Fitness & Wellness

Are Sparkling Beverages Unhealthy?

Are Sparkling Beverages Unhealthy?

When you’re discussing sparkling beverages, you’re talking about a wide variety of different types of drinks. Some are immediately recognized as unhealthy, such as soft drinks, but there are other groups that are nothing more than water with a pressurized infusion of carbon dioxide. These are called everything from seltzer water to club soda, and of course, sparkling water. While seltzer water doesn’t contain sodium, other forms of carbonated waters do.

Even though Perrier contains sodium, it lowered the risk of heart disease in women.

If you’re drinking a natural sparkling water, such as Perrier or San Pellegrino, you’ll still get 2mg of sodium in an eight ounce serving, but also other nutrients. In fact, one study in the Journal of Nutrition noted that woman who drank mineral water often had a lower incidence of heart disease. A liter a day lowered bad cholesterol levels. These waters come from mineral springs, which is why they have other minerals in them. Tonic water also contains quinine, plus high fructose corn syrup or sugar.

No matter what type of carbonated water you drink, it’s acidic.

When you combine water with carbon dioxide, you get bubbles, but you also get a weak acid known as carbonic acid. Is it dangerous. It does stimulate the nerve receptors in the mouth, just like other foods do, such as mustard. That’s the pH of 3-4 that causes the slight burn. It might not make your body more acidic, but it can cause damage to the teeth. That damage is far less than a sugary drink and a little more than plain water. Unlike cola, it doesn’t affect bone density either.

There may be some benefits to drinking carbonated water.

If you drink the plain carbonated water with no additives, you may actually get a few health benefits, although the research is limited on that, as well. Besides the small study showing that it lowered bad cholesterol, another showed it could help improve swallowing. It was shown to stimulate the nerves for swallowing and if cold, improve it even more. Another test was on seniors showed it helped people who constantly had to clear their throat with improvements in over half the participants.

  • If you want to add some carbonated water to your diet, it could help you shed a few pounds by extending the feeling of fullness. Another study, however, showed that it increased the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • Carbonated water may also help you get relief from constipation. A study with older individuals who had a stroke showed it improved the ability to have a bowel movement.
  • Don’t confuse carbonated water with soft drinks. It’s the added sugar in soft drinks that make it bad. Most people don’t find the actual taste of carbonated water enticing without the added sugar.
  • If you have IBS or problems with bloating and gas, carbonated water may add to those problems. If you use it and find it causes a flare up or makes the problem worse, eliminate it from your diet.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance

Portion Control - You Got This!

Portion Control – You Got This!

At BioFit Performance in Oviedo, FL, we not only help clients with developing a more active lifestyle, but also a personalized nutrition program. While what you eat is ultimately the most important part of that program, portion control also plays an important role. With most fruits and vegetables, it’s not a problem. They’re often so low in calories portion control makes no difference at all. You could eat an entire head of celery and not be anywhere near your daily calorie allotment. However, if you eat volumes of nuts, avocados, olive oil and sweet potatoes, all healthy foods, the results might be quite different. The same is especially true for snack food and sweets.

What is the single serving size.

In most cases, you’d be surprised at how small the single serving size is. Consider the lowly potato chip that has 160 calories per serving…it’s just 15 chips. Cheetos have a 150 calories with 20 per servings. Seriously, has anyone ever stopped at 15 or 20? Even the healthiest meal can throw you over your caloric intake. In fact, one study showed that using larger plates increased the average food intake by 45%!

If you’re eating in a restaurant, you can’t control portions.

Whether you’re eating in a restaurant at home, having a quick way to measure portions can help. Three ounces of chicken or meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A cup of rice, pasta or ice cream is the size of a tennis ball. Put four dice together and it’s the size of one ounce of cheese. A medium piece of fruit is the size of a baseball. Keep those dice with you to measure margarine or butter. It’s the size of one die. Compare the size of a golf ball with one serving on peanut butter, jam or salad dressing. These are all simple ways to identify a serving size when you don’t have a measuring cup or scale available.

Steer clear of supersizing and weigh or measure food at home.

It doesn’t take a nutritionist to figure out that supersized meals blow portion control out of the water. Sure, everyone wants more for their money, but if you’re eating out and the meal is big, eat half of everything and take the rest home. Learn portion control by weighing and measuring each item when you eat. Before long, you’ll be able to ball park the right portion size without measuring. Read package labels. Who eats only 3 Oreos or consumes just ¾ cup of Honey Nut Cheerios? Portions count. Learn to identify them through practice.

  • Compare the serving size of an apple and the calories with the serving size and calories of chips. One apple is just 90-95 calories, about half that of 18 chips and has more nutrition. It also is more filling.
  • Whether you’re counting calories, carbs or sodium, serving size is important. Before you buy, read the label and see if you’d be satisfied with the amount in one serving. Walk away quickly if you wouldn’t be.
  • Maintaining portion control not only helps with weight, but also digestion. It helps keep your blood sugar more level, too.
  • When you consider the serving size for fruit juice is ¼ cup, for cut up fruit ½ cup and one medium fruit when it’s whole, you can see how much more filling eating the fruit is, whether cut up or whole.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance

Are Sweet Potatoes Too Good To Be True?

Are Sweet Potatoes Too Good To Be True?

If you’ve read that sweet potatoes are a healthier option than white potatoes, the information isn’t true. While they both contain a variety of nutrients, the nutrient content is different in each. That’s why I tell clients in Oviedo, FL, they need to vary their diet to include as many different fruits and vegetables as possible. For instance, white potatoes contain more potassium than sweet potatoes. It racks up approximately 17% of the required daily amount compared to sweet potatoes 10%. White potatoes also contain glycoalkaloids that recent test-tube studies show have anti-cancer and other good benefits.

So what makes sweet potatoes so good for you?

First, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. Each sweet potato contains approximately 107% of the daily required amount of vitamin A. They also contain fewer calories than white potatoes but the same amount of protein, fat and carbs. If you want to add fiber to your diet, sweet potatoes have 3.3 grams, compared to the 2.1 grams in white potatoes. There’s 17% of the daily value—DV—of B6, 22% of the DV for vitamin C, 10% potassium, 3% calcium and 6% magnesium.

There are a variety of colors of sweet potatoes.

Many of the beneficial antioxidants come from phytochemicals in the plant. Color makes a difference, since the phytochemicals are what give the plants their color. It’s like an easy to follow health chart when consuming fruits and vegetables. The more different colors you have, the more well-rounded your diet will be. Orange sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene that the body turns to vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins, like blueberries, which are considered super foods and fight a wide range of diseases. White sweet potatoes have many of the benefits as their orange and purple kin, making it another option that’s healthier than regular white potatoes.

There’s a lot of fiber in sweet potatoes, which affects its glycemic index.

Several studies show that even though sweet potatoes are low to high on the glycemic index, they can help prevent insulin resistance and both low and high blood sugar levels. If you boil sweet potatoes, the glycemic index is lower, but baked, it’s higher. Certain types of sweet potatoes are more effective in controlling blood sugar, too. The Beauregard is the most effective at regulating the blood sugar, with the Caiapo—a white sweet potato–also improving the glucose and cholesterol levels for those with type 2 diabetes. It’s even considered a dietary management tool of the disease. Scientists believe it’s the high fiber content and the type of fiber, which is 77% insoluble and the magnesium content.

  • Since sweet potatoes contain a higher amount of magnesium, which is essential to many functions of the body, it also helps reduce stress and depression. Studies show magnesium deficiency increases the potential for depression and stress.
  • Sweet potatoes contain both choline and anthocyanins, which provide anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause a variety of chronic diseases.
  • Eating sweet potatoes can help people with ulcers. Studies show that sweet potato extracts contain chemicals that help heal ulcers and stomach wounds. It’s particularly effective for ulcers from ethanol and aspirin.
  • The high magnesium and potassium in sweet potatoes makes it a viable option for those fighting high blood pressure. Sweet potatoes regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.

For more information, contact us today at Biofit Performance

The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it

The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it

The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it?

By Kevin Masson MS, CSCS, CPT, PPSC, USAW

When the word meditation comes to mind, the image that comes to mind is a bunch of Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged chanting Aum. However, meditation is one of the most widely practiced stress management techniques worldwide. There are many benefits that you can derive from meditating. So let’s look at some of the benefits that meditation has to offer.

Meditation helps you control your thoughts. Man has conquered space and Mount Everest. But the most challenging thing to overcome is your mind. Even the greatest minds on Earth are not able to control their thoughts. Look at Van Gogh. He succumbed to his thoughts and committed suicide. They are not able to reject their negative thoughts and focus on the positive. However, the art of meditation teaches that not only that you can control your thoughts but you can also reject your negative thoughts. Through meditation, you will be able to create peace of mind that you always wanted.

Meditation also teaches you, detachment. It is easy to get annoyed by all the little things in life. It may be the jam to work in the morning, the rude lady that cut you in line, people that don’t say hello back. Every little small thing may annoy you. No matter how you try and avoid these problems, they will also keep appearing, and we need to get used to doing that. Meditation will help you develop detachment and also keep your mind in perspective. Through meditation, you will be able to detach yourself from all these irritating little nuisances.

Meditation also allows you the time that you need to examine yourself inwardly and enables you to gain a greater understanding of life. You will start to relax, and you will be able to view your life from a whole different perspective. Being grateful for what you already have instead of things you wish you had. Gratefulness is a powerful tool that many top leaders and billionaires use daily.

Lastly, meditation leads to happiness and peace of mind. As we have pointed out before, it helps you control your thoughts. So it is out with the negative thoughts and in with the positive energy. It detaches you from little petty problems and also helps you discover the purpose of life. So try meditating today to live a better life tomorrow.


Meditation involves silencing our minds. It is not an intellectual activity. Think of it as a tool to relax your whole self, and also for better health. It also can be a valuable tool to discover one’s self. The core of meditation is to focus and eventually quiet your mind. As you get better at it, you will find that you can meditate anywhere, anytime.

So, it’s actually easier said than done, with the crazy life we live in meditation can be challenging for a lot of people. Here are 5 quick steps to help you kick start a meditation habit. Remember, the key here is to create a habit even if you start with 5 mins every day, but you have to make it a priority in order for it to work.

Make time

When you are starting to learn how to meditate, you need to set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditation. It can be at any time of the day. You may set time for meditation at the start of the day, or you can put it at the end of the day as a means of relaxing. However, it is recommended that the easiest time to meditate is in the morning because your body is not tired, and your mind is still fresh.

Find a quiet space.

Once you find the time to meditate, you need to choose a suitable space to meditate. Create an environment that doesn’t have any noise or distractions. Turn off the television set or your handphone. You can put some music on, but make sure it’s calm, repetitive, and gentle so as not to distract you.


Sit on a leveled ground. Remember to keep your back straight. This will help with your breathing. Remember to relax your arms and legs. They don’t need to be in a particular position. The most important part is that you are relaxed. Now start searching for parts of your body that are not relaxed. It could be face muscles or certain parts of your body. Try loosening all of them.

Concentrate on something

It may be hard to control our thoughts through the power of the mind. So to silence your mind, try to focus your mind on something. It may be as simple as counting your breath or listening to your surroundings.

Silence your mind.

Once you are focused, now you can clear up your mind.  This requires discipline, and it is alright if you are not able to master it immediately.

Most importantly, meditation is something done with intensity and focus, once you achieved that, you have reached the pinnacle of meditation. So try it at home today, and you’ll find yourself feeling better than you have ever been before. Look for apps like headspace or youtube videos if you are still struggling with it.

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

By Josh Dennis MS, CSCS, CISSN, CPT

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into panic mode. Nothing is more disempowering than focusing on things outside of one’s control. Instead of focusing on the doom and gloom, try to remain productive. With many of us forced to stay at home, there has never been a better time to build healthy habits. This article will highlight 5 simple ways to enhance your immune system function.


1)Moderate Exercise

Back in my university days, I remember sitting in an exercise physiology class to talk about the immune system’s response to training. Generally speaking, exercise will strengthen your immune system as long as it’s not overdone. Exercise within the body’s adaption abilities is the name of the game. Research has shown that working out is beneficial for the immune system provided it’s not excessive (Nieman & Wentz, 2019). If you’re new to exercise, start out slowly. For more seasoned veterans, just be careful to not overreach. To really enhance your health and immune system, take your training outdoors!

2) Get Some Sun

With summertime around the corner, there’s no better excuse to catch some rays. While nobody is recommending excessive scorching or sunburn, you should not be afraid to spend some time outside. Building up sun tolerance gradually is the best way to go. Multiple lines of research have reported lower vitamin D to be associated with higher rates of infection (Aranow, 2011). While naturally producing vitamin D is best, it might be impractical or impossible for some individuals. For those forced to resort to supplementation, do yourself a favor and test your baseline levels first if possible. This will allow you to fine-tune your dosage to get to optimal levels.

3) Make use of Mushrooms

The medical power of mushrooms has been around for centuries. However, compared to their plant and animal counterparts, fungi tend to be the forgotten food group. Now that quarantine life has forced you to prepare more home-cooked meals, there’s ample time to experiment. Researchers on Shiitake mushrooms found that their consumption over the course of 4 weeks was enough to boost immunity (Dai, et al., 2015). My personal favorite way to serve up shiitake is to sauté some up along with fresh onions in ghee. These pairs are great with many meat dishes or even eggs.

4) Channel Your Inner Wim Hof

If you don’t know who Wim Hof is by now, do yourself a favor and google him. Put your stay at home mandate to good use and watch a video or two on the man who is rewriting physiology books. This guy is doing things that scientists did not think was possible. His magic mix centers around breath work, meditation, and cold-water immersion. This potent combination has since been found to modulate both the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system to fight off toxins (Kox, et al., 2014).

5) Sleep like a Bear

Less time spent commuting means more time for sleep. Even though it’s one of the lowest hanging fruits on the health tree, sleep often gets neglected. Sleep is the ultimate recovery tool and it should be relatively effortless. Piles of research add up every year backing sleeps importance. Studies such as the one from Besedovsky, Lange, & Born (2012) found sleep to enhance the body’s immune defense. A good start is aiming to get between 7 and 9 hours per night. For more information on how to get the most out of sleep, be sure to check out our sleep article here.


Aranow, C. (2011). Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 59(6), 881–886. doi: 10.2310/jim.0b013e31821b8755

Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2011). Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv – European Journal of Physiology, 463(1), 121–137. doi: 10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0

Dai, X., Stanilka, J. M., Rowe, C. A., Esteves, E. A., Nieves, C., Spaiser, S. J., … Percival, S. S. (2015). ConsumingLentinula edodes(Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(6), 478–487. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.950391

Kox, M., Eijk, L. T. V., Zwaag, J., Wildenberg, J. V. D., Sweep, F. C. G. J., Hoeven, J. G. V. D., & Pickkers, P. (2014). Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7379–7384. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1322174111

Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the bodys defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 8(3), 201–217. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009


Are Protein Bars Better Than Meal Replacement Bars?

Are Protein Bars Better Than Meal Replacement Bars?

Protein bars have been on the market for quite a while. Originally, those bars were the ultimate for people who wanted to do tough workouts and build big muscles, but they became a quick go-to for people who weren’t working out and just assuming that they were the healthiest option when there was no time to sit down to a meal. There’s a new kid on the block of bars called meal replacement bars. Which one is better? First, most people don’t require the boost of protein that the protein bar provides, but let’s look at other factors.

What is a protein bar?

That’s a tough question. There are a wide variety of protein bats on the market. Some are fortified with extra vitamins and nutrition, plus a substantial amount of protein. If you put it side by side to a full meal containing 3/4 cup cooked vegetables, a medium fruit, 3 ounces of chicken and a glass of low fat milk, the meal would have about 415 calories or 85 more calories than a protein bar. However, the protein bar would have only half the protein of the full meal and more fat. It would also have fewer nutrients than the meal, including phytochemicals found only in plants or minerals like phosphorus and potassium.

What is a meal replacement bar?

Here’s where marketing muddies the water. Most protein bars are now being touted as meal replacement bars. First, not all protein bars contain over 200 calories to qualify as a meal, so they’re considered snacks. Some contain high amounts of sugar and are like eating candy bars that are packet with protein. While the protein might entice you, think again when it comes to the sugar. There are bars that tout the nutritional needs of the average person who is not an athlete called meal bars. They contain more nutrients and are more balanced for those not seeking to build muscle. They’re plant based, so contain many phytonutrients.

Here’s the answer.

Be careful whether choosing a protein bar to supplement a meal or one of the very few true meal replacement bars. If you’re the average person or an athlete with a day off from the gym, you don’t need all the extra protein. However, they can be useful if stopping for a complete meal is impossible. Just check out the ingredients, some are far better than others are.

  • Always read the label and check for sugar content and nutrients. Some bars in both categories, provide more hype than nutrition.
  • Avoid the extra cost and find ways to create your own. Remember, peanut butter is a good source of protein and you can add protein powder, nuts and dried fruit. Adding whey powder to homemade veggie snack bars is one option.
  • If you’re using any type of bar to replace a meal, make sure it meets certain standards. For those not trying to lose weight, it should contain high quality protein from whey or casein. For weight loss, limit the calories to about 200 and make sure there’s about 10-15 grams protein and 3 grams fiber.
  • Using a meal replacement bar or a protein bar to substitute as a meal is okay occasionally, but don’t make a habit of it. You need more than just the macro and micronutrients, you need phytonutrients, too.

For more information, contact us today at Biofit Performance

How To Get Your Daily Omega-3s

How To Get Your Daily Omega-3s

I have people at my gym in Oviedo, FL ask about the benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both of them are important for good health. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be a four to one ratio, with one part omega-3 for every four parts omega-6. It’s not that way in the present Western diet. Instead, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is anywhere between 10 parts omega-6 to one part omega-3 to a huge 50 parts omega-6 to one part omega-3. Depending on your present diet, you need to either lower the amount of omega-6, increase your amounts of omega-3 or both. Finding out how to do that means learning how to get your daily omega-3s.

What’s the benefit of omega-3?

You’ll keep your heart pumping in regular rhythms and ease inflammation when you have adequate omega-3 fatty acid in your diet. Omega-3 can also slow the formation of blood clots in the blood stream. Triglycerides are fat-carrying particles that are in the blood and omega-3 lowers them. Just because omega-3 fatty acids provide benefits, it doesn’t mean omega-6 fatty acids are villains. Quite the contrary. They lower the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol. They also aid in lowering the risk for cancer. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids. The body needs them, but can’t produce them. They have to come from food.

What foods contain omega-6 and which ones contain omega-3?

Seeds and nuts tend to be high in omega-6, such as hemp and sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocado oil and peanut butter. Eggs are high in omega-6, too. To get omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines provide a great deal of omega-3. Oysters, flaxseed, walnuts and soybeans are also high in omega-3. Whether eaten raw in salads or cooked, Brussels sprouts are also a good source of Omega-3. Each half cup contains 12% of the daily recommended amount.

While having adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is important, getting a good balance is also.

Don’t get upset that omega-6 is classified as pro-inflammatory and think that Omega-3, which is anti-inflammatory is far more important. You need both types of fat and you do need some inflammation. Inflammation helps protect the body from disease. You just don’t want it to be chronic and excessive. If it is, it can cause other types of damage, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and several types of cancer.

  • Increasing the amount of omega-3 and reducing the amount of omega-6 can be done by switching choices of oil. Switching out flaxseed oil for cottonseed or soybean oil can significantly change the ratio.
  • Besides being heart healthy, adequate omega-3 has a positive effect on schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, helping to improve mental health.
  • Keeping both omega-3 and omega-6 low is healthiest. It’s best to balance out the intake by cutting back on food higher in omega-6 and substituting it with food higher in omega-3. One way is by consuming fatty fish three times a week.
  • Eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure you get adequate nutrients. Green leafy vegetables should be part of every day. Other veggies that boost omega-3 include Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance

The Benefits Of Turmeric

The Benefits Of Turmeric

You can improve your nutrition without adding extra calories by sprinkling on herbs and spices. One those spices to add is turmeric. There are a number of health benefits of turmeric, including helping you recover faster after a tough workout. Studies show that it can be beneficial in reducing soreness after you workout, especially from high intensity training. The curcumin in turmeric also boosts the benefits of exercise.

Curcumin is the naturally occurring chemical in turmeric and it helps depression.

People taking Prozac for depression got a boost when they included turmeric. Studies show that people taking both turmeric and Prozac fared far better in overcoming depression than those just taking Prozac or turmeric. However, people consuming curcumin alone matched the improvements of those on Prozac. The curcumin boosts the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and improved the level of serotonin and dopamine.

Liberal use of turmeric could make you look and feel younger.

That golden yellow color that turmeric adds to the dish might be considered real gold. It’s a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. When you consider that both free radicals and inflammation can produce cell damage that shortens your life, speeds aging and makes you sick, it’s only logical to think that increasing both anti-inflammatory and antioxidants could do the reverse. Preventing cell damage can slow the aging process.

Reduce inflammation with the curcumin in turmeric.

Inflammation is necessary to fight off infection, but it also can be the cause of serious conditions if it’s chronic. Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer Alzheimer’s and degenerative conditions like arthritis are increased if there’s chronic inflammation. Several studies show that the inflammation fighting properties of turmeric match that of several pharmaceuticals, but with no side effects. While it takes far more than just a few sprinkles on food to cure Alzheimer’s, studies show that the curcumin in turmeric can help slow inflammation, stop oxidative stress and aid in clearing beta-amyloid from the brain that occurs with Alzheimer’s.

  • If you sprinkle on a bit of turmeric here and there, you might not get all the benefits touted in studies. Only 3 percent of the weight of turmeric is curcumin, so you’d have to eat quite a lot. However, every little bit helps! Use it with black pepper for better absorption.
  • If you want a colorful dressing with an exotic tang, mix olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, turmeric, black and cayenne pepper. You’ll love the taste and boost your turmeric intake.
  • Mix turmeric into your rice dishes. Not only will it add a mellow, earthy flavor, it will have a brilliant yellow color. Adding it to homemade egg noodles gives them a golden goodness and extra nutrients.
  • You might not notice the difference in flavor when you sprinkle turmeric over steamed vegetables, but you’ll see it. Be aware that turmeric can stain when it gets wet, so wear an apron when you cook with it.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance

CBD guide to Fitness

By Kevin Masson MSc, CSCS, CPT, USAW, FMS

Unless you’ve been living under a rock someplace, the chances are you’ll have heard of CBD. But what exactly is CBD and what is all the fuss about? Everywhere on Instagram, influencers are promoting it? Is this just another new trend or is there real science behind it? In this post, I hope to give you the answers to these questions and more, so here it is, my guide to CBD and Fitness.

Increasingly athletes are seeing the correlation between improved fitness and athletic performance when combining their training by using CBD products. Yes, CBD is a product from the cannabis plant, but gone are the stereotypical images of lazy stoners, with their minds lost in a haze of pungent marijuana smoke. For although CBD does come from the marijuana plant, it does not have the psychotropic effects associated with it.

Medical cannabis has been hitting the headlines as a potential cancer cure for some time, but its effectiveness as a performance enhancer that can be used to improve fitness and recovery times is less well known about and studies coming out are looking very promising.

The fitness community is showing a lot of interest in CBD products, due to its apparent ability to sustain energy levels and aid recovery. The compound is anti-inflammatory and can help relieve pain. It also helps to reduce cortisol build up and can help you to work harder and longer during your fitness regimen.

What is CBD

CBD is a plant extract that has very similar medical benefits to THC found in cannabis, but without the brain-altering high. There are over 80 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. The most abundant of these compounds are THC Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD Cannabidiol.

How does it Work?

The THC is the cannabinoid that produces the well-known high associated with the use of marijuana, but CBD does not incite this effect, providing any high at all. This is because while THC is a psychoactive compound, CBD has no psychoactive properties and can actually reduce the psychotropic effects of THC, notably the negative ones.

Within the human body, there is a system designed to interact with cannabinoid compounds. This system is called the “Endocannabinoid System” (ECS). There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body not only help it function optimally but also to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. When we consume most cannabinoids, they attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors. This happens with THC, but ongoing research is showing that this is not the case with CBD. The body actually produces its own cannabinoids, and this is why it has receptors for it. Instead of attaching itself to the receptors like THC does, CBD seems to stimulate and increase the amount of cannabinoid compounds the body produces for itself.

The two types of receptor are called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors exist throughout our entire body, but the highest numbers are found in the brain. The CB1 receptors in the brain are responsible for:

  • Movement
  • Coordination
  • Emotions
  • Mood
  • Thought
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Pain

CB2 receptors appear in the immune system and seem to mostly affect pain and inflammation.

Medical Benefits

CBD has several therapeutic effects on your body and mind. It can activate your serotonin receptor 5-HT1A, which in turn reduces anxiety, it can help cure addiction, improve sleep, balance appetite, regulate body temperature, reduce nausea and vomiting, and it can also reduce pain and inflammation by binding itself to the TRPV1 receptors.

CBD has also been seen to reduce bone re-absorption. This is where the body robs the bones of calcium and other minerals when they are needed in the bloodstream. This mineral leaching can lead to osteoarthritis. CBD prevents this leaching by blocking the G protein receptor, GPR55, which is also signaled in the spread of cancer cells in the body.

Receptors called Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs) are also activated by CBD. These receptors have been seen to have an anti-cancer effect in studies and show promise in helping with Alzheimer’s.

Other ailments that are believed to be helped by CBD include:

  • Crones Disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Acne

More research is ongoing, and further studies are still needed to discover the full benefits provided by CBD.

Where is CBD Derived From?

There are two sources of CBD; Hemp, which is the agriculturally cultivated plant used to make biofuels, biodegradable plastics, textiles, paper, building materials, and animal feed. Hemp has been cultivated as a crop for many centuries. It grows to between 15 and 20 feet in height. It has a course woody stalk and contains almost zero THC (generally less than 0.3%), for this reason, Hemp does not produce the high of its sibling Marijuana.

Marijuana is the other source of CBD; it differs from Hemp in several ways. Despite both plants coming from the same source Cannabis Sativa L. Marijuana has been cultivated to increase its THC content. The flowers and leaves of marijuana are used to make medicines, for recreational use to achieve a high and for spiritual purposes in some cultures. The plant typically grows to around 5 feet in height and spreads out low to the ground. The marijuana plant can contain between 10 to 30% THC the psychotropic compound that is not present in CBD.


The legality of CBD, despite it having no psychotropic effects, is still in debate. There are contradictory rulings that make it difficult for the law to enforce the control of CBD l usage. In December 2016 the DEA changed the federal register to say that cannabinoids derived from any plant of the genus cannabis were a schedule 1 controlled substance. However, the Farm Bill of 2014 states that products derived from legal hemp farming do not carry any such controls and this would include CBD oil derived from Hemp. As you can see the law is contradictory and this makes enforcement difficult.

The psychotropic form of marijuana is itself legal for recreational and medicinal use in some US states, while CBD is legal in many states with certain criteria attached to it. It remains that for the most part, CBD derived from Hemp is generally recognized as being legal, while that derived from marijuana is only legal in the states where marijuana use is legal either medicinally or recreationally.

You can currently freely use CBD that is from either Hemp or Marijuana in the following states, for both recreational and medicinal purposes, without a prescription:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

CBD that is from either hemp or marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes (with a prescription from a certified medical practitioner) in the states mentioned above plus the following:

Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

CBD that is made from hemp only can be used for medicinal purposes (with a prescription from a qualified medical practitioner) in the above states and the following:

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The states where CBD remains illegal include:

Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

As the political landscape continues to change and the benefits of CBD are more clearly recognized and backed by scientific evidence, it is hoped that its complete legalization will occur across the entire United States within the next 5 to 10 years.

Please consider that rules and regulations regarding the legalities of CBD are changing all the time, so please check carefully to ensure you are within the law before taking CBD in the state where you reside.

Types of CBD Oil

There exist two different types of CBD oil. Full spectrum CBD oil is oil that contains all the other cannabinoids, including any trace amounts of THC from the plant from which it was derived. The other type is called Isolate CBD, where the CBD has been isolated from the other cannabinoids present in the plant from which it was taken. Due to the loss of other valuable cannabinoids in the isolate form, it is not considered to be as potent or effective as the full spectrum CBD oil.

How is CBD Oil Made?

CBD oil is made by extracting it from the cannabis plant in which it is contained. There are principally two methods of extraction, either alcohol extraction which is a process where the plant is soaked in a solvent (usually grain alcohol), filtered to remove the plant remnants and then the alcohol is evaporated off to leave the pure CBD oil behind.

The other method is C02 (Carbon Dioxide) extraction, where the C02 gas is forced through the plant using a series of chambers to collect the different cannabinoids. The pressure and temperature are carefully adjusted to separate out each.

How to Use CBD

There are a large variety of CBD products available, almost all are mixed with other ingredients. The quantity of CBD contained in each product also varies very significantly and it is important to research the amount you require when choosing the best type for your needs.

Some CBD products provide better bioavailability than others. This is also important as the more bio-available the CBD is, the more your body can absorb and use it. Here are a few of the different products that contain CBD and their general bioavailability.


CBD contained in a tincture is usually taken by using a dropper to put a specified number of drops under your tongue. This is then absorbed into the body sublingually. This process has good bioavailability for the body.


These concentrates often come in an edible wax form. The wax is rubbed into the cheeks inside the mouth. Concentrates have good bioavailability.

Vape Oils

If you enjoy vaping or inhalation methods, then the vape oils can provide you with a convenient way of taking the CBD. They have good bioavailability but beware of what else is contained in the mix.

Topical Products

Creams, salves, lotions, anything that you rub into your body or lips. These products usually have a medium level of bioavailability and take a bit longer to get absorbed into the bloodstream. Again, it is as well to be aware of what else is in the mix and try to avoid any harsh chemicals or petroleum products.


Some people choose to take capsules as a daily supplement, unfortunately, although this is usually a cheap way of buying CBD, it is also one of the least effective, as it is then subjected to the digestive tract and is not well absorbed, meaning it has low bio-availability in this form.

Oral Spray

Although some of the CBD in an oral spray will be absorbed in the tissues of the mouth, most are swallowed, which similarly to capsules, means it will be digested and therefore has low bioavailability.


Choosing Which CBD Product to Buy

As you may know already about me, I refuse to be sponsored, not because of ego or anything like that but because as a scientist It would be unethical and I will be biased towards certain products. Every product I recommend are most likely researched based, tried personally by me or I own them and they have a BioFit Performance label on them.

The quality and purity of CBD is completely unregulated. It is therefore difficult to know exactly what you are buying. Be aware that there are unscrupulous people around who will happily sell you fake CBD that has zero health benefits and may, in fact, be harmful. Only use companies that are willing to share all their technical data about their product with you freely, so you can see they care about what they are selling. Look for the products potency, residual solvents or pesticides and any mycotoxins. Consult the experts about who they recommend and read the customer reviews. If an offer seems too good to be true, then it more than likely is. Good quality CBD is not cheap! You can read about the top manufacturers here at

Fitness and CBD

Increasingly people are using CBD to help them with their fitness routine. The World Anti-Doping Agency lifted the ban on CBD not containing THC in 2017 and it is now acceptable for use by all athletes, including professionals.

Pre-Workout CBD

As a pre-workout supplement, CBD can help to:

  • Reduce pain sensitivity
  • Boost energy levels
  • Act as an anti-catabolic

It reduces pain sensitivity due to its analgesic effects; this allows you to train harder during your workout as the muscles produce fewer pain signals. It also works to relieve anxiety and depression, which improves motivation and positivity. Its anti-catabolic properties prevent the catabolic hormones from breaking down muscle tissue; catabolic hormones include cortisol which is attributed to post-workout muscle and joint pain. The net result of a reduced post-workout cortisol load is that lean muscle mass is gained faster and more easily. For best results, it is important to avoid caffeine in all forms, as this will increase cortisol levels.

Post-Workout CBD

The advantages of using CBD post-workout include:

  • Reduction in muscle soreness
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Appetite stimulation
  • General body and mind relaxant

Because CBD helps ease muscle pain and relaxes you, it aids better sleep. Your muscles recover during sleep, which means getting enough good quality sleep is important to aid recovery and build muscle.

Consuming enough protein is necessary to build muscle. Sometimes this can be difficult, but CBD can stimulate appetite and help you eat more post-workout.

Although CBD has been around for a while now and has, in the field, shown itself to be safe and effective, there is still a lack of quality research. Unsurprisingly, most of the research that has been done is on CBD’s medical benefits against serious disease such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and so on.


I have attached various studies on both THC and CBD for my geeky friends to read, some of these include:

CBD and Chronic Inflammation


Addictive Behaviors – Smoking,Opioid Addiction



Anxiety Disorders

Type 1 Diabetes


Alzheimer’s Disease

As I stated previously in this article, a great deal more research is required if the full abilities of both CBD and THC are to be discovered. Unfortunately, because both are a natural product, they hold no real interest for big pharma, where all the money for significant scientific research is funneled. Sadly, it is therefore down to independents who can see the potential in cannabinoids to fund this research, meaning it will be done on a far smaller scale and at a much slower pace.


As we have seen, the effectiveness of using CBD as an aid to improve workout levels, produce quicker muscle development, and shorten recovery times, shows a lot of promise. But, due to the lack of research, it is still not backed up with much scientific evidence.

Because CBD has no psychotropic effects, it is hoped that it will be legalized for general use in many more states across the US. Because the World Anti-Doping Agency now allows the use of non-psychotropic cannabinoids, it would seem reasonable to assume that common sense would also prevail to allow their use by anyone.

Due to there being no regulation on quality or method of manufacture, it is important to buy CBD products from a credible source. Check the products credentials carefully before you buy and try to get recommendations from other people.

I hope you have found this article interesting and informative.

As always, BioFit, Live, Life, Fit.


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Side Of Stretching

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Side Of Stretching

By Kevin Masson MSc, CSCS, CPT, USAW, FMS


Stretching should be a part of every person’s fitness routine. Even though most people who are into fitness know that stretching can be very beneficial, some simply don’t do it. In order to get the most benefits from stretching, it’s important to do it properly. Improper stretching at the wrong time can cause more harm than good. With that in mind, some questions about stretching arise. When should you be stretching and why? What is the difference between dynamic and static stretching?

Benefits of stretching

In order to improve the range of motion around your joints, you need to stretch your muscles. If you are constantly working out but are not working on improving the range of motion around your joints, your performance will suffer. In addition to optimizing your performance during your workouts, stretching will also improve your daily life. The better you are able to move your body, the easier your life will be. There is a quote used by the famous Gray Cook founder of the Functional Movement Screen, “Move well, then move often.” What he means by that is, we first need to have the mobility necessary to function in our daily activities, then we need to move, do it habitually in order to not be sedentary. First comes the quality of the movement then, the quantity.

Additionally, regular stretching also improves circulation. In order for your muscles to work efficiently, they need a healthy blood supply. As we all know, blood delivers nutrients to many parts of your body. Many of those nutrients are essential for keeping your body functioning properly as well as recovering from workouts. If your muscles are too tight and your circulation is hindered, your recovery time will increase. Therefore, in order to reduce the time it takes for you to recover from your challenging workouts, you need to stretch.


Improved posture is another benefit of stretching. If you sit a lot, you will most likely hold tension in your chest, hip flexors, neck, and shoulders. Furthermore, even if you work out often, you will experience muscle tightness if you don’t stretch enough. For example, if you are a typical gym bro, continually doing bench press, your chest will become very tight if you don’t stretch. Over time, your shoulders will become rounded because your chest will be too tight. Unnatural postural deviations, such as rounded shoulders, can cause aches and pains as well as general discomfort. Bad posture also increases your risk for injuries, especially if it is not corrected in time. Add that to a sedentary lifestyle such as working in a seated position all day, and you got yourself a recipe for disaster and future problems.

Stretching will play a part in helping you correct your posture. For example, if you stretch your hip flexors, your pelvis is less likely to be tilted forward. Similarly, if you stretch your chest muscles along with a good strength training program, you will be less likely to have rounded shoulders and it can alleviate a lot of pain occurring from bad posture.

Stretching also helps to reduce stress. Many people often hold tension in their neck and shoulders when they are stressed. Regular stretching will help relax those tense muscles. An example of that is based on yoga, by holding some poses, mixed with breathing techniques can be very relaxing, it can even become a sort of meditation, and most people swear by it.

Now that we know the benefits of stretching, we can discuss the two well-known forms of stretching that you can do. Stretching can either be static or dynamic.

Static Stretching

In general, static stretching is the most known type of stretching. Static stretching is most likely what you learned in PE at school, when a stretch is held for 10 to 40 seconds, depending on the flexibility and goals of the person who is doing the stretch. When it comes to static stretching, the goal is to hold the stretch in a challenging position without hurting yourself. Therefore, you should feel like your muscles are being stretched, but you should not feel pain. If you feel pain, then that means you are going too far at this time. Many fitness professionals consider static stretching to be an excellent way to improve flexibility. Furthermore, static stretching is considered safe. One example of a static stretch is the doorway chest stretch prescribed a lot by physical therapists to patients suffering from tight pectoral muscles.


Be very careful when you use static stretching. Static stretching SHOULD NOT be performed before an activity. If you do static stretching before engaging in physical activities, you are more likely to negatively impact your performance or put yourself at risk for injury. Research also shows that static stretching may inhibit the CNS (central nervous system), potentially making us weaker or less able to perform with power. Therefore, the best time for static stretching is after your workout, or even better in a session by itself. Your muscles have to be warmed up prior to static stretching. Stretching cold muscles is counterproductive and will do more harm than good.


Static stretching can also be done passively where a coach or partner will stretch the individual to their maximum range of motion and hold the stretch there for 30 seconds. This can be done a few times to stretch the muscle, but an even better way to increase range of motion is to use a method called PNF stretching.  It stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. PNF stretching usually employs the use of a partner to provide resistance against the isometric contraction and then later to passively take the joint through its increased range of motion. Research shows that PNF is the golden standard if an increased range of motion is the goal.

Dynamic Stretching

Contrary to static stretching, dynamic stretching is when you repeatedly move through the joint’s full range of motion. Dynamic stretching should be challenging, controlled and smooth. Many fitness professionals and coaches believe that dynamic stretching is more beneficial than static stretching. This is also backed up by research that shows dynamic stretching done during warm-up is advantageous to the athlete.


Another benefit to dynamic stretches is that they are very similar to the movements that are actually performed during an activity. Therefore, dynamic stretches make sense to be part of a warm-up routine.  Many professional athletes use dynamic stretches in their warm-ups. For example, performing some bodyweight lunges will target the glutes and leg muscles, creating blood flow and muscle activation for the activity that will come next. Coaches love to mix in some mobility in their dynamic stretching warm-up routine, and one way to do it is by incorporating some animal flow.

If you have never heard or done animal flow before I highly recommend you try it. I personally like it as a warm-up, but this could easily be done as an all-body mobility workout.


Please note that there is a big difference between dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching. Although they both involve movements, ballistic stretching involves rapid, often uncontrolled movements, forcing your muscles and joints to move beyond their range of motion. Ballistic stretching should not be mistaken for dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is definitely far safer. Furthermore, it allows for a more gradual approach to improving your range of motion, as opposed to ballistic stretching, which can shock your muscles.

To summarize, stretching should be part of everyone’s fitness regimen. There are many benefits to stretching, including: stress reduction, improvement in performance, increase in flexibility, improvement in circulation as well as injury prevention. Every routine should include a combination of static and dynamic stretches. Static stretches require you to hold a position for a set amount of time. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, require you to move through the full range of motion. It is imperative to only do static stretches after your muscles have already been warmed up. Therefore, static stretches should not be done before engaging in physical activity. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are safe to do before your activity as part of your warm-up routine. Regular stretching, when done correctly and at the appropriate times, can make a vastly positive impact on your performance and health.

Take away points

  • Stretching is great to decrease potential injury by increasing muscle range of motion.
  • Stretching promotes warm-up and recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles
  • It decreases pain and improves posture especially for desk jockey and sedentary people suffering from bad posture.
  • Static stretching should be done only when the muscle is already warmed-up, after training or on a session of itself.
  • PNF Stretching is the best stretch you can do to increase range of motion.
  • Dynamic stretching is a stretch done by actively taking the joint through its full range of motion.
  • Dynamic stretching should be part of your warm-up routine.
  • Ballistic stretching is NOT dynamic stretching and should not be confused.




Behm, D.G. 2011. A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. Sports. Eur J appl Physiol/ 111 (11): 2633-51

Andersson B. 2000. Stretching: 20thanniversary. Bolinas, CA: Shelter