Tag - Brett Osborn

Tips for weight loss through weight training

Losing weight was the No. 1 New Year’s resolution for 2014, according to a University of Scranton study, which also found that only 8 percent of people succeed in achieving their resolutions.

So it stands to reason, losing weight will again top the resolution charts in 2015.

“You’re much more apt to be successful, and keep the weight off, if you don’t focus on simply shedding pounds by reducing your caloric intake,” says Dr. Brett Osborn, author of “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com.

“As a general rule, the best thing you can do for yourself is start doing weight training and keep it simple,” Dr. Osborn says.

He shares seven tips for burning up the fat and building muscle through weight training:

•  Make workouts intense. Any exercise or group of exercises must provide sufficient stimulus to trigger the body’s adaptive response. A requisite of this is intensity. We are reactive organisms at a base level. Resistance training of sufficient intensity stimulates an increase in testosterone production, and the anabolic, muscle-building process ensues.

•  Always err on the side of training less. So, how do you know just how much is enough? Are you training too often or just the opposite? In both cases, there will be failed gains. That’s right – overtraining can stall progress! The answer? Pay meticulous attention to your progress, or lack thereof.

•  Chart your progress. Set training goals, both short-term and long-term, and accomplish them. Buy a log book or download an app (there are many available for free) and make a habit of recording every workout. You don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.

•  Nutrition is as important as training. You must provide your body with adequate nutrition to rebuild itself. If your fitness goal is muscular hypertrophy and strength, you’ll make few if any gains in the context of poor nutrition.

•  You must get adequate sleep. “I have a hard time with this one because of my occupation, so I make it a priority as much as possible,” Dr. Osborn says. Without adequate rest, your body won’t recover from training. Remember, your muscles are growing while you sleep, provided there is adequate stimulus for growth and sound nutrition.

•  Educate yourself. Learn as much as possible about training and, more specifically, how your body responds to various training modalities. Forget about fitness or fashion magazines – the endorsed regimens there bear little resemblance to those actually utilized by bodybuilders. Don’t lose weight for its own sake. Building muscle is the best way to burn fat, so don’t pay attention to gimmicky and faddish celebrity fitness articles.

•  Never quit! A well-timed hiatus from training is very different than quitting. In fact, we need intermittent breaks as the majority of us are actually overtraining. Terminating all exercise is akin to quitting health. Push yourself through periods of stalled progress. Don’t expect to look like a professional bodybuilder after six to 12 months of training. Unless you’re using anabolic agents, you won’t look like that. But that’s okay! The point is slow and steady progress, which inevitably yields a more muscular physique and, ultimately, better health.

About Dr. Brett Osborn

Brett Osborn is a New York University-trained, board-certified neurological surgeon with a secondary certification in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. He is a diplomate of the American Bard of Neurological Surgery and of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He holds a CSCS honorarium from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Osborn specializes in scientifically based nutrition and exercise as a means to achieve optimal health and preventing disease. He is the author “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com.

Read more...

Work on your brain now to help against Alzheimer’s

As a fitness expert and neurosurgeon, Dr. Brett Osborn says he appreciates the growing public interest in general health and fitness. Now, he says, that attention needs to extend to arguably our most essential organ – the brain.

“There are several, multi-billion dollar industries out there dedicated to burning fat and building muscle; cognitive health, on the other hand, has been largely overlooked,” says Osborn, author of “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com.

“Of course, any good health expert is quick to remind readers that it’s all connected. For example, what’s good for the heart will be, directly or indirectly, good for the brain.”

September’s an appropriate time to talk brain health: its World Alzheimer’s Month, and it’s the beginning of football season. By now, we know that football players in the NFL, college and even high school suffer considerable head trauma, whether through big hits resulting in concussions or moderate, repeated blows, he says.

It’s also soccer season in other parts of the world. Concern continues to mount about the neurological damage done to players from repeated headers, where the ball is hit by the head. The long-term effects, including depression and other mental-health problems, are similar to those suffered by American football players, he says.

“Sports can impart great habits to kids, including discipline, fellowship and an emphasis on strength and endurance,” says Osborn, a bodybuilder and father. “As our children return to school and sports, health-care providers, coaches and parents need to make it a top priority to protect our student-athletes’ brains.”

Osborn offers five tips to help everyone maintain brain health:

• Learn new skills. “Just as with other health concerns, brain health should be rooted in the prevention of disease,” he says. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease, the causes of which, and the cure, are unknown. However, it’s widely thought that brain stimulation and activity can delay the onset of the disease. The acquisition of a new skill – whether it’s learning to play an instrument or taking up waterskiing – exercises the brain “muscle.”

• Commit to actual exercise. Everyone knows that exercise helps protect the heart, but not everyone knows that physical activity is also good for the brain. The brain is not a muscle, but it can be worked as muscle is worked during exercise, which forges new neuron pathways.

“Let’s face it, there is a component of learning in exercise,” Osborn says. “You cannot master the squat overnight; the brain has to change. Neuronal connections, or ‘synapses,’ are formed through very complex biophysical mechanisms. That takes time.”

• Don’t sweat stress. There is such a thing as good stress, including the acute bodily stress involved in strength training. Of course, there’s the bad stress, such as psychological stress associated with work or interpersonal relationships, and environmental stress, derived from pesticide-laden food – toxins. As always, you have a choice. You don’t have to accept mental stress in your life. Reconsider toxic relationships. Rethink how you handle pressure at work. Perhaps adopt a lunchtime exercise routine.

• Fuel a better body and brain. “I don’t believe in ‘diets,’ ” Osborn says. “Fit individuals were around for eons before the term existed, and I associate the term with temporary and, often, self-destructive behaviors.”

Again, it’s all connected. A healthy balance of food and activity will inevitably be good for the entire body: the heart, skeleton, muscles, brain, etc. Proper nutrition is a natural mood enhancer, and good health will inevitably improve self-esteem.

• Feed your head with smart drugs. Some pharmaceuticals may help enhance cerebral blood flow and increase concentration, including Hydergine, Deprenyl and Prozac, to name a few. Ask your doctor about these. There are also over-the-counter smart drugs to consider. Piracetam is one of the oldest and has been shown to have a variety of positive effects in patients with cognitive disorders like dementia and epilepsy. Vinpocetine has potent anti-inflammatory effects, and inflammation is a key component in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and others. You may also want to check out gingko biloba and pregnenolone.

About Dr. Brett Osborn

Brett Osborn is a New York University-trained, Board-Certified neurological surgeon with a secondary certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He holds a CSCS honorarium from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Osborn specializes in scientifically based nutrition and exercise as a means to achieve optimal health and preventing disease. He is the author “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com.

Read more...

Slow your aging process with strength exercises

If you want good health, a long life and to feel your best well into old age, the No. 1 most important thing you can do is strength-training, says Dr. Brett Osborn, author of “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com

“Our ability to fight off disease resides in our muscles,” Dr. Osborn says. “The greatest thing you can do for your body is to build muscle.”

He cites a large, long-term study of nearly 9,000 men ages 20 to 80. After nearly 19 years, the men still living were those with the most muscular strength. (BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, 2008).

Muscle is all protein – “nothing but good for you,” Dr. Osborn says.

Fat, however, is an endocrine organ, meaning it releases hormones and other chemicals. When a person has excess fat, he or she also a disrupted flow of excess biochemicals, which can increase insulin resistance and boost risk factors for stroke and high blood pressure, among other problems.

“Increased cytokines, an immune system chemical, for example, are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Osborn says. “You’re only as old as your arteries!”

Strength-training has health benefits for everyone, he adds, no matter their size.

“Some fat is visceral fat – it’s stored around the organs and it’s even more dangerous than the fat you can see,” he says. “People who look thin may actually be carrying around a lot of visceral fat.”

So, what’s the workout Dr. Osborn recommends?

“Back to basics,” he says. “These five exercises are the pillars of a solid training regime.”

• The squat is a full-body exercise; it’s the basic movement around which all training should be centered. Heavy squats generate a robust hormonal response as numerous muscular structures are traumatized during the movement (even your biceps). Standing erect with a heavy load on your back and then repeatedly squatting down will stress your body inordinately – in a good way — forcing it to grow more muscle.

• The overhead press primarily activates the shoulders, arm extenders and chest. Lower body musculature is also activated as it counters the downward force of the dumbbell supported by the trainee. From the planted feet into the hands, force is transmitted through the skeletal system, stabilized by numerous muscular structures, most importantly the lower back.

• The deadlift centers on the hamstrings, buttocks, lumbar extensors and quadriceps, essentially the large muscles of your backside and the front of your thighs. As power is transferred from the lower body into the bar through the upper body conduit, upper back muscles are also stressed, contrasting with the squat, which is supported by the hands. Deadlifts are considered by some to be the most complete training exercise.

• The bench press mostly targets the chest, shoulders and triceps; it’s the most popular among weightlifters, and it’s very simple – trainees push the barbell off the lower chest until the arms are straight. This motion stresses not only the entire upper body, but also the lower body, which serves a stabilizing function. This provides a big hormonal response and plenty of bang for your buck.

• The pull-up / chin-up stress upper body musculature into the body. A pull-up is done when hands gripping over the bar; a chin-up is where hands are gripping under the bar. Nine out of 10 people cannot do this exercise because most simply haven’t put in the effort. It’s also been called a “man’s exercise, which is nonsense,” he says. There are no gender-specific exercises. Women, too, should aspire to enjoy the health benefits entailed with this pillar.

“There are no secrets to a strong and healthier body; hard work is required for the body that will remain vital and strong at any age,” Osborn says. “Always practice proper form and safety. Otherwise, the result will be the opposite of your goal, an injury.”

About Dr. Brett Osborn

Brett Osborn is a New York University-trained, board-certified neurological surgeon with a secondary certification in anti-aging and regenerative medicine, Diplomate; American Bard of Neurological Surgery, Diplomate; American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He holds a CSCS honorarium from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Osborn specializes in scientifically based nutrition and exercise as a means to achieve optimal health and preventing disease. He is the author “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,” www.drbrettosborn.com.

Read more...