Thoughts For Food

The “why” behind our food choices.

Today’s post is short and sweet. It comes from an article by the Health Science Academy about factors influencing our food choices. This fantastic review takes an in depth look at the “why” behind our food choices. Although we may think that it’s a simple decision, there are actually a lot of things that we can do to positively influence our decision making. Here are a few tips on how to make great nutrition choices!
1. Get enough sleep
2. Get a lot of exercise, especially when you’re stressed
3. Learn to say “no” to extra work or social events that will do nothing but add stress to your day
4. Hug Someone! This simple step can decrease stress hormones and positively influence your food choices
5. Control your environment by making healthy decisions easily seen and accessible

Core Concepts

The core is the keystone to a strong body, but there is so much more to it than that.

Today we are talking the importance of the core!!! I get a lot of questions about the core and why it’s important. In general I say that it is the keystone to a strong body, but there is so much more to it than that. Today’s article was published by the prestigious National Strength and Conditioning Association and does an excellent job in describing what the core is, why it’s important, and what we can do to make it stronger.
Here are a few highlights:
1.Core stiffness is essential for injury prevention and performance enhancement.
2. Stiffening the core between the hip and shoulder joints, produces higher limb speed and force.
3.Core training to enhance stiffness is the foundation and underpinning of one of the most fundamental laws of human motion.
A great quote from the paper describes what the core actually does “proximal stiffness enhances distal mobility and athleticism.” An example of this importance involves the pelvis when walking. If you can’t sufficiently stiffen the lumbar spine with quadratus lumborum (QL), your whole body will simply bend to the side the stance phase (foot on the ground part) of the walking cycle. This is because the QL is an essential core muscle forming the outside core. “What else can core training do” you ask? Well not much I guess. Except reduce the risk of back injury, enhance performance, reduce the risk of groin injury, sportsman’s hernia, and knee injury, particularly to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Essentially, noone can afford to neglect this building block of function. So work on your core to enhance stiffness by doing things like suitcase carries, farmers walks, and planks.

Tech Time

Although technology wont make you any more fit, they can provide you with a plethora of information and motivation.

Today we are talking tech! By now most people have heard of fit bit, my fitness pal, or one of the may other apps and fitness equipment that can be worn to track your level of activity. Although these utilities wont make you any more fit, they can provide you with a plethora of information and motivation.
This weeks post is inspired by Dr. Geier, an orthopedic surgeon I follow and highly recommend you do too. In an article for Reuters he, and others, talked about some of the benefits of fitness technology. Here are a few highlights:
According to the CDC, 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week can reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers as well as help strengthen muscles and bones
In other words we are looking to walk about 10,000 steps a day
Although tech can’t necessarily help you reach that goal, it can be a great motivator and help you realize just how much (or little) you are actually moving throughout your day
When talking about smart phone apps and step counting, Apple tends to over count steps and android tends to under count steps
If you don’t have a smart phone, try investing in a $10 to $30 pedometer before you decide to buy a $100 fitness band
While these factor are important for self realization of activity, I think it is also important to harp on the nutrition side of things as well. In simple terms, when you are in a hypocaloric diet (eating less calories than you’re using in a day) following the minimal guidelines can result in fat mass loss as found by a recent study. I attached the study for those of you with an eye for scientific research, but I will say that these data are not conclusive for every individual.
The bottom line is that for most people hitting the minimum 10,000 steps per day while in a hypocaloric diet is enough to produce meaningful results over a few months. See the article for more on technology, and the research for information on diet and exercise combined (warning, it is not an easy read for all).

Feet On The Ground – Balance Training

Staying on your feet and keeping balance is crucial for staying healthy throughout your life.

Do you know what the leading cause of death is for those over 55? It’s not heart disease, cancer, or spouses. It’s actually complications due to falls! Staying on your feet and keeping balance is crucial for staying healthy throughout your life, even more so as you age. That’s why today I am going to go over some strategies to keep your feet on the ground and your butt out of the hospital!
The Major Issues
There are several key factors to think about when considering a balance and stability training program. Muscle weakness, especially in the lower body, and problems in the feet such as foot pain, loss of sensation, or even improper footwear (slippers without traction, high heeled shoes, etc.) are at the top of the list (1). Additionally, medications and their side affects, declines in vision, and environmental factors like clutter or unsecured throw rugs can play a roll in falls. Today, we are going to focus on the former topics. Of primary interest, the strength of the lower body is paramount. Focusing on strengthening the lower body not only builds up the ability to resist gravity, but it also enhances our ability to know where our body’s at in space (proprioception).
The Exercises
No matter what your age or skill level is, there are exercises you should be doing to enhance your natural abilities. Today, I will be breaking things down into a beginner and advanced category.
These exercise can be done by just about anyone. You can choose to do them standing, with assistance, or even seated if needed.
Hip extensions (back leg raise) – This exercise builds strength in the hamstring and hip. Perform this by slowly lifting one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Try not to lean forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
Side Leg Raise – This glute exercise is a standby for seniors and professional athletes alike. Perform by slowly lifting one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
Knee Curl – This hamstring exercise is a classic. Perform by slowly bringing your heel up toward your buttocks as far as possible. Bend only from your knee, and keep your hips still. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
Calf Raise – This calf exercise can be done just about anywhere and any time. Perform by slowly standing on tiptoes, as high as possible.
Plank for core stabilization
Bird dog (Quadruped arm raise) for core, hip, and rotator cuff strength
Floor bridges for glute strength
Floor bridges with march for hip strength and balance
Medicine ball slams for hamstring and abdominal strength

Finally, working on activities that include some form of agility should be done. Dancing, playing with pets, or even simply doing yard work are great ways to build strength. 

Balance Training
Balance specific training is different from exercising to build strength. Like any other skill acquisition, it takes patience. However, we know that the best outcomes are when balance training is used in combination with strengthening exercises (2). You can enhance your balance by using a progression of challenges to enhance the difficulty of your exercises. Try the following progression of challenges:
Start by holding on to a sturdy chair with both hands for support.
When you are able, try holding on to the chair with only one hand.
With time, hold on with only one finger, then with no hands at all.
If you are really steady on your feet, try doing the balance exercises with your eyes closed.
Finally, when you have mastered all the previous steps, you can try standing on unstable surfaces like foam pads, BOSU ball, or even pillows
You can also work on other exercises specifically for balance. For instance, you can try simply standing on one footwalking heel to toe, and walking in a straight line. In other words, perform a sobriety test. In the end, anything you can do to challenge yourself while on your feet will help (3). The moral of the story is if you never stop moving, you won’t end up on the ground.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important facts about falls. Accessed online September 20, 2016.
2. Penzer, F., Duchateau, J., & Baudry, S. (2015). Effects of short-term training combining strength and balance exercises on maximal strength and upright standing steadiness in elderly adults. Experimental Gerontology, 61, 38-46. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2014.11.013
3. Baudry, S., (2016). Aging Changes the Contribution of Spinal and Corticospinal Pathways to Control Balance. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, Vol. 44 – Issue 3: p 104–109

Burn More Fat!?

Today we are busting some big fat burning myths!!!

Today we are busting some big fat burning myths!!! For those of you who have trained with me, much of this post will sound familiar. BUT, I am certain that everyone will discover something new this morning🙂
So there are a lot of “fat burning” promises out there. From fad diets to new and improved exercise programs to miracle pills. It seems like everyone has the magic Quick Fix that no one has ever thought of before. But I’ll let you in on a little industry secret… NOTHING replaces hard work. Now although there are no magic pills that allow you to sit on your butt and reach you reach you health goals, there are smart ways to use your time in gym. Here are a few highlights from this weeks article talking about do’s and don’ts.
Believe that there is any one thing you can do to loose fat (especially taking a pill)
Take time to educate yourself. Take time to learn about a given intervention such as a diet, exercise program, and how they will interact with your lifestyle and health concerns. You need to incorporate all of these things by creating new habits to see meaningful results.
Just walk on the treadmill. Slow steady state (low to moderate intensity for 1hr) exercise wont burn fat efficiently.
Participate in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)! This style of exercise will differ for everyone, but in general it will allow you to work for a shorter amount of time with greater fat burning power. Our March Boot Camp is a great example of HIIT.
Rely on the way you feel to gauge the intensity of exercise. Everyone responds to stress (yes exercise is a stress) in different ways.
Purchase a heart rate monitor. Investing in a quality heart rate monitor will show vast returns in your health. These inexpensive devices are imperative to the HIIT principle and will ensure that your workouts are effective, but most importantly, safe!
To learn more about HIIT, fat burning tip, as well as some common myths you can access the original article here.

Hip Pain Part 2 – Fixing The Problem

Hip new ideas on dealing with that pain in the butt.

As we found out last week, lots can go wrong within the hips. And while figuring out the problem can be difficult, finding the right solution may be a little bit more simple. For many of the issues that we have discussed the solution may ultimately be a surgical or pharmacological intervention. However, today I wanted to go over some exercise interventions that may be worth a try. So let’s dive into some hip new ideas on dealing with that pain in the butt.
The Big Three
There are three main domains that are thought to lead to hip pain including sitting, muscular imbalances, and skeletal imbalances. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to the latter two issues, but in a more direct sense, it can cause problems all on its own. Primarily, sitting causes compression within the hip joint itself and can, in a sense, squish the muscles, nerves, and blood flow. If you have ever had a “dead leg” from sitting on your wallet too long or one leg crossed over the other then you will know how troublesome sitting can be. Muscular imbalances can be described as building strength in some muscles while neglecting others resulting in an unnatural amount of strain on particular muscles. Runners, for example, often ignore the muscles used to move the body from side to side. Finally, skeletal imbalances are the uneven stature or movement patterns that many individuals have due to things like genetic bone differences, old injuries, and leg-length discrepancies.
What Should You Do?
Every person and every issue is unique and deserves a unique solution. This is due to the fact that pain is complicated. Pain can be caused by the various tissues (sprains and strains), by the nerves (sciatica), and other issues that aren’t understood yet (fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain). More often than not, however, movement is paramount to success. So let’s take a look at what you need to do for the specific issues discussed in last week’s post!
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) – FAI is unique because it is a combination of bone structure problems and hip tissue problems (1). These issues are far from uniform so the specifics of what needs to be done to fix the problem will change from person to person. However, some keys to success include hip-specific function and lower limb strengthening, core stability and postural balance exercises (2).
Inline image 1
Piriformis Syndrome, Trochanteric Bursitis/Snapping Hip – These issues are common among runner, and as you can guess, are generally thought to be caused by muscular imbalances. You can try to alleviate these problems by foam rolling the piriformis, quadriceps and IT-Band, statically stretching the piriformis, biceps femoris and hip flexors, and performing exercises such as leg slidesfloor bridgelateral tube walking and ball squats.
Sciatica – Because sciatica can be caused by at least 6 underlying issues, there really is no one true way to best treat it (3). For best results, skip the exercise and talk to your doctor about medication options (4).
Strains – When it comes to strains of the groin and/or hip flexor, the general recommendation is to regain full range of motion, and restore full muscle strength, endurance, and coordination. You can prevent these injuries by doing programs similar to the one seen bellow (5).
Inline image 2
One of the best ways to avoid injuries of the hips is to strengthen the hips. Because we sit on our butts all day long, we tend to lose the ability to use our glutes. This can lead to all sorts of problems in the long run. This is why I recommend you start by strengthening the glute muscles. Here is a great resource for learning how to strengthen the glutes. If you’re looking for pain relief, your best chance of seeing results quickly is to consult your doctor.
1. The Warwick Agreement on femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAI syndrome): an international consensus statement
Br. J. Sports. Med. 2016;50:19 1169-1176
2. Wall, P., Dickenson, E., Robinson, D., Hughes, I., Realpe, A., Hobson, R., Griffen, D., Foster, N. (2016). Personalised Hip Therapy: development of a non-operative protocol to treat femoroacetabular impingement syndrome in the FASHIoN randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med, 50:1217-1223 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096368
3. Verwoerd, A. J. H., Luijsterburg, P. A. J., Lin, C. W. C., Jacobs, W. C. H., Koes, B. W., & Verhagen, A. P. (2013). Systematic review of prognostic factors predicting outcome in non-surgically treated patients with sciatica. European Journal of Pain (London, England), 17(8), 1126.
4. Lewis, R. A., Williams, N. H., Sutton, A. J., Burton, K., Din, N. U., Matar, H. E., . . . Wilkinson, C. (2015). Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: Systematic review and network meta-analyses. The Spine Journal : Official Journal of the North American Spine Society, 15(6), 1461-1477. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049
5. Tyler, T. F., Silvers, H. J., Gerhardt, M. B., & Nicholas, S. J. (2010). Groin injuries in sports medicine. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 2(3), 231-236. doi:10.1177/1941738110366820


So what is NEAT you ask? It is all the energy used that is secondary to planned exercise and weight training activities.

Last week I talked a little bit about incorporating NEAT (non-exercise thermogenesis) into a weight loss program. So today I will be expanding upon what exactly that means, and what it can do for you. The information for today’s post come from a study published in April of 2015.
So what is NEAT you ask? It is all the energy used that is secondary to planned exercise and weight training activities. For instance fidgeting, singing, walking, laughing, cleaning, standing, and any other movements throughout the day count towards NEAT (also see table at the bottom*). Individually these activities don’t use many calories, however, when combined the NEAT activities can generate a great deal burned calories. In fact, it is estimated that those who are lean and active burn and additional 350 calories DAILY compared to those who are sedentary. For such small changes in what you do on a daily basis those are some big results.
Here are some more highlights taken from the paper that I think you will find interesting:
– NEAT variability can explain the caloric expenditure differences in individuals with similar body types. Variances in work and leisure-time activities in individuals play a fundamental role in NEAT differences.
– By just doing simple daily manual task activities, NEAT can be enhanced throughout the workday and at home.
– NEAT decreases cardiovascular disease mortality and improves metabolic parameters.
– NEAT has good long-term adherence, with positive impact.
Check out the rest of the article at the link below, and I highly encourage you to take a look at the table at the end of this email to see what steps you can take to increase your activity. I think it is also important to remember that the ultimate goal is to create a sustainable healthy practices. There is no need to try and do all of these things at once, but to focus on creating one healthy habit at a time.
TableDaily Activities According to the Amount of Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
Activity Calories Burned per Hour
0-50 >50-100 >100-200
NEAT home activity
 Barbecuing/grilling X
 Cleaning X
 Clearing out storage space/garage X
 Cooking dinner X
 Grocery shopping X
 Hanging pictures X
 Ironing X
 Laundry X
 Organizing closets X
 Painting walls X
 Redecorating X
 Sweeping X
 Vacuuming X
General NEAT movements
 Climbing stairs X
 Pacing X
 Pushing a stroller X
 Riding in an automobile X
 Standing X
 Stretch band exercises X
 Stretching X
 Walking (strolling pace) X
 Walking and talking (briskly) X
 Walking around the home/office X
 Walking the dog X
 Walking to work X
NEAT yard activity
 Playing fetch with dog X
 Gardening X
 Mowing lawn X
 Planting flowers X
 Pruning shrubs X
 Raking leaves X
 Shoveling snow X
 Trimming hedges X
 Washing automobile X
 Watering plants X
 Weeding X
Hobbies and other recreational NEAT activity
 Baking X
 Bicycling X
 Bird watching X
 Playing board/card games X
 Bowling X
 Dancing X
 Fishing X
 Playing Frisbee or other outdoor games X
 Hiking X
 Journaling (while strolling) X
 Knitting/sewing X
 Kayaking X
 Playing the piano or another musical instrument X
 Reading (lounging) X
 Reading (standing) X
 Skiing (water or snow) X
 Surfing the Web (sitting) X
 Surfing the Web (standing) X
 Swimming X
 Practicing Tai Chi X
 Playing tennis X
 Watching TV X
 Watching TV on an elliptical trainer X
 Watching TV on a stationary bike X
 Watching TV on a treadmill X
 Playing video games (seated) X
 Playing video games (while moving) X
 Doing volunteer work (setting up/serving meals) X
 Window shopping X
 Practicing yoga X

TV = television.

*Mayo Clin Proc. n April 2015;90(4):509-519 n