Antidotes to Over-eating During the Holidays

23 Nov

3138667900_74f941528b_zAccording to a recent Weight Watchers report, the average American gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If we allow ourselves to lose control completely over the holiday season, there is a high risk that we will continue to have unhealthy eating habits long after the holiday season is gone. Falling into the trap of unhealthy eating is a hard habit to break. Despite millions of New Year’s resolutions that are made each year regarding our diets, many people never get around to breaking the habit at all. In fact, researchers at Washington University have reported that only around 22% of New Year’s diet resolutions make to February. And I can personally vouch for the exercise resolution makers. I would estimate less than 15% make it to February by the fall-out I’ve witnessed in the gym as a Certified Fitness Trainer.

So what can you do to prevent this weight gain over the holidays? Well that is what this article is all about. And here are several tips on eating healthy during the holiday season. Being health-conscious doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday season and have a little bit of what you fancy. It simply means that you should continue to be vigilant and be prepared for the festivities. 😉

There are many ways in which you can help to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy diet and joining in with the fun and festivities.

  1. Exercise: My favorite combat against holiday eating! Most people have little extra time available over the holiday season because they are so busy working, or enjoying a party, or shopping, or spending time with family. But if you take this opportunity to develop a regular exercise regime it will pay off in so many ways. It will not only help you burn off the excess calories and fat consumed over this period but it will give you extra energy you need to enjoy the holiday season!! This is the perfect time to get in the habit of exercising too and you can continue after the holiday season is over. You’ll be ahead of the amateurs who hit the gym in January.
  2. Be wary of sugary foods: Always remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave more rich and sugary foods. We’ve all been there….over-indulging in sweet or rich food…feeling bloated, sick, and making rash promises to never eat again…and a couple of hours later we find ourselves back in the kitchen, picking at leftovers. By ensuring that you practice healthy eating over the holidays, and throw in some regular exercise, you can expect to have more energy and fewer cravings.
  3. Eat regularly: Don’t go to a party hungry. We often eat faster and even more when we are hungry; therefore, eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party. You might even want to include a healthy snack just before the party to curb your appetite. Here’s a great tip, drink a big glass of water before you eat, it will make you feel full and you will be less likely to over indulge.
  4. Balance your meals: Don’t be tempted to fill up your plate with purely rich, calorie laden foods. Instead, have a little of everything including fruit and vegetables. This way you’ll still get to indulge as well as receive valuable nutrients and vitamins.
  5. Take your vitamins daily: This way you’ll ensure you are getting all of your nutrients. During the holiday/winter season you are susceptible to getting sick. What better way to ward off colds and the flu by taking your vitamins.
  6. Moderate alcohol intake: Don’t forget that alcohol intake is fattening too. Alcohol contains calories and lots of them. Just about every form of alcohol has at least 100 calories per glass and the lower calorie beers have lower alcohol content. Even though alcohol makes you feel more relaxed at the moment remember it is a depressant and the next day will be harder to handle if you over indulge and won’t be worth that little so called relaxing moment if you really think about it.
  7. Be aware of food allergies: It is quite possible that you may have an allergy or intolerance to a food, which you may not even be aware of. Because there is a mountain of food waiting around every corner during the holiday season, we sometimes find ourselves gorging on food and we do not even know about the ingredients. Then we wonder why we’re feeling so ill the next morning! By having a food allergy test, you can identify any foods that you need to avoid during the holiday season in order to maintain your health and enjoy the festivities without suffering.
  8. Watch your portion. Treat yourself to a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portion. Go for small portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
  9. Drink plenty of water. There are so many things that we consume during the holidays that can dehydrate our bodies, alcohol and caffeine are just two culprits. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to keep your body adequately hydrated.
  10. Stock up on healthy snacks: When you go shopping, be sure to throw some healthy snacking items in to your basket. Fill up on raw veggies, such as carrots or celery, which can make a simple snack in times of temptation.
  11. Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. High fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, cheese filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.

Have a healthy and happy holiday season!!! Kathie 🙂

BCAA’s Branched Chain Amino Acids

20 Nov

ask-the-science-chick-should-i-drink-bcaas-graphics-1For some people new to fitness nutrition lingo, trying to figure out what BCAAs is referring to may be just as difficult as trying to understand millennial abbreviations like LMAO, FOMO, and ROFL mean.

Or maybe you already know what BCAAs are, but you don’t know if you really need to include them in your fitness routine.

I’m here to tell you, you need them.

There are so many benefits of BCAAs that I don’t know why you wouldn’t want them.

What are those benefits? I’ll go into more detail in this article, but here are a few to spark your interest:

  • Recover from workouts faster
  • Lose fat, NOT muscle
  • Improve performance

Interested yet?

Keep reading to learn the science behind branched chain amino acids.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are actually way more simple than they may sound.

BCAAs consist of three different types of amino acids that are especially important for muscle growth and recovery. These three amino acids are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

Branched chain amino acids are mostly found in meat and eggs but the easiest way to get them is in supplement form.

What do BCAAs do?

To understand what BCAAs do, we are going to take a detailed look at each specific amino acid to see how each one benefits you.

Leucine:

Leucine is the MVP, the lead singer, the big dog of branched chain amino acids. This amino has the greatest influence on muscle growth and recovery.

Why is this important?

When you workout out as a lifter, swimmer, rock climber, or anything in between, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibers.

These tiny tears can often cause soreness, scientifically referred to as DOMS. (There I go again, throwing in another acronym for you to debunk.)

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, or in simple terms, your muscles hurt and moving can be a struggle.

DOMS can occur 12-24 hours after physical activity and leaves you feeling stiff, achy, and makes squatting to use the toilet surprisingly difficult <- body builders who don’t use BCAAs call this the ‘death drop’. :))

For some, that sore feeling may seem like an accomplishment, but for those who want or need to workout on a daily basis, it can be a downright nuisance.

So how do you avoid DOMS and limping around like you’ve been mortally wounded?

One way is to include a BCAAs supplement! The Leucine will help prevent major muscle damage and assist your body to recover faster.

Isoleucine:

This branched chain amino acid is going to be your new best friend during workouts.

Isoleucine increases your body’s capacity to use glucose, especially during activity.

This means you’ll have more energy for your workouts and the glucose (carbs) you eat will be more efficiently used rather than stored as extra padding for your behind.

When you consume carbohydrates, two things can occur: the sugars are either used as energy, reserved in glycogen stores, or stored as fat.

Most of us have enough fat on our bodies and don’t need anymore. This is why Isoleucine and branched chain amino acids are helpful. Isoleucine helps regulate blood sugars, preventing harmful insulin spikes and drops.

Valine:

Valine has similar properties as Isoleucine and Leucine and works best when combined with them.

Valine, like Leucine, helps your body recover and stimulates muscle growth. Like Isoleucine, valine helps with the uptake and usage of glucose and it may play an important role in muscle coordination and brain function.

Why Use Branched Chain Amino Acids?

I’ve already mentioned some of the benefits of BCAAs, but that was only scratching the surface.

Here are four more impressive benefits of BCAAs:

1.You’ll recover faster.

One study found that branched chain amino acids reduced muscle damage. Another study found those who took a BCAAs supplement before and after a strenuous workout had faster recovery times.

This means you will be able to workout more often at higher intensities while avoiding possible muscle soreness and risk of injury. How many times have you skipped a workout because you were, “too sore”?

More training and less muscle fatigue will mean greater gains in strength and endurance.

2. You’ll lose fat, not muscle.

Research has shown that those who include a BCAAs supplement are more likely to lose unwanted fat while keeping lean body mass.

Many times when people are trying to build muscle and lose fat, they actually lose both. Additionally, beginning in your 30s, you actually begin to lose lean muscle and usually replace it with fat. A natural yet unfortunate process called sarcopenia.

By being physically active, including some kind of strength routine, and including the right kinds of supplements (like BCAAs) you can reduce muscle loss over time.

Branched chain amino acids can also help with muscle retention, keeping you lean and active as you age. How?

By keeping your muscles properly fueled with amino acids from BCAAs, you spare muscle tissue.

Muscle tissue can and is used for energy by the body, especially when calories are restricted and during endurance sports like marathons. Reduce muscle loss with a BCAA supplement!

3. You’ll improve performance.

A study conducted back in the 90s found, “that both mental and physical performance was improved by an intake of BCAA during exercise.”

This is because when amino acids are used for energy, your body prefers to use the amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine (aka BCAAs).

Understanding what each of the three BCAAs do, and considering that all amino acids are responsible for every important function in your body, these types of conclusions seem obvious.

If you’ve been doing any kind of sport or physical activity long, you know that it is just as much a mental game as well as physical.

Branched chain amino acids can help boost your mental capacity and keep you in top physical condition to perform your best.

4. They are effective and convenient.

You now know that branched chain amino acids are extremely important, but why supplement them? Why not just eat them naturally in your food?

I’m all about getting my nutrition through my food whenever possible, but for most people getting all the essential nutrients we need naturally in the diet can be difficult.

I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I am saying that supplements can make life much easier.

For example, you would have to eat 4 whole eggs to get the same amount of BCAAs that you could get in one calorie free powder scoop of BCAAs.

If you’re aiming for the recommended 5g of BCAAs before and after a workout, that’s 8 eggs and 560 calories to get 10g of branched chain amino acids that you could get for zero calories.

Besides supplementing being a simple way to get the needed protein and BCAAs in the diet, the powdered form of BCAAs is digested and absorbed quickly by the body.

The BCAAs found naturally in foods such as eggs and beef, take much longer to digest and cannot be immediately used by the body.

When Do You Take BCAAs?

Generally, before and after a workout take one serving or 5-10g of BCAAs. These are the times when your body most needs amino acids.

Others find it helpful to sip on their BCAAs drink during their workout for added energy and hydration.

Those looking to preserve muscle mass may take a serving of branched chain amino acids in the morning.

When you wake up, your body is in a fasted state. Since you haven’t eaten all night long, you are probably burning muscle as a source of energy.

This is bad news if you want to preserve that hard earned lean mass! Taking BCAAs in the morning with a healthy protein filled breakfast can end this muscle breakdown and give you an energy boost to start your day.

Personally, I like to take my BCAAs with my pre-workout drink like Uplift for Her. I conclude my workout with my protein (Trutein is a great protein drink). Currently, for the goals I am trying to achieve I workout 3 times a week. I will shoot for 4-5 once I get closer to my body fat percentage goal. This means I drink my pre-workout drink 3 times a week. I also have a protein shake I drink in the afternoons sometimes for that added boost. This protein has added BCAAs and vitamins to help me along with my goals. I drink Her Whey from NLA.

I have also found IdealLean to be a great product. I have some client’s who use this but I have yet to try it. I am thinking of Ideal Shape protein/meal replacement to take the place of Her Whey as I like the vitamin content in their shake. I hope I like the flavor, especially more so than the Her Whey which I find to be a bit under the top on the flavor scale.

Happy Training!

How I Found Success and Trained Myself

15 Nov

31637-eat-clean-and-train-dirtyI am sharing my personal fitness story here to help others I train. What I have done works and it works wonders. I am 51 years old and losing weight is not easy at this age. However, I have trained myself with this program I am sharing now for 6 weeks now and have found a method that works for me.

It consists of training correctly, eating clean, supplementing and enjoying myself in the process. Please know that as of this post I have lost 10# and 4% body fat. My main goal is to lose 3% more body fat. Weight does not matter to me because I know through all my years of training and living in this body my weight does not matter.

  1. Number one thing I am doing is hitting the gym at least 3 times a week and slow training all the muscle groups. Slow train means hit each machine and train to failure, or as I like to call it success. Fatigue each muscle out and then go from there. I can complete an entire body strength training session in 25-30 minutes. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things to do is watch someone sit at one leg machine for the entire time it takes me to get through my entire leg workout and be on to upper body. And I can guarantee you I am getting 100% better workout than they are!! That’s a fact! I am not training cardio at this time because I want to gain muscle. Cardio training for me would cut into my muscle building loveliness. 😉 Note: Please know that I realize everyone does not do the same workout and this is not a cookie-cutter program. I am just saying what works for me right now.
  2. Supplement, before and after my workout. I take a pre-workout drink at least 30 minutes before my workout. OMG is this stuff awesome. I have the BCAA’s that I need in this drink. (Here’s a link to my BCAA post). I drink it and I have to hit the gym. I am pumped!! I also make sure to take my protein 30 minutes after my workout. The main thing both of these do is aid in recovery and no muscle soreness so I am able to workout again – soon. I miss the soreness I used to feel from the DOMs (well kind of) but I absolutely love the fact that I can hit the gym tomorrow if I want. I take NLA Uplift for her and Trutein Protein Shake (pictured below). truteinupliftforher–I buy all my supplements from bodybuilding.com. But you can search them on your own if you’d like. I am not promoting products in this post.
  3. Take a multi-vitamin. I take an awesome vitamin that definitely replaces Le-Vel Thrive and is much less expensive. I have done extensive research (on all my products for that matter.) Compare $60 to $15.29—-duh no brainer! I take Jamie Eason Signature Series Multi-Vitamin. If you are looking for something to replace Thrive you’ve come to the right place!
  4. Probably the most important tool I use for my success: MYFITNESSPAL app. This app is a great tool to keep you on track. It sets my caloric intake according to my goals and I stick to it as best I possibly can. Sometimes it will shock you as you think something you are eating is healthy and low-calorie and you’ll find half your calories and/or fat grams for the freaking day is in the one item. Really!! True story!!

So those 4 items have helped me stay on track. How did I find out about these? you ask. Well, I did tons of research. First thing I did was get off of Thrive. To me, Le-vel Thrive is a scam of a company!! I have been taking it for a year. It is a great product, don’t get me wrong but it is way over priced. And who is getting the profit? You figure it out!

The vitamins I take (#3) are the same, actually better than Thrive’s Vitamin for women.

The shake from Thrive is really tasty and probably my favorite item from them. However, Her Whey from NLA is the exact same product, actually it is better! It doesn’t taste as good but it is a protein with vitamins!! And it includes the BCAA’s you need, this makes it better than Thrive. Thrive’s Shake is $50 and this one is $38.53

However, I take the Trutein ($32.59 and you have 10 more servings and twice the protein) for my protein and that is because I love the taste and the amount of protein I get from the powder. It is the absolute best!! I love that feeling of drinking my protein after my workout….ahhhh!!

BTW eat clean and train dirty. That is my philosophy. Your nutrition plays an important part of your program. I have finally abided by that rule and it shows!! I rarely eat processed foods and I feel fabulous!! You should try it.

I still drink my beer. However it is in moderation. I have also switched back to Michelob Ultra as opposed to Miller Lite for the time being.

55090a42c22a7-ghk-michelob-ultra-beer-xl

Happy Training! Kathie 🙂

Biggest Loser is being Called Out…FINALLY

25 May

biggest loserI knew it was a matter of time but it had to happen. I see this all the time. The Biggest Loser really is a big loser!

I have said it for years…this show is bogus. My professional opinion has always taken that stance – see previous posts about the show, search them on my site. You will see.

There is no quick way to weight loss. If you lose weight too fast you will send your body into starvation mode and your body will store whatever you do eat, when you eat again, as fat! PERIOD! End of story.

It is now coming out that contestants were encouraged to take pills. “Adderall and ‘yellow jackets’ — pills that contain ephedra extract. Ephedra is used to promote weight loss and boost energy, and was banned by the FDA in 2004.” This taken from the New York Post article on the scandal that rocks the Biggest Loser today. Click Here to read that article now.

This does not surprise me one bit. I have seen it happen so many times and I see it happening today. Biggest Loser has been accused of having contestants gain more weight to be on the show, making them sweat it out, forcing them to train like athletes immediately after a sedentary lifestyle, forcing them on below 800 calorie per day diets, forcing them to throw up to lose weight, sweat it out, and now having them take diet pills. All of the above lead to a guarantee of weight gain when the previous mentioned methods are not maintained for life. And it is impossible to maintain those methods for life. IMPOSSIBLE! Not only are they impossible to maintain but they are also lead to a lifetime of poor health and psychological illnesses as well as eating disorders.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves!!

I watched my ex-husband go on an extremely low calorie diet to lose 150# back in 1998. He looked great, back then, but he gained it all back and then some. He still, to this day, yo-yo’s on his weight. And he never achieved the 150# weight loss again. He also has health issues, probably will for a lifetime.

One of his favorite ways to lose weight was he would drink a diet coke, eat a bag of pretzels but he wouldn’t eat the pretzels. He would spit the remnants back into the empty diet coke bottle so he could get the taste of food. Oh my, that was lovely. NOT!

Currently I run a Biggest Winner Contest at work. (Notice my play on words, I do not like the Loser connotation.) This will probably be the last time I do so. I have found that the competition is all that matters to some folks and it is all about the money. I have one young girl whom I suspect is damaging her body by losing weight the wrong way. I have no real proof of this but the wrong way would be: extremely low calorie dieting, forcing herself to throw up, taking diet pills, sweating it out, etc…. She will gain the weight back and then some. I hope it was worth it. Not only is she going to gain weight back but she may have other side effects in later life; high blood pressure, gall bladder issues, eating disorders, extreme weight gain that she cannot lose, etc.

I feel so sorry for those contestants on that show. I always knew something was not right about it. I promote health. I have studied under some of the finest personal trainers. I have been a certified fitness trainer for 13 years now. It only works when you do it the right way and let me add this, for the right reasons.

Repost from September 23, 2010 about Biggest Loser

24 May

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 2010….6 YEARS AGO!!! I AM ABOUT TO GO ON A RANT ABOUT THE BIGGEST LOSER AND I WANT YOU TO SEE MY THOUGHTS IN TIME…..6 YEARS AGO!!the-biggest-loser!

The Biggest Loser Premier was on the other night and I watched parts of it on my DVR yesterday and once again the show did not let me down in the crazy way they introduce fitness to severely overweight people!! Am I the only one who sees the danger in all this insanity? Please tell me!! Comments welcome.

I watch the show out of sheer interest to learn more about fitness which is my passion. And I truly love Jillian Michaels and think she is a great trainer. HOWEVER, the show lacks a true perspective on what is really at stake here and that is people’s lives. Ironic huh? Is it going to take someone dying for them to get this? Heck a gal almost did just that – and she did not make the show. “Lucky for her!” I say.

This season the show is all about “paying it forward” – so they say. The only thing I see them paying forward is leaving so many overweight people in the dust.  They went from city to city, picking 3 overweight people out of this huge crowd of people for the show. Then these 3 people  had to compete in a fitness challenge and only 2 people who won these competitions then got to be on the show. Hmmm – how is that paying it forward? I would think the most un-fit person would benefit most from being on the show but then again this show is called The Biggest Loser for a reason!!

I watched a couple of competitions in pain and agony as these poor people struggled!! And I fast forwarded through most of them because it was just too painful to watch.

But then there was one. And talk about painful, this one was agony!!! This poor girl was struggling to climb 500 steps and then started having an asthma attack. Oh but Jillian was there with her inhaler (*insert sarcasm here)! The poor girl then passed out. Paramedics were standing by. How convenient? And, get this, the competition continued!!! Yes it did!! The poor girl was back there dying – literally. And the two guys who were already going to win their way into the show still continued to climb the stairs, while the audience cheered. YES, The Biggest LOSER is in fact The Biggest LOSER!!

Mind you that poor girl had spilled her guts in the diary room on camera on national television about how she had been in an abusive relationship and how she had gotten into this condition in the first place. And now she was left behind – in a trail of dust. Is The Biggest Loser going to really help her? I doubt it. They did not pay it forward, they dropped the ball as far as I am concerned.

They do this in the name of health? Yeah right! I’m sorry but as a Certified Fitness Trainer I see the lack of help and concern for true fitness on this show. You simply cannot throw an unfit person into a gym and make them start working like an athlete after they have been sitting on the couch for years. You have to condition the body into fitness and slowly get the heart back into shape. You run the risk of heart attack right then and there. This show does not teach this concept and therefore, we have unfit people hitting the gym and pushing the limits in gyms all over America and having serious health issues, including heart attacks. I know CPR and we have to be certified in CPR for this very reason. But I tell you I really do not want to perform it!! Jillian and those trainers on that show have a slew of doctors standing by ready to jump on any condition that arises – I don’t.

Please take it slow when entering a fitness program. You can lose weight and it will drop off fast if you weigh a lot even if you start off slow.

If you like this article you will also like: Losing It with Jillian Michaels (this article tells you how to calculate your heart rate)%

Tips on What NOT To Do

do-not-sign-md
21 Mar

do-not-sign-md“We all could do this, it takes disclipline. Just put your mind to it!” -One of my clients

VERY LOW-CALORIE DIETS

A crash diet will come back to bite you. Starving a body of essential nutrients to lose weight quickly is counterproductive. Instead of burning off pounds, this strategy burns muscle. Less muscle means a slower metabolism, which is precisely the wrong outcome. Plus, this type of weight-loss plan can’t last. Weight will evaporate quickly (most being water weight), but then what? Fans of this approach are doomed to regain the weight once normal eating resumes. I have seen this happen many times. Same thing with diet pills….mentioned later.

SHAKES

Many dieters turn to shakes as a snack or meal replacement. But if a serving contains less than 10 grams of protein — the minimum needed to build muscle mass — any lean muscle developed by working out will wind up eating itself. Weight may disappear quickly with a shake diet, but it isn’t the type of weight to lose. Check the ingredients carefully and choose a brand that’s low in carbohydrates and sugar and loaded with vitamins, as well as enough fiber to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Spurn anything with trans fats or saturated fats. Brands such as Pure Protein and Atkins meet these criteria, but a little sleuthing for online recipes to make at home can save money.

DIURETICS

Like some other weight-loss gimmicks, diuretics focus on loss of fluid, which is anything but a long-term solution. Taking a diuretic creates an imbalance in body chemistry. Along with water, essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium are lost. Counter intuitively, diuretic pills can work against the body by causing it to swell from dehydration.

DIET PILLS

It’s possible to shed pounds with diet pills, yes, but ongoing use — and expense — is necessary to keep the weight off. Moreover, experts at Mayo Clinic note that research about the pills’ effectiveness is slim, express qualms about the ingredients, and caution that they can have unpleasant side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, upset stomach, loose stools, and insomnia. Only a handful of weight-loss pills have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Bottom line: Diet pills are no substitute for lifestyle changes like the ones Shawn and Christine put into effect and still work on to this day without a contest.

7-MINUTE WORKOUTS

There’s no question that losing weight takes time that’s not always available, which makes working out for a mere seven minutes particularly appealing. But experts say that just isn’t enough. A small amount of exercise is certainly better than nothing, but any significant benefit from this workout routine requires several consecutive repeats. Suddenly, a seven-minute workout mushrooms to a commitment of at least 21 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the hype.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

4368380893_0e1b04fc85
14 Mar

4368380893_0e1b04fc85The secret of getting ahead is getting started. -Mark Twain

My point to you today is about the most important component of your fitness – which is your heart. You have to exercise your heart to be fit. Your heart is a muscle. Well, how do I go about doing this? The main thing you want to do is get your heart pumping. You can do this by climbing stairs, walking briskly, dancing, jogging, taking an aerobic class, etc.

There are some very important things you must know about exercising your heart before you begin. First of all, you heart rate should never exceed 220 minus your age in beats per minute. So if you are 40 years old your heart should never exceed 180bpm.

Resting heart rate is about 60-80bpm for most adults. Ideally you want to warm up your heart a bit then take it to a number of about 85% your max and then bring your heart rate back down. This number would be about 160bpm for hard work and about 130bpm for rest work for our 40 year old example.

If you exercise like this for about 30 minutes a day 5-7 times per week your heart will work better for you and you will feel better because blood is circulating better in your body.

Here are some important points about your heart rate:

  • You can get a heart rate monitor at Academy or online for under $50. The best kind of heart rate monitor is one that straps onto your body and then you also have a watch that you wear on your arm that displays your heart rate. Precor makes a great one and this one will also display your heart rate on Precor fitness equipment (at most gyms). I like this one because it is the most accurate and it keeps up with you. Most equipment you use in the gym takes a few seconds to catch up.
  • 220 beats per minute is not a random number. 200bpm is a healthy baby’s heart rate when born. Children also have a higher heart rate, both resting and while at work, than adults.
  • Medications you take can affect your heart rate. If you are on any type of medication that affects your heart rate you will most likely have to adjust your actual beats per minute by decreasing this number about 20-50%. For example our 40 year old on medication would have to adjust their max heart rate to about 140bpm. Some medications that affect your heart rate include blood pressure medications and beta blockers.
  • If you do not have a heart rate monitor you can always account for your activity by the way you are breathing. When working very hard you should still be able to carry on a conversation, even though you may be winded, you can still talk.
  • If you have difficulty talking or you are too winded, do not just stop the activity. This can cause a serious health condition. You simply slow down your exercise and take one or two deep breaths amidst the shallow breaths and your heart rate and shortness of breath should return to a more normal rate quickly – within a minute.

Your cardio vascular exercise should include exercising your heart – always! This is the main component of your fitness. Your body will work better if you do this one thing. And because your heart is working efficiently you will also burn calories. Remember calories in must be calories burned. If you are consuming more calories than your body burns you will gain weight.

Train Like a Champion!

Why I Don’t Do Crossfit

Female doing squats at gym
07 Mar

Female doing squats at gym

Please read this article on Huffington Post by Erin Simmons on why she doesn’t do crossfit. My favorite line is at the bottom where she states how crossfit people are brainwashed into a mentality of “us vs them” Okay go for it…..as I like to say “Physical therapists and chiropractors everywhere are thanking the inventors of crossfit for their vacation homes.”

Click Here now to read this great article.

Benefits of HIITs

HIIT
27 Feb

HIIT

Just about everyone I train MUST do HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training) because everyone can benefit from HIITs. If you are not working hard enough during your 30 second (or whatever time frame you are working on at the time) intense training you are NOT doing HIITs. You can do HIITs anytime, any place. For example, while walking in your neighborhood warm up for a few minutes then go into a brisk walk for a few houses or blocks, then slow down and rest walk. Continue this type of pace throughout your walk. If you need to jog for a bit to make your interval intense enough I recommend doing that. You can also jog and run full out during your interval if you are fit and/or a runner.

I do not recommend using the Interval program on cardio equipment because there is a huge chance you will not work hard enough to hit your peak heart rate.  Simply train yourself to work very hard during your interval cycle and continue your rest work long enough to bring your heart rate down . 

In a nutshell, short term, the benefit of low volume HIIT programs are:

  1. Cause metabolic adaptations as longer term, higher volume endurance training. This means that you build stamina and improve your metabolism.
  2. Improve heart function
  3. Reduce the severity of Type II Diabetes
  4. Aid in weight loss in as little as one or two workouts per week.
  5. Improve aerobic fitness, heart function, blood glucose levels, fat loss, and overall fitness levels. 
  1.     The rest interval is the important part of interval training.  If you aren’t resting between intervals, you’re not doing HIIT! I cannot stress this enough.
  2.     Without adequate rest, the body is unable to recover from the short bursts of higher intensity work, which eliminates the possibility to sustain a high level of intensity for the entire length of the exercise session (Seiler, 2009)
  3.     Generally speaking, the higher the intensity of the interval, the shorter its duration, and the longer the recovery period. Interval training sessions usually last less an hour including rest periods and more intense sessions can be less than 25 minutes.

hiit chart

Train Like A Champion!

I Joined Planet Fitness

pf-judgementfree
22 Jan

pf-judgementfree

So back in November I joined Planet Fitness. Crazy, I know but I needed a gym that had a stair climber <-my favorite cardio, and the Y does not have one nor does the gym I run. I know why….a rolling stair case is a tricky piece of equipment. They break easy and require a lot of maintenance. Having said this, one of the four stair climbers has been broken in the gym since the beginning of December. Who knows if they will fix it either.

Planet Fitness is a cheap gym, prices are very cheap at $10 a month, who can’t afford it? So because it is cheap it is very crowded (at least in January) and misused!!

They claim to be “home of the judgement free zone”, meaning you can’t be a “meathead” or “gym rat” and work out there. Kind of stupid in my opinion because they claim to be non-judgemental but they will turn on a siren and call out someone for dropping their weights or grunting in the gym and even discontinue their membership. BTW grunting is sometimes necessary to get through that rep as it is necessary for the tennis player to grunt to get that hit just right. Not that I do it but for the serious athlete it is necessary. Dropping weights is another story but sometimes necessary as well, but use discretion and be courteous to those in the gym.

Like I said I only use the stairs and I get my workout done in as little as 20 minutes. I have enough time to watch people in the gym though. Let me say this….if you want to know what NOT to do just watch those working out in the gym. Entertainment at it’s best!

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • POSTURE. Posture is one of the most important things to focus on when working out whether that be cardio or strength training. I see so many people slouching on machines – this is just wrong! And when lifting weights they do not focus on standing or sitting correctly. This leads to posture imbalances or injuries.
  • INTERVAL TRAIN CARDIO. You must interval train to get results, no matter what your goals are. If you jump on the treadmill (any equipment for that matter) and go the same speed the entire time you are never going to overcome that plateau. An interval should be so hard that you barely reach a minute, slow down/rest work for about 2 minutes or the rest of your workout depending on your stamina and go fast again. Intervals build endurance and also strengthen your heart and lungs so oxygen moves through your body better. Your heart and lungs are the most important part of your cardio fitness and you must make them work more efficiently to benefit from all the sweat and tears.
  • NOT CLEANING EQUIPMENT AFTER USE. The gym is one of the dirtiest places in the world. It is full of bacteria and germs. Imagine holding onto someone else’s sweat or sitting in their butt sweat. GROSS!!!! I carry around a cleaner and wipe the equipment before and after use. All gyms have antibacterial wipes and towels nowadays for this very reason.

I joined the gym in November and once January hit it was packed with new year resolution fools. It is already slowing down a bit but I really dislike working out with so many people in the gym. It is gross and  full of people doing their workouts wrong. So many people jump into a fitness regimen and end up hurting themselves. Take it easy, slow start and work your way up to the “all-out” work out. There is a reason we fitness trainers are CPR certified. As I like to say, “I know CPR but I really do not want to have to perform it.”

Take it easy and happy training!! Kathie