October 3, 2001

In this update, I'm going to get back to what I do. I'm going to echo my own internal voice that commands me to re-commit to helping people grow, except this time it's with a greater ferocity and priority than ever before. Yes, for all of us, it's comeback time.

We all hit a huge bump in the road. We were all completely thrown from the pursuit of "life as we know it." Now it's time to recover, to find our footing, and to move forward. As human beings that's our nature. We treasure achievement. We value excellence. By holding firmly to our inherent values we remain strong, even in the face of world-changing atrocity. We still haven't settled in on what the changes mean to us long term. The strong economy we all enjoyed is suddenly thrown into uncertainty. We, as a population, have new anger and new fear. We all were forced to re-examine and appreciate the importance of family, of loved ones, and of caring. Where all of this will lead will only be determined by the passage of time, but we can be sure for at least the next five years, people will remember what happened September 11.

I posted my thoughts at this site as an Update eight days after we all watched in horror. For me that posting served to release many of the feelings that were previously unfamiliar to me. If you haven't read it yet go to my previous Update. I was astounded by the massive response! As of October 3, 2001, I've received over 1750 responses . . . and they keep coming. I've posted many of the responses as people have found great solace in bonding . . . in realizing that others feel as they do. After reading through a few hundred responses, it's clear that while the great majority of responders initially questioned the importance (or lack thereof) of their personal commitments to fitness, the underlying consensus demanded that once the feelings of confusion are put aside, fitness takes on an even greater importance, greater perhaps than ever in history.

It's time to full appreciate the true benefits of a fitness commitment. Sure, we all know it makes you look better in the mirror, we all know it allows you to release and burn fat, to develop strength, and to ward of some of the risk factors of heart disease. If that were all that a fitness commitment could bring about, the question of its relevance or importance would instantly be dismissed. After watching an entire nation, perhaps an entire world, enter a state of mourning, a state where negative emotions push aside those we strive to experience on a daily basis, we have to recognize a fitness commitment's value in making people feel better.

Cortisol is a hormone. It's considered the "Stress Hormone" as its production is increased during periods of stress. Cortisol is catabolic. It breaks apart tissue. It's not an enemy, as it does have a vital function. When we are incapacitated due to trauma, it allows our bodies to feed off of existing tissue for fuel, preserving life and allowing for periods of decreased food intake that often accompany such trauma. Many of us, however, are creating cortisol at elevated levels because of our own internal stress reactions. Mental stress and Emotional stress can be detrimental in their affects upon the immune system (L-Glutamine is used in greater abundance during periods of stress, thus the immune system has less of this important fuel source). These stresses also take on a self perpetuating property that leads to gradual deterioration. If you don't feel "up," everything becomes more difficult, and getting to the gym, getting to a supportive meal, or going out for a walk or jog soon feel as if they are going to require excessive effort.

Here's the good news. Cortisol has buffers and antagonists. Some of them you've heard of under the heading of "endorphins." Endorphins are actually mood-altering substances with a morphine-like effect upon the brain (without the negative side effects). They are released in response to an exercise induced heart rate elevation, where blood flow is enhanced and oxygen usage increased. Endorphins actually lower the levels of cortisol in the blood stream. It's clear that there is more than a psychological link between exercise and mood. It's chemical! Produce supportive chemicals and not only do they keep the destructive ones in check, but they reverse the process cortisol initiates. Rather than getting caught up in a downward spiral of stress and despression, endorphins lead to a sense of "I Can!" Get your body re-acquainted with supportive exercise and eating and you spark an ongoing internal drive that propels you to be better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than you are today

Within the last hundred years, more than one hundred studies have examined the relationship between exercise and mental state, specifically its impact upon depression. An article title "The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health" published in the Sports Research Digest (Dec 1997) suggested that exercise decreases depression more than relaxation training or casual recreation, both regularly accepted behavior modification depression "treatments," and also suggested that it's positive impact rivals that of psychotherapy.

The post September 11 incidence of diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder continues to escalate at an unprecedented rate and accordingly, prescriptions of SRI drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are reaching an all time high. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Nuerotransmitters are the chemicals your brain cells use to communicate. The serotonin system is the largest system in the brain and it is responsible for many aspects of mood, appetite, desire, and movement. While there are many neurotransmitters, each one having its own specific roles and functions, serotonin is the one that seems to sort of orchestrate the brain soup. Production of serotonin appears to dictate how much of the other neurotransmitters are produced. When you have more serotonin flowing, you feel better. Without question. Serotonin is the "feel good" brain chemical. SRI drugs keep serotonin circulating longer, but they are limited in their long term benefits and there is unquestionable potential for side effects. I have a feeling you know where I'm going with this. Exercise increases serotonin production! Naturally! Healthfully!

The indisputable link between exercise, fitness, and brain function, the indisputable link between what you do and how you feel, offers clear evidence that in times of depression or trauma, exercise and supportive eating become vital ingredients in speeding the recovery process. The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder recognizes the importance of exercise and includes the following among their suggestions for coping with memories of trama:

  • Get back to your everyda routines. Familiar habits can be very comforting
  • Eat healthy food
  • Take time to walk, stretch, and exercise

I mentioned earlier that people have found a renewed sense of the true value and importance of their loved ones. If you are going to be there for those you love, if you're going to at some level provide for their security, comfort, and well being, you absolutely must take control of your own. There is no better insurance policy than knowing you're going to wake up tomorrow in a body that functions optimally, with your mind and muscles aligned for excellence. So, regardless of what you've done thus far, re-commit right now! Not only to an exercise program, but to beginning a process that will lead you to the Best You've Ever Been! With a population of driven Americans functioning at peak levels, we rise from the ashes of horror to find a greater position in this world, a greater strength and unity, and a new outlook toward the future, not one held back by fear, but one fueled by potential!

Wishing you love, fitness, and peace.

Phil Kaplan

If you haven't read the last update and the follow up comments, read them now. If you're ready to lanch forward, to get on a supportive program, and to begin a process toward being the best you've ever been, go to the Site Menu and begin to explore or read through the previous updates below. With clarity comes power and this site is designed 100% to provide complete clarity in the mystical maze of fitness and weight loss alternatives. As always, I welcome your feedback.

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Previous Updates:

Update 9/19 - Tragedy and Love, RE: Sept 11

Update 8/15 - Myths, Fallacies, False Beliefs
Update 8/1 - The Internet, Leptin, Steroids, and more
Update 7/9 - The New Supplements
Update 6/14 - Seminar offerings and clarity on "Brownies"
Update 5/29 - Lose Weight, Eat Brownies?!?!?
Update 5/1/01
- Pizza, Beer, and Fitness
Update 4/7/01 - "Phil-osophies" and Rip-Off Realities!
Update 4/1/01 - Gourmet Recipes!
Update 3/15/01 - Research Has Proven?
Update 3/1/01 - Preparing for The New Infomercial
Update 2/1/01 - Time, Space, Matter, and Energy
Update 1/15/01 - Atkins hits the UK
Update 10/7/00 - Supplements, Additional Clarity
Update 7/27/00 - The Experts Round Table, Almada, Colgan, Parillo
Update 7/3/00 - Core Training & Metabolism Boosters


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