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Archive for Health

Keeping on track through the holidays

I know that someone out there must also feel this indulgent tendency to overeat this time of year. It sucks: you want to sleep more, eat more and be less active.
You know how hard it is to shed the winter fat layer. It takes a lot of hard work and strict eating. Avoid putting on those extra 10 pounds in the first place, by just being a little less indulgent at your next holiday party. And by following some simple tips.fitnessSanta

1. Drink more water. About 8 x 8 oz glasses per day. Add a little mint sprig or lime slice to jazz it up.

2. Track What You Eat. The only way to improve upon your diet is to actually know what you’re currently eating. Keep a food journal, or download a free food tracker app, and input all of the calories that you consume over the course of a week. This will give you a broad look at where your low quality calories are coming from (high sugar, empty calories).
Your first step will be to eliminate these fattening calories and to start replacing empty calories with nutrient-filled whole foods.

3. Space Meals Apart. Much has been said over the past decades about the importance of eating small frequent meals throughout the day. This is old, outdated science. New research has proven that there’s more harm than good to eating more frequently than every 4 hours.
Stick with 3 meals each day, and fill in a protein-based snack if your meals are going to be more than 4 hours apart.

4. Prioritize vegetables. When you first sit down for a meal, eat the vegetable, salad, or other plant-based foods first, before moving on to the rest of the meal. The reason for this is to fill up on the higher fiber, higher nutrient foods first before eating the less-healthy items at your meal.

5. Lastly, have an attitude of gratitude. Eating well and being well studies have shown are linked to a healthy mind. Therefore lift your spirits, just by being grateful. The more you are grateful, the better you’ll feel, the better you’ll eat, and you may even go do that jog you’ve been wanting to do.

Have a happy Healthy holiday season!

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Lose the belly this year

Many people want to know the secret for weight loss, health and vitality. It is a mystery as to the direct answer why do we have an obesity epidemic in this day and age? We are fatter than ever before, and sadly, the problem just seems to be getting worse.

In my past blogs, I’ve explained how exercise plus good nutrition equals weight loss. Today I offer you a remedy that is more specific: eliminate wheat and all wheat products. Cardiologist, William Davis M.D., proposes wheat as the source of the obesity epidemic in his book, “Wheat Belly.” His argument includes extensive real life experiments with his patients, and their radical transformation due to cutting out the wheat. Basically, wheat has been genetically altered into a modern plant that is drastically different than the plant from fifty years ago. It’s been proven much more addictive and toxic to our bodies than the whole grain of the past. Thus, when we have two slices of toast we spike our blood sugar higher than eating pure table sugar. Also, a myriad of other problems and diseases have occurred in our bodies  from eating wheat, such as diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immunologic disorders.

But eliminating bread, cake, cookies, crackers, pasta is no fun! Getting the basket of bread and butter at your favorite restaurant before dinner is so tasty! Here is where will-power and the concern for your health must come into play. Do you want to lose that stubborn fat that has been piling up around your belly, thighs or butt? Do you want to look attractive, have a healthy long life for your children, or loved ones? You do have this option to turn your life around. What real harm will you encounter by cutting wheat and all flour-based products from your diet? Only the jealousy of others seeing you lose weight and look great!

In addition, exercise, getting active and having fun moving is the other key to the fountain of youth. Good luck this year!

What new year’s resolutions do you have? Please share.

happy_new_year

New Years resolutions hope!

The vast majority of new year’s resolutions are about getting in shape, losing weight and basically looking good. It’s a well-known fact that people are desperate to reduce the flab that they acquire after the holiday debauchery. Cookies, candies, drinking and excessive eating celebrations pile on the pounds in December, and by January everyone is sweating away on eliptical machines. Hopefully, this January you will be well prepared with knowledge of how to go about reducing your visceral fat and firming up your body. Please don’t go blindly into the gym with some hazy plan of just jumping on the nearest cardio machine! As a Personal Trainer, I have a very specific routine and plan for each client to help them achieve their goals, which is not ALWAYS weight loss. However, I’ll share with you some overall tips across the board to help most of you this new year.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  1. Exercise AND reducing your calorie intake will result in loosing fat. Please don’t succumb to crash diets. Start slowly with eating smaller portions and cutting back a little on sugar and flour-based foods. This will get you going in the right direction. For more tips on nutrition read this article: Eating at the Right time. Although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is definitely one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight loss.
  2. Plan the work, work the plan. Have a little forethought before diving into your workout. Write it out, do some research on-line, or discuss with a Personal Trainer what your goals are and if they have any recommendations. Most Personal Trainers are happy to advance your success, since it’s good networking. I’ve included a sample workout below to get you started.
  3. The studies have shown that people who lose body fat have done it through cardio exercise, and not simply weight training alone. HOWEVER, there is a very specific type of training known as high intensity interval training or Short Burst Training using weights, cardio machines, etc. that is the key to burning the most calories in the shortest amount of time and increases your metabolism rate. It needs to be anaerobic, not just aerobic. That means you should be sucking wind, working hard with rest in between intervals. Wearing a heart rate monitor will give you the most specific answer of weather you’re going anaerobic or not. Disclaimer: this is not for everyone, check with your doctor before trying this exercise routine.
  4. Women: it is extremely difficult to “bulk up” from doing weights, unless you’re on steroids or other supplements. This is a ridiculous myth that most women believe. The reason most women “bulk up” is by adding muscle to fat. Therefore, it’s best to do cardio and  weight training together, with a reduced-calorie nutrition plan to achieve your lean non-bulky body.

Below I have given you a plan that you may or may not want to use for your new years resolution workout:

  • Warm-up with 5 – 10 minutes of jogging, biking or stair-climbing
  • Repeat the following three times:
  • 20 lunge-walks holding dumbbells (weight varies per person)
  • 30 sec – 1-minute planks or push-ups
  • 1 minute of jumping rope (or running on a treadmill at a fairly fast pace)
  • Then repeat these three times
  • 20 squats-with-overhead-press using a kettlebell or medicine ball (weight varies per person)
  • 12 rows with a band
  • 30 sec to 1 minute of mountain climbers
  • Finish with 10 minutes on the bike doing six 30-sec. intervals (with 30 sec. rest interval)
  • Stretch

And remember: any exercise is better than none. Even if you just want to go for a walk a few times per week, it’s better than just sitting at your computer. You don’t have to workout hard and often for exercise to be beneficial. Just get out there!

Strong Core for Winter Sports

It’s December and now is the season for skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, ice skating, and even sledding. If you’re not an active winter athlete, and you prefer to sit on your butt gaining weight this winter, then don’t bother reading this article. But if you have hopes and dreams, or scheduled plans to get involved in winter activities, I advise you to strengthen your core. Even if you do just want to sit on the couch all winter, tucking in your tummy and improving your posture will at least make your waistline appear a little slimmer.

Many people refer to “the core,” and typically we think of the abdominals as our core. But it is much MUCH more than just abs! It includes any muscle that is directly engaged with the spine or pelvis. The core will be the protective barrier for accidents or nasty falls. Therefore, a strong core is automatic injury prevention. Many winter sports are on very slick surfaces, where balance and stability are absolutely essential. Yet again, the core muscles will keep you balanced and on your feet. Changing directions on snow comes not just from your lower body, but the pelvis shifts your weight as it is the powerhouse of your whole body. Need a few exercises that will get your core powered up for the season, without any equipment? Watch this video:

Please don’t end up ruining your entire winter season, by getting injured out there on your first weekend. Firm up and stay tight. Have fun!

Fitness slump? Get to the tipping point!

Are you at a plateau in your speed, your fitness, your weight, body fat . . . are you at a plateau in your life? Are there things you want to change but just don’t know how exactly or know why it hasn’t changed yet? Often it can be very frustrating when you want something so bad, and you feel it’s right there within reach. Sometimes it just takes a tipping point to set you into action with accomplishing your healthy goals. Here’s a few guidelines to keep in mind if you decide to get in the best shape of your life.

1. The mental belief you can do it. Many times our own thoughts and beliefs prevent us from even forming a plan to begin working towards the goal. It’s like standing at the bottom of a huge mountain and you know what you want is up at the top. So, will you stand at the bottom of the mountain making up excuses why you cannot climb it? You must accept the reality that your goals are absolutely achievable!

2. Plan the work, work the plan. This is the second biggest ingredient for getting in the best shape of your life. Create a calendar that guides your weekly training plan of what workouts you’ll do and when. Getting something scheduled is the way to make it really happen! So, stop wishing and starting doing.

3. Stay positive. This ties in with number 1 on the list. You will most likely have stumbling blocks and setbacks that will discourage you. But, keep believing in your ability to make this dream a reality by not giving up and losing motivation. We have a very serious obesity epidemic today, and the way to change is with one person at a time. Your healthy fit way of life will positively impact numerous people, in more ways than you may even realize. Conversely, bad habits can rub off on others and create a domino effect.

4. Re-set your social circle. People will not always encourage your choices to eat low-fat and cholesterol-free foods. They may not even like it that you cannot attend some function because you have plans to exercise at that time. They may scoff at you at restaurants when you don’t chose to partake in dessert. Just remember, you are not alone. You are choosing the way of the healthy life. Many people will not understand why you do what you do. But, I guarantee you: we healthy folks support your choice! We are out here cheering for you and knowing that every little step counts towards climbing up that mountain. Keep that in mind and explain this message to your closest friends/ family and ask them to be supportive. And the rest of the critics can just frack off.

Your life is over in the blink of an eye, take action towards being the healthy, juicy, fit person you always wanted to be. I got your back.

Remove ugly belly fat

Some articles proclaim “how to get rid of belly fat!” or “Try these exercise to remove unwanted belly fat!” The articles may be missing one key point. We cannot simply laser off belly fat magically, unless you get surgery. Don’t get me wrong, exercise DOES WORK to reduce body fat. However, you can’t eat cookies and pie all day long and expect to lose the body fat!

Keep in mind, we all have different body shapes and different places fat cells like to accumulate. One type of body has those nice dimply thighs and chunky butts, where the fat cells love to pile up, with less of a chance for the extra ugly belly fat. The other type has less fat on the legs, but chronically chubby tummies. These are body types that you can’t escape. The fat will go where it wants to go.

If you are the type that has extra belly fat, you can do sit-ups all day long and it won’t burn those stubborn fat cells. Although, core and abdominal strength are an extremely important part of a fitness regime. The solution to burning the fat is essentially burning more calories, and then to eat less calories. If you’re burning calories, you’ll eventually use the fat cells to produce energy. Hence, zapping away those piled up fat cells around your belly button!

Don’t listen to all the articles that proclaim the cure to belly fat as being one specific exercise or trick. The key is to just go out there work hard, burn some calories, and then skip the ice cream at night.

Consistency equals achieving goals

After coaching hundreds of people throughout California, I must say most people do not take their training very seriously. Some do, and they see the results. But many people enjoy the workouts, but do not commit to really changing their priorities in order to see improvements. Training is a great way to get in shape, have fun, feel great. Also, most importantly it can dramatically improve your health! There are numerous positive outcomes from an effective training plan, as we all know. However, it doesn’t happen with the snap of a finger! It takes perseverance and a solid consistent routine.

In 2005 I decided to sign-up for my first triathlon called Wildflower in May of 2006. It was a pretty challenging course and I took my training seriously. After six months of a regular routine of training nearly every single day, my body adjusted to this type of training stress. My mind wanted nothing more than to improve and see how far I could take it. One lesson I learned was that it’s not about beating the guy next to you ,as much as it is about beating yourself. However, without the diligent commitment of practice, my goals just remain unattainable dreams. We can live all our life’s dreams through these same lessons. But, in particular I know that the absolute only way to get better, stronger, faster and fitter is through consistency and hard work.

Forget the excuse. Tie up those sneakers and go get after it!

Winning 1st Place of the Women’s division at the Catalina Island Triathlon in 2009 took a lot of consistent training

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