Comparing fitness trends and advice from years past to today


I read a couple of articles this past week that highlighted the controversies of a person trying to begin a fitness program. Looking back at the practices of yesteryear and comparing them with many of today’s programs you wonder how anybody ever succeeded in getting fit. The most common trend of thought was, “You teach the way you were taught”. The same went for coaching practices. You probably coached the same way you were coached. Allan Besselink in his book ‘Run Smart’ writes “The inability to challenge our belief systems in the face of good scientific evidence is the primary limiting factor in the advancement of both health care and coaching as well as human performance and injury prevention.” Early advice was do not drink cold water – or any water in some cases – because it will give you stomach cramps. When I was with the NHL hockey preseason training camps the players weighed in before and after practice. The coaches responsible for the weigh-ins were former hockey players from several years ago. Their comments were, “When we finished practice we lost 8-12 pounds every day.” The players they were weighing were only losing 3-4 pounds. The difference was in the “old” days the players did not drink during practice. New research showed players that they can perform better if they stay hydrated during practice. The modern players were drinking water every 10-15 minutes to replace the sweat lost during skating.

Years ago I read a report that ice cold water was better for you as it was absorbed by the body faster. You could not drink as much water because of the cold temperature, but you would drink it more frequently. This week I read a report from a medical doctor that you should not drink ice cold water. You wonder who was right when you want to start an exercise program. 

When energy drinks made an appearance with the invention of Gatorade it was the latest and greatest thing to drink for improving performance. For some sports it seemed to be a real benefit for the athletes. Marathon runners found out that the heavy sugar content did not set well on a long run when they were dehydrated. The stomach could not absorb the concentrated mixture and did not help get energy to the muscles. Marathon runners found that if the drink was diluted it was better absorbed by the body and performance was benefited. 

The recent drink is electrolyte drinks. You can drink the mixture, or place a thin electrolyte wafer on the tongue and help balance the body’s energy systems. An article I read this week was in Nutrition Action newsletter and the subtitle was “Caffeine 101.” It mentions that caffeine has the ability to block adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a natural sedative and when caffeine blocks the effect the person does not feel drowsy. The article went on to state the effects of caffeine on exercise…



Read MoreComparing fitness trends and advice from years past to today

Comparing fitness trends and advice from years past to today


I read a couple of articles this past week that highlighted the controversies of a person trying to begin a fitness program. Looking back at the practices of yesteryear and comparing them with many of today’s programs you wonder how anybody ever succeeded in getting fit. The most common trend of thought was, “You teach the way you were taught”. The same went for coaching practices. You probably coached the same way you were coached. Allan Besselink in his book ‘Run Smart’ writes “The inability to challenge our belief systems in the face of good scientific evidence is the primary limiting factor in the advancement of both health care and coaching as well as human performance and injury prevention.” Early advice was do not drink cold water – or any water in some cases – because it will give you stomach cramps. When I was with the NHL hockey preseason training camps the players weighed in before and after practice. The coaches responsible for the weigh-ins were former hockey players from several years ago. Their comments were, “When we finished practice we lost 8-12 pounds every day.” The players they were weighing were only losing 3-4 pounds. The difference was in the “old” days the players did not drink during practice. New research showed players that they can perform better if they stay hydrated during practice. The modern players were drinking water every 10-15 minutes to replace the sweat lost during skating.

Years ago I read a report that ice cold water was better for you as it was absorbed by the body faster. You could not drink as much water because of the cold temperature, but you would drink it more frequently. This week I read a report from a medical doctor that you should not drink ice cold water. You wonder who was right when you want to start an exercise program. 

When energy drinks made an appearance with the invention of Gatorade it was the latest and greatest thing to drink for improving performance. For some sports it seemed to be a real benefit for the athletes. Marathon runners found out that the heavy sugar content did not set well on a long run when they were dehydrated. The stomach could not absorb the concentrated mixture and did not help get energy to the muscles. Marathon runners found that if the drink was diluted it was better absorbed by the body and performance was benefited. 

The recent drink is electrolyte drinks. You can drink the mixture, or place a thin electrolyte wafer on the tongue and help balance the body’s energy systems. An article I read this week was in Nutrition Action newsletter and the subtitle was “Caffeine 101.” It mentions that caffeine has the ability to block adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a natural sedative and when caffeine blocks the effect the person does not feel drowsy. The article went on to state the effects of caffeine on exercise…



Read MoreComparing fitness trends and advice from years past to today