Training for YOU

Starting a new exercise program can be daunting. Whether you are just starting to work out or training for a specific event or goal, you want to get there the best way possible. This is where a personal trainer can be one of your best investments in your health. You should find a trainer that uses integrated training methods to help their clients reach their individual goals. Exercise should build joint stability, coordination, improve posture and enhance communication between all of the body’s systems. A good trainer can start building this base, especially for those who are overweight, whereas on their own, they are more likely to injure themselves and end up back on the couch. Most weight loss programs are designed across a broad audience. Followers of these programs, regardless of age, ability, or other variables, including diabetes, eat only certain foods and only exercise in a very specific way and while results can come quickly, they usually don’t last.  That’s because we have little in common with the celebrity or ex-athlete they use for those endorsements. AND as most overweight people are already aware, one size NEVER fits all. A good personal trainer will set you up for long term weight loss success. Most people have already tried some best seller diet and moved on and learned the lesson the hard way that a fad diet may get short term results, it is difficult, if not impossible to sustain over time. What is needed is a commitment to making healthier choices that work in real life settings.  Choosing a fitness program or a trainer should be done with YOUR individual goals in mind. Don’t be afraid to shop around! Developing a personal, yet professional relationship with your trainer is very important. Trust your instincts. Ask yourself if you think you could get along well with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you. The personal trainer you select should motivate you using positive, not negative, reinforcement. Importantly, that trainer should be someone you like. Also, a personal trainer should hold a current NCCA-accredited certification. This will give you the assurance that you are working with a professional who has the knowledge and skills to provide you with a safe and effective workout.

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Give a Healthier Halloween

ImageWell, Halloween is here. Do you dread this day and fear it ruins all your hard work and side tracks your goals? Stay strong! Here are a few ideas to get you through the dreaded candy derail. Give away snack sizes of sunflower seeds, nuts, or dried fruit! The temptation for all that candy isn’t there and your choice is much healthier for you, and those trick or treaters!!  Or give out stickers, pencils, erasers or other small themed toys. These make great alternatives with no guilt! Now, for those with kids, what do you do when they come home with those bags of candy? Have them select their favorite candy and get rid of the rest!! Getting rid of that temptation ensures mindful eating!  By all means, enjoy the holiday! You can set a good example by not overindulging! Kids do what their parents do. Setting a good healthy example keeps you on track as well as your family! Smart choices make us healthy and strong. Make sure exercise is added into your day. Focus on the fun and know those few pieces of candy aren’t going to make or break you if you exercise regularly and eat healthy!

Fad or Flab?

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The fad diet isthe weight loss program that  promise instant results.Fad dieting puts your heath at risk. The desire to become slim and look like a supermodel creates false realities in which most women can never obtain. There are hundreds of fad diets out there from the “all cabbage” and the “vinegar” diet to all liquid. Because we all want that “magic bullet” and quick fix the REAL reality is the best method is that old slow, boring yet SAFE way which is harder, but permanent and healthy. The fad diets are mostly fasting diet programs that alter the nutritional balance of your body, which can cause hypoglycemic coma, stroke, anorexia and heat attacks. Even the “good” fad methods have serious stress starvation on the body.  Even those liquids which claim to be “nutrient rich” cause a starvation effect which in turn causes a severe stress to your system. Unless your weight loss is steady and regular and balanced, various health effects will happen from starvation dieting. Diets low in carbs place may of the wrong kind of fats into the body, while vegetarian diets and low protein can cause muscle wasting.   There are also psychological effects as well.  The Journal of Neuroscience did a study and researchers found that diets that restricted calories and fat intake caused stress levels to become significantly elevated after 3 weeks. In addition, when subjects were exposed to stress, they engaged in binge eating behavior. These findings suggest that the stress caused by highly restrictive diets increases binge eating which is counterproductive to weight loss.

The sensational claims associated with fad diets may lead you to believe that weight loss is quick and easy. Such statements give a false sense of hope and may cause you to set unattainable goals. Therefore, it can be a psychological letdown if you fail to lose weight as quickly as you anticipated or if you are unable to shed the number of pounds you hoped to.

Psychologists have termed the phrase “learned helplessness” in 1967 to describe situations in which people feel helpless despite their ability to take control of it. If you try a few fad diets and they do not provide you with the results you anticipated, you may come to perceive your inability to lose weight as helplessness. In fact, researchers found that unsuccessful diets causes feelings of failure and helplessness which lower self-esteem. Although fad diets may let you down, there are many tried and true weight loss plans that have been in existence for years that might work for you, although just setting yourself up for success in planning a healthy diet with a few small manageable steps rather than one big drastic change can help. If you approach the change gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet and results sooner than you think.

  • Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
  • Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking.  As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
  • Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts!

fat burning food!

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food that will help you lose weight is a diet consisting of nutrient-dense, natural foods and putting together your meals to maximize feeling satisfied and full, while also choosing some of the foods that have a lower caloric density and a higher thermic effect of digestion. Here’s how it works:

Dietary Thermogenesis and the Thermic Effect Of Food

In reality, ALL foods are “thermogenic” because the body must use energy to digest them. This is known as the “thermic effect of food”

(However, not all foods have the same thermic effect. Dietary fat has the lowest thermic effect. The most thermogenic food  is lean protein from solid foods, especially the following:

  • chicken breast
  • turkey breast
  • game meats (venison, elk, etc)
  • bison, buffalo
  • very lean red meat such as top round and lean sirloin (grass fed is especially nutritious)
  • almost all types of fish
  • shellfish and other seafood
  • egg whites (whole eggs in moderation)

Research has proven that the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macronutrients, requiring about 30% of the calories it contains, just for digestion and processing. An added bonus is that lean protein foods suppress your appetite!

This is one of the reasons that a fat loss diet calls for a lean protein food at every meal. It’s also no coincidence that bodybuilders are the leanest muscular athletes on earth. So, your diet should be based on fat burning and muscle friendly foods! When you combine thermogenic lean protein foods with the right amounts and types of essential fats, add in plenty of green vegetables and just the right amount of natural complex carbs, your body will literally turn into a turbo-charged fat burning machine – without drugs, supplements or weird diet gimmicks. A Simple 3-Step Formula To Put Together A Fat-Burning Meal:

STEP 1: Select a green vegetable or fibrous vegetable such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, salad vegetables, etc., and then

STEP 2: Combine that with one of the lean proteins (previously mentioned above).

STEP 3: The lean protein and fibrous carb forms the foundation of your fat burning meal. From there, add natural starchy carbs or grains such as brown rice, oats, or sweet potatoes.  Fruit is also great,  but focus even more on the green and fibrous vegetables!

Calories! The truth behind the numbers!

The Truth About Calories

WHAT ARE CALORIES:, The more calories we take in, the more flab we add, and if we cut back on them, then the flab starts to recede too, right? Well at face value calories seem to be the factor by which all foods should be judged. But if that were true, 500 calories of carrots would equal 500 calories of double stuff Oreos.

Do CALORIES FUEL OUR BODIES?: ACTUALLY, they don’t.  A calorie is a simple unit of measurement for heat. It was used to explain the theory of heat conservation and steam engines.  Calories are now defined by carbohydrates, protein and fat content.  1 gm of fat has 9 calories, 1 gm of protein has 4 calories and 1 gm of carbohydrates has 4 calories and 1 gm of sugar has 4 calories. 1 gm of alcohol has 7 calories.  Every muscle cell that you gain is like a little factory that constantly burns calories for you, even while you sleep, and revs up when you exercise.

What you should do: Track your carbs, fat and protein, not just your calories.

ARE ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL? NOT EXACTLY. Our fuel comes from the above mentioned three sources: carbs, fat and protein.  They are each handled differently in the body. “Calories in =calories out” theory is misleading, as each have different effects on our bodies.  For example: for every 100 carb calories you consume, it takes your body 5-10 of those for digestion. With fat, this is a little less. So, the calorie burning champ is protein.  For every 100 protein calories you consume, your body needs 20-30 of those for digestion! Carbs and fat give up their calories quick and easy. They are made to supply quick energy and they yield more usual energy than protein. There are no “fat-burning” foods. You might’ve heard that certain foods (e.g. celery and grapefruit) increase metabolic rate, but it’s just a myth.[1} While some foods and drinks such as red peppers and green tea have been studied for their potential metabolic rate increasing properties, there is no conclusive evidence that whatever influence they have on metabolism is significant enough to result in weight loss.[2] However, it has been proven that all foods do have what is called the thermic effect. Foods with protein have a 30% thermic effect, and are the most thermal of all foods.

What you should do: If you want to lose weight, make protein a priority at EVERY meal A good guide is a palm size amount of protein at EVERY meal.

A CALORIE INGESTED IS A CALORIE DIGESTED?: Back to the “calorie in = calorie out” theory. Just because the food is swallowed doesn’t mean it will be digested.  it passes thru your stomach and then reaches your small intestine, which sucks up all the nutrients it can get.  But 5-10% of calories pass through unabsorbed. fat digestion is relatively efficient as fat easily enters your intestine walls.  as for protein, animal sources are more digestible than plant sources so a top sirloin’s protein will be better absorbed than tofu.  Different carbs are processed at different rates too. Glucose and starch are rapidly absorbed, while fiber lingers in the digestive tract.. in fact, the insoluble fiber in some complex carbs, like veggies and whole grains, tends to BLOCK the absorption other calories!  So with a very high fiber diet, say of 60 grams per day you might lose as much as 20% of the calories you consume! So, a useful measure of calories is difficult. You could find a piece of candy and a piece of broccoli have the same number of calories. But in action, the broccoli’s fiber ensures that the veggie contribute less energy. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that a high fiber diet leaves roughly twice as many calories undigested as a lower fiber diet does. And fewer calories means less flab!!!

What you should do: Aim to consume at least 35-40 grams of fiber every day

DOES EXERCISE BURN MOST OF OUR CALORIES?: NOT EVEN! Even the most fanatical fitness nuts burn no more than 30% of their daily calories at the gym.  most of your calories burn at a constant simmer, fueling the automated processes that keep you alive. That is your basal metabolism.  If you want to burn fuel, hit the gas in your every day activities.  60-70% of our total calorie expenditure goes to normal bodily functions. This includes brushing your teeth, transporting oxygen, washing your hair, etc.  For men, these processes require about 11 calories per pound of body weight a day, so a 200 pound man will incinerate 2,200 calories a day – even if he is sedentary.  Now, this does not mean you should be a couch potato! Increasing your basal metabolism requires lean muscle mass!  In the simplest terms, your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories. Very few people have a fast metabolism. Surprisingly, overweight individuals have relatively fast metabolism because they weigh more, but if their weight is staying constant then their metabolism is not fast enough to offset their caloric intake.[3] The bottom line is that increasing your metabolism will enable you to level your diet and weight.The more you move, the more you burn! A conscious effort to spend more time on your feet and moving can increase your calorie burn exponentially! Different activities burn different quantities of calories, but the important thing is to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes. Muscle burns more calories than fat does (73 more calories per kilogram per day, to be exact)[3] so the more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. This is the only way to increase RMR, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn daily.[4]

RMR is often used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate (BMR). Although they are slightly different, estimating either is sufficient for the purpose of losing weight. What these equations will show you is, that if you weigh more, your RMR will be higher! There are many places on line that can calculate this for you ://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php

Your RMR will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your body at rest.

What you should do: Take frequent breaks from your desk and couch and move your body and burn bonus calories! do not exceed your maintenance intake or have a caloric intake lower than your calculated RMR.Count calories by recording what you eat and looking up how many calories each food item contains (either on the food packaging or in tables provided in books or online) and choose food with GOOD calories!

DO LOW CALORIE FOODS HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?: NOT ALWAYS. Processed low calorie foods can be week allies in the weight loss war.  take sugar free foods.  Omitting sugar is perhaps the easiest way to cut calories, but food manufacturers  generally replace those sugars with calorie free sweeteners such as sucralose or aspartame. Artificial sweeteners can backfire.  A study at the University of Texas found that consuming as few as three diet sodas a week increases a personals risk of obesity by more than 40%! Another study at Purdue showed that rats that ate artificially sweetened yogurt took in more calories at subsequent meals, resulting in more flab.  the theory is that the promise of sugar without the calorie payoff may actually lead to overeating. Too many people are counting calories instead of focusing on the CONTENT of the food.  What you should do: Avoid artificial sweeteners and load up your plate with bonafide low calorie saviors: FRUITS AND VEGGIES!

HYDRATE!!  As with food, depriving your body of water can encourage it to “hoard” rather than “burn”. When you drink ice cold water, your body burns calories warming it to body temperature. More than ninety percent of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water, so make sure you drink an appropriate amount of water!

1.http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/rev-up-your-metabolism

2.↑ Slow Metabolism: Is It to Blame for Weight Gain?

3 ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/make-most-your-metabolism

4.↑ Boost Your Metabolism

FOCUS!

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So, you find yourself done before you even started that workout? Sometimes you just wuss out. You can FOCUS on your fitness goal and weight loss goals. All you have to do is concentrate on one way of getting to where you want to be and then follow that course until you are successful. We … Continue reading

Healthy Holidays

Ok, so you’re busy, you’re stressed out, and baby, it’s cold outside! So why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year?

You can always come up with some excuse not to exercise. But slacking off on your fitness program during the holidays will only leave you with more pounds — and more stress — come the New Year.  This time of year is difficult for many people trying to stick to an exercise program, lets keep you focused and motivated! You can make adjustments that will help you stay fit during the season. For example, if you usually take exercise classes only offered at a certain time, skip the classes and take a hike or a swim at an indoor pool instead.Take an honest look at your schedule, and instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, take other things out! Your goal should be not to do more, but to do less, but do it all well. Keep fitness a priority! Be flexible when you get busy. Instead of blowing off your usual 5:30 pm workout at the gym to go to that party, why not get up early and go for a run before work? Instead of that lunch at the desk, take a brisk walk. Not only will you feel better, you will also feel better knowing you did not miss your workout and every time you fit even a little bit of exercise in, it all adds up!   If you are feeling bored with your routine on top of all the stress and not being able to get that workout in, try mixing up your routine. If you usually run 3-4 days a week, try running one day and swimming another and a resistance weight lifting two or three times a week.  The addition of new exercises will hopefully be a stronger motivator than having to do that “same ol’ thing”.  If time is a factor, try combining exercising with those family commitments! Hauling those kids up a hill for sledding can be as beneficial as a good jog! Get that family inside the great outdoors! Winter doesn’t have to keep you in! It can be a great way to learn a new sport of snowshoeing, x country or downhill skiing or snowboarding and  ice skating, provide quality time with those loved ones!   For those days you just can’t make it to the gym, try simple at home, no nonsense exercises that require no equipment! You can do crunches, pushups and many others! If all else fails, take a walk!! Walking is an exercise that can go anywhere, from your couch to the mall or just around the block to look at the xmas lights! Remember, even if you find yourself simply too bogged down to exercise at all during the holidays, that’s no excuse to stay inactive! If you fall off that exercise wagon, get back on and get back into that healthy routine!

Mid Day Energy Crash?

Feeling like you hit the wall mid day after lunch when you  just feel like you  can not do another thing without falling asleep?  Make that mid afternoon snack protein! Protein keeps your energy up as well as mental alertness. Avoid processed sugary carbohydrates as they only tend to make you crash and burn back into a sloth like state, and you don’t need that extra sugar! Beware of the “energy” drinks for the very same reason! They can tack on those unwanted calories, even from the sugar free varieties! Instead, go for a healthy dose of protein – try a hard boiled egg, celery with peanut butter, (yes peanut butter, excellent choice and peanut butter is shown to be a mood lifter!), low or non fat yogurt. Avoid mindless munching. A snack doesn’t have to be sweet, chocolate-dipped, or more than 150 calories. It should be real food and food that gets your metabolism and mind going!  Packing your own healthy snacks is also a great way to stay accountable and not give into unhealthy temptations.  Get Moving: Another great way to refresh and energize your  sluggish state is to get moving!  Take a five minute break to get up from the desk and get the blood flowing. Talk a short walk and be sure to stretch as well. This will reduce fatigue and refresh the mind!

After Thanksgiving Blues?

Overindulged on Thanksgiving dinner? Do you wince as you remember that extra piece of pie or that glass of wine you wish you could take back? If you ate more than you wanted to, you are not alone. You can’t  un-eat what you ate, but you can do some damage control and get back on track. You may even  feel sick, have cramps and dizziness, and may not even feel like getting out of bed. Mentally and physically, you are just feeling lousy. The worst side effect of eating too much is the guilt that comes after. Guilt is sometimes inevitable, but you can use that feeling to motivate yourself into something better. Make a plan for the next few days for how you’ll get back on track with your eating and exercise.  GET HYDRATED!  Drink water. The bloating you’re experiencing can be due to an overload of salt, which can cause water retention.Water is essential and helps restore the pH balance of our bodies. Help your body lighten up by eating foods that are rich in fiber. Fiber will aid digestion. Go green! Eating those leafy green and other nutrient rich veggies will get you back on your way, and drinking tea will also promote good digestion! Now get moving! Black Friday can be a great motivator to get out and get moving. Make a plan to not repeat the over indulgent eating at the food court at the mall! Pick a healthier alternative that offers lighter healthier meals which will also keep you feeling better as you work your way through those sales! Truth be told – one meal with a few extra calories won’t completely sabotage your figure. It’s the post Thanksgiving meal, the pre-meal nibbles and going back for seconds that will do more damage. Forgive yourself and commit to getting back on your healthy fitness and eating program! Stay focused on those goals and don’t undo all you have done! 

Carve up the calories!

Did you know the average person consumes 3000 -4500 calories on thanksgiving day? Do you end up feeling more stuffed that the turkey you just ate? You can still enjoy the festivities without sabotaging all your hard work and fitness goals!! Now, why all this looks good on paper, being reasonable when confronted with a smorgasbord of all your favorite indulgences flies out the window. So, when common sense has left along with your willpower, make a decision. Decide that you are not going to go off your plan and healthy eating habits for overindulgence in one day. Once you’ve decided, commit to it. Just like your workout program and your healthy eating; stay committed. You can also enlist the help of a friend or loved one to help you stay accountable! So, what do you decide to do? Here are a few ideas:  First, don’t starve yourself through the day just so you can ‘make room’ for the meal. This will just lead you to binge eating. Have a small healthy breakfast and lunch. Exercise!! Why not get out and take a walk or a run!  This will stave off those cravings and boost that metabolism! And STAY hydrated!! Drinking water can help you avoid drinking those soda’s (really bad for you) while making you feel more satisfied so you won’t tend to over eat. It has NO calories and regulates digestion!  Besides oxygen, water is the most important nutrient for attaining optimum health. Create small portions. Have a bit of everything, after all, it is a celebration, but your goal is to avoid overeating. Have a small bit of everything you love and nothing of what you don’t!  Go for a walk after dinner. No one says you need to get those sneakers and hit the pavement and run for an hour, but going for a leisurely stroll after diner is a great way to burn off some of those extra calories. It will also bring back some of that energy that was used while your body was working on digesting that meal!