Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Manager of Health Promotion
Drexel Recreation Center
Drexel Recreation’s resident fitness expert, Joe Giandonato will be fielding questions each month from employees, students, and members and addressing topics related to strength training, weight loss, injury prevention and health education.
1. How important is receiving sunlight during the summer months? – Ari K.
Although we don’t convert sunlight into chemical energy a la our plant counterparts, the sun remains a vital nutritive mainstay as it emits vitamin D secreting ultraviolet B rays.
The ultraviolet B rays are absorbed by melanin within the dermis as well as DNA, transurocanic acid, and cell membranes and then converted into cholecalciferol, a naturally occurring form of vitamin D, which undergoes a final conversion into 25-hyhdroxyvitamin D, the form from which it interacts with multiple
Vitamin D has been linked to warding off and helping treat various metabolic diseases.
It triggers the production of insulin and has been shown to elevate insulin sensitivity, lending credence to its supplementation among diabetics.
Vitamin D has also been shown to enhance the absorption and transport of calcium, a versatile mineral that is intimately involved in both facilitating muscular contraction and bone formation. Further, vitamin D supplementation has been
associated with lowering blood pressure as well as boosting testosterone levels and serving as an ancillary treatment for numerous dermatological and thyroid conditions.
Relevantly, those living in the northern hemisphere above 30 degrees latitude (this applies to residential Drexel students, staff, and faculty) are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. The intemperate winter months relegate people indoors which predictably
leads to the lowest vitamin D levels being reported during the early spring months.
But the benefits of increased sunlight span beyond boosting vitamin D levels.
Juzeniene and Moan (2012) revealed that ultraviolet radiation is capable of conferring a host of benefits, prominently including:
– Preventing dermatological diseases, such as dermatitis, scleroderma, and psoriasis
– Lowering melanoma risk through repeated exposures which cumulatively evoke a protective effect through a process known as photoadaptation, or solar elastosis
– Reducing pain among those suffering from fibromyalgia
– Preventing and tempering the effects of numerous immunopathological diseases, including multiple sclerosis and asthma
– Prompting the secretion of nitric oxide which influences nerve transmission and blood perfusion
While no universal recommendations for sun exposure for health purpose exist due to the impossibility of quantifying absorption rates while accounting for genetic variability, prudent measures must be enacted to ensure
– Those with a proclivity to burning should avoid prolonged sun exposure during peak hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Further, babies should be kept from the sun as should elderly individuals, whose aged skin has a reduced capacity to absorb UVB rays.
– Lightly colored and breathable clothing and broad brimmed hats as well as sunglasses should be worn to reduce unwanted or excessive sunlight
– Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 of higher should be applied at a quantity of two tablespoons for entire body surface 30 minutes prior to going outside
– Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 should be applied if prolonged outdoor activity is anticipated
– Sunscreen should be reapplied immediately following water exposure or excessively sweating or at a rate of every two hours
– Lastly, sunscreens should be checked for their expiration date and should contain the following ingredients: organic chemical compounds that absorb ultraviolet light and particulates which also reflect and scatter ultraviolet light.
Juzeniene, A. & Moan, J. (2012). Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4, 109-117.
2. Is fasted cardio all that it’s cracked up to be? – David W.
While this approach has been popularized by fanny pack toting bodybuilders and svelte fitness models for ages, fasted cardio doesn’t fuel the metabolic
conflagration many have been convinced.
This approach is entrenched in the belief that it burns more fat, which cannot be further from the truth.
While research has indicated that more fat is oxidized during fasted cardio, the number of fatty acids which are freed from the mitochondrial membrane and subsequently broken down
exceed the amount needed to fuel the lower intensity activities, such as steady state cardiovascular exercise conducted at or below 70% maximum heart rate or between 40-59% of heart rate reserve, which are associated with training in a fasted state.
The unused fatty acids are simply reesterfied in adipose tissue.
Schabort and colleagues (1999) indicated only after 90 minutes of exercise did fasted subjects yield a discernible effect stemming from fat oxidation. Therefore, you would need to exercise for a minimum of 90 minutes before encountering any fat burning effects!
While individuals who exercise in a fasted state register respiratory quotients which are more indicative of fat burning (0.7 or lower), they only do so because that is all they are capable of doing.
Training in a fasted state is not conducive to anaerobic training, from which gains in strength and improvements in body composition are greatest. Imagine trying to move a bar loaded with three plus bills for multiple reps on an empty stomach and dangerously low blood glucose levels.
And since greater training intensities are less likely to be achieved during a fasted state, EPOC, or the “afterburn effect”, in which more calories are burned restoring the body to its preexercise state, is blunted.
Anecdotally, fasted training may lead to compensatory overeating following exercise.
Schabort, E.J., Bosch, A.N., Weltan, S.M., & Noakes, T.D. (1999). The effect of a pre-exercise meal on time to fatigue during prolonged cycling exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31, 464–471.
3. What are some of the differences in working with athletes versus the general population? – Spencer G.
While the preparatory approaches of each segment may have vast contextual and conceptual differences, it should be noted that many similarities exist, albeit scalable, such as expectations, requisite effort, and goals.
With athletes, you are concertedly working to improve one or two biomotor skills, such as limit strength, rate of force development, speed, and coordinative abilities, whereas, with the general population, you are designing and implementing programs to prompt
global improvements in fitness qualities, including strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Non-athletes, especially those who are older, are often at a greater risk of having cardiovascular or metabolic disease, since many persons who inquire about our services lead
sedentary lifestyles. Conversely, many high level athletes are usually ailed by musculoskeletal pain which largely stems from overuse and faulty biomechanics.
Though the approaches may differ, the quality of care provided to each person is held to the highest of standards irrespective of needs and goals. Our team supports a diverse clientele ranging from professional athletes seeking improved athletic performance to staff and faculty members wanting to improve
their quality of life.
Anyone interested in our services should contact me directly at email@example.com
Joe will also field any questions related to programs and services at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also ask for him at the Member Services desk, which is located in the lobby of the Rec Center.