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Archive for Health

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.



Getting motivated

Take the stairs to burn calories and lose fat!

A lot of getting fit is mental. Many people who struggle with weight loss simply have had a series of failures to lose the body fat. For example, I had one client who was 30 lbs. overweight and had a desire to lose the weight, but gave up after one tough session. It makes me sad to see people resist exercise due to the fear of pain, and other mental inhibitions. Our society is so customized to convenience and pleasure that we won’t even walk ten minutes to the grocery store and carry a few pounds of bags home. Come on, admit it! We have all been there. We all have the extremely reasonable excuses why NOT to get in shape. I’ve met a few others who have had erratic work schedules and just could not achieve losing much of anything, except their health.

Conversely, many fitness professionals have the urge to train the strong athletes and naturally gifted: isn’t that what bootcamps are all about when you really get down to it? Very few “bootcamps” actually accommodate obese campers. The over-weight end up in the back of the pack, feeling discouraged as usual. Unfortunately, many fitness instructors cater to the strongest.

When will we wake up? Weak, strong, flabby, skinny-fat, and pot-belly people hear me out! Your time on this planet is limited. Forget the ridiculous “boot-camps” and coaches that make you work out till you puke. Or the instructors that get in your face or negatively encourage you. This is not the answer. The answer is patience, perseverance and internal motivation. One day at a time: get out there.

  • Start with doing something active every day. Even if it’s just walking around the block.
  • Try hiring a personal trainer or coach to jump-start your training. It’s worth every penny to get you over the “hump” of even starting up a fitness plan.
  • Looking more for weight-loss? Try cardio and high intensity interval training. Looking to get cut and build muscle? Try resistance training. And do both often, so you work all your different energy systems of the body.
  • Frequency: if you can only designate one day per week to work out, that’s better than nothing. However, the more often you workout, the quicker results appear. (See the first bullet point)
  • Lastly, eating right combined with exercise is how you get the most bang for your buck! It’s the magic combination, don’t just do one without the other. I recommend keeping a food journal. I like the Canvas Food Journal app to use on a mobile device.

Power up your workouts! Get motivated and go out and get started, we have several more months of showing skin and looking healthy on the beaches this summer.

Weightloss needed? Get a routine.

Run in picturesque locations

Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

When life is in upheaval, be it stress in your family, a change in a career, a breakup, a loss of a loved one, unemployment, or moving, staying with your routine is difficult for some of us. Understandably so, since getting to the pool or carving out time to go for a run can be challenging. This is the nature of life. We’re often thrown curve balls and coping and adjusting to these stressors is rough. However, these challenging periods in life are exactly the time when sticking with your routine can be the greatest satisfaction! It will also be urging your sense of self-discipline to keep on track, keep the train chugging along with direction and purpose. A fitness routine is a challenging thing to master unless you have a personal coach encouraging you and keeping tabs on your progress. If you have a lack of self-discipline then try hiring a coach. If you can’t do that, sign up for a class that meets regularly and COMMIT yourself to really showing up and doing your best. Those who do NOT stay consistent with training will see the fewest results and accomplishments. Here are a few tips to planning the work and working the plan:

  1.  Sign up for a class, like Mission Fit Camp. They have a great outdoor athletic program for newbies to advanced athletes. They have impressive reviews on yelp.com too!
  2. Start small and build upon it. If you begin a running program, for example, increase your work load (time or distance) by 10% each workout. So if you do a 30-minute run to start, try moving up to a 33 or 35 minute run next. If you add too much too soon you’ll have more chance for injury.
  3. Set a goal and work towards it. Sign up for a race or an event, like a Thanksgiving Fun Run. Father Joe’s Thanksgiving 5K runs through Balboa Park. Burn some calories before feasting on turkey.
  4. Prioritize your health. By exercising regularly you’re valuing your heart and longevity. So get out there as frequently as possible, and save money from healthcare costs!

Lastly, share this message with those who you love and want to have good health too. Thinking about preventing disease before it happens is the best way to live a long healthy happy life.

Are you Doing what you Enjoy?

Remember back when you were a kid and you usually went out and did what you wanted to do? I mostly walked, ran and sometimes rode my bike, also did a few cartwheels in the lawn. My sister and brothers and I would organize neighborhood games of capture the flag and tag. It was good fun! But now as adults, without any parents nagging us to go outside and play, we simply sit passively in front of a screen. Life is SO busy, right? We live at 65 mph without much time to stop and take a break. So if you have free time it’s usually spent being passive. It’s relaxing, some might say. Actually, it’s not so relaxing if you’re watching most things of TV!

If you have a break try something you enjoy outdoors. Take the advice parents give to kids time and again “go play outside!” I think the time has come, that as adults, we begin to go play outside. It has amazing benefits. In my opinion, it’s the fountain of youth! Many of us have Vitamin D deficiencies, and depression. With a good dose of fresh air and some sort of movement you enjoy, you may just realize how relaxed you feel afterwards and you can skip starring at the screen for a while.

. . . Come on, turn off your computer and go for it!

Athletic Nutrition Tips

Sometimes people get really into the idea that they need to diet to be skinny. Occasionally this works, but it doesn’t always make you healthier. What does make you healthier and happier (and more attractive 😉 is doing an activity or sport you enjoy plus getting the nutrition right! You really can’t do them independently.

Exercise + Nutrition = Good health

What I’m talking about is “preventative healthcare.” You’ll have less visits to the doctor and less spending of money! So get outdoors find a fun active hobby-like activity and eat right. Eating healthy while exercising can be challenging at times. Here’s a few guidelines to begin with:

  1. Eat small meals every three to four hours.  Your first meal should be eaten within one hour of waking and before any type of exercise (when exercising in the morning).
  2. Portion Control! A serving of protein and carbohydrates should be the size of your fist and veggies should equal one to two fist sizes (and leafy greens two open hand-sizes).
  3. Of your total daily carbohydrate intake, 20% or less should be from sugar.  This includes fruit, milk and yogurt sugars as well as sweets, alcohol & other beverages.
  4. 25-30% of your overall calories should come from fats of which most should consist of healthy fats like nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish oil, & nut butters.
  5. Always mix carbohydrates with proteins and fats, with the exception being before or during your workout. This helps slow down the digestion of carbs and helps reduce large insulin surges.
  6. Get your fiber!  Fiber-rich foods fill you up and require more energy to break down and pass through the body.
  7. Eat at least 1 gram of protein for every two pounds of body weight.  Protein is needed to repair your muscles and helps keep you full.  Protein is not easily stored as fat if it goes unused like carbohydrates. And that said, you should regularly spread your intake out throughout the day.
  8. Drink at least 8-12 eight ounce glasses of water per day.  Drink more on days when it’s hot or when you exercise.
  9. Take your multi-vitamins and anti-oxidants daily.  Our food is less nutrient-dense these days due to over-processing and nutrient deficient crop soil.  As a result, we cannot get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food. Fish oil is another great supplement that may reduce inflammation (aka sore muscles).
    Taking supplements ensures that you will get your daily requirements.  Anti-oxidants help rid your body of free radicals produced during exercise, which can be damaging to the body’s cells.  Check out  juice plus website. Juice Plus has loads of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.
  10. Reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages.
  11. Never severely cut or eliminate your carbohydrate intake!  40-60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.  This is your body’s main energy source.  If you don’t get enough energy from carbohydrates for your activity level, your body will go into starvation mode causing your metabolism to slow and a potential loss of muscle. But eat the HEALTHY carbs: from vegetables and whole grains, yes that means NO PIZZA! Or less pizza anyway. For example, include sweet potatoes, brown rice, and steel cut oats into your daily diet.

These are all just suggestions to get you started off right. Please ask me any questions you may have about how to eat to be healthier and stronger! Let’s all try to avoid the doctor by keeping up with regular workouts and eating right with healthy food!

Eating to Thrive

First and most importantly, you need to eat small meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals per day. You may even want to plan out 4 meals each day. For example:
8 AM – Oatmeal, fruit and nuts with a small yogurt.

10:30 – 11 AM – whole grain granola & lowfat yogurt

2 PM – 1/2 sandwich, or 1/2 a burrito, or veggie soup * * * Remember: whole grains AND lean protein is crucial in order to sustain energy levels

5:30 – 6 PM – Brown Rice with salmon and a salad

Try eating meals every 2 – 3 hours with healthy snacks such as:

* carrots and hummus
* tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
* Mixed nuts & dried fruit trail mixes (great from Trader Joes)
* Apple & nuts
* celery & peanut butter – or try Almond butter – even better!
* Lara bars
* Lowfat plain yogurt & whole grain granola

For at least one meal a day make sure to have WHOLE grains, not refined like “whole grain bread,” That means cooking brown rice (or brown rice pasta), quinoa, barley, oatmeal (steel cut), whole grain cereals, popcorn!, bulgur (cracked wheat), wheat berries, buckwheat. Eat these and you’ll get:

* Natural, soluble fiber
* Vitamin E
* Vitamin B-6
* Zinc
* Potassium
* Folate
* Protein
* Iron
* Thiamin
* Riboflavin

Also, mix with veggies and lean protein (such as tofu, eggs, fish and turkey) for the best option of sustained energy.

Remember, eating is a habit and if you can get into a habit of eating right then it will become easier and easier! Every time you eat something it can either build you up and make you healthier or break you down and leave you more vulnerable for sickness and disease.

Exercise + good nutrition = Good Health!

Nutrition Tip

You can workout all you want, but if you’re just going home and devouring a box of powdered sugar doughnuts, then what’s it all for?
Exercise & nutrition go hand in hand to improving health and loosing weight. Dieting is not the answer either. Without a commitment to permanently changing eating habits, the vicious cycle will continue.
One thing you can do to change your eating habits is eat LESS tempting sugary sweets, and ALL refined sugar, if possible. It’s one of the easiest ways to put on the extra weight that you work so hard to keep off. Try looking at the ingredients specifically. You’ll be surprised by what foods have sugar, corn syrup and (worst of all) high fructose corn syrup in it. Instead of the sugar-packed carbs, try satisfying your cravings first with good complex carbohydrates like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.

Healthy Tip of the Week:

REDUCE STRESS!  Easier said than done, right!?!  Some experts suggest thinking positive thoughts.  Others suggest spending at least 30 minutes to an hour a day doing something you enjoy.  Still others say avoid being around difficult people whenever possible.
These are all great ideas, but I think the most tangible way to reduce stress would be to do something you enjoy each day.  That could be taking a walk, reading a book, journaling, meditating, soaking in a hot bubble bath, getting a manicure/pedicure, or drinking a glass of wine with a friend. Regardless of what it is, the important thing is that you’re doing it for yourself and not for someone else.
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