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The Pulse - September/October 2011

In this issue:Toggle Table of Content

Take Action Against Bone Loss!!!

Come out and try the newest small group class at BodyBasics.

Be Educated, Motivated, and Inspired by Nick McKim and others in a safe environment to take a stand against bone loss.

Choose 1 of the 2 FREE Trial Classes to take place Saturday September 17, at 11am and 1pm

Please Call 520-396-8205 for more information and to reserve your space. Class size will be limited to 6 participants.

The BEST Combination for Bone-loss Prevention

Osteoporosis is a serious health issue in the United States. With more than 25 million people affected, 80% of those are women. A woman’s bone mass reaches its peak in her 20s. As she ages, she will begin to lose bone over the years with the onset of menopause accelerating the process. The good news is that by establishing an exercise program designed to improve muscle mass, women (and men) can slow down bone loss reducing the risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Often times, when a doctor prescribes physical activity, walking is the main exercise mentioned. Strength training or resistance training can be overlooked. Walking is a great exercise because it is easy to do and for the most part, everyone can do it. However, in the case of osteoporosis prevention, resistance training is a very valuable component. In other words, strength training and osteoporosis prevention are better together.

The BEST Study

In 1995, the University of Arizona conducted a study called the BEST study. BEST stands for Bone, Estrogen, and Strength Training. The purpose of this study was to determine how strength training exercise can affect bone density in two groups of women: those who were on hormone therapy and those who were not, as well as those who also exercised and those who did not.

The study followed 266 Tucson-area women between the ages of 45-65 and who were 3-10 years postmenopausal. These women were sedentary, non-smokers, and had no history of bone fractures or osteoporosis. Approximately half of these women were on hormone replacement therapy and half were not. They were randomly broken up into two groups, one that performed regular exercise and one that did no exercise (the control group). Both groups were given a supplement of 800mg of calcium daily.

The Exercisers

The women in the exercise group attended training sessions three days a week, on non-consecutive days under the supervision of a fitness trainer. Each exercise session lasted 60 minutes and included stretching, balance, weight-bearing activities (i.e. steps or treadmill walking with weighted vests), and weight lifting. Every exercise performed was monitored and progress was recorded. The six main strength training exercises the study focused on were:

  1. Seated Leg Press
  2. Seated Row
  3. Back Extension
  4. Lat Pulldown
  5. One-arm Military Press
  6. Wall Squat, progression to the Smith squat

These exercises were chosen to specifically develop the muscle groups of the hips and back to help promote healthy posture and spinal support.

The exercise group completed two sets of six to eight repetitions at 70% (twice a week) and 80% (once a week) of their one repetition maximum (1-RM). These 1-RMs were recalculated every six-weeks to maintain intensity and adjust weight load as necessary.


After 12 months, the BEST researchers concluded that strength training exercises combined with calcium supplements significantly improved bone mineral density in postmenopausal women regardless of their hormone replacement therapy status. After four-years, the data also shows that the women who continued with 800mg of calcium daily experienced greater improvement than those who consumed less calcium. Likewise, those women who exercised more frequently and consistently also showed greater improvement in bone mineral density than those who exercised less frequently. It was noted that for both the hip joint and the lumbar spine (lower back), the women who consistently lifted more weight over four years had a significantly more positive change in bone mineral density.

The important thing to note, is that the exercise and calcium supplement facilitated positive change in the women’s bone mineral density, whether they were taking hormones or not. However, muscle strength improved by 28% – 67% in women who exercised and were on hormone-replacement therapy and 25% – 75% in women who exercised without taking the hormones. These results show that while hormone replacement therapy may improve strength and bone density, exercise and adequate amounts of calcium also show significant improvement, with or without the hormones.

Consistency is Key

In order to receive data over four years, a good number of the subjects needed to stay consistent with their exercise programs. The BEST study created support programs to keep participants motivated and therefore promote high levels of retention. The support programs created fun, social environments and challenged the participants to improve their daily exercise performance. These programs included: workshops, monthly newsletters, Personal Best testing every two months, goal setting, personal contracts, motivational meals, and two major promotional events held each year at exercise facilities or community parks.

The BEST Combination for Better Health

BEST researchers found that those who performed resistance training exercises two times a week or more maintained or improved bone density. The subjects that were studied for four years helped the researchers come to the conclusion that calcium intake, exercise, and hormone therapy were all factors that improved bone mineral density.

The BEST program was designed for osteoporosis prevention and not for those individuals who already have osteoporosis. Over the years, the subjects who stayed on the program reported strong social benefits along with the physical improvements. The program is deemed very valuable to these women and they consider it a “confidence builder” for life. Many of the participants who have continued on this program have been consistently exercising now for over 10 years and are 70 years of age or older. Testimonies from these women reveal they believe they are emotionally and mentally more resilient to handle whatever life circumstance comes their way. They feel the exercise program has dramatically enriched their lives and given them back their zest for life!

The BEST study proves just how valuable strength training is in preventing a serious disease that affects so many women in our country today. In fact, while strength training, calcium supplements, and hormone replacement therapy can individually benefit bone health, this study clearly shows that they are definitely better together! So, go out and do your best in making your body strong to fend off osteoporosis!


Metcalfe, Lauve, M.S., FAWHP. WOMEN’S HEALTH: The BEST Strength Training Program for Osteoporosis Prevention. ACSM’s Certified News October-December 2010. Volume 20:4. P. 7 11.

Client Spotlight

Judy Krautter – September

Judy Krautter started training with Maureen almost exactly a year ago. Judy has worked hard to strengthen her shoulder and for the first time is pain free in that area. Her core stability and posture have dramatically improved as well. Along the way, she has steadily increased strength and stamina too. Judy is doing things that a short while ago she thought were impossible, most notably, jumping up onto an 8 inch box! She brings her fun and adventurous personality to each work out and is excited to see just how strong she will become. We all look forward to finding out what she is capable of. Congratulations on your accomplishments.

Virginia Moyer – October

Virginia Moyer attends the 6am small group class 3 times a week almost without fail. She knows that one of the keys to being fit is to be consistent with her workouts. About the only time we don’t get to see Virginia’s awesome push-ups is when she’s off traveling with her husband in their camper. Outside of the studio, she also plays the viola with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. What we most appreciate about Virginia is her kind and cheerful personality. She’s always quick with a good morning even at such an early hour. As an experienced gamer, she helps us welcome newer class members with a smile and friendly encouragement. Virginia, you get us all off to a good start each day you’re with us.

Calcium for Bone Health

In the main article of this issue of The Pulse, we learned about the importance exercise has in improving bone health. The article also shows that adequate intake of calcium can prove to have positive results on our bones as well. Data from the BEST Study showed that over four years, the women who supplemented with 800mg of calcium and exercised had greater improvements in bone mineral density than those women who consume less calcium. What exactly does calcium do in our bodies? How much calcium do we need? What is the best way to get it on a daily basis? Read on to get the facts about calcium and how it can affect your health!

What does calcium do for our bodies?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, etc. However, less than 1% of the body’s calcium is used for these purposes. The other 99% is stored in the bones and teeth and provide structure and strength to these areas. Our bones are on a continuous cycle of absorbing and depositing calcium into new bone. This give-and-take cycle changes with age. As the bones are forming in growing children and adolescents, the bone formation exceeds resorption (the destruction of bones or tooth dentin). In early and middle adulthood, these processes are fairly equal. As our bodies age, and especially in postmenopausal women, the bone breakdown exceeds bone formation. It is this loss of bone that increases our risk for osteoporosis.

How much calcium do we need?
The recommended daily amount of calcium differs by gender and age and whether a woman is pregnant or lactating.

*Adequate Intake (AI) these numbers are given when evidence is insufficient to develop and RDA, but to ensure adequate nutrition intake.

What are the best ways to get enough calcium into our daily diets?

Natural food sources such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium. Some of the nondairy sources of calcium include: kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage. Spinach, surprisingly, provides some calcium, but the body does not absorb it very well. Does this mean Popeye didn’t get his muscles from the spinach alone?? Grains may also provide a solid amount of calcium in the average diet. Grains themselves have a smaller amount of calcium, but because they are eaten in higher quantities, more calcium is then consumed. These days, there are many foods that are fortified with calcium including: fruit juices, soy or nut milks, tofu, and cereals.

Food is the superior method in consuming vitamins and minerals over a supplement. However, meeting the recommended amount of calcium can be difficult on a daily basis. This is especially challenging for those who are unable, or who choose to omit or limit dairy in their diets. Calcium deficiency is not usually noticed in the short term, but over time, inadequate calcium intake can cause osteopenia and eventually, osteoporosis. Therefore, a calcium supplement may be necessary to meet the recommended guidelines.


National Institute of Health

Healthy Recipe – Creamed Kale with Mushrooms

Enjoy this calcium-packed yummy side dish! For a healthier version, substitute half and half or milk (low-fat or non-fat) for the cream.

  • 1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as shitake, porcini, crimini, wiped clean
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 1-2 bundles kale, washed, stripped and shredded or chopped (about 4-5 cups raw)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • About 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • About 1/2-2/3 cup cream (or substitute half and half or milk)
  • Freshly grated pecorino cheese

Serves 4


Stem and slice or coarsely chop the mushroom blend. Heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and brown for 10 minutes, then add in the garlic, thyme, and sage. Stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the kale and cook until just wilted. Season with salt, pepper and a few grates of nutmeg. Stir for a few minutes more, then add in the Marsala and reduce the liquid by half, cook another minute or two. Add the cream to the mushrooms in the pan and reduce heat.  Let the flavors combine a few minutes until cream thickens. Serve the mushroom dish garnished with a few grates of cheese.

Each serving of this side dish will give you around 150mg of calcium (not including the calcium in the cheese sprinkled on top)! Happy healthy eating!

Our Mission:

To empower you to realize your innate abilities by providing an environment that nurtures, educates, and inspires.

Keep up the great work!

Chris, Mike H, Maureen, Mike D., Jenny, Nick, and Amelia

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