Go to Navigation Go to Content

Westheimer Student Highlight - Alain Mikael Frankiewicz

What is your name and age?

My name is Alain Mikael Frankiewicz, and the spelling of my name was inspired by the French race car driver; and, yes I like to drive fast! I am 41 years young.

When did you join Elite MMA?

I joined Elite MMA on April 4, 2018.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?

My overall goal was to become healthier and more fit again after a long hiatus from exercise. Specifically, I wanted to build strength in my atrophied muscles and lose excess weight piled on due to lack of exercise and a plethora of medications. I have a rare medical condition called exercise induced urticaria. This condition causes me to have anaphylactic reactions to any level of exercise recently after eating. I tried various medications, steroids, inhalers, antihistamines, and not eating 4-6 hours before any activities. My doctors informed me that the best treatment for me was cessation of exercise as well as avoiding any stressful activities, including temperature changes, and emotional stress. Like that is possible-right? My thoughts exactly when I learned about my condition at the ripe age of 27. Even though I was born and raised in Houston Texas, at the time, I was living up North playing and coaching ice hockey. After a year of close death encounters from anaphylaxis while exercising, I returned home, where I was officially diagnosed and began a treatment regime of several medications, including prednisone steroids. To top it off my doctors prescribed no exercise as I was experiencing severe hives and breathing problems just walking from the car into a location. In addition, I developed other severe food and environmental allergies.

Of course, I was in denial and tried to continue to exercise for several more years resulting in numerous hospitalizations and yet more waves of steroids and other medications. Over a decade of frustration, mutiny by my body, mental anguish, and lethargy flew by until I had become someone unrecognizable to myself. Growing up I never had any medical issues and I played competitive ice hockey at the highest level, including the Division I collegiate level, National team and Olympic team. So, naturally, I was like most children/young adults who believe their body is invincible and they can conquer the world. In fact, my passion and love of sport was my way of life as I was coaching at the Division I level until my acute medical condition showed up for no known reason and forced me to leave the sport, career, identity, and physical life that I had cultivated over the years. In short, there are a myriad of reasons why I wanted to start taking martial arts but I think at the core of my decision was the hope that I could find a sport that allowed me to exert energy through controlled physical movements while enjoying the spirit of a team again without exciting a medical reaction. Also, it helped that the gym is considerably cooler than the outside temperature and there are fans!

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?

Although I played a stereotypical ‘rough’ sport of ice hockey, which at the NHL level, may include many fights, I was not much of a person to enter a boxing match on or off the ice. I thought martial arts was about taking down an opponent, which included karate kid style bloody battles and broken bones. So, my naïve perception of the sport, coupled with my other interests led me elsewhere for sport.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?

Yes, this is my first time taking martial arts and I mostly enjoy the Kickboxing class. However, I have tried out other classes like Fight fit, Self-Defense, and Jiu Jitsu classes. All the instructors are really great and all the classes have been a lot of fun.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?

For me, if you can imagine, I had a lot of concerns, but all the staff members were very helpful at Elite MMA. First, I was allowed to try out some classes, including a personal one-on-one lesson for free, without any commitments. This was especially important for me considering the unpredictable nature of my medical condition. Also, I think the flexibility of my membership to honor my medical condition as well as to train at any of the four different locations was very appealing and ultimately drove my decision.

Since you have been a part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?

Prior to Elite MMA, I had been walking at Memorial Park, but I did not really see the results I wanted in terms of physical benefits and my appearance. I knew I wanted more muscle to burn more fat so I actively sought out Elite MMA. Since joining Elite MMA, I also went to a nutritionist because of my condition with exercise and food. My Elite MMA regime coupled with clean eating resulted in almost 50 pounds of weight loss. I have accomplished a more sculpted and shaped body as a result of the targeted moves in class. So, overall, I have been able to work out at a more rigorous level fairly consistent again, gained strength, toned my muscles, and lost a considerable amount of weight.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?

I think my best advice for anyone who would like to change his or her current lifestyle and assuming that lifestyle is an inactive one, would be to try it out for a week. Regardless of the level of your fitness or competitive nature, if you think of fitness as a competition with your-self, I guarantee that you will be proud of what you accomplish on a daily basis. Too often, we get caught up in fitness as competing with someone else, or striving to reach someone else’s goals due to lack of self-awareness and general knowledge. Personally, I do not see fitness that way at all anymore. Instead, I see fitness as getting better than myself from the day before. It is a very simple idea but it motivates me to stay the course no matter how much my body may try to fail me. Further, I am very thankful for my beloved father who instilled in me a great work ethic and taught me that the toughest, hard-working muscle we possess is our mind. You are only as strong or weak for that matter as you think you are at any given moment. If you exercise your mind and adhere to the proverbial Nike saying of ‘Just do it’ then your body will follow. Also, I am so very grateful for my mother who is not only inspirational to me but also an avid role model taking Tai Chi, Yoga, and Silver Sneakers! Lastly, if you are already living an active lifestyle or a youngster looking to be involved in an organized sport, I would also, encourage you to try out Elite MMA as the team work and camaraderie enjoyed on the mats really pushes you to the next level of personal health and fitness. As the great Wayne Gretzky used to say, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”

Your Body and You: A Guide to Body Water

When it comes to your health, most of the focus is on body fat and muscle mass, which is important. But not to be overlooked is your body water. Water is a major part of your body: they make up 79% of your muscles , 73% of your brain, and even 31% of your bones. Overall your body weight can be 45-65% water. Your body water percentage is influenced by your age, gender, and fitness level. Even though you are made up of mostly of water, how much do you really know about the effect this major element as on your body?

Body Water, Defined

Like discussed above, your body water can be found inside not only in your blood, but in your muscle tissue, your body fat, your organs, and inside every cell in your body.  To account for all this, your total body water (TBW) can be divided into two basic groups.

Extracellular Water (ECW) - Extracellular water is the water located outside your cells.  The water in your blood falls into this category. Roughly 1/3 of your fluid is attributed to ECW, and this water is found in your interstitial fluid, transcellular fluid, and blood plasma. Extracellular water is important because it helps control the movement of electrolytes, allows oxygen delivery to the cells, and clears waste from metabolic processes.

Intracellular Water (ICW) - Intracellular water is the water located inside your cells.  It comprises 70% of the cytosol, which is a mix of water and other dissolved elements.  In healthy people, it makes up the other 2/3 of the water inside your body. The intracellular water is the location of important cellular processes, and although it has many functions, a very important one is that it allows molecules to be transported to the different organelles inside the cell.  Essentially, the Intracellular water picks up where the Extracellular water left off by continuing the pathway for fuel to be transported to the cells.

Balance is the Key - When it comes to your body water and you, the most important thing to strive for is balance. Your Intracellular fluid: Extracellular fluid must remain at the same levels with respect to each other. A healthy fluid distribution has been estimated at a 3:2 ratio of ICW:ECW. If your body water falls out of balance, this can signal changes in your health and body composition. Whether these changes are positive or negative depend on which type of water becomes unbalanced.

Increased  ICW - Having slightly more ICW than normal isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can signal positive changes in your body composition. Increased muscle mass is due to the enlargement of the number and size of muscle cells.  When the muscle cells become enlarged, they are able to take in (and require) more ICW in order to power their cellular functions.  Research has shown that resistance exercise can lead to increased intracellular water in humans. Increased ICW as a result of exercise is a sign of increased Lean Body Mass, which is a very good thing and has positive health benefits, including:

Increased Energy Use - Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you burn at rest.  It is the baseline for the calories you need every day in order for your body to operate and maintain daily functions.  With increased Lean Body Mass, your energy needs will increase as a result of a higher BMR. If you don’t increase your daily calorie intake, but increase your Lean Body Mass/BMR, you will create a calorie deficit – which can lead to body fat loss.

Increased Strength - Your Lean Body Mass is sometimes described as your fat free mass.  Your Lean Body Mass accounts for all your weight due to water, muscle mass, bone, and protein.  One of the easiest ways to influence the amount of Lean Body Mass you have is to increase your muscle mass.  Generally, increased muscle mass leads to increased strength.

Increased Immune System - Increased Lean Body Mass through exercise has been associated with increased immune system functionality.  This will help your body fight off illnesses more  easily.

Excess ECW - If your ECW increases in relation to your ICW, this is something you should take special note of.  Unlike ICW, you do not want to see your ECW increasing beyond normal levels. Excess ECW can indicate health risks, including:

Inflammation - During inflammation, the body sends additional blood flow to the damaged area.  This causes an increase of extracellular water in a particular area. Inflammation occurs when part of the body gets damaged or bruised and is a normal bodily response to injury.  This is called acute inflammation, and is a temporary increase in ECW. Chronic inflammation, however, is something more serious that isn’t always readily detected. It is marked by long-term swelling/ECW increases caused by cellular stress and dysfunction. Chronic inflammation can lead to serious diseases if allowed to persist over time, including renal failure, cancer, and heart disease. including renal failure, cancer, and heart disease.

Renal Disease (Kidney Failure) - One of the kidneys’ major functions is to filter your blood and remove toxins produce in the body.  One important substance that the kidneys filter out is sodium, an element that is found in salt. When your diet includes more sodium than your kidneys can filter out, which occurs in people who have failing kidneys, your extracellular water levels will increase.  In some cases, this increased extracellular water shows in visible swelling throughout the body and is a condition known as edema. Edema can cause additional strain on the body by contributing to weight gain, blood pressure, and other complications.

Unhealthy Fat Mass Levels (Obesity) - Obese individuals are characterized by having too much body fat, which among other things, leads to body water disruption due to excess ECW.  This is because excess visceral fat can trigger production hormones that can lead to the disruption of a bodily system called RAAS.  This excess ECW causes stress in the body due to its effects on the internal organs, which can exacerbate obesity and cause a dangerous cyclic effect.

Determining Balance

Since it’s so important to keep an eye on your fluid balance, you’ll need to know how you can determine yours. There are two major methods to measure and determine your fluid levels.  These are the dilution method and the BIA method. The dilution method involves drinking a known dose of heavy water (deuterium oxide) and allowing it to distribute around the body.  Once the water has had time to settle, the amount of heavy water is compared with the amount of normal water. The proportion will reflect the amount of total body water.  To determine ECW, sodium bromide is used instead of heavy water. The dilution method is recognized as a gold standard for measuring total body water; however, these tests would need to be done at a hospital under the guidance of a trained physician.  This test takes several hours to complete during which any fluid of any type going in or out of the body has to be carefully recorded. For these reasons, you’re unlikely to have this test performed unless your doctor needs to know your total body water with absolute certainty because of a serious health complication. The second, more accessible method to determine body water content is bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA).  For most people who do not have serious medical issues, this method is much more practical than the dilution method. A small electrical current is applied to the body, and the opposition that current experiences (impedance), is measured.  From that impedance result, a BIA device can report your body water percentage. Advanced BIA devices are able to reflect the difference in Intracellular and Extracellular water as well, which can reveal the ICW:ECW balance.

Bringing Yourself Back Into Balance

Maintaining a balanced ratio of approximately 3:2 is ideal for optimal health.  If you find that this ratio is beginning to fall out of balance, there are some things you can do.  Fortunately, these tips aren’t anything you already haven’t heard before: maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated by drinking enough water, and exercising regularly. Avoiding excess ECW is ideal.  From a dietary standpoint, one simple change that can work to reduce excess ECW is reducing the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet. Sodium is located primarily in your ECW, and when excess sodium is introduced into the body, the body’s natural response is to draw water out of your cells at the expense of your ICW.  Reducing your sodium intake has a number of positive health benefits, so this tip can be considered simply a best practice for optimal health in addition to being a tactic for reducing high ECW. On the flip side, increasing your ICW can be achieved by increasing your Lean Body Mass/increasing muscle mass through exercising.  As the muscle cells increase in size, they will require more water to maintain their function. Exercise has the additional benefit of combating obesity, and as fat mass is reduced, ECW increases due to obesity will decline over time. As you can see, body water can be an important indicator of your overall health.  Without a healthy ICW:ECW ratio your body will begin to have problems. The best thing you can do for proper body water balance is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you can achieve a healthy lifestyle, your body water will fall into balance naturally.  The first step would be to find out where your body water levels are today, so you can start planning for a healthier life now. https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/40668865-your-body-and-you-a-guide-to-body-water/

Greenway Instructor Highlight - Jose Aguilar

What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach? I've been teaching martial arts a little over 5 years now. I started out assisting the kids jiu jitsu class and moved up to teaching other classes like cardio kickboxing, adult jiu jitsu etc. I am currently teaching at the Westheimer and Greenway locations.

What is your current rank in martial arts? I am currently a one stripe Brown belt in BJJ.

What caused you to start practicing martial arts? I have always had an interest as a child and ever since I tried my first class in 2010 I have been hooked.

Do you have a competitive history in martial arts? Yes, I started competing three months into my training. Mainly jiu jitsu tournaments, I've won many local and international tournaments. My most recent accomplishment was taking a gold medal in the Abu Dahbi Jiu Jitsu Trials and the Houston International Open.

What do you see is the main benefit the average individual can receive from martial arts? The main benefit I see that the average individual will receive is a world-class support system. You are not just someone that comes in and out, you are a part of our community. We make sure we are there for you and to help you in the goals you want to accomplish.

What is your favorite part about practicing martial arts? My favorite part about practicing martial arts is that the art is not in one dimension, it is more than that. It’s not just physical, it is mental and it involves other areas of your life. Martial arts help you become a more well-rounded individual.

Where do you hope martial arts will take you later in your life? I see myself sharing what have been given to me. Really showing people how martial arts really can do positive things in your life.

Kingwood Student Highlight - Peyton Adkins

What is your name and age?

Peyton Adkins, 16

When did you join Elite MMA?

About 3 years ago.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?

I started because i was always interested in the ufc and i wanted to see if i would like it.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?

I had a busy schedule with school and soccer.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?

Yes joining elite was the first time taking a martial art. I took the jiu-jitsu class.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?

I didn't have any concerns, but for someone who does not only has jiu-jitsu been addicting to me but the family environment at elite keeps making me want to come back to train.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?

I have recently been promoted to blue belt.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?

Martial arts is a fun way to achieve your goals. Whether that be to lose weight, defend yourself, or anything that you may want to accomplish.

Not Sure Which Class To Try?
click here to reach out to an instructor!