Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tiger Woods golf app, MySwing, launches

Tiger Woods: My Swing for the iPhone and iPod touch. is now available in the Apple App Store for $9.99, the first mobile app that gives instructions and golf swing video analysis from Tiger Woods.  Proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundaiton.
Tiger Woods: My Swing helps golfers of all skill levels improve their swing through video analysis and instruction from  Tiger Wood and integrates with, the world's largest active golf community. (read more on the original site, SanJose Fitness Examiner)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why people love fitness and fashion magazines that show those impossible looking bodies

News flash:  New research from Ohio State University reveals why people love fitness and fashion magazines featuring photos of impossibly thin or muscular models -- models whose appearance highlight the readers’ own flaws.  Turns out that research proves what magazines depending on newsstand sales have known all along:

People who are unhappy with their bodies are even more dissatisfied when they see pictures of models who have "ideal" bodies.  Unless.....according to Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, associate professor of communication at Ohio State University... the photos are surrounded by articles suggesting that they, too, can look like that model.

The key, according to  Knobloch-Westerwick,  is that "People will view these photos if they feel like they can achieve this ideal. In that case, these models with the ideal bodies can serve as source of inspiration to improve one’s own body shape.”

Knobloch-Westerwick conducted the research with Joshua Paul Romero, a former graduate student at Ohio State. The study appears in the current issue of the journal Media Psychology.

The study involved 169 young adults who took part in a two-session study. 

In the first session, the participants completed a questionnaire about life satisfaction. Included were questions about body satisfaction, along with questions about other aspects of life, which were added so that participants would not guess the purpose of the study.

In a separate session, they came to the lab, where they were told they would be evaluating a magazine shown via computer.

The 21-page magazine included 16 pages of advertisements. Of those pages, half featured models with ideal body shapes and half had models with more average shapes. (The models were put in those categories by people who judged them in pre-tests.) Each participant viewed a magazine featuring models of only his or her gender.

Participants viewed one of two magazines – the ads were identical in both versions, but one magazine featured articles about diet and exercise while the other had general interest articles unrelated to health or body improvement.

Participants browsed the magazine on a computer for five minutes. A software program unobtrusively measured exactly how long they spent on each page of the magazine.

The researchers found striking differences in how long people lingered on the ads with the ideal-body models – at least for those who were not satisfied with their bodies.

People who indicated they were dissatisfied with their appearance spent about 50 percent more time looking at the ideal bodies when the editorial content was about body improvement, compared to when it was not (59 seconds in the body-improvement magazines vs. 40 seconds in the general interest magazines).

“If the articles inspired them to go on a diet or start an exercise program, they would spend more time looking at the ideal bodies,” Knobloch-Westerwick said. “If the articles gave them no inspiration, they tended to avoid the photos.”

On the other hand, people who were satisfied with their bodies spent about the same amount of time on the ideal body images, regardless of which magazine they read.

“It didn’t make a difference to people who were satisfied with their bodies. They didn’t feel the need to avoid the ads with the ideal bodies, and they didn’t need them for inspiration either,” she said.

There was no difference in how men and women reacted to the images, she said. It all depended on whether they were dissatisfied with their bodies and which magazine they read.

These results help explain why fitness and beauty magazines are so popular, even if viewing the photos of ideal bodies may result in self-deflation in other contexts, Knobloch-Westerwick said.

In most other studies, people were forced to look at photos of ideal bodies and then asked how these images made them feel.

Under that situation, it is no wonder that the photos made people more dissatisfied, she said. But it is also not a realistic portrayal of how people act in real life.

“We didn’t force people to look at photos and ask how they felt. We put them in a realistic situation and gave them the choice to look at what they wanted, and we simply recorded how they reacted.”

Of course, there is the question of what happens to people if they are motivated by health and beauty magazines to improve their bodies, but then fall short of their goals.

That will be the focus of her next study, Knobloch-Westerwick said.

Orsoni's Le Personal Coach is lightweight but fun

I just posted a review of Valerie Orsoni's book, Le Personal Coach on San Jose Fitness Examiner and rated it 5 stars - the stars came mostly on the strength of my thoughts that this is a good gift book. 

The book is a collection of quick tips...the kind of stuff people love when they see it on the cover of a magazine in a supermarket check out line: the 30 second butt builder, the simple way to get perky breasts, how to have sexy ankles....that kind of thing.

If the book sold for $30 I wouldn't like it so much, but it sells on Amazon for  about $11 and that's a good price for a book you can add to fill out a gift basket or give to a friend on Mother's Day or Christmas or whatever.

If you're looking for some ideas for fitness gifts, check out the review

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Overview of local Bally's and 24 Hour Fitness

Over on, Nicole Thompson wrote an interesting and informative piece titled, Get your Spring Training on at your local gym.

Nicole is the San Jose Cardio Fitness Examiner and very smart in the actuality of working out, fitness, and training. She knows a lot about the local facilities too.  While you're on her column, sign up to receive it by email.

As much as I liked Nicole's piece, what was an OMG was that she pointed out spring starts March 20.  Wow.  Next week.  It doesn't matter to me that March 20 is only a date on the calendar. To me, it's all about spring going forward.

Lots of fitness runs and walks in Silicon Valley this spring


Loving the low-cal beer options

I'm  naming names over on San Jose Fitness Examiner when it comes to the best low-cal and low-carb beers from some of the post popular brewers.

 If you're a beer drinker but always wondering how the diet beers stack up against each other, check it out:
the 10 best low-cal, low-carb beers for dieters

From a marketing point of view, it's also interesting that Michelob light beers are dubbed ultra - (Amber Ultra, Michelob Ultra), Budweisers are dubbed select (Budweiser Select, and Select 55) but Miller Coors went straight to the heart of it by calling their beers "Light" or "Lite" (Miller Lite, Keystone Light)

The ads say it's all about the taste, but for the marketing folks, it's also about perception.  Enjoy the article.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are tattoos safe? Not all the options are as safe or natural as presented

The FDA has stepped in with some advice on tattoos and permanent make up.  It's not fair to say "YEA" or "NEA" without some reservations, but there is a webinar (upcoming as I write this but archived afterward).

Before you go in and get a tattoo, or have that eyeliner or those eyebrows made with permanent ink, check it out. Here's all the details: Are tattoos and permanent make up safe?

Corporate fitness programs continue to grow in importance

Last week the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index posted its figures for February (the poll posts monthly)  and the headline from February 2011 is that while five of the categories polled in the well-being index were neutral or slightly up, workplace well-being, the sixth category, declined.

Read the article here: Workplace well-being declines, third straight year

This is keeping with a 38 month trend of employees' attitudes ebbing ever lower when it comes to how they feel about their jobs.  And it reinforces an article I put up on San Jose Fitness Examiner a few months back, that workers say their workplace actually hinders fitness.  

To me it seems clear: people who don't believe their boss cares if they are healthy or not, and who feel that the company is all about improving the company and not improving the worker will be demoralized about work.

Reading about the trends, I began to wonder what effect corporate fitness programs could have (or are having) on this sinking morale, and I put an email in to Patty Purpur of the Stanford Health Promotion Network.  Patty is a smart lady who has a lot of interesting information at her fingertips,and she's been working in corporate wellness programs since around 1995 so she has a good perspective.

Patty's noted a change recently in that corporations are putting more mental health and mental wellness programs in place and teaching journaling, meditation, and yoga.  It all goes together to meet that sagging spirit that seems pervasive, I suppose.

Personally, I think that some days the boss just needs to come by and say, "The company won't sink into oblivion if you get up from your desk right now and go for a five minute walk around the building."  Actually, one of the things I like about my job is that my boss does encourage that. 

So go on over and check out the article. See if you agree that corporate wellness programs could be the answer to help with that last piece of well-being.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Epigenetics Diet - how what you eat can help prevent or reverse cancer

I just posted a story on San Jose Fitness Examiner about the newly-coined term, "Epigenetics Diet" (Epigenetics Diet - broccoli, cabbage help prevent and treat cancer, Alzheimer's)

The concept isn't a new one. There's been a great deal of research done in the past decade about how food can actually turn on a gene's natural defenses to fight diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.  Some research focuses specifically on colon cancer or breast cancer etc, but by-and-large, it is pretty much accepted these days that some foods are "cancer fighters."

But what is new is that the University of Alabama/Birmingham has put together a lot of the research, looked at the foods that fall into the category,  and published findings in Clinical Epigenetics, and as a result, coined the term the Epigenetic Diet.  Having an "umbrella" for the findings helps an average person understand it better. 

The researchers at UAB also point out that it doesn't take a whole lot of these cancer fighting foods to make a difference:  3 cups of green tea a day, or a cup of broccoli sprouts.

I found it interesting.  If you do, go over to the column and take a look.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Silicon Valley fitness: new 24 Hour Fitness opens, West Valley Senior Walk April 15, Big Bunny Fun Run 2011 and more

I love all the things that go on in Silicon Valley that allow for people to get out and get active.  The fact that 24 Hour Fitness is opening a new 45,000 square foot facility in Sunnyvale is interesting.  The trend seems to be toward niche fitness but 24 Hour Fitness is all about big, so there is obviously still a lot of room in the "facility" category.

The 6th Annual West Valley Senior Walk (I suspect the West Valley name is a hold over from when the event was started - it's now Westfield Valley Fair) is a nice event, inside the mall, free breakfast, a couple of local councilmembers, and about 80 companies/non-profits all gathered from 8:30 to 10:30 in the morning.  I stopped by a couple of years back by accident and found it to be friendly and informative.

And of course, one of my top favorite events - the Big Bunny Fun Run is back in Cupertino.  I just love that a few blocks away from one of the world's most popular companies (Apple) 5 year olds can still have a good time walking a mile with a big bunny.

So, check out the stories - your visits are always appreciated.

Here's a look at some of the articles published this week on San Jose Fitness Examiner:  


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Super yum: Blueberry Mango Energy Smoothie recipe with fresh blueberries

Photo: Driscoll's - Blueberry Mango Energy Smoothie
The great folks at Driscoll's always have the best ideas for healthy recipes.  Yes, I admit a prejudice: fresh fruit is among my very favorite food and though I grow a number of veggies, I don't have any fruit in my garden.  Recently they sent some recipes, and here's one that struck my fancy so I share it for you to enjoy.

Blueberry Mango Energy Smoothie 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 servings (32 ounces), 8 ounces per serving

2 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s Blueberries
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup cold orange juice
4 ounce silken tofu, cubed
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons agave
1 cup ice cubes

Blend blueberries, mango, orange juice, tofu, wheat germ and agave in blender or food processor until smooth. Add ice cube and blend until smooth. Serve cold.