Click Here if you are unable to see the full content or animation of this eNewsletter  



     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2011 issue 4



Here Comes the Sun!

Nowadays, it's tough to decide if that is a good or bad thing.  If you're ready to tackle the sun this year, you're going to want to be smart about it to ensure that you get your vitamin D, without causing excessive damage to your skin!

Vitamin D deficiency is now associated with more than two dozen internal cancers, heart disease and many other ailments.  There are vitamin D advocates that are exploring whether vitamin D sufficiency can improve athletic performance.  There is considerable evidence already showing how vitamin D is related to athletic conditioning, much of it dating back to the 1950s and earlier.

However, exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces. Consider this: One woman at age 40 who has protected her skin from the sun actually has the skin of a 30-year-old!  Skin color obtained from being in the sun – or in a tanning booth – actually accelerates the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced naturally when skin is exposed to UVB in sunlight.  It has been established that vitamin D is related to musculoskeletal performance and even increases the size and number of fast-twitch muscle fibers.  Since humans spend more time indoors out of the sun today than any point in human history, it follows that we're probably making a lot less vitamin D than we should.

Vitamin D deficiency is common among athletes.  There is evidence to suggest that athletic performance peaks when vitamin D levels are peaking, and that athletic performance declines as vitamin D levels decline.  An entire field of research from 1920-1960 on Eastern European athletes supports the theory that sunlight-induced vitamin D improved the performance of top athletes.

As early as 1932, German authors reported on the beneficial effects of UV radiation, indicating such practices were widely known in the 1930s and 40s, at least in Germany.  "It is a well-known fact that physical performance can be increased through ultraviolet irradiation," according to some research papers.  In 1927, a heated argument arose after the decision by the German Swimmers Association since the sunlamp, as an artificial aid, constituted an athletic unfairness, doping, so to speak."

Humans get 90 percent of their vitamin D naturally from sun exposure.  When fair-skinned people sunbathe for 20 minutes in the summer, they produce about 20,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in 20 minutes.  An athlete would have to drink 200 glasses of American milk (100 IU per 8oz glass) or take 50 standard multivitamins (400 IU) to obtain this same amount orally.  Government recommendations today for vitamin D intake range from 200-600 IU daily.. although most vitamin D advocates believe 1,000-2,000 IU daily are necessary to increase vitamin D levels in the bloodstream to sufficient levels.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers in the U.S. and the number of cases continues to rise. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. This rapid growth results in tumors, which are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control.  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, but UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime.

Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have fair or freckled skin that burns easily, light eyes and blond or red hair.  The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a new mole or skin lesion or a change in an existing mole.

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every few hours thereafter.
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
  • Peak UV radiation hours are between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. if you need to avoid sun exposure.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Eighty percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.

So as with many things in life, moderation is key.  While there are certainly benefits from the vitamin D that is acquired from the sun, don't overdo your sun exposure and take precautions to ensure that you are taking care of your skin while soaking up the rays!

ref. Real Magazine (v2 i4), WebMD



Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Pushup Jacks


Jumping Jacks and Push Ups... 2 of the oldest exercises in the books.  This exercise combines both of them for a pushup that provides an additional challenge for your core and glutes as it adds a little more plyometric flair while your feet are leaving the ground.  If you are a fan of pushups like me, you will be sure to like adding this variation to your repertoire!


Target:  chest, shoulders, arms, core, glutes (pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps brachii, rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Starting from a high plank (top position of a pushup), jump your legs wide as you go down.  Jump your legs back together as you forcefully push up again.  Repeat for repetitions.

Changing it Up

I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes when you've been working out for years upon years, doing the same routine week after week, excitement levels can drop a bit and rob you of some very important workout fuel... motivation!  Motivation pumps you up and makes your workouts enjoyable, in addition to giving you more energy to get the most from them. 

Besides the motivation aspect of mixing things up, it's pretty much a necessity to change your routine every month or so in order to continually challenge your body to adapt.  Don't get me wrong, continuing to do what you do (workout wise) is certainly beneficial... it's just that your body gets used to doing what you do and slows down the amount of progress that you make.  This is called the SAID principle or Specific Adaptations to Implied Demand.  Once your body has made most of its adaptations to the demand that your workout is placing on it, the need to continue to adapt (make beneficial changes) decreases.

I like to change things up and get creative about it.  In the warm weather I try to get some miles in on my road bike and participate in some charity bike rides.  Last year I discovered Kangoo Jumps (due to a knee problem) and began running again.  I'll tell ya, just mixing up my cardio in that way really helped my motivation and excitement level in approaching my workouts.  In the winter months, I mixed my cardio workouts between interval training on the elliptical, P90X Plyometrics, and INSANITY cardio sessions.  Again... plenty of motivation just by changing the workouts and giving me something different to look forward to.

For the past year or so, I've also been mixing up some of my resistance days.  Sure, I'll hit many of the standard weight training exercises that I've been doing for years... I'll even keep with the chest-shoulder-triceps, back-biceps-neck, legs-abs splits that I've been doing for quite some time.  But I also like to throw some old school, primitive training exercises in there... or even some newer stuff that starts to get a lot of chatter.  You never know how you're going to respond to a different stimulus until you give it a shot!

It seems that I'm not the only knucklehead that enjoys this primitive strongman stuff.  I've had more and more folks express and interest and/or participate in some of these unique workouts.  Sure, the gyms and clubs get the job done, but there's something to be said for flipping tires, hauling sandbags, and gripping ropes that get the testosterone and adrenaline levels up and make you feel good about getting wiped out!  I just started a weekend Warrior Workout Club for some of my local partners in crime... Hit me up if you're up for it!


It's Go Time!

April Hours bring May Power!  Yeah, I like that better than the whole showers and flowers thing.  In other words... put the time in now and you will see the benefits soon enough.  But hard work and a little patience will go a long way!

Of course, April also starts so bring us some nicer weather... for those of us living up in the northeast.  Nicer weather always has a way of kicking up your energy levels and overall attitude.  It's certainly a lot easier convincing people to get out and start exercising when the weather breaks! 

How about you?  Have you set your goals?  Did you sign up for that 5K that you've been talking about doing some day?  How about that bike ride that some of your friends have been trying to convince you to do?  Let the weather jump start your fitness regime and commit to something now!  Whether it is a group of friends, your family, or just you... there are plenty of reasons to take control of your fitness and get moving! 

For prior issues of this eNewsletter, to subscribe, or unsubscribe, please visit the following link -->


Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


"Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better”

youtube of the month --> Stability Ball Exercises
A TODAY! Fitness compilation of stability ball exercises | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




Get Toned!   Get Fit!   Lose Weight!   Feel Great!


TODAY! Fitness, LLC. , Bear, Delaware