THE POWER OF PROTEIN

So many people have a vested interest in high or low protein diets that it’s difficult to know where the truth lies. Well, we looked at a dozen different studies done of the past few years to find the pros and cons of protein. So, let’s list here the benefits of protein using all the available studies:
1) Protein is superior to other foods as a satiator. Protein stimulated the release of, CCK, the hormone which signals the brain to shut down the appetite center.
2) It takes more energy to digest protein (obligatory thermogensis) so that fewer calories are available to the body than with a meal of similar caloric value consisting of fat or carbohydrates.
3) Protein stimulates the metabolic rate (facultative thermogensis) so that even 2,5 hours after ingesting a high protein, the metabolic rate is two-fold higher compared with a high carb meal.
4) Diets high in protein spare muscle mass and produce a lower glucose and insulin response.
5) A diet high in protein has been shown to decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
6) Dietary protein increases circulating IGF-1, a growth factor that plays an important role in bone formation. In a test where doctors supplemented the diets of patients with 20 grams of protein per day for 6 months, patients responded with reduced rates of bone loss in the hip during the year after the fracture.
7) It has been found that a diet high in protein is of even greater importance in those trying to lose weight since it helps to maintain muscle mass. (Reduced calories should be at the expense of fats and carbs).
8) Wild animals that range freely, and eat what nature intended, have fat that is far more healthful than grain-feed, penned animals. Less of their fat is saturated, and more of it is the monosaturated form like olive oil.
9) On the downside, too much protein overwhelms the liver’s waste-disposal system, leading to protein poisoning – nausea, diarrhea, and wasting. Protein should account for no more than 40% of one’s diet.
A human being living 50,000 years ago had the exact same physiology as man today. What has changed is our diets. Our ancestors, the healthiest people to ever roam the face of the earth, ate a diet that contained five times as much fiber, 3 times the monosaturated fats, 8 times the omega-3 fats, and 3 to 4 times the protein (but 60-70 percent less saturated fats).
So, how much protein should we be eating? Between 1.5 -2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. The upper level is recommended if energy restriction is substantial (little exercise) because this may assist in the maintenance of lean body mass and promote satiety.

Protein Kills Hunger
The benefits of a high-protein, lower carb diets are substantial. Not only does eating this way help you gain more lean muscle, but it helps you burn more fat – and numerous research studies support these claims. Accumulated studies find these diets to be safe and effective. Now there is a new study from researchers in London which finds another reason why high-protein diets help you get and stay lean. It introduces a hormone called peptide YY (PYY), produced by gut cells that are released into the blood stream, where it travels to the brain to decrease hunger and increase satiety.
Researchers had ten healthy, normal weight men and ten obsess men eat three different meals: high protein, high carb, or high fat. Each consisted of roughly 1000 calories. The high protein meal was 65% protein, the high carb meal 65% carb, and the high fat meal 65% fat. Blood samples were taken immediately before eating the meals and at 30 minute intervals for up to three hours after eating. Researchers concluded that the high protein meals produced the greatest reduction in hunger and the largest increase in PYY in both normal and obese groups. Three hours after eating the meals, the normal weight subjects were three times more satiated by the high-protein meal than he high barb meal, and almost two times more satiated than the high-fat meal. At that same time, the blood levels of PYY were 45% and 30% higher when normal-weight subjects ate the high protein meals than when they ate the high carb and high fat meals, respectively. Conclusion: Harness the appetite -decreasing power of PYY by simply boosting dietary protein. Get 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

How much is too much?
With respect to animal protein intake, no existing data has linked levels of protein independently to increased risk of cancer. In fact, insofar as intake of lean protein does not lead to insulin resistance and the associated metabolic consequences of high circulating levels of insulin and IGF-1, high protein intake may, in fact, represent a protective influence over the typical Western diet. In the most comprehensive study to date (more than 75,000 subjects) comparing mortality rates from cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, stomach, and lung, no differences were found between meat eaters and vegetarians

HOW JUNK FOOD REEKS HAVOC WITH YOUR DIET

Live enzymes are needed to digest our foods and allow vitamins, minerals, and hormones to do their work. However, all enzymes are destroyed by cooking. When we ingest the wrong combinations of foods or eat foods laced with chemical food additives that are not easily digested, they may coat the lining of the stomach and inhibit the secretion of digestive juices. The result: one or more uncomfortable conditions including gas, heartburn, bloating, indigestion.
When indigestion does occur, there are products available that offer some relief. Antacids contain aluminum compounds, which have been shown to deplete calcium in the body when used continually. And it is calcium that regulates aluminum uptake in the body and brain. Some effective natural alternatives available include: Herbal Bitters – widely used in Europe for stomach problems. Bitter herbs have been used since the time of the ancient Greeks to support digestion, liver, and gall bladder functioning. Bitter herbs have the physiological effect of activating digestive fluids in the salivary glands and stomach, which can relieve congestion and flatulence, and helps avoid that full feeling after rich meals.
Peppermint relieves gastric distress by causing the stomach to empty earlier than usual. Enzymes include papain and prolase from papaya for protein digestion, bromelain from pineapple for protein digestion, diastaste from barley malt for carbohydrate digestion, and amylase from Aspergillus oryzae for digestive starches.
Aloe Vera is another herb that is capable of bringing some relief from stomach discomfort. The colon’s main functions are the absorption, storage, and transportation of waste. Poor quality foods of low fiber content along with poor exercise and eating habits result in a slower movement of waste through the colon. When the bowel is overworked or not functioning properly, the body will try to find other avenues of elimination, and may cause skin problems, frequent congestion, colds, virus, and headaches. Often when constipation occurs, our first impulse is to take a laxative.
There is a natural laxative herb called cascara sagrada that appears not only to have laxative action, but to tone and strengthen the bowels as well. Psyllium husks, a high-fiber supplement that’s made from the dried seed coat of the Plantago ovata plant, will usually help in mild cases of constipation without your having to resort to a laxative. Psyllium husks are rich in mucilage, which increases bulk in the intestines by retaining water.

THE LATEST NEW CRAZE: NET CARBS. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

First, the definition of net carbs is to only count cabs that affect blood sugar. To figure net carbs, start with total carbs and subtract dietary fiber, alcohols, hydrogenated starch, hydrolyzed glycerne. The number that results from the subtractions is total net carbs. But there is a danger that has been recently brought to light. Some low-carb sweets rely on sugar alcohols, which are slowly digested carbs that have no impact on insulin levels but can, in excess, wreak havoc on the digestive tract.
Now, food manufactures are substituting sugar with sugar alcohol maltitol and claim it’s not a carbohydrate because it doesn’t increase blood sugar rapidly. But it is a carb and does contribute to your total energy intake.
Good carbs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans are rich in fiber and can lower cholesterol. According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale school of Public health, “Diets rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, found in fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains, have been shown to be associated with longevity, lasting weight control, reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disease.” In other words, he goes on, “Steeply cutting carbs is a step in the opposite direction from healthy eating.
Serotonin is brain chemical linked to mood and appetite control. The brain needs carbohydrates to make serotonin. People on very low carbs diets do not produce enough serotonin to maintain a healthy mood. The primary source of fuel for the brain is glucose (blood sugar), but it can also run on ketones – produced from the incomplete breakdown of fats. However high ketone levels in the brain suppress serotonin levels, which can cause mood swings and hunger. Women are particularly prone to depression from a high protein diet because they naturally produce less serotonin than men.
Complex carbs are high in water and fiber and low in calories. They take up a lot of room in the gut so you don’t get hungry as fast.
The problem arises when individuals substitute simple carbs for complex carbs – when cakes, baked goods, and simple carbs equate with whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. We take a middle ground stance here – with 40% of calories coming from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Here’s an example of how bad a product can be when it tries to take advantage of the net-carb craze. Regular potato chips are bad enough when they contain the following: Potatoes, vegetable oil and canola, corn, or cottonseed oil and salt. Now here is a list of ingredients on a package of potato chips with low net carbs: Soy protein blend (soy protein isolates and concentrates), corn, vegetable oil, soybean or sunflower oil, oat fiber, salt, whey, maltodextrin, buttermilk solids, monosodiumgultamate, whey protein concentrate, onion powder, tomato powder, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn starch, lactose, disodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, garlic powder, dextrose, spices, lactic acid, sodium caseinate, red and green bell pepper powder, sugar, citric acid, artificial color including yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, and nonfat milk solids. Need we say more?

FISH: SHOULD IT BE A PART OF YOUR DIET?

As fish became more popular, much of it is now raised in fish farms. Now comes the largest study yet. The results are that farmed fish often have dangerous levels of poisons like PCBs and dioxin (the same chemical that poisoned the Ukrainian opposition leader: Yurichenko. It disfigured his face badly). Scientists examined 700 farmed and wild fish from North America, South America, and Europe looking for 14 organchlorines thought to cause cancer and birth defects. All fourteen were present in North American, European, and South American farmed fish, and in higher amounts than in wild fish.
The source of the toxins appears to be the fish food. Organchlorines are fat soluble, so trivial amounts of toxins in small plant-nibbling fish become concentrated in the fatty tissue of larger fish. Comparing the safety of wild fish to farmed fish, the EPA suggests that it is safe to eat wild fish eight times a month, but farmed fish only once or twice a month. And fish from farms in Scotland and Northern Ireland (among others) are so contaminated that they should not be eaten more than three times a year.
Fish is an essential part of our diet, just as it was for our ancestors. Be proactive in seeking out the healthiest types. Some stores now sell fish raised organically in fish farms. When in doubt, ask you local meat and fish counters to get those brands; many store co-operate. More than one-third of U.S. lakes and nearly one-quarter of its rivers are under advisories for mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and other pollutants. The EPA advises people to not eat fish taken from these sources.

SIXTEEN EXERCISES YOU CAN DO WITHOUT EVER SETTING FOOT IN A GYM

You’re probably one of those people who think that the only way you can lose weight and get in shape is to join a gym. We’re not going to lie to you. Of course you’ll lose weight faster and get in shape quicker, but it’s not the only way. We’re going to give you lots of alternatives to getting fit without ever setting foot in a gym.
Other forms of exercise include calisthenics, dancing, isometrics, stretching, and yoga. Regardless of the activity or activities, you must make exercise a priority in your life – as important as your work or sedentary hobby. It must be something you can do five days a week. Having a partner will give you a greater sense of responsibility – since you’d let them down if you did not show up. Simply by increasing your current daily activities you can gain the same benefits as taking on a new exercise regime. And it’s easier to increase an existing activity than integrating a new one. If you find something that brings you joy it will be that much easier to continue.
Following is a list of activities that burn significant calories. Figures show calories burned in one hour:
Running (10 mph) 640
Stair-stepping 600
Skiing 594
Swimming 530
Horseback riding 480
Hand mowing 462
Farm work 438
Tennis 420
Carpentry 408
Roller-skating 350
Volleyball 350
Dancing 320
Golf 300
Swimming (slow) 300
Gardening 220
Bicycling (slow) 210

HOW TO BEAT YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS

You can beat cravings by giving your brain what it really needs, rather than succumbing to your initial hankering…
When you’re sad you reach for sugar candies. Better bet – high fiber fruits and a graham cracker. When you eat sugar, your body releases the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin boosts the availability of the amino acid Tryptophan in the brain, where it’s used to manufacture the neurotransmitter serotonin, which improves your mood. Serotonin is so vital to emotional balance that many antidepressants work by preventing its readsorption. The effect, however, is extremely short-lived, and sweets rarely provide you with any additional nutrients besides calories. High-fiber fruits like berries, apricots and grapefruit along with a graham cracker or other low-cal carbohydrate will satisfy your sweet tooth for far fewer calories. The additional fiber slows digestion, prolonging the serotonin boost from the graham cracker. Recent research also indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help relieve symptoms of depression; they’re found in walnuts, flaxseed, and fatty fish such as salmon.
When you’re anxious or angry you reach for pastries, doughnuts and other high-fat sweets. Better bet: celery sticks, pretzels, carrots. When you’re anxious, your stress response system kicks in. Your adrenal glands release certain hormones that increase levels of galanin, a brain chemical that stimulates your appetite for calorie-packed foods. The same thing happens when you’re feeling anger, although there’s one important difference. Anxiety inspires eating right away. But people won’t reach for food until after anger peaks. In other words, it’s the post-argument stewing you have to worry about, in terms of your waistline. In lab animals, the more galanin that’s produced, the greater the weight gain. In humans, stress-induced pounds are often concentrated in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the stress-response system is ingrained; the only way to turn it off is to reduce your anxiety or your anger level. Whether that involves taking a 15-minute break, breathing deeply, or heading off to the gym is up to you. If you absolutely must grab something to eat, choose hard, crunchy, low-cal snack foods. Apples, jicama, pretzels are all good choices. The act of chewing helps relieve tension in your facial muscles.
When you’re bored you reach for whatever’s available. Better bet: a balanced snack. Typically, boredom is just mild depression in disguise. What you’re feeling is a lack of connection with yourself or others.
Sugary snacks don’t provide the long-lasting energy you need to perk yourself up. Instead, snack on a complex carbohydrate such as whole-grain crackers and a protein such as turkey, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. The combination will stabilize blood sugar but still satisfy your serotonin needs.
When you’re happy you reach for pizza. Better bet: low-fat cheese and whole-grain toast. A recent study showed that pizza is a top pick for people in happy moods. But that’s not just because it’s a perennial party favorite. It contains the proteins gluten and casein, which research shows stimulate the production of endorphins. And it is the endorphins that fuel feelings of euphoria.
However, pizza is not the only source of these two endorphin-promoting compounds. Gluten is found in breads that contain wheat flour, and casein is found in dairy foods. Choose high-fiber whole-grain breads instead of refined-flour products to increase your intake of fiber; the added bulk will help you feel fuller faster. Low-fat dairy foods such as reduced-fat cheeśe are diet-friendly casein-packed picks.
Knowledge is king. When you know the source of your cravings, and prepare in advance by having healthy alternatives handy, you’re more than half way home. And remember, science says that if you eliminate a specific food or food group from you diet, you’ll lose your desire for that food in just 12 days. I know you can hang on that long. If you need support and inspiration, look to my book, The Perfect Day.

TWENTY WAYS TO MAKE FOOD TASTY WITHOUT PILING ON THE CALORIES

It’s all about taste, isn’t it? You could complain about eating foods that are good for you when they taste lousy. Well, there’s one more excuse you won’t be able to use any more. It’s amazing what a little bit of creativity can do to the taste of food. Try these favorites and see for yourself. Tastes needn’t rely on fat and sugar.
1 – Canned chilies: Add whole chilies to a grilled chicken sandwich or diced chilies to soups, scrambled eggs, pita sandwiches, or sprinkle on tortillas.
2 – Dried cranberries. Great in marinades for baked chicken. Add to quick bread, spinach salads, chicken salads, and rice dishes.
3 – Portobello mushrooms. Marinate and grill like a hamburger, slice grilled and add to salads or pasta dishes, or use instead of meat for sandwiches.
4 – Canned roasted red or yellow peppers. Add to a grilled cheese sandwich, blend them with some cayenne and drizzle over a creamed vegetable soup, egg dishes, pasta sauces, or add as a topping with cheese for crackers.
5 – Fresh cilantro. Add to fruit or tomato-based salsa to accompany fish or poultry. Add to curried chicken salads with celery, apples, and grapes. Add to a bean burrito, fruit or vegetable salads, vinaigrette dressings, black beans, or rice dishes.
6 – Red onions. Slice thin and add to salads, sandwiches, bean dips, or egg dishes.
7 – Honey. Drizzle over yogurt, warm brown rice and pistachios or sliced apples. Sweeten mashed sweet potatoes with honey. Mix with mustard, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and herbs as a marinade for chicken.
8 – Fresh parsley. Mix with lemon and pepper and drizzled over grilled fish. Mix with minced garlic and whole wheat breadcrumbs or wheat germ for a savory crust for potato dishes or chicken. Mix with oil and garlic for a pesto sauce for mashed potatoes.
9 – Mint. Add to chopped tomatoes and cucumber, rice dishes, and beans.
10 – Sun dried tomatoes. Use in pasta salads, sandwich spreads, vegetable dips, or as an extra topping on pizza. Mix into sautéed zucchini or as an accompaniment to grilled eggplant. Blend with olives, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to make a spicy spread for grilled vegetable sandwiches.
11 – Fresh ginger. Combine with curry to flavor chicken, add to hot or iced tea, use to season steamed vegetables such as pea pods or carrots. Use as a topping along with green onions on roasted fish. Add to stir fries, tofu dishes, or salad dressings.
12 – Horseradish. Use in potato dishes, vegetable dips with dill, vegetable or chicken wraps with fat-free sour cream, spicy soup like gumbo, turkey burgers, cold potato salad, or cold green beans.
13 – Lemon. Add grated rind (called zest) to fruit salads. The juice can put a tangy taste in couscous, gazpacho, and dressings, and can be used as marinade for fish.
14 – Fresh herbs. Fresh always taste better than dried. Add fresh basil to pasta, tomatoes, or other vegetables, bread dough, or even mango slices. Fresh rosemary accents any meal, as well as pasta dishes, roasted vegetables, lima beans, peas, or squash. Fresh dill is an excellent flavor for fish, chicken, omelets and other egg dishes, salads, beets, cabbage, potatoes, or cucumbers. Fresh orégano is excellent in Italian, Greek, or Mexican dishes.
15 – Hoisin sauce. Use as a glaze with garlic, cilantro, and ginger for chicken. Add to steamed green beans.
16 – Pine nuts. Add a few to stuffing, pesto sauce, pilafs, and fillings for poultry or vegetables such as eggplant, or large zucchini.
17 – Crushed red pepper flakes or Tabasco. Sprinkle on pizza, pasta dishes, salads, or soups. Add to olive oil or sour cream dips, rice dishes, or bean salads. Mix into cornbread batter or bread dough.
18 – Tamarind. Add to mixed steamed vegetables, fresh orange juice, salad dressing, and sauces for fish.
19 – Salsa. Make your own by experimenting with grilled corn, vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic, red onions, and chilies. Or try fruit salsa made from mango, jicama, and black beans. Try adding rice wine, vinegar, fresh mint, lime juice, fresh herbs, avocado, or cilantro.
20 – Sherry. Add a tablespoon to soups, sauces, marinades, or fruit glazes.
As the recipes here show, you can make food deliciously flavorful by adding a number of low-calorie ingredients.

THE WATER DIET

It may sound incredible, but drinking water can burn calories! Tests were conducted on subjects designed to measure changes in expired air. Simply put, by analyzing the subject’s breath, researchers were able to determine how fast they were burning calories, and whether the calories came from fat or sugars (glucose). Test subjects did not eat or drink for 90 minutes prior to the test.
Tests results showed that within ten minutes, energy expenditure increased. At thirty minutes, the metabolic rate was 30% above normal and the increase persisted for up to ninety minutes. The total thermogenic (calorie burning) response was approximately 25 calories. Considering the fact that water is very inexpensive and poses no toxicity risk (if purified), test results suggest that as much a 100 calories can be burned by drinking 16 ounces of water four times a day.
Further, it is postulated that even more calories can be burned if refrigerated water were used, since as much as 40 %of the calories burned in the experiment were used by the body warming the water from room temperature to body temperature. Remember that the definition of a calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one liter of water by one degree Celsius. So, raising the half-liter of room temperature water (22 degrees Celsius) to body temperature (37 degrees Celsius) burns about TA. calories. Drinking refrigerated water (4 degrees Celsius) would burn an extra nine calories per glass.
While, at first, these numbers may seem insignificant considering the average American diet consists of 2,200 – 2,900 calories, the results over time are far from insignificant. Burring 100 calories per day equates top 3,000 calories per month and 36,000 calories per year. That is the equivalent of 10 pounds of body fat per year! The researchers estimate dropping another three to four pounds per year use refrigerated water.
Men and women reacted differently to test. Women responded to the increased metabolic rate by burning carbohydrates, while men primarily burned fat. Finally, researchers compared the thermogenic effect of water to ephedrine. One group of subjects drank 1.5 liters of water (three sixteen ounces glasses). The other group consumed 50 mg. of ephedrine three times a day. The water provides 60% of the thermic effect of the powerful (and dangerous) supplement.

TEN FOODS THAT CAN SABOTAGE YOUR DIET

I once heard that you can break a habit by not doing it for 12 days. Even if these foods are among your favorites, remember that you can break the habit quicker and easier than you think. Try supplanting a habit – that’s where you substitute something good for something bad – it’s even easier:
Pasta: It may be fat-free, but it contains 40 grams of carbs per level cup. That’s enough to set off an insulin reaction and throw the appetite into over-eat mode. Add half a cup of low-fat vegetables to increase fiber and slow digestion.
Grapes: Because grapes contain little fiber and lots of glucose, they can both cause an insulin reaction and trigger the release of endorphins, thereby continuing the eating process. Chooses bananas, apples, and strawberries that have more fiber and more fructose – a slower reacting sugar.
Instant White Rice: Is rated 91 on the glycemic scale. With no fiber due to refining, it breaks down quickly into glucose, causing an insulin reaction and stimulating the appetite.
Non-Lean Red Meat: A six-ounce serving of filet mignon can yield as much as 26 grams of fat. Use eye of round, or flank steak. Stay away from ground beef.
Cream Of Wheat: Is a fat-acting, high-glycemic carb that is usually accompanied by cinnamon, added sugar. Try oats, cream of rye, and oatmeal instead.
Fruit Juice: Juices are devoid of fiber, which makes the sugars absorbed quickly into the system. Further, many liquids exacerbating hunger, rather than satisfy it.
Raisins: They are too dense in carbs compared to other fruits (about 65 grams per half-cup).
Bagels: A single bagel yields about 40 grams of carb; a large one 75 grams. Rye bread and oat bread are better alternatives (both are low on the glycemic scale).
Rice Cakes: While plain ones are low in calories, most come coated with cheese, caramel, or apple flavoring … and it’s hard to stop after just a few. Rice cakes are higher than white bread on the glycemic index, so they won’t help to curb the appetite. Cold Cereal: Most cereals are loaded with sugar. Only the high fiber, no sugar added cereals help suppress appetite.

COUNTING CALORIES / SETTING GOALS

If you want to lose weight at a reasonable rate, a rate at which you can keep it off, here are some perfect programs for you … Aim for an amount of exercise that will burn about 300 calories each workday (or 1500 calories each work week). If you eat the same amount of food, you will lose almost 1/2 a pound per week (one pound equals 3600 calories). Here’s how you can do it using a variety of techniques: Go with a colleague to a high-rise building and walk the stairs for 15 minutes (150 calories). That would still give you a half hour for lunch. Walk to the bus stop or your car by going the opposite way around one square block -15 minutes (55 calories). Walk after dinner 30 minutes (110 calories). Total 315 calories burned per day, 1575 calories during the workweek. That equates to a weight loss of a little less than a half-pound a week, or 22 pounds a year!
If you throw in even one day a week at the gym (on the weekends or on less stressful days) – treadmill for one half hour (170 calories); weightlifting for one half hour (250 calories) – that’s an additional 420 calories burned. Adding that to the 1575 calories burned during the week, you get approximately 2000 calories burned per week, or 29 pounds lost per year. Each additional day per week you go to the gym burns another 6 pounds per year. You can clearly see that even the smallest efforts add up to impressive results. Don’t try to lose it faster; the body goes in to starvation mode and stores fat more readily if you try. The slower you lose it, the more assurance you’ll keep it off.
Join an aerobics class, volleyball club, basketball team, racquetball league, tennis team, or kickboxing – at work or YMCA, or neighborhood. All of these combine working out with socializing. There’s another synergy. You go and continue to go because of the support and because you don’t want to let a friend down.
Remember that besides laughing, exercise is the only activity that both releases endorphins and helps you burn calories. If the gym is not an option (cost, distance,
initial level of discomfort), start at home. You can do pushups – either on your knees or fully extended; sit-ups with legs hooked under the sofa; squats using a chair for balance; or ride a stationary bike. All of the above can even be done watching TV (yes, TV is good for something). Use the commercials for sit up and push-ups, and the stationary bike for the programming.