Super Body Super Brain- The Workout That Does It All By Michael Gonzalez Wallace HarperOne Publishers 2010
Reviewed By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
The author sets out a number of important goals early in the volume. These goals are as follows:
o reduce body fat o strengthen the core and muscles of the upper/lower body o strengthen the heart and lungs o increase balance o transform posture o increase alertness and memory
There is an extensive section which describes the functioning of the brain. The brain may be rewired during learning by developing new synapses called neuroplasticity or adaptation. Aerobic exercises increase the brain derived neurotropic factor - a protein that promotes the growth of neurons. When nerve connections get thicker, there is a quickening of reasoning. Exercise releases endorphins or the classic runners' high. Acupuncture is a known modality for utilizing endorphins to help relieve chronic pain. 1)
The techniques of Dr. Lozanov include breathing exercises to oxygenate the body so that the mind is relaxed and prepared for concentration. Classical music may be introduced as a motivator in facilitating the process of learning and setting the conditions wherein it can occur optimally. Nothing less than a serious effort at following these techniques will be required . Dr. Lozanov was a pioneer in perfecting techniques to facilitate healing through relaxation techniques aimed at obtaining optimal functioning of the mind. 2)
Suggestology investigates the subsensory signals or subliminal stimuli which come from the physical or social environment and which are absorbed into the unconscious mind before receiving a conscious expression. Suggestion, especially spoken suggestion, activates the reserve capacities of the mind or the memory. Suggestopedia increases memorization capacities. Hypermnesia is facilitated by relaxation techniques (derived from yoga and autogenic therapy) which increase the subject's suggestibility to spoken suggestions or unconscious stimuli. 3) 4)
There is a very extensive section of exercises for both men and women. A beauty of the presentation is that the exercises are presented in a separate section for both men and women.
Samples are as follows:
o opposite arm and leg raise o semi-squat plie' with upper back extensor o opposite arm and leg extension o semi-lunge with shoulder raise o opposite arm and leg extension
Walking is known to improve balance, coordination, muscle efficiency, posture, strength etc. The author teaches that exercise enhances the stimulation of the area of the brain that controls not only balance and coordination, but also vital cognitive functions. The cerebellum takes in all of the necessary input from our muscles with a view toward organizing the information effortlessly. The cerebellum fast tracks this information multi-directionally to other brain parts and the frontal lobes, as well. The open research question is the comparative impact of specific exercises on diseases of the cerebellum.
Diseases of the cerebellum are complex. For instance, damage to the cerebellar component of the distributed neural circuit subserving sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional processing disrupts the universal cerebellar transform. This disruption leads to the universal cerebellar impairment affecting the lesioned domain.
The universal cerebellar impairment manifests as ataxia when the sensorimotor cerebellum is involved and as the CCAS when pathology is in the lateral hemisphere of the posterior cerebellum (involved in cognitive processing) or in the vermis (limbic cerebellum). Cognitive and emotional disorders may accompany cerebellar diseases or be their principal clinical presentation, and this has significance for the diagnosis, treatment and clinical management of patients with cerebellar dysfunction. 5)
There is an extensive section on smart food which is brain-friendly. i.e. apples, asparagus, spinach, lean beef, blueberries, strawberries, dark chocolate, eggs, whole grains, green tea, olive oil, flaxseed oil, yogurt, prunes, salmon and walnuts- to mention just a few.
Nutritionally, I believe that we should eat less animal products, whole milk, white rice, sugar, candy, caffeine and transfats. A corollary is to avoid calorie dense foods like french fries and processed foods with little or no nutritive value. Sweets should be eliminated-period. Good replacements are nuts, seeds, juicing strawberries, a high quality dark chocolate , yogurts and many other substitutes.
Veggie proteins are highly sought. Examples are soy, quinoa and seaweeds. Spices should be added to food to enhance flavor and boost anti-oxidants. Examples are ginger, curry, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, seeds, anise, sea salt, vinegar, low sodium broths and extra virgin oil.
Foods like squash, sweet potatoes, beans, lettuce and fiber are highly desirable. Natural sources of calcium are broccoli, spinach and fortified soy.
The book has a very extensive section on food recipes including: o The Garden Vegetable Frittata o The Whole Wheat Breakfast Wrap o Marinated Filet Mignon with Grilled Asparagus and Crushed Yukon Gold Potato
There is an extensive bibliography including citations from the popular medical literature. i.e.
o The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology o Nature Reviews Neuroscience o Journal of Physiology o The British Medical Journal o The American Journal of Cardiology
In the reviewer's opinion, this whole process could be facilitated by eating less junk food, sugary sodas, hard liquor and eliminating tobacco. The Paleolithic Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also historic healthful food choices which have been around for centuries.
Here are some guidelines for added sugar based on calories in the daily food choices:
1,600 calories - Limit sugar to 6 teaspoons per day or 22 grams per day 2,200 calories - Limit sugar to 12 teaspoons per day or 44 grams per day 2,800 calories - Limit sugar to 18 teaspoons per day or 66 grams per day 6)
A single can of soda can have 40 grams of sugar or more . The challenge is to find good substitutes like water or herbal teas . Another possibility would be to place an excess consumption tax on all cans of soda containing more than 18 grams of sugar. This action alone might help fight childhood diabetes which never existed at the present levels in previous generations.
Michael Gonzolez-Wallace is a highly sought after personal trainer and expert on fitness. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He has been featured in Prevention and Fitness Magazines.
5) Disorders of the cerebellum: ataxia, dysmetria of thought, and the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. Schmahmann JD. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.