Inspiring Reasons To Exercise

Everything you need to know about exercise is that setting these benefits as goals will not help you achieve them as much as finding…

There are thousands of benefits from regular exercise, and as a sports medicine and fitness professional people ask me the same question all of the time. “I heard about this new thing that can get my body the way that I want it with only a little bit of exercise. Does it work?” Regardless of the new thing that someone is trying to sell you, or what magical powers it claims to have that can get you to lose belly fat, gain muscle mass, or keep you looking youthful, I always say the same two things. The first being “probably not, but let me do some research”, and the second being “why?” I’m not here to rant on about the fads being sold to suckers around the globe, but rather ask why people buy it. Because if all you want is to lose a little bit of fat mass, stay youthful and spritely, or even prevent disease I can guarantee you that you are going to fail!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that exercise or any of the “breakthrough in science” products won’t work. As a matter of fact I have helped clients drop 40+ lbs in fat through exercise alone so they can go to the beach in style. But like a boomerang some people put the weight back on in the fall and come back to see me. What the heck does any of this have to do with you?! Good question! Let me explain to you everything you need to know about exercise.

Exercise is often viewed as the necessary evil by most of my clients, and sometimes even myself. People want quick fixes so they can stay at home and do whatever it is that they are going to do other than exercise. Exercise does not have to the bad guy. You know why my successful clients lose weight when they come to see me and don’t put it back on during the winter? It’s the same reason you see 70 year old men pumping iron 5 times a week, or the walking ladies in the mall, or even elaborate gardens at the retirement community. It’s because all of these people found an exercise, environment, or activity that they enjoy, and then stuck with it.

Exercise is an amazing thing. We all know by now that it can help prevent things like heart disease diabetes, and various other diseases. But being fit for life can provide so many more benefits. It can help you decrease stress and enjoy your time on earth more, it makes you smarter and help brain functions, and it can keep you looking young while living longer. It’s the freaking fountain of youth people!! But everything you need to know about exercise is that setting these benefits as goals will not help you achieve them as much as finding the person, place, or thing that makes you look forward to exercising daily.

References

  1. Deep Down, Exercise Helps Keep You Young. (2010). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 28(2), 4-5.
  2. Heir, T., Erikssen, J., & Sandvik, L. (2013). Life style and longevity among initially healthy middle-aged men: prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1-5. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-831
  3. Opdenacker, J., Delecluse, C., & Boen, F. (2011). A 2-Year Follow-Up of a Lifestyle Physical Activity Versus a Structured Exercise Intervention in Older Adults. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 59(9), 1602-1611. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03551.x

4. Piazza, J., Charles, S., Sliwinski, M., Mogle, J., & Almeida, D. (2013). Affective reactivity to daily stressors and long-term risk of reporting a chronic physical health condition. Annals Of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication Of The Society Of Behavioral Medicine, 45(1), 110-120. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9423-0

Play Like a Champion

STOP MAKING EXCUSES!!

Today I wanted to talk motivation. As we move into the cool fall weather I am hearing more and more excuses for everything that requires motivation. So the theme today is STOP MAKING EXCUSES!!
Harsh words, I know. But we all find excuses when we don’t see success, or lose sight of what’s important. The article today does a good job making a point of what needs to be done to get things done. I highly recommend you read the article in it’s entirety, but here are the three main points.
1. Stop the Excuses. No, Seriously. Stop.
2. If you blame yourself – success.
3. If you blame everything else – no success. Period.
I cannot say enough about personal responsibility. A common example for not seeing success due to a lack of responsibility is environment. We’ve all been there. “Oh I ate bad last week because”… my friends dragged me out to the bar every night … my significant other didn’t want to cook so we ordered out … all I had was frozen dinners in the freezer etc. etc. etc.
My point is that we all need to stop blaming others and take a hard look why we eat bad or don’t exercise as much as we should. Weather it’s learning to say “no” to your friends once in a while, taking over cooking duties for a while instead of ordering out, or making time in your week to ensure you have actual food around the house, or even admitting that you don’t know what to do or where to start. We spend our entire lives getting to where we are right now, so to see changes we need to take responsibility and make changes, or seek out someone who can help.

The Best Signs Of Progress Don’t Include Your Weight!

Physical and mental signs of improvement that make the scale irrelevant!

I can get anyone to lose 5 pounds with one simple trick. I put them in a steam room for an hour and don’t allow them to drink anything! But of course, for most people, that’s not  the point of losing weight. This simple fact begs the question, if losing water weight isn’t the end goal, then does what the scale says even matter? Our weight fluctuates to a dramatic degree throughout the day based on all sorts of things. Are you hydrated?  Did you use the bathroom recently? Have you eaten yet? Are you sick? Are you stressed? Even your sleep can play a roll in weight fluctuation. That’s why I want to talk about the physical and mental signs of improvement that make the scale irrelevant! 
 
First Things First
For the most part, people want to see two things happen. They want to see themselves lose fat, and gain muscle. But there are so many more benefits to exercise than that. So I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to write down exactly what their goals are. Once you have a goal/goals in mind, you can start to take action and monitor the outcomes of your efforts. I don’t want to get too side-tracked here, so here are some easy steps to start taking action today.
Write down one outcome you want. Don’t over-think it. Just name the desired outcome you want most right now.
Write down some of the skills you think you’ll need to get that outcome. If you’re just starting out, focus on foundation skills. What are the basics that make everything else possible? (For instance, if you want to manage your time, you need to learn to use a calendar.)
Related to each skill, write down a behavior or two you can do today that’ll help build those skills. This can be really easy, like walking through the gym doors or even packing your gym bag for tomorrow morning.
Do the behavior today, and tomorrow, and so on. And, keep in mind, if you don’t follow through on a given day, don’t let it derail you. Each day is a clean slate.
 
By The Numbers
Some of the best physical markers of success are easy to see, while others take some time and equipment to measure. So for each marker, I will give you the scientific way to go about reaching it, and the DIY version.
Body Composition – This is perhaps the most revealing assessment (1). Your body composition is the ration of fat mass to lean mass (muscle, bone, water, etc.). There are loads of ways to measure this marker from the gold standard Bod Pod and X-rays, to skin fold measures, to the less accurate bio-electrical impermanence (BIA). For all intents and purposes, the BIA does a good enough job for most people and is a cheep option via a smart scale or hand held device. Seeing your body fat percentage go down and muscle mass go up is always a great feeling!
Waist Line – Using a hip to waist ratio is an easy way to self assess your overall health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/215214492). Seeing your waist line go down is an even easier way to see improvement because your clothes will begin to fit better! It’s hard not to take notice of improvement when you’re having to buy smaller pant sizes after all.
Labs – It will certainly make your doctor happy to see lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. These measurements can assess risk for chronic illnesses like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. For the most part, these need to be measured at your doctor’s office, but most pharmacies have free equipment for measuring blood pressure (3).
Heart Rate – This is a twofer because both your resting heart rate and working heart rate are important health markers. Watching your resting heart rate decrease over time means that you are becoming more cardio-vascularly fit (4). Having your heart rate stay stable while exercising means that your body is accustomed to doing work, which is a great sign! Testing this is simple. You can count how many times your heart beats in a minute by taking your pulse, or simply buy a heart rate monitor.
Better, Faster, Stronger – One of the most gratifying indicators of improvement is seeing your body change. You are able to see your muscles in the mirror and witness your strength increase. It always feels good to add an extra weight plate to your barbell!
State of Mind
Signs of progress also happen in the form of mental health. How you feel throughout the day and during a workout can be great indicators of improvement. So take mental note or keep a journal to document your improvement in these indicators of success.
Exercise Excitement – Okay, so not everyone enjoys exercising. In fact, most people loath going to the gym. But everyone can agree that we feel better after a workout. That’s why dreading going to the gym less and making exercise a part of your identity over time is a great indicator of improvement.
Energizer – While everyone has an off day here or there, having an off week or month can be downright frustrating. That’s why keeping note of your day-to-day energy & stress levels is an exhilarating way to experience positive changes from your efforts.
Zzzzzzz – Your sleep can be influenced by stress, aging, hormonal changes, being a new parent, getting too much light late at night, jet lag, and so on. But nutrition and exercise can play a role as well. A regular sleep schedule can be a great way to monitor your improvement as well as improve your performance at the gym and in life (5)!
Mood – Stability and improvement in your mood are also fun ways to mark your improvement. Feeling confident, clearer-headed, happier and more positive, motivated, and more open to trying new things can be subtle but very meaningful markers of improvement.
References
1. Gale, C. R., Martyn, C. N., Cooper, C., & Sayer, A. A. (2007;2006;). Grip strength, body composition, and mortality. International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(1), 228-235. doi:10.1093/ije/dyl224
2. Czernichow, S., Kengne, A. ‐., Stamatakis, E., Hamer, M., & Batty, G. D. (2011). Body mass index, waist circumference and waist–hip ratio: Which is the better discriminator of cardiovascular disease mortality risk? evidence from an individual‐participant meta‐analysis of 82 864 participants from nine cohort studies. Obesity Reviews, 12(9), 680-687. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00879.x
3. Nagaya, T., Yoshida, H., Takahashi, H., & Kawai, M. (2010). Resting heart rate and blood pressure, independent of each other, proportionally raise the risk for type-2 diabetes mellitus. International Journal of Epidemiology, 39(1), 215-222. doi:10.1093/ije/dyp229
4. Fox, K., Borer, J. S., Camm, A. J., Danchin, N., Ferrari, R., Lopez Sendon, J. L., . . . Heart Rate Working Group. (2007). Resting heart rate in cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 50(9), 823-830. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2007.04.079
5. JACKOWSKA, M., DOCKRAY, S., ENDRIGHI, R., HENDRICKX, H., & STEPTOE, A. (2012). Sleep problems and heart rate variability over the working day. Journal of Sleep Research, 21(4), 434-440. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2012.00996.x

Making Mornings Beter

Without a doubt mornings can suck, but they don’t have to!

Today’s post is a double whammy, because we have 2 posts on the docket. Of course they are both related to making your mornings easier, and starting your day off right. This is an area that I personally struggle with for many reasons. For one, I like to stay socially active, and many of my friends don’t have the same hours that I do. Whats worse is that my wife is a college student and she is never up in the morning, and gets home around my bed time. So if I want to spend time with her I need to push my physical limits to make it happen (which I am always happy I do). If these examples sound familiar then you know how much beds can resemble quick sand in the morning. The more you struggle to get out, the more it seems to suck you right back in.
So without a doubt mornings can suck, but they don’t have to. In fact mornings can be the best time of the day, especially when its your exercise time. So the two blogs that I am featuring today include why the TV is bad for bed time, and ways to make morning exercise happen happily.
So the first step to making mornings better is to get enough sleep. Since we can’t really add hours to the day and make our wake up time later, we need to make sure that we go to bed on time. Here are a few times to make it happen:
1. Sleep Debt.
Even if you stay up later by only a few minutes a night due to screen time, you can develop a “sleep debt” by not getting the rest the brain needs. And until that debt is paid off you will suffer the consequences of feeling tired all day long.
2. Altered Brain Bedtime Habits.
Believe it or not the brain learns habits and behaviors of falling asleep. Making the TV a part of the habit can create a positive feedback loop that exacerbates issue #1.
3. TV Makes You Take Longer to Fall Asleep, and Wake Up Earlier.
This is bad for obvious reasons, and happens because the stories and dramas on TV can raise stress levels.
4. Wakes You Up More Often.
This is because the stimulating effect of light tells our brains “go!”
5. Poorer Sleep Quality.
Because of the reasons above it’s obvious why the quality of what little sleep you get is poorer
The second post is a list of 24 hacks to make waking up to exercise easier. I’ll cover my top 5 favorites, but I highly suggest you check out the whole blog post.
1. Pack accordingly and get in bed early.
The most important thing for me to do when I get home is unpack from the day, and repack for tomorrow. No one wants to scramble around in the morning so make life easier and make it happen before you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
2. Make it a habit.
There’s that “H” word again! If it is a morning task, rather than a habit, you are more likely to not do it. So do workout 2-3 times per week in the morning, do it every day to make harder to skip out on.
3. Think about how you’ll feel afterward.
Have you ever dreaded going to the gym or doing a workout, but once your done exercising feel great? I do. All the time pretty much. I sometimes hate the thought of exercise, but once I buckle down and get started I know that I will feel like a million bucks. Keeping that thought in the back of my mind can be the difference between actually getting it done or not.
4. Schedule brunch.
We all know nutrition is important, so have a daily meal scheduled after your workout. Have a continuous appointment set with a friend, family, or pet to eat after you workout to get you through the day, and get protein to those muscles! More importantly, it will be another habit that you won’t want to break by skipping a workout.
5. Do it no matter what.
Even if you just get up and piddle around for a little bit, it’s better than doing nothing at all. I’d rather go through the motions than feel like I let my self down later in the day.

Cutting Through Crap & Real Solutions For Nutrition, Health, & Life

The truth is that the health and fitness industry is so rife with crap because, well, we buy it. Let’s take a look at what can be done, how to educate yourself so you don’t waste money, and how simple it is to really be healthy and happy with your body.

What if I told you I had THE ONE SIMPLE TRICK to get you to lose weight and gain muscle fast? All it takes is… laser treatmentssuper shakes,eating for your body typeweight loss wraps, or some other bald faced lie. The truth is that the health and fitness industry is so rife with crap because, well, we buy it. We are all looking for the magic bullet to get us to where we want to be. Admittedly, most people, including myself, think it would be nice right? But in reality, you can’t alter your height, limb or torso length, and most other characteristics determined by your genetics. It’s not about trying to look like “her/him”;  it’s about being the best version of yourself. So let’s take a look at what can be done, how to educate yourself so you don’t waste money, and how simple it is to really be healthy and happy with your body.

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My Redundant Plea

I have written on several occasions about where to go for good advice/where bad info comes fromhow to spot bad swindlers/bad science, and why you need to think critically about your investment in your health and fitness goals. But, after another week of fielding questions about “which shake should I be drinking” and “how many carbs should I have”, I wanted to pick on a few more mind boggling BS claims. The powdered unicorn fart capsules known as shakeology, detox/cleanse, super supplements, and Gwyneth Paltrow continue to make people lose weight by making their wallets lighter. And it’s not just your local 20 something trainer caught up in a multilevel marketing scheme, it’s people who have credentials who are getting in on the action. Take “Dr.” Joseph Mercola seen below who continues to blur the lines between business and medicine.

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These folks, and those who claim that you have to sacrifice, suffer, and deprive yourself to build a better looking body and that eating well and working out has to become your entire life, suck. They may make claims that their workout program will make you a battle-ready warrior or superior specimen of the human race, and that their diet will make you bulletproof. They may speak in absolutes stating “women should always do A, B, and C”, or “women should never do X, Y, and Z.” They use words like “groundbreaking” and “revolutionary” frequently when describing quick-fix fads and gimmicks. You may encounter entire groups that put down other people who don’t work out or eat the way they do. For the record, any group claiming to be better than others because of their health and fitness lifestyle has eaten too many of their own poop sandwiches. Speaking of poop sandwiches, just because someone had success with a particular diet or workout program doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Anything promising to make your muscles “long and lean” or says you can look like someone else is, once again, a turdy bacon club sandwich. Diets that blame a macronutrient (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrates) or food group (e.g., dairy) for hindering your fat loss efforts are, you guessed it, crap.CARBS WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT!!!!! Science (1). A low-fat diet isn’t a benefit because eating fat doesn’t cause disease. NOT eating it probably does, and we now know the body even needs some saturated fat to function optimally (2). Salt won’t kill you or drive up blood pressure if you’re generally healthy (3). And gluten… well what can be said other than food marketers have simply found another way to convince you that their bag or box of garbage is healthy (4).

Find the people who know their stuff, and learn from them. You can, again, check out my favorite “go to” resources here, but in short, Alan Aragon,Precision Nutrition, and Brad Schoenfeld will always be on my short list of trusted information sources.

 

Simple, Practical, Crap Free Advice

Now that we have bravely made it past the organic corn fill BM that is much of the fitness industry, let’s take a look at some info that will actually help.

-First up, short cuts don’t exist. Like many other aspects of life, if you truly want to achieve a goal, you must put in some effort.

-Strict diets are not sustainable long-term and exercise is not punishment. Your best bet is to eat real food with ample amounts of fruits and vegetables, and you’ll reap far greater results by consistently doing exercises you like (e.g. hiking, take a group fitness class, start learning martial arts, or anything that sounds fun to you) rather than haphazardly doing something deemed perfect. Find out what you like for both nutrition and exercise, and you will see results and be much happier in the long run. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end anyways?

-Know that gimmicks prey on your insecurities (and even create new ones). You don’t have to be miserable or deprived. Stick to the basics: eat mostly real, minimally processed foods, and strength train 2-4 days per week, and get enough sleep. These should be done according to your preferences and time availability.

-If you make a mistake, or even fail completely, don’t beat yourself up. Practice some self-compassion and then move on and do something positive when possible.

 

I am going to talk about looking and feeling confident because if you want that shredded, 6 pack abs, glistening muscles, ripped look, you may want to think about what it takes to get there. First of all, it’s tough to get and stay lean enough to look like Khal Drogo. It takes dedication, knowledge, and a win of the genetics lottery. But from disease risk to brain function and physical performance, a healthy diet is vital for every aspect of life. So to feel confident enough to take off your shirt at a pool party or feel like you can take on the world (or a last minute 5k you get invited to), then you will want to look into these rational steps.

  1. Know that total calorie intake is key (5). If you put in more calories than you burn, you will store them as new muscle or body fat. If you consume fewer calories than you burn every day, you will lose weight (6).
  2. Know what macro nutrients are. Carbs4 calories per gram. All starchy foods like bread, pasta and potatoes. Also includes fruit, legumes, juice, sugar and some dairy products.

Protein 4 calories per gram. Main sources include meat and fish, dairy, eggs, legumes and vegetarian alternatives like tofu.

Fats 9 calories per gram. Main sources include nuts, seeds, oils, butter, cheese, oily fish and fatty meat.

  1. Know what whole foods are. Basing your diet on whole foods is an extremely effective but simple strategy to improve health and lose weight. They are the unprocessed foods containing only one ingredientthat should be eaten at least 80-90% of the time. So if the product looks like it was made in a factory, then it’s probably not a whole food.
  2. Know that no food is strictly off limits. However, overeating certain foods like processed low-fatproducts and refined carbscan increase disease risk and lead to weight gain (7).
  3. Know that by controlling your portions, you are more likely to avoid consuming too many calories. To avoid portion distortion, you can use smaller plates and take a smaller-than-average first serving, then wait 20 minutes before you return for more. You can also use the hand method.
  4. Know how to assess your calorie needs. You can use a calorie calculatorfree calorie/nutrienttrackers, or simply consider increasing protein intake. Protein shakes can be very helpful, but know that what type you buyis also based on your goals.
  5. Know that most people regain all the weight they lost soon after attempting a weight loss diet (8). To avoid being a statistic, follow the rule that if you can’t see yourself on this diet in one, two or three years, then it’s not right for you. Making a sustainable diet means that you can enjoy and stick with it for the long term. If you want unhealthy foods, save them for an occasional treat.

 

 

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References

  1. Kreitzman, S. N., Coxon, A. Y., & Szaz, K. F. (1992). Glycogen storage: Illusions of easy weight loss, excessive weight regain, and distortions in estimates of body composition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56(1 Suppl), 292S.
  2. Skeaff, C. M., & Miller, J. (2009). Dietary fat and coronary heart disease: Summary of evidence from prospective cohort and randomised controlled trials. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 55(1-3), 173. doi:10.1159/000229002
  3. Cohen, H. W., Hailpern, S. M., Fang, J., & Alderman, M. H. (2006). Sodium intake and mortality in the NHANES II follow-up study. The American Journal of Medicine, 119(3), 275.e7-275.e14. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.10.042
  4. Reilly, NR. (2016) The Gluten-Free Diet: Recognizing Fact, Fiction, and Fad. The Journal of Pediatrics. , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.04.014
  5. Swinburn, B. A., Sacks, G., Lo, S. K., Westerterp, K. R., Rush, E. C., Rosenbaum, M.. . Ravussin, E. (2009). Estimating the changes in energy flux that characterize the rise in obesity prevalence. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(6), 1723.
  6. Hall, K. D., Heymsfield, S. B., Kemnitz, J. W., Klein, S., Schoeller, D. A., & Speakman, J. R. (2012). Energy balance and its components: Implications for body weight regulation. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(4), 989.
  7. Gross, L. S., Li, L., Ford, E. S., & Liu, S. (2004). Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the united states: An ecologic assessment. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79(5), 774.
  8. Dulloo, A. G., & Montani, J. ‐. (2015). Pathways from dieting to weight regain, to obesity and to the metabolic syndrome: An overview. Obesity Reviews, 16(S1), 1-6. doi:10.1111/obr.12250

The Happy Healthy Traveler

Traveling will always throw you in a funk when it comes to your health and fitness habits. So today I wanted to go over some tips to help you stay on track with your goals.

It’s inevitable. During the summer we will all likely be doing some traveling for vacation, sports, or a friend who selfishly demanded to do a destination wedding. Of course these events are special, but they will always throw you in a funk when it comes to your health and fitness habits. So today I wanted to go over some tips to help you stay on track with your goals, but more importantly, I want to hear about your favorite tips and tricks for staying on target.

Health Before Fun, Food, or Fitness

Before we dive into the fitness and nutrition side of things, I think it’s important to address the health needs of the traveler. Depending on where you’re going, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, if you’re going outside of the country (or to Michigan), make sure you are aware of the water situation. If the tap water isn’t good for drinking, then you will need to game plan for buying bottled water, brushing your teeth, and to keep your mouth shut when you take a shower or hop in a swimming in a pool. Nothing’s worse than running a trip short due to the runs. Speaking of which, consider taking bismuth subsalicylate (sold as Pepto-Bismol and various store brands) before every meal to decrease your chances of developing diarrhea (1). Never eat undercooked foods — eggs, meat, fish or poultry — or any food sold by street vendors, and wash your hands before and after meals to ensure you have a pleasant trip. Finally, make sure you are all up-to-date on routine vaccines (measles-mumps-rubella, varicella (chickenpox), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, an annual flu shot, and, if needed, a prescription for generic Malarone (atovaquone proguanil) to prevent malaria. Check out this link to know exactly what vaccinations you need depending on your destination. Be sure to pack an ample supply of sunscreen, insect repellent with 20 percent or more of DEET, and a first-aid kit of hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment and a variety of bandages. When flying, be sure to get up and walk around to avoid blood clots especially if you’re over 40, obese or pregnant, or have limited mobility (for example, because of a leg cast) or have a personal or family history of clots. Although rare, blood clots can be a very serious problem that everyone should be aware of.

Nutrition No Brainers

When I think about traveling and nutrition, I think about how speed is the key. You want to get in and out fast so you can just get to where you’re going. Of course, this means stopping at a fast food place. To avoid the junk at fast food places, I have a few tips that may seem like no-brainers, but actually going through with them is key.

#1 Pre Travel Game Plan – My wife spends hours planning her outfits for any trip. She writes down what she will need for each day of the trip, lays out the clothes, and then makes sure they will all fit in her bag. This same technique should be applied to your nutritional needs for any trip! Make a game plan by writing down how many times you/your family will need to eat, make a note of whether it will be on the road, hotel, or at the destination, and pack a cooler accordingly. The food you make yourself will almost surely be healthier than a number 8 with a soda at a fast food joint. This is especially true if you or your kids will be on the road for sports competitions.

#2 On The Road Game Plan – If you know your travels will take you on the road/air for multiple meals, there Here are a few things you can do to help keep yourself fueled with the good stuff: ask the airline ahead of time for a special meal, request a room with a small fridge for healthy food storage, and pack foods that don’t need to be immediately refrigerated.

#3 The Destination – Wherever you go, there is no excuse for not eating well. There are grocery stores, local markets, and healthy restaurant options everywhere. With a few taps of the smart phone, you can find these locations with ease. Because most of us will opt for the restaurant option, you will want to look for healthy choices online ahead of time;

* Protein (grilled chicken breast, lean beef, shrimp tuna, beans, etc)

* Veggies

* Side dishes because you can make pretty good meal from a few side orders, such as a single egg or a cup of fruit

* Appetizers because ordering a small item or two instead of a table-crushing platter of ribs is always better option

* The classic soup and salad options are filling and familiar

* Eat slowly, put your fork down and take long sips of water between bites so that you aren’t rushing through your meal and filling up before you even notice you’re satisfied

#4 Snacks – I love to snack on long drives because it helps keep me focused. Naturally, there are better options out there than chips and soda to snack on. So here are a few thoughts on what to pack, or what to look for at the gas station, when on the move.

* Focus on portion control when packing your own food. You will eat more if you put everything in one big container rather than many small ones

* Fresh produce such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, clementines, celery sticks, edamame and carrot sticks

* Hard-boiled eggs are perfect for any time of the day, but are particularly better for you than a hotel waffle or muffin at breakfast

* Dried fruit/jerky because fruits are packed with potassium and fiber and jerky is an excellent snack that’s low in calories and high in protein.(just make sure they both are unsweetened)

* DIY trail mix with unsweetened dried fruit, nuts, whole-grain cereal and seeds packed them in little snack baggies with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or smoked paprika to kick it up a notch

* And my personal favorite, snack sized pickles. No calories (that’s right… 0) and the salt in them will help you retain a little water so you don’t have to make quite so many potty breaks

Exercise & Sleep

When it comes to your health, exercise and sleep are crucial. And traveling will always throw a wrench in the works for both of these. Click this link to learn everything you need to know about sleep and how to keep a regular healthy pattern while traveling. And when it comes to exercise, you should always be able to make time for a quick workout. Those 30 to 45 minutes in the gym during the week doesn’t make up for all the time on your rear. Crunched for time? Well then do a cool 15 minute core workout like this one. Outdoor workouts like a scenic walk or run from the hotel work wonders. In-room workouts offer challenges, but doing dips on a chair, push ups, resistance bands, tennis ball for self-myofascial release, a bag filled with water for resistance exercise, and even a towel can easily be used for a yoga mat. Heck, if you have a wall, you can have a workout! Bottom line, don’t make excuses, just get it done!

References

  1. DuPont, H. L., Ericsson, C. D., Johnson, P. C., Bitsura, J. A. M., DuPont, M. W., & de la Cabada, Francisco Javier. (1987). Prevention of travelers’ diarrhea by the tablet formulation of bismuth subsalicylate. Jama, 257(10), 1347-1350. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390100085031

The Seven Habits of Healthy Weight Loss

Lets take a look at the big rocks and little rocks of fat mass loss!

Today I am taking a page out of Steven Covey’s book by talking about the big rocks and little rocks of fat mass loss. If you’re not familiar with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (which I highly suggest as a good read), a subject discussed is the concept of placing big rocks (important things) ahead of little rocks (less important things). So here is a list of the 7 big rocks you should do before you bother yourself with the minutia and gimmicks of fat loss.
BIG ROCKS
1. Caloric Deficit – Consuming less that you are burning is obvious, but often it’s forgotten as the MOST IMPORTANT part of fat loss. Who cares if your eating healthy if your eating way too much healthy food?!?! That’s why I prefer to do a 3 day dietary log with my clients to see what their eating and if it’s way too much. Even though many calorie calculators are off by as much as 25%, it’s a very good place to start to make sure your in the ball park. And if you’re wondering how many calories you should be eating, a good equation to go by is body weight in pounds x 12.
2. Eating whole, unprocessed nutritious foods – This one also abides by the KISS principle. Eating veggies, fruit, and high quality protein (as in not hot dogs), is a foundation principle. Now eating  like sh** here and there is fine. We all do it. And if you say you don’t then you’re a dirty rotten liar. But the key is to make it here and there and not a staple of your day to day life. A good place to start with this big rock is the produce section.
3. Protein and Essential Nutrients – The cool thing about protein is that it both builds muscle, and fills you up. So in my opinion the more the merrier. However, with an RDA set at .8g per kg per day, most people simply just don’t realize their not getting enough. A good rule of thumb here is eating 1g per pound of body weight. As for essential nutrients, if your not eating a balanced diet you may want turn to a small rock by considering a quality multivitamin supplement.
4. Consistency/adherence – The answer is no. I don’t feel like exercising everyday. But it’s become a habit of mine so now it’s just something that I feel like I need to do. To keep my self going I choose exercises that I can do, that are fun, and that are never the same as the week before. The same goes for diet. Choosing foods you’ll actually buy, prepare, and eat, consistently is key. But keep your self sane by setting an upper limit of 20% “junk” calories per day.This way you can actually enjoy life a little 🙂
5. Water – Not to beat a dead horse, but drinking plenty of water is important. Drinking .5oz per lbs. per day is a good place to start for this one
6. Avoid Losing Weight Too Fast – Yes there is such a thing, and it’s a bad thing. One to two Lbs. per week is a solid strategy.
7. Exercise – Well this is a no brainer. Build muscle by exercise, and lose fat by concentrating on diet. These two intermingle a lot, but again this is the general rule of thumb.
For more information check out this article!

Breaking Bad

Today we’re talking about breaking bad… habits.

Today we’re talking about breaking bad… habits. Because I am a huge KISS fan (keep it super simple), I really enjoyed reading the article published by My Fitness Pal. It talks about bad habits that can bugger up the works when it comes to your healthy lifestyle and nutrition. So lets take a look at the bad habits.
 
Bad Habit #1 Skipping the Grocery Store
We all know that eating out is almost always less healthy than making food for yourself. So make sure you have something to cook with by regularly going to the grocery store. If you like to save time, it is much easier to get in and out quickly if you go early in the day.
 
Bad Habit #2 Sleep Hygiene 
Want to get more done in your day, feel more energized, and able to take on the world? Well sleep should be one of your primary tools to do so. That cup of coffee wont do much if you’re regularly under sleeping. Practice some sleep hygiene and you will see a world of difference!
Bad Habit #3 Pantry Dropper
Dropping the ball on having your pantry stocked with good food is never a good thing. This poor habit plays into grocery shopping. Something is bound to happen to keep you from getting to the grocery store, so having a stocked pantry is a good way to not order junk food straight to your door. It can also pay off to freeze some fresh veggies and meats for the days you need to dig into your stash of quality food.
Bad Habit #4 Selecting Veggies
Eating old and out of season food can leave a bad taste in your mouth. So one solution is to make sure you’re buying fresh in season food that you will be getting at its ripest. Practicing this will make you happy to eat those vegetables and not dread it. Don’t know where to start? I recommend you check out our state farmers market that’s open year round. The vendors are always happy to educate and help you learn whats the best to eat this time of year.
Bad Habit #5 Kitchen Hygiene 
This is the bad habit I am most guilty of. This habit requires you to clean your kitchen frequently and thoroughly. However, I have to admit that doing the dishes quickly does result in less time/money wasted on ordering out food. Having a clean kitchen requires about 30m of work per day, but can save you hundreds (or more if bugs become a problem) of dollars per month overall.
Bad Habit #6 Over-exercising
Over exercising can cause anything from injuries to over eating at meal time. Keeping your exercise routine to a healthy work load can go a long way in keeping you sane and satisfied.
For more information on these topics, check out the link bellow. If you have any questions about what you can do to avoid these habits I’m always here to help!

Rise & Shine: Ways to Make Your Morning Great!

Let’s face it, mornings suck. But there are things that you can do to make it… suck less.

Last week I wrote about the importance of sleep, so what better way to follow it up than with a post about waking up?! Let’s face it, mornings suck. But there are things that you can do to make it… suck less. So take your hand off of the snooze button and listen up for some ways to make mornings less miserable!
 
Bright Idea
If you read last week’s post you know that bright lights at bed time are not a great idea. So being the smart individual that you are, you know that bright lights in the morning are a great idea! This is because light works as a signal for our natural circadian rhythm. So when the sun is up so are we and visa versa. That may be obvious, but light, even artificial sunlight, makes a huge positive impact to our mornings. Getting enough morning light can significantly enhance cognitive performance (1). Like to work out in the am? Well getting enough light can improve your ability exercise and improve reaction time (2). This means if you have a long commute it may be worth you while to invest in an artificial day light lamp. And I bet you didn’t know that along with diet, exercise, and sleep that light plays a huge role in obesity prevention (3)!
 
How Stimulating
Bright lights are great, but you can also make your mornings better by stimulating all of your sensesHearing – Most of us wake up to the sound of an alarm clock. But using your sense of hearing can, and should, involve other sources of sound. One great way to wake yourself up and start the day off right is through the use of positive affirmation. This means you literally say out loud “I’m going to have a good day.” Taking time to do this, as well as spending time focusing on yourself, is a great way to get the feel good hormones flowing early in the day. Smell – Wake up and smell the roses? Pshh. More like wake up and smell the bacon! Utilizing your sense of smell in the morning is an easy way to wake yourself up and make a positive ritual out of your day. Whether it’s having your coffee or tea pre-set to start around the time you wake up, using an invigorating soap first thing in the morning, or enjoying some bacon to start your day, waking up to smells can create a happy environment to start the day. Touch – A warm and cozy bed can be hard to break free from. So like tearing off the band aid, the best thing to do when you wake up is to break free of your bed! Rip the sheets off and stand up… it’s that simple. Taste – We will be looking at breakfast in depth later on, but for now what you need to know is that you can not go wrong with water in the morning. This is because we are constantly losing water and becoming dehydrated throughout the night. This can lead to a decrease in our immune response, poor cognitive ability, and bad breath (4,5)!!!
 
Not So Bright Idea
Okay so here’s where things get tricky. Breakfast is a very controversial area in general, but there are a few things that we do know. For instance, being hungry can decrease your decision making ability and make you a grumpy pants that no one wants to deal with (AKA hangry) due to the ghrelin hormone (6). So eat breakfast or else you will be known as the grump of the office! But what if you’re not hungry in the mornings? Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well the answer to that question is not so simple, but here’s a quote that I think is good food for thought “if there is little or no appetite for breakfast this meal can be safely missed by those who are well nourished, including children, because this will not adversely affect performance (body energy reserves can be readily mobilized to fuel muscle and brain activity), but will likely help reduce excessive energy intake.” (7). So this means that for some, skipping breakfast may not be a bad idea if you’re trying to lose weight. However, other studies show that you MUST eat breakfast to lose weight (8)! In reality, meals, and their timing, are largely driven by culture. Have you ever stopped to think about why there is such a thing as “breakfast foods?” It’s mostly due to marketing. So if you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle, the best thing to do is experiment on yourself. Pick a breakfast ritual and try it out for a month and see where it takes you. Personally, I eat 3 whole eggs (reduces ghrelin), 3 egg whites, and a hand full of home fries every morning. I chose this meal because it has plenty of protein, fat, and carbohydrates which helps to decrease my overall appetite throughout the day and decreases ghrelin (9). But most importantly I LIKE IT! So find out what works for you and make sure it’s what you enjoy. Because like so many other things in the health and fitness world, consistency reigns supreme.
Resources
1. Gabel, V., Maire, M., Reichert, C. F., Chellappa, S. L., Schmidt, C., Hommes, V.. . Viola, A. U. (2015). Dawn simulation light impacts on different cognitive domains under sleep restriction. Behavioural Brain Research, 281, 258-266. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.043
2. Thompson, A., Jones, H., Gregson, W., & Atkinson, G. (2014). Effects of dawn simulation on markers of sleep inertia and post-waking performance in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(5), 1049-1056. doi:10.1007/s00421-014-2831-z
3. Partonen, T. (2014). Obesity = physical activity + dietary intake + sleep stages + light exposure. Annals of Medicine, 46(5), 245.
4. Hanstock, H. G., Diment, B. C., Bendell, K. H. F., Carswell, A., Fortes, M. B., Moore, J. P., & Walsh, N. P. (2014). Effect of exercise-induced dehydration and subsequent overnight fluid restriction on immunity at the ocular surface. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(5)
5. Thornton, S. N., & Trabalon, M. (2012). Dehydration during sleep affects cognitive performance. Sleep Medicine, 13(1), 118; author reply 118. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2011.06.018
6. Rozita H Anderberg, Caroline Hansson, Maya Fenander, Jennifer E Richard, Suzanne L Dickson, Hans Nissbrandt, Filip Bergquist, Karolina P Skibicka. The Stomach-Derived Hormone Ghrelin Increases Impulsive Behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015; 41 (5): 1199 DOI: 10.1038/npp.2015.297
7. Peter J Rogers (2016). Breakfast: how important is it really?. Public Health Nutrition, 19, pp 1718-1719. doi:10.1017/S1368980015003705. 
8. Astbury, N. M., Taylor, M. A., & Macdonald, I. A. (2011). Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(7), 1381-1389. doi:10.3945/jn.110.128645
9. Ratliff, J., Leite, J. O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M. J., VanHeest, J., & Fernandez, M. L. (2010). Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30(2), 96-103. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002

Making Cardio CVEasy

The benefits of increasing your CVE are too great to ignore so I wanted to share some thoughts on how to spice up your routine!

Today I’m talking cardio. More specifically I wanted to talk about cardiovascular endurance (CVE). This topic was spurred on by a meme that I saw earlier in the week essentially saying that people who only come to the gym to walk on the treadmill are wasting their time and money. To be clear, I think that cardio of any sort should be a part of a complete workout program and not the entirety of your gym experience. However, the benefits of increasing your CVE are too great to ignore so I wanted to share some thoughts on how to spice up your routine!
 
The First Step
The first thing you should do is assess where you are physically. This can be done several ways. You can see a fitness professional (like myself), you can track your workouts, you can take a ballpark guess, or you can just say “hey I’m a couch potato… I know exactly where I’m at physically” and go from there. What you will want to know overall is how to take your CVE to the next level without injuring yourself. Side note, the phrase “no pain no gain” is… dumb, silly, nonsense, asinine, dippy (I love my thesaurus).
 
Step Two
Assess what you need. That old pair of Chuck Tailors in the closet probably aren’t the best idea if you want to start a running program. So before you dust off the old bike, goggles, or roller blades on the way to a work out, make sure they are in good condition. Trust me when I say that investing $100 in your equipment is the BEST thing you can do for increasing your CVE. There’s nothing worse than a couple of forced weeks off due to injury.
 
Step Three
Look into activities that you already enjoy. There’s no reason to go running if you hate being on your feet. Make things easier on yourself by identifying things that you already kind of like doing and try them first. This will decrease the chances of you quitting early and increase the likelihood of you seeing actual gains. And always remember to gradually increase your workload. 
 
Step Four
Put one foot in front of the other (I love puns). You need to make it happen. Just knowing that 22 minutes of walking a day will decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, and increase your overall longevity should be enough. But as a pragmatist I know that we all need help on days that we feel out of it. This is why I am such a fan of exercising in groups or with a partner to keep you accountable. 
 
Pro Tips
 – The fastest and easiest way to get in shape quick is high intensity interval training (HIIT). However, it is extremely difficult to do HIIT properly alone. There are definitely some great strategies to employ if you must do HIIT alone as your source of CVE training. You can also do a small group class like the awesome new GRIT classes that will be starting at the end of October (if you would like more information just let me know).
 – Not ready for HIIT? No problem! Running is a cheap and easy way to get increase your CVE. Check out this link for a fantastic review about everything you need to know to get started with running. While you’re at it you should also consider joining me at our Run Club every Saturday morning at 8am! (Note that we will be running an organized 5k as a group on 10/10/2015. Join by signing up here!!!)
 – Coming off of an injury and can’t do what you want? Check out this link for some ideas about how to modify your activities.
 – Never stop improving. Whether you’re just getting off of the couch and walking for 20m a day or starting a new butt kicking HIIT work out, it’s important to always strive to hit the next level. Even if it takes you years to get there, setting goals is an extremely important and effective way to stay in shape.  
 – Keep it all in perspective. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was this guy. We spend all of our lives getting to the point we currently are currently at. It take time to get in shape. So don’t reward yourself for exercising, and don’t expect immediate returns on your fitness investment. Stay the course and you will become an inspiration!