Monday, February 25, 2008

I Don't Want to Look Like a Man...


Weight training is not a surgical procedure, but so many women seem to think so.

Many females in their quest for weight-loss are afraid of weight training, as they feel it will make them look manly. I would be scared too if the reverse were true and weight training made men look more girly. I hear statements such as "I don't want to bulk up" or "I don't want to get big". Part of the problem with these statements is that it is just assumed that getting big is such an easy task. Kind of makes me laugh. As you know most of the men in the gym are trying to get big one way or another, without success (topic for another article). So why do women think they will get so big by lifting weights?

Bulking up...

Women are not equipped to build big muscles like a man. One of reasons of this is the low levels of the hormone "testosterone". Women have like 1/10 the amount that men do, and this hormone is a significant factor for muscle growth. So when a women strength trains it will not create the same result as it does a man. One of the problems that we face as we age is that we begin to lose are muscle mass, which is part of the reason we gain weight over time. However strength training tells the body that muscle is important - and slows down the process of aging. Women loss muscle mass at a higher rate than men, due to the low levels of testosterone. The bottom line is losing muscle means a lower metabolic rate, which impacts overall calories burned daily. So lets get lifting ladies.

The benefits...

Now with all that said weight training has significant benefits for women looking to lose weight. What most women exercisers don't understand is that muscle is what drives your metabolism. The more muscle you have on your body the more calories are required to maintain that muscle. Muscle is active tissue. Having more muscle on your body will raise your metabolic rate, allowing for you to burn more calories at rest (when your not in the gym). So if the goal is to lose weight, and losing weight is achieved by burning more calories then you consume - then weight training must be part of your weight loss program. So by incorporating 2-3 strength training sessions and cardio into your weekly workout routine will give you the best results.

If you are not currently strength training and are not sure where to begin see a qualified personal trainer for some guidance.

Be well.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Myth Buster: “I exercise, so I can eat anything...”

Stop the madness. Out of all the very interesting statements I have heard in the gym this one takes the cake ~ literally. If I could come up with an analogy, I would say this is the equivalent of going in circles.

Exercise cannot make up for poor nutrition.

Poor fuel = Poor performance
Poor performance = Poor results.

and. You are sabotaging your results. While eating poorly and not exercising regularly is much worse for your health. However to get the most out your workouts you must consume high-quality foods that will help you perform and revcovery. A well balanced exercise program is coupled with proper nutrition. Proper nutrition for any type of exercise program whether focused on weight-loss, muscle growth, and sports performance is vital to the results of such programs. The only true way to achieve the most from your fitness program is to have a good balance of proper nutrition. If you need to have your nutrition analyzed and discuss healthy eating ask a personal trainer for assistance.

Be Well.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Truth about water...


Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important factor in losing weight and keeping it off. Our body is roughly 75% water. Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true "magic potion" for permanent weight management. Water suppresses your appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize more fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water consumption will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water can actually reduce fat deposits.

Why you ask?

Well the kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When the kidneys don't function to capacity, some of the workload is transferred to the liver. The liver's primary role is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. If the liver has to do some of the kidney's work, it can't function at it's optimal capacity. As a result, it metabolizes less fat. More fat remains stored and weigh-loss/fat-loss stops. In addition, water helps you recover from your workouts, aids in fat-based fueling of muscles and provides for storage of water inside your cells. When you become dehydrated, all of these functions become less effective and your performance levels lower.
Keep in mind that water is essential to life. We can live weeks without food but only 1 to 2 days with out water. Water helps maintain muscle by giving it the natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. Remember your muscles are primarily made up of water.

So how much should I drink?

Active people need more water than inactive people do. A reduction in as little four to five percent body water can result in a drop in physical performance as great as twenty to thirty percent. It is recommended that you consume plenty of water on a daily basis, twenty minutes before any athletic event and following high carbohydrate meals. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. By the time your body reaches that point, you are already deficient in this vital fluid. The general recommendation is eight 8oz glasses of water per day or .6 x body weight = ounces of water per day. But keep in mind this a general guideline so don't get caught up in the numbers; if you are very active you may require more do to fluid loss from exercise. My general recommendation for simplicity is to make water the drink of choice 80% of the time and you'll be on the right track. Drink up.

Be Well.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Training Tips #2: Single Leg Anterior Reach

Beginning Position

Standing on one leg with arms down by your side. Head, shoulders, and chest up nice and tall.

  • Bend over at waist on single leg while reaching out in front with opposite arm

  • Return to starting position by firing the glute on the down leg then repeat movement for prescribed number of reps, then switch to opposite leg.
Safety Points
  • Keep spine in neutral during movement

  • Maintain straight line from ear through hip, knee and ankle
  • Keep soft bend in knee on leg in contact with ground.
This movement works the glutes and hamstrings while incorporating a balance challenge.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Who you calling obese?


Obesity is the topic of discussion in many circles in recent history, as it has been said to have reached epidemic proportions. However with all the workshops, public health campaigns, and various other mediums which try to inform the public - it's as though the public is still confused about what it really means. I find that people are taken back as if you insulted them. Obesity is not a dirty word, their are a lot of people who seem to think so - as if you just hit them with a "yo mamma so..." joke.

Truthfully this is no joke, as the number of obese adults has doubled in just 20 years, with 67 percent of the adult population overweight or obese, according to recent figures from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Being classified as obese doesn't mean your lazy or not lazy. Many people that are overweight or obese are hard working people, but may be working hard at the right things.

The skinny on obesity...

Overweight and obesity are both labels that define ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain preventable diseases and other health problems. Determining if a person is overweight or obese in most cases is based on a body mass index (BMI), which is calculated from your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. A person with a BMI of 25 or above is considered overweight. Obesity is a BMI at 30 or above, and has three levels.

LEVEL I = BMI 30 to 34.9
LEVEL II = BMI 35 to 39.9
LEVEL III = BMI 40 or higher (classified as morbid or severe obesity)

However BMI doesn't tell the whole story and is very limited as it is not taking into account your lean body mass (muscle tissue) vs body fat percentage, specifically your body composition. Your body isn't the same as someone else just cause your weight and height are the same. Your body composition is a better measurement of your over health and risk level for preventable diseases. To get a more accurate assessment of your overall health and fitness participate in a Fitness Assessment from qualified personal trainer. (eh! em! excuse me... eh! em! sorry something was in my throat.)

Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...

The real message behind the BMI or body composition measurements is to give you the information you need to begin change. Let me say that word again - "change". Start a exercise program where you exercise daily, make healthier food choices, increase your physically activity, and the hardest part of all - REPEAT and DON'T QUIT. In closing I leave you with a little passage for motivation. To defeat this obesity thing its going to take all of us - including "YOU".

Change begins with choice. Any day we wish; we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish; we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish; we can start a new activity. Any day we wish; we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year." ~ Jim Rohn

I say lets start now....

Be Well.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CSI: Trans Fats

The why, what, and how to avoid them.

Well to put in it in my own words: “Evil just pure evil”. This is just the cold hard facts. There isn’t one good thing to say about Trans Fats, want to know why? Well put that cookie or donut down first and I will tell you.

Unlike other types of fats like saturated, polyunsaturated, and mono unsaturated fats; trans fat, or trans fatty acids, are basically artificial fats. Only a very small amount of trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products. Trans fats are a MAN-MADE by a chemical process called partial hydrogenation. Liquid vegetable oil (healthy mono unsaturated fat) is filled with hydrogen atoms and converted into a solid fat (at room temperature). This was a good thing for the food industry—a proverbial grand slam for the junk-food industry, because it extended the shelf life of food. In addition restaurants liked it because they could fill their fry vats with the stuff and keep it hot all day without smoking up the kitchen.

Ooh scary—get to the “evil” part already…

This type of fat is difficult to digest, so it increases the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood and can dramatically boost your risk of heart disease. If saturated animal fats are unhealthy, trans fats are far worst. They weaken your immune system. They can cause diabetes. You’re almost better off eating a stick of butter and bacon. This poisonous fat is lurking in thousands of processed foods, and you need to avoid it at all cost. The good news is that now you have some help. In 2003 the U.S. FDA ruled that trans fatty acids, or trans fat , must be listed as a separate line item on Nutrition Facts labels for conventional foods and some dietary supplements. According to The Institute of Medicine (2002) recommends that we keep our intake of trans fatty acids to a absolute minimum.

So how do I avoid this?

At the Grocery store:
- Check the ingredient lists for the word “hydrogenated”
- Buy natural or organic brands—more likely to be trans fat-free
- Buy foods as close to there natural form as possible—less processing.
- Most of the fresh natural foods are on the perimeter - not in the aisles.

At home:
- Make a wrap with a tortilla or stuff a pita, instead of bread with your sandwich.
- Flavor veggies with seasoning, olive or sesame seed oil instead of butter or margarine.
- Keep fresh or fruit stocked up for healthy snack options.

At restaurant:
- Ask what kind of oil the chef uses. You want to hear olive oil-not shortening.
- Order foods that are baked, broiled, or grilled—not fried.
- Skip the mayo when ordering a sandwich or burger. Use mustard or ketchup instead.

If your interested in a pretty humorous way to learn more about trans fat check out this site sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Be Well


This web site and its content does not provide medical advice and does not direct that you undertake any specific exercise or fitness regimen. You must consult a physician before undertaking any activity described in this web site.