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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lose Weight & Improve Your Cholesterol

By Craig Ballantyne

Do you know everything you need to know about your health status?

Sure you look great in the mirror (or do you?), but do you know everything you need to know about your cardiovascular health, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels (both good and bad cholesterol)?

Preemptive disease prevention is the single most powerful technique anyone could ever use to extend their life and stay healthy and energetic for decades to come.

You might be a father of a young family who wants to be around to see his children go to college, get married, and have kids of their own. Who wouldn't, of course?

But often, men and women have stressful, time-consuming jobs that don't give you time for exercise, not to mention the crappy eating options that go along with that type of lifestyle. So you owe it to your family to know how your health is, and then to try and improve it.

Knowing your health information is extremely important to anyone that has a family history of heart disease or diabetes. Research shows that genetics are one of the biggest factors determining your risk for these diseases. So the more you know now, the better you can avoid problems in the future.

You want to be able to provide for your family for a long life, right? Spending a hundred bucks now on your health could save your family literally tens of thousands of dollars later.

And as a trainer, it is important to know your personal health information so that you can continue to set the best example to your clients. If you think you can eat all the fast food you want just because you are active, the truth is that it can seriously and negatively impact your health. And who would want to be trained by someone that has terrible cholesterol levels or high-blood sugar?

And what if, after getting your results back, you find something out of place. Won't you be glad that you took the steps to correct it now instead of later? Getting your blood tested is such a simple thing to do. And when you get your results, you and your family will all have the piece of mind knowing your health status, and what you need to do to improve it.

Now I've been using strength and interval training for many years and that helps people lose weight faster than anything else. And although I'm still relatively young, I believe that it is never too early to know your blood cholesterol and blood sugar values.

In fact, I suggest that everyone over the age of 30 should get a baseline physical examination and get as many of the following blood tests done as possible.

So earlier this year, I went to great lengths to get my results. I was willing to do whatever I had to in order to get my results and to learn as much about my health as possible.

So not only did I get the normal blood tests done (cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar), but I also went to a University laboratory to have even more blood tests taken that will give me an even more accurate estimation of my cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. These additional tests included hemoglobin-A1C (HBA1c), C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine.

It is also important to know your hormone levels for fat loss, so I had insulin and testosterone tested as well. If your insulin levels are not controlled, you will have a hard time losing fat. And if you are a man with low testosterone levels, then you will have a hard time putting on muscle and losing fat. Men that eat a very low fat diet tend to have low testosterone. But they can be returned to normal simply by eating healthy fat sources.

So simply by following the strength and interval program and a healthy lifestyle (eating lean protein sources, healthy fat sources, low-glycemic and high-fiber fruits and vegetables), you can improve your health status. And add intense exercise to the mix, as found in the strength and interval workouts, and your health levels will improve dramatically so that you can live a long, prosperous life full of vitality.

My Results

(All goals are for primary prevention of disease)

Total Cholesterol = 157mg/dl (Normal = 150-225)

HDL = 54 mg/dl (Normal = 30-70, should be over 40)

LDL = 103 mg/dl (Normal = 70-130)

(Lab's comment on HDL: Your level is very high!)

TG = 1.90 mM (Goal: less than 2.3mM)

Glucose = 73mg/dl (Goal = less than 130)

HBA1c = 4.6 mg/dl (Less than 7 is very healthy.)

(HBA1c measures your average blood glucose over the past 4 - 6 weeks and is considered to be a better indicator of diabetes risk than glucose.)

Insulin = 6.7 IU/ml (Normal = 6-20)

CRP = 1.16 mg/l (Normal = Up to 4.9)

(Normative range for untrained persons 1.6-4.3 while trained persons can be as low as 0.52)

Homocysteine = 11.2 µM

(Normative ranges 5-15 µM, average 10 µM: 15-30 µM = moderate hyperhomocysteinemia)

Testosterone (total) = 647ng/dl (Normal = 270-1100)

For more info on these measures, please see your doctor. For more info on training, look for articles on strength and interval training.

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com

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