t be able to handle it, said Dr. Laura Goldberg, a sports medicine expert from The Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Metzl said he prefers sports drinks with higher levels of sodium because they help to prevent muscle cramping, especially on hot and humid days. His go-to in that category is “Gatorade Endurance,” which has double the sodium (300 milligrams) and triple the potassium (140 milligrams) of original Gatorade. “I’m increasingly a fan of the double-sodium sports drinks,” Dr. Metzl said.

Be sure to stay hydrated on your runs this week. And there is some good news you should keep in mind as you head out for a run this month – training in the heat will help you perform better once it’s cooler.

Don’t forget to check out our top tips to stay cool during your Summer workout too.

Fit Radio Success Story – Meet Nathan O.

By Maire,

I love the Fit Radio app. I downloaded it because, in November, I will be running the NYC Marathon in support of the 75th Army Rangers Lead The Way Fund — a charity established to support the families of wounded and fallen Army Rangers— one of the Army’s most elite fighting forces. I’ve personally served 6 years in the US Army and was deployed overseas for 4 years. I’ve lost many friends in the process so they will be running with me in spirit on that day.

Fit Radio has certainly inspired me and I think it was a quality purchase. The music compilations and mixes from the Fit Radio app serve as additional inspiration and motivation for my training.

If anyone would like to donate to the wives and children of these soldiers, please click here. I would never advocate for a charity I didn’t full-heartedly believe in. This one is a fantastic cause.

Improve Your Fitness and Health in Just One Minute

By Maire,

Got a Minute? Let’s Work Out

According to a lovely new study, a single minute of intense exercise, embedded within an otherwise easy 10-minute workout, can improve fitness and health.

Just one minute.

This is good news for busy people who have tried, unsuccessfully, to fit even short workouts into their schedules. The overall time commitment for interval-training sessions is not quite as slight as many of us might wish. Consider, for instance, an interval session in which someone rides a stationary bike as hard as possible for 30 seconds, followed by four minutes or so of easy pedaling. If that person completes four of these intervals, with two or three minutes of warm-up and cool-down added at the beginning and end of the workout, the entire session lasts for almost 25 minutes, a time commitment that some people might consider unsustainable.

These concerns reached the laboratory of Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. He and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high-intensity interval training, and many of the scientists there regularly exercise with interval training.

They, too, had noticed that interval-training sessions were not quite as truncated as some people hoped and had begun to wonder if it might be possible to lower the overall time commitment.

But if so, they wondered, how low could someone go in terms of time and still gain health and fitness benefits?

To find out, the McMaster researchers recruited a group of 14 sedentary and overweight but otherwise healthy men and women. They focused on these volunteers, because sedentary, overweight people often are on the cusp of serious health issues such as diabetes, which might be kept at bay with exercise, but sedentary people also often cite a lack of time as their reason for not exercising.

They invited the volunteers to the lab, where researchers took muscle biopsies and measured their aerobic endurance, blood pressures and blood sugar levels.

Then they asked the volunteers to complete a truly time-efficient, interval-training program using computerized stationary bicycles. Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals, during which riders pushed the pedals absolutely as hard as they could manage, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. The riders also warmed up for two minutes and cooled down for three, for a grand total of 10 minutes of total exercise time, with one minute of that being the intense interval training.

The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 30 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.

Then they returned to the lab to be retested.

Their bodies were, it turned out, quite different now. The men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.

Interestingly, the male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control, but the female volunteers had not. The researchers suspect that fundamental differences in how the genders burn sugar or fat to fuel exercise might affect how each responds to some aspects of interval training. But more research is needed with both men and women before scientists will be able to understand the import of this difference, Dr. Gibala said.

In the meantime, the message from the study that most of us will grasp at is, of course, that one minute of exercise is all you need. But Dr. Gibala would like people to remember that 10 minutes of overall exercise time is involved for a total of 30 minutes per week.

He also suspects that, with this study, scientists are plumbing the lowest limits of worthwhile exercise time. “We’ve dropped from 30-second all-out intervals to 20-second intervals,” he said, “because for many people those last 10 seconds were excruciating.” Most of us, however, can complete 20-second all-out efforts without wishing to cry, he said.

Halving the intervals again, however, to 10-second efforts, probably would mot provide the same benefits, Dr. Gibala said, although “maybe if you did more of them, it might work.” He and his colleagues are studying these and other questions related to interval training.

For now, relying on one minute of hard exercise to ease you through the holidays with your health intact seems feasible, he said. And the exercise does not need to be cycling. Sprint up stairs in 20-second bursts, he said, or even run hard in place. The point is that time constraints shouldn’t keep anyone from exercise. In the time it took to read this column, you could be done with your workout.

Fit Radio DJ Spotlight: DJ Spryte

By Maire,

This week we had a chance to sit down wth Fit Radio DJ, DJ Spryte. This is what he had to say:

 

Q: Who do you think should run for president in two years?

A: Daenerys Targaryen. (Yep I went there!)

 

Q: How many push up’s you can do?

A: In a row, I would say about 45. Then, I would fall over.

 

Q: Would you eat a bowl of crickets for $100,000?

A: Are we talking live crickets? Would some kind of seasoning salt be permitted? (Either way, I’d still most likely do it!)

 

Q: What are your top 3 gigs you have ever DJed?

A: This is a though one. Actually, I think Fit Radio has worked with them. I did a Night Nation Run Festival in Los Angles last year with 15,000 people. That would definitely be one of my favorite shows. The other 2 would have to be when I played in South Korea at Club Answer and I love Canada so I would say the shows I’ve done up in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

 

Q: What did you think the 1st time you played the Fit Radio App?

A: Great App! People needed something like this. Especially for running, gym sessions, or even road trips.

 

Q: How does Fit Radio help people’s workouts?

A: Music has a tremendous effect on the way you feel. The right mix can motivate you to go the extra mile or keep pushing through your workout when you feel like quitting.

 

Q: What is the best feature on Fit Radio?

A: The Selection of mixes available. Plus having them all categorized really helps you navigate to exactly the style of music you’re looking for.

 

Q: How do you prepare a mix for Fit Radio?

A: I really like finding different and new styles of music and mixing them together with familiar elements of songs that are more recognizable to people. It’s a great way to introduce new music to the listener. When I start making the mix, I try to pair up vocals from hit records with newer, more abstract tracks. I think of a mix as a whole piece of music, as opposed to a collection of songs. So, it’s very common to always hear something going on, even in the spaces between tracks.

 

Learn more about DJ Spryte and listen to his latest mixes here.

Olympians, Pro Athletes and More Are Raving About Fit Radio

By Maire,

Casey Patterson, nicknamed “Mr.Boom,” is a member of the USA Men’s Beach Volleyball team set to make his first Olympic appearance in Rio this week. Known for his passion and signature style on the court, we are proud that Casey is just one of the many incredible athletes that have joined our Fit Radio Fam on the #RoadToRio!

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Other athletes living the #FitRadioLife include:

A.J. Ellis – MLB Catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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Cody Gibson – aka “The Renegade” – Professional MMA UFC Fighter and current Tachi Palace Fights Bantamweight Champion

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