They say it’s just FAT, but it goes beyond that….

fatToday I would like to share with you a topic that I have been doing research on for the past 8 weeks about a condition that few physicians understand to date.  It is called Lipedema, a disfiguring and debilitating condition affecting mostly women, characterized by an increase in fat storage in the lower half of the body, usually sparing the feet and sometimes occurring in the upper arms (Lerner/FACS, 1998).  Physicians often misdiagnose this disorder as “obesity”, simply because they don’t know anything about it.  But it is more common than we realize, affecting an estimated 17 million women in the U.S., causing debilitation and compromise to mobility as the disease progresses, due to pain, tenderness and increased swelling (“Lipedema Project,” n.d.).  The one thing that should be understood about this disfiguring disorder, is that it has a heriditary tendency and that it is progressive (Omaira, Mehrotra, Fankhauser, Hrinczenko, & Dimitrov, 2015). So it’s not so simple as going on a diet and doing exercise to make it go away. People suffering from this condition (and I don’t use the word “suffering” lightly, because they are suffering greatly) have to go through very comprehensive and difficult treatment methods to manage it, including manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) and compression therapy using bandaging and stockings, as the most conservative means (Omaira, Mehrotra, Fankhauser, Hrinczenko, & Dimitrov, 2015).  But when these treatments are not effective, it may become necessary to remove the increased fat tissue by surgery using liposuction techniques (Rapprich, Dingler, & Podda, 2010).

My research project has now turned into a mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others suffering from this disease can know that they are not alone.  If you or someone you know suffers from this condition, contact me here on this blog.  Also subscribe to the blog and feel free to share your story with our readers.  I will be posting updates and news, so please stay tuned.  Also, if anyone is interested in receiving a pdf copy of my research project, please send me an email.


Lerner/FACS, R. (1998, June). Understanding Lipedema. National Lymphedema Network.

Lipedema Project. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Omaira, M., Mehrotra, A., Fankhauser, M. J., Hrinczenko, B., & Dimitrov, N. V. (2015). Lipedema: a clinical challenge-revisited. British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research, 5(11), 1328-1337. doi:10.9737/BJMMR/2015/13894

Rapprich, S., Dingler, A., & Podda, M. (2010). Liposuction is an effective treatment for lipedema – results of a study with 25 patients. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, 2010(8), 1-8. doi:10.1111/j.1610-0387.2010.07504.x

Are my supplements safe or what?

supplementsIt seems as though every other day I’m hearing something on the news about false health claims being made by supplement manufacturers. In fact a recent probe found popular store brand supplements to be fake ( I was beside myself when I heard about this. Like many, I take dietary supplements to maintain my health, especially now that I am over 50. But I just don’t know if I can trust the labels anymore.

So I decided to do a little digging to see if I could find a website that researches dietary supplements. What I found was of tremendous help and I want to share it with all of you. The link below takes you to the The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) website where it provides important information on dietary supplements, such as federal regulation requirements, safety considerations and important current research. It also provides resource links to help consumers learn more about dietary supplements. One of the resource links I found to be incredibly helpful was to the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations product notifications and recall reports. I actually found my multivitamin on that website. It so happens that a particular batch was recalled because it was found to be made from ingredients that were contaminated with “Chloramphenicol”. What’s that, you ask? It’s an antibiotic, a very powerful one at that-used to treat resistant bacteria ( What’s an antibiotic doing in my vitamins? That scared the heck out of me. And now, here I am staring at my full bottle of supplements, afraid to take them.

But we need to know these things. And now I am going to be more cautious. I am not trying to imply that we shouldn’t take supplements. I just think that we need to do research on anything that we put into our bodies. So without further delay, here is that link I promised. Make sure to bookmark it because you won’t get through it in one sitting. I think you will find it to be very helpful in your quest to find the truth about your supplements.

Link to NIH –

Transforming my diet slowly

BevSince my epiphany, I am so happy with the changes I have made to my diet. The catapult was giving up the one thing I was truly hooked on, but knew was not doing good to my system , and that was my favorite weekend snack, “cheese”! I loved having my Friday night snack of provolone cheese with triscuit crackers on a Friday night (and let’s not forget Bacardi and Diet Coke). I thought it was a well deserved reward after a long work week. I didn’t realize the havoc this caused internally. If you read my story, you’ll get why. But fast forwarding a bit, once I gave up the cheese, the results were amazing. In less than two weeks, my digestion improved, I started feeling better and lost the bloating and ever present upset stomach feeling and heart burn and I lost weight! I was feeling amazing- just from giving up 1 thing!

Fast forward again, I was on a major roll; not only did I give up cheese, I gave up the triscuits, soda and hard liquor as well. I slowly eliminated all processed foods from my diet, like cookies, cakes, candy, and replaced them with healthful whole food choices, like vegetables and fruits! And I used to hate onions, mushrooms and broccoli and now I can’t do without them in almost every meal! It certainly has been a work in process over the years, but I have learned about my body and system, what works for me and the changes I am going through as I get older. It has not been easy and I still struggle with foods that don’t agree with me-even the supposedly healthy ones, like whole wheat products. And giving up gluten is certainly a challenge since it is naturally occurring and also found in so many good products. Fortunately, for me, once I cut out all wheat products from my diet, that seemed to do the trick.

Something was still not right, though. Since I gave up gluten, I had to find a gluten-free alternative for bread because I still love to have bread with almond butter with my coffee in the morning. So I thought I was happy with my choice. But I didn’t realize all the other ingredients in these alternative foods that didn’t agree with me. So I traded my sinus problems (gluten exacerbated my chronic sinus problems) for stomach problems again. Well about 1 month ago, I ran out of my favorite gluten-free bread. I haven’t been able to get to the health food store to pick it up and so I have just been doing without it. I suddenly realized that my stomach issues are subsiding again. Well, it looks like I just gave up another ingredient in my diet by accident. I think that if I ever eat bread again, it will be home made from scratch. And I certainly don’t have any time for that-so it looks like bread is off the table for me!

Finally, as I learn more about how our bodies process the low or zero calorie artificial and even naturally derived sweeteners, I am transitioning these out of my diet as well. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on what research has to say about the toxic effects of sugar and the role it plays in the obesity epidemic of our society today. I wish I would have learned all these things years earlier. But it’s never too late to make healthful life changes starting with today. Every healthful change will reap healthful rewards.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Tai Chi and me

Hi FP50 readers!

I keep reading about the benefits of Tai Chi and its positive effects on the health fitness components, such as strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, functional ability and so much more. Study after study has demonstrated Tai chi to improve ones health in so many areas, specifically regarding dynamic and functional balance (Heyward, 2010). This is so important, especially as one ages. Because if we improve our balance and stability, it will lessen our likelihood of falling. There are studies that show Tai Chi to be an effective exercise for reducing falls in older adults (Kuramoto 2006, Maciaszek et al. 2007 and Keller 2009). At 51, I’m not getting any younger. And although I love doing my High Intensity Interval Training to keep me fit, agile and strong, I need to balance it out with some Tai Chi. So today I am going to take things down several notches and try out my first Tai Chi workout. If I like it (and I suspect I will), this is going to be part of my regular exercise regimen, at least 2X per week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Heyward, V. H. (2010). Advanced fitness assessment and exercise prescription (6th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

What is the Pressor response?

Hi FP50 readers.  I learned about an interesting term recently that I wanted to share with you. Group Fitness Instructors know of this phrase, I’m sure but I had not heard about it before and it is called the “pressor response”  The pressor response is the nervous system’s reaction to stress put on the body.  This also applies to exercise stress, such as resistance training exercises, particularly isometric exercises or those where the muscle(s) are contracted and held steady without physically moving the body parts against the resistance.  An example of an isometric exercise would be the bicep curl held in the upward phase of the movement or the plank wherein we are contracting our core muscles and holding the body steady.  So what happens with the pressor response is that the heart rate rises disproportionately in reaction to the particular stress being put on the body.

So why do I bring up the pressor response anyway? Have you ever taken a group fitness movement class where you engaged in certain types of exercises that made you feel woozy or light headed? One exercise in particular comes to mind where the pressor response may be invoked is those where you  have to keep your arms raised above your head for a prolonged period of time, like “switch lunges with arms raised steady overhead”

I was just reading in my ACE GFI manual how important “control and balance” are in group fitness movement classes  because it is key to making sure class participants have “kinesthetic awareness” or a sense of where they are in their time and space around them and control their bodies in that space. And there are certain exercises that should be avoided or modified to avoid the “pressor response”.  So for example, getting back to those switch lunges with the arms overhead, instead of keeping the arms steady overhead, one can move the arms in momentum with the legs to help with control and balance.  It is better to move the arms and legs in a momentum to actively engage all the muscles. So while one may think it is better to challenge the body by eliminating one of the control resources, it also compromises the correct form, which increases risk for injuring oneself.  So I think I am a new fan of modifying certain exercises not only to avoid the pressor response but also to ensure physical control and balance of the movements.

So I am thinking of another exercise that I would modify and that would be the overhead isometric shoulder press with a squat.  Instead of making it one movement (squat while holding the dumbbells still overhead), I would break the move up into two: 1) go into the squat holding the dumbbells at shoulder level  2) then press the dumbbells up overhead after coming up fully from the squat.  That way you don’t hold the arms overhead for the entire movement (safer) and the movement is controlled and in sync.  Sigh, you learn something every day.  Back to the drawing board….



Teaching A Group Exercise Class. (2011). In C. Bryant, Ph.D., FASM, D. Green, & S. Merrill, M.S. (Eds.), ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual, A Guide for Fitness Professionals (Third ed.). San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise.


My FP50 Online Personal Trainer

Hey everybody! When you get a chance, be sure to check out my new website called MYFP50 Trainer.  It’s a work in progress but it’s going to be your one stop shopping for connecting with me for one on one personal training and online customized fitness programs.  For right now you can start by booking your sessions and paying.  You can also download health history forms and trainer agreement form from the website.  There is a timetable for classes. But the most exciting thing is going to be the customized fitness programs that will be available to paid subscribers.  Don’t worry, the cost will be affordable. I want to afford access to fitness for everyone!  This is going to be awesome.  Subscribe to the website today so I can keep you updated.  Go to MYFP50 today!

Fats Get Bad Rap

So I’m studying for this monster of a test folks, reading about fats and what they do for us. I realized that fats really get a bad rap, don’t you think?. I thought I’d share some things I learned about fats.nbsp; Some of it you may like; some, not so much.

Fats are essential to the body for important bodily functions, such as the ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E K, which are very important for cell growth and development. Fats also provide structure to our cells and protect our bodily organs AND provide insulation AND endurance energy. Ok, now that you have the lowdown on fat next time you’re thinking of going on that low fat diet, consider the aforementioned and below.

There are good fats and there are bad fats. The bad fats also called saturated and are solid at room temperature, like palm, coconut oils, butter and some dairy products. There are also the dreaded TRANS-fats, which start out good (unsaturated fat) but then through a process called hydrogenation wherein the oils are heated up intensely and hydrogen atoms literally change the oil and remove any and all good properties. What remains is an altered-state of the oils to make them solid at room temperature. If you look on a food label and you see the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated”, turn and run as fast as you can.nbsp; Look for unsaturated oils (liquid at room temperature), such as canola oil or olive oil and vegetable oils. But be careful please. Remember that you  can change the properties of unsaturated fats to transfatty oils just by heating up. That means they lose health benefits and you are left with artery clogging gunk. 

I hope I cleared up the myth about all fats being bad. As for me, I have steered clear of the crackers, chips, pretzels, microwave popcorn, doughnuts, cookies, etc.nbsp; and processed foods aisles in the supermarket since 2011 when I had my epiphany and decided to take ownership of my health.nbsp; The one thing I did not know until todaynbsp; is that I can take perfectly good unsaturated vegetable oil (which has the essential lino oleic oil that we need) and turn it into a trans fatty acid right in the comfort of home. Now isn’t that special?nbsp; That was shocking news to me and now I will rethink my cooking methods.nbsp; I also have to find out if this hydrogenation process also occurs with different kinds of oils besides vegetable oil.nbsp; I will keep you posted on my results. Stay tuned as I study more.

Happy Fitness, everyone!


Hey everyone.  Saturdays INSANITY are now at:

Caribbean Soul Dance Studios for the month of June from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.  I will advise the schedule for July soon.

Caribbean Soul Dance Studios

682 Summit Avenue

Jersey City, NJ  07306

Also grab your GROUPON for class before it runs out!


Aging and Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)

I kind of already knew that as we age, we lose muscle. But folks, I didn’t realize that we start to lose muscle mass (Sarcopenia is what it is called) as early as 25 years old! Yep it’s true. I read it in my Exercise Physiology textbook. Actually the muscle mass loss happens pretty slowly between the age of 25 and 50, declining about 10%. But once the big 50 happens (gulp, I just turned 50!) we start to see a rapid decline. In fact between 50-80 years old we can see an additional loss of 40%. What can we do about this problem? You know the answer I am going to give, and that is: “Resistance Training”. It’s the only known way to keep “age-related muscle loss” at bay. Think about this folks. The faster we get to exercising on a regular basis, the longer we can stay fit and healthy and build and maintain muscle mass. Let’s get to working out and include resistance training in our fitness programs. Let’s do this together!

Core Work

Hey folks, and speaking of the core, here are some core movements you can try at home, starting with a warm up as you see in my video.  Sorry for the music.  I’m starting to get acclimated to Youtube.  I will improve!  But just focus on the visual.  There are 6 movements for the warmup, and 6 Core base exercises.

Happy Fitness everyone!