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Tucson, Arizona 85704

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The Pulse - December 2014

Gift Certificates ~ Best Gift Ever!

Who doesn’t want to move better, feel better and live better? Give your friends and family health and happiness that can last a lifetime.  BodyBasics gift certificates are available at the studio. Make this the year you give the gift of life long health and fitness to someone you love.

Article – Epigenetics and Your Health by Chris Litten

As I was finishing up a session recently, I was talking with a client who is really set on getting her fitness back to a previously realized level she knows she can attain. As I asked her about what she was doing to compliment her sessions at BodyBasics she beamed confidently telling me about her added walks and even some at home exercise. I was thrilled for her. Knowing that she also needs to improve her body composition I asked her what dietary changes she was making to which she said she knew she needed to get to that. Acknowledging that she needed to improve in that area was great. But then I was startled when she asked me if her genetics influenced her ability to change her body composition also. I assured her that she is in no way held captive from achieving a healthy body because of genetics. And then I went right to writing this article for all of you to hear as well. My hope in writing this is to both educate and empower. I want to explore at some length how our genetic code is influenced by so much more that what we were born with.

For starters, let’s visit what genes are. Simply, they are tiny strings of chemicals that are the microscopic building blocks of life.1 They essentially contain complete instruction manuals for every living thing. Genes consist of four different chemicals called nucleotide bases. The four nucleotides are called adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). The different characteristics we have that are hardwired such as our natural hair color, the color of our eyes, our bone structure, these are all a part of our genetic code. But, contrary to early thinking about our gene makeup, other things such as incidence for heart disease, our likelihood for getting cancer, obesity, insulin resistance are not completely out of our control. Granted certain people based on ethnic backgrounds, family history, and other longer developing histories are more susceptible to certain gene expressions than others. However, a bright spot is that what’s also become clear in recent years is that genetics is only half of the discussion. Our lifestyles are equally important in increasing or reducing our risk of various diseases. Research in the new field of epigenetics is finding that our lifestyle choices – the foods we put in our bodies, the chemicals we are exposed to, how active we opt to be, even our social environments – can actually alter our health at the level of the gene. These choices can have big effects on our risk for disease, even if our genes seem to be working against us. So before throwing your hands up and saying, “What can I do? It’s all up to my genes,” read on.

Looking at the differences between two identical twins is a good way to understand the field of epigenetics. So, let’s say you are one of two identical twins. You’re identical twin was adopted at birth and contrary to your wonderful upbringing, was brought up on the road as a circus performer. Your twin was malnourished, exposed to nasty fumes (have you ever smelled elephant dung?), and started smoking at the age of 10. You on the other hand grew up well taken care of, with solid nutrition and no exposure to smoke or any other toxic fumes. You can imagine that the two of you would probably come out different despite having the exact same genetic code. Despite you and your pretend twin coming from the same gene pool your individual influences turn on or turn off genes (methyls and histones, worth looking up if you like this stuff) causing you each to have different levels of risk for disease, mental conditions such as anxiety or depression, and so on.

Another great way to visualize the differences between your epigenetics and your genetics is to think of your genetics as a pen and your epigenetics as a pencil. The pen does not erase and therefore cannot be changed. That would be something like your eye color. But your epigenetics are your pencil and you have all authority to use your pencil’s eraser and alter elements of your genetic makeup based on your choices. A great example of this is a study2 I came across where people with a predisposition for heart disease were tracked. All of the participants had been determined to be carriers of a specific gene, 9p21, that was well recognized for its association with cardiovascular disease. The investigators involved in the study sought to find a causal relationship between 9p21 carriers and heart attack risk in individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. Interestingly they included any interactions from environment in their studies. What they found was that despite having such a strongly correlating gene to heart disease, those individuals who followed a prudent diet high in raw vegetables and fruits significantly reduced their risk of ever having a cardiovascular event.

Hopefully you have found this information as empowering as I intended it to be. As we head into 2015 let this additional reminder of how much control you have over change in your life, down to the level of your genes, guide your decision making. And, please share any changes that you have experienced this year with me. I would LOVE to hear them.

1-Mork, Rachel. “Explanation of Genes and Chromosomes for Kids.” – Life123. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

2-The Effect of Chromosome 9p21 Variants on Cardiovascular Disease May Be Modified by Dietary Intake: Evidence from a Case/Control and a Prospective Study

Do R, Xie C, Zhang X, Männistö S, Harald K, et al. (2011) The Effect of Chromosome 9p21 Variants on Cardiovascular Disease May Be Modified by Dietary Intake: Evidence from a Case/Control and a Prospective Study. PLoS Med 8(10): e1001106. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001106

Welcome New and Returning Clients

Sam Diamond referred by John Corbett at All About Running and Walking.

Beth Broadwell – Heard about us in the Northwest Explorer.

Judy Raffety referred by Lorri Tomeo-Gaffney.

Tony Ivy referred by his wife Tami.

Teddi Lynch – Welcome back!

“Shout Outs”

Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for several months and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.

Congrats to those who rode in the Tour De Tucson: Teena Sandstrom, 40 miles, Ross and Stephanie Henderson, tandem 55 miles, Mike Haas, 55 miles!

Pamela Dintaman for planning her healthy snacks for a recent trip before even deciding what clothes to pack!

Ron Thomas for blowing the 1200 Super Hero Status out of the water with a personal total of 1965 minutes of activity in November!

Marge Furash for not missing a single session despite dealing with a nagging injury since September and now climbing back to nearly 100% again!

Mo Goldman for stepping up his nutrition to support his goal of being leaner next year and demonstrating his commitment by going to Vegas recently and still losing weight!

Shoe Drive Results

Thanks to all of you, we collected 124 pairs of shoes for the kids at Ochoa Elementary School!

Upcoming Events

Gift of Love Tree – Now thru December 12th!Tree Pic

The ICS Gifts of Love program is a way to match families in need with donors and groups (faith communities, schools, businesses, civic organizations) who are willing to help meet seasonal needs.

This will be BodyBasics 4th year participating in this wonderful program.  For more information on ICS and the Gift of Love program, click here.

This year we have a family of 6 who are in need of some help this holiday season.  The Tree is up and we are collecting gifts now through December 12th.  It’s easy to participate, simply take an ornament off the tree, fulfill the wish on the ornament and return the item with the ornament on it so we know who it goes to.  Gifts can be wrapped or not.


Best of the Northwestbest of the northwest

It’s that time of year again.  If you feel we are the best training studio in the Northwest, then let your voice be heard and vote!

Simply click on this picture, select sports and recreation, best gym/fitness center and cast your vote.

Save the Date!  January 24th, 5-8pm

Get Moving Celebration at The Westin La Paloma. If you have delayed fulfilling the challenge to get 20 links on your activity chain, make December count! We will be hosting a wonderful evening of food and fun just for those who complete the 20 link challenge.

Client Spotlight – MaryJo Schwartz

Mary Jo Schwartz is this month’s client spotlight.  A client since August, 2012, Mary Jo trains one on one sessions with Mike once a week, and participates in two group sessions per week.  She has remained very consistent and is seeing great results! IMG_0381

Much of her training focus for 2014 was to prepare for the “Camino de Santiago” which is a pilgrimage or walk across Spain.  To train for the month-plus-long adventure, Mary Jo increased her cardiovascular endurance by walking several miles per week as her “homework”, and trained at BodyBasics on the treadmill with a weight vest, at a faster than normal pace, and at a steep uphill grade to help prepare her for many long days carrying her pack.  Mary Jo saw steady improvements in her maximum heart rate, her perceived exertion rate, and her recovery heart rate, which are all indicators of improved fitness.  Additionally, Mary Jo added upper body strength, and realized much improved mobility throughout her body by staying consistent with her training.  Her hard work and preparation enabled her to complete the 750 kilometers pain-free in less than 5 weeks!  That’s an average of 23km per day over the 33 day pilgrimage!

Upon returning from her adventure, Mary Jo was re-assessed with Mike and saw positives in every area.  Her body fat % was lower, her Body Mass Index decreased, and she weighed in 22 pounds lighter.  Additionally her Functional Movement Screen score improved, and she reports feeling more energized than she has in years.  It was certainly a great accomplishment realized through hard work and dedication!  Keep it up Mary Jo!!

Recipe – Chicken Tortilla Soup

What is better than a warm bowl of chicken tortilla soup on a cold night?  Not too much, so check this out and try it!

Ingredients:tortilla soup

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 oz) can of condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions

1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft.  Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth and water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

2. Stir in corn, beans, cilantro and chicken.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  I like to let simmer for an hour to let flavors mix.

Serve with you favorite toppings: crushed tortilla chips, sliced avocado, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, chopped green onions or add your own.  I also like warmed tortillas for dipping!

This Month’s In Studio Challenge Is… Get Moving!

This month is all about Moving!  The goal is to get moving physically at a minimum 600 minutes this month.  For those of you looking for Super Hero status, the target is 1200 minutes!  Any exercise oriented activity counts; hiking, cycling, walking, running, swimming, rowing, dancing,  and BodyBasics group classes or private sessions are all great ideas!  Be adventurous and try something new.  Details can be found inside the studio at the front desk.  Now here is the fun part – for each 60 minutes of activity you complete you get to add a link to your chain.  The chains are a fun way to show your progress, they will hang around the gym. For those of you who achieve the minimum of 20 links you get to celebrate your success in January at a special party!

Party Details:  January 24th at the Westin La Paloma 5-8pm.  Have you earned your invite yet?  It’s not too late to get moving!

Congrats to those who have!!!

Ron Thomas, Dennis and Amanda Ritchie, Teena Sandstrom, Phaedra Horkey, Dee Fletcher, Maureen Raine, Chris Litten, Marge and Richard Furash, Nelda Chimienti, Mike Haas, Pamela Dintamen, Amber Stazenski, Myrya Ruiz, Sherry Hansen, Karen Henley, Jen Halvey, Barbro Huth, Amy and Mo Goldman, Mike Liebert, Paul Simon, Nancy Forbes

Video – Spine Mobility Leads to Shoulder Mobility


Team BodyBasicsstaff pic revised - C (3)


Myrya, Chris, Amber, Zane, Maureen, and Mike

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