What better a time to talk about losing weight then at the start of a new year. Weight loss has traditionally been one of the most sought after resolutions in the country for years, and this year is no different. Many plan to lose several pounds of fat in the months following the New Year's holiday. Unfortunately around this time of the year, plans begin to crack and promising resolutions begin to break. Whether your diet is becoming too cumbersome or your workouts are getting to stressful, this is the time where people start to lose faith. If you find yourself becoming one of these people, here are five ways to polish your New Year's Resolution in time to salvage what is left of a promising plan.1. Do not commit yourself to an "All-or-Nothing" plan to cut weight. These plans hardly ever work. From the start they are too stressful on your body, and after the first two weeks of extreme dieting people begin to break down from malnourishment. Attitudes change, motivation to exercise decreases, and fatigue sets in as the willingness to proceed with the original plan fades. The problems with these plans are the plans themselves. Think about it this way, if you starve yourself for long enough you will eventually have nothing to use. This is when most "gung ho" people start to break down and eventually abandon their resolution. Take baby steps and use benchmarks to measure success over a 3-4 month period of time. Do not cut out meals from your diet especially breakfast, and eat throughout the day in small increments. This will get you to where you want to be without the negative side effects of an “All-or-Nothing” diet.2. Do not eliminate carbohydrates. If your desire is to burn fat, cutting carbohydrates out of your diet is not the way to do it. In a sense, this is another "All-or-Nothing" philosophy, and like the previous example this also does not work. You might notice a large amount of body weight lost in the beginning of your plan, but eventually after starving yourself of carbohydrates for fuel, your body will begin to look for other sources of quick energy to burn. Unfortunately, fat is not a source of quick energy, protein is. This means that the actual energy source that you will activate once your carbohydrates have been depleted will be the protein from your muscles instead of fat from your waist. This seems counterproductive, right? Remember this: "Fat burns in a Carbohydrate flame." So, rather than taking quick energy from your muscles, continue to eat carbohydrates at a lower volume for quick energy and continue to work hard in the gym.3. Drink water throughout the day. Water, what a simplistic substance to add to your diet. It can be warm, cold, in a bottle, in a glass, or out of a water fountain, and it still tastes the same. Yet the best part about it is its FREE! Who ever thought that water could be so efficient, well here is the scoop. Water is one of the best weight loss supplements known to man when consumed correctly. Water has the ability to increase your metabolism of fatty acids, produce longer, more productive workouts, suppress your appetite, and even tackle your nervous habit to gnaw on something (just don’t break a filling on those ice cubes). Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it? Well, it only works if you consume it correctly, so let us define correctly. Recent data from the federal government and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association suggests that an inactive person should consume, at least one ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. This means that an inactive 150 pound person should consume at least 75 ounces of water throughout the day. Well, what if they are active? Data suggests that a minimum of10 oz of fluid be consumed for every 20 minute interval of exercise during your workout. Following this prescription will allow you to take advantage of water’s benefits and more efficiently trim the fat.4. Eat catabolic foods. There are several foods in the grocery store that actually use more calories to burn than the supply. These foods make great snack foods if you need a boost between breakfast and lunch. Try some of these healthy catabolic foods to curb your appetite and boost your metabolism before the lunch hour rush: carrots, celery, apple slices, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, orange slices, pineapple, sweet potatoes, watermelon, zucchini, tuna, shrimp, and even lean chicken breasts. Of course this doesn’t mean that you can go eat a slice of carrot cake and get the benefits of these foods, they have to be pure, but as a healthy mid-day snack you should be able to find something that can hold you over.5. Train smarter not harder. Oh, another day at the gym, doing the same routine, on the same treadmill, for the same amount of time, how boring? It even sounds like a drag. Spice-up your monotonous workout and start circuit training. Circuit training is an old philosophy that’s getting some new exposure in the weight loss world. It has been used for years in professional sports like track and field, ice hockey, and soccer. Now it has the mainstream exposure of cross training competitions and the popular P90X. This type of workout combines strength training and cardio into one short, intense workout that burns more fat even after you have finished your workout. Designing the workout is simple, combine your strength training exercises into one back-to-back workout. Most importantly, don’t stop moving. For example, start working your sets of abs into your workout in between your strength sets. You can even combine cardio into your strength training exercises, mixing a 30-45 second treadmill run in between your weight training sets. This will allow you to cut your workout time in half and burn more calories through recovering from a harder workout, a win-win in the end.With the best in mind,Kevin BossStatistical information taken from:Kaslow MD, Jeremy. “Catabolic Foods” http://www.drkaslow.com/html/catabolic_foods.htmlJones, Dee. “A list of foods that burn fat fast: Go Catabolic” EZineArticles. http://ezinearticles.com/?A-List-of-Foods-That-Burn-Fat-Fast:-Go-Catabolic&id=380599Casa, DJ, Armstrong, LE, Hillman, SK, et.al. Position Statement on fluid replacement for athletes. National Athletic Trainers’ Association. http://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/FluidReplacementsForAthletes.pdf
Few foods are associated with the holiday season more than the traditional peppermint candy cane. Those red and white striped holiday treats somehow make it into every part of our holiday experience from gift giving add-ins, to decorations around the house, and also ornaments on the tree. What many do not see is that the magic lies beneath the plastic wrapper, the peppermint.
Peppermint and its oils have been used for centuries to treat different ailments including pain, asthma, and indigestion. Recent studies by Harvard University determine that peppermint oil does in fact reduce stomach indigestion, and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Of course, the best results will occur when using the freshest ingredients, but many say that the simple use of peppermint candies like those festive candy canes can reduce stomach and bowel indigestion noticably.
So this year after your big family holiday meal, consider a candy cane or peppermint treat to ease your stomach woes for the rest of the night.
With the best in mind,
*Information taken from Thrive Across America "Peppermint Power", Livestrong.com, and Chetday.com
Nowadays the sports and entertainment businesses are larger than ever. Millions of dollars are spent on high-flying, speed-needing, and power-broking athletes and advertisements each day. You see them on ESPN, CBS, and NBC during primetime or nighttime. Their death defying stunts and mindblowing skills capture your eyes and lead you into their final recommendation: "Red Bull Gives You Wings."
Take a second to step back and think about these advertisements. Do these athletes and acrobats really get to the point that they are at by consuming energy drinks? Not likely. They get to this point because of intense training fueled by a balanced diet tailored to their personal needs. None of these advertisements ever mention the negative side effects of consuming these beverages. According to an editorial in the Huffinton Post this past month several negative side effects of these drinks have been discussed by physicians. These side effects include insomnia, dehydration, tachycardia or other heart arrythmias, siezures, and even death. Yes, believe it or not, even death. To this date five directly-linked deaths from energy drink/caffeine overdose have been reported by the Food and Drug Administration.
The reality of these drinks lie behind all of the glamorous advertisements. Some of these drinks contain three times the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, some don't. But when they don't contain this much caffeine they contain a secret ingredient called "taurine," which enhances the effects of the caffeine in the beverage. Why do you need this much caffeine?
The answer is, you don't. Caffeine is a stimulant and a dieuretic which has the ability to increase your heart rate to the point of arrythmia and the ability to dehydrate you to exhaustion and malnutrition. Does this sound like a recipe for success in athletics? If you don't believe me, take a look at the back of the can and read the ingredients list. A betting man would put money on one of three ingredients being listed as the first (most concentrated) ingredient on the list: a type of sweetener, water, or caffeine. To answer the outstanding question, no this does not sound like a recipe for success in athletics.
So the next time that you are considering consuming one of these beverages, consider wether or not a caffeinated beverage that could increase your heart rate and dehydrate you to a potential life threatining risk could increase your performance, endurance, and concentration.
With the best in mind,
*Suggestions formulated from review of the following online article from the Huffington Post: "Health Risks of Energy Drinks"
1. Eat something before you exercise: If you want to get the most out of your work out, you better come prepared. Getting in the habit of eating something 5-30 minutes before your work out can improve your exercise endurance and power by up to 20%1. Some great suggestions for pre-workout snacks are dried fruits (raisins, prunes, figs), flavored rice cakes, or a granola bar. You can almost eat anything before a workout as long as it contains sugar to boost your blood glucose. Watch the quantity however; you should not ingest more than 200 calories within 5-30 minutes of your workout.
2. Warm-up: Injuries can be detrimental to the exercise program. Do yourself a favor and take care of your body. A dynamic warm-up to start is best.
3. Change your intensity daily: Why is P90X so successful? Because the body can not begin to tolerate its fluctuating exercise intensities. Everyone is familiar with the way a smoker's brain starts to tolerate nicotine, but what people don't understand is that muscles function identically. By exercising the same way, every day, your muscles begin to tolerate the stress that's being put on them, limiting their response (growth). Changing the intensity of your workout daily limits muscular tolerance, also known as "Plateauing". If you find yourself at a plateau of strength or athletic performance try changing your exercise intensity. For example, Day 1 strength train w/ high weight, Day 2 circuit train w/ low weight, Day 3 endurance train, Day 4 rest, Day 5 strength train w/ low weight, Day 6 circuit train w/ high weight, Day 7 rest.
4. Negatives work: Muscles respond positively to stress by repairing microscopic tears sustained during the work out. The most intense portion of the exercise is the negative portion. The muscle can sustain 15-20% more stress on the negative portion of the exercise than the positive2. So, theoretically by only concentrating on the negative portion of an exercsie you can exercise at a higher capacity than your max! This, however is very difficult to do. I suggest ending an exercise on a couple negatives to completely burn out the muscle that you are concentrating on. This will get you stronger, I guarantee you will feel it the next day.
5. Put in what you put out: Make sure you ingest good substances immediately after your work out. Think of refueling as the last exercise in your work out. You would not walk out for 30 minutes between exercises in your work out would you? No, so do not walk out on the last exercise, refueling. Remember, the faster you refuel the better you will recover.
With the best in mind,
1Data cited from Nancy Clark MS,RD,CSSD, Boston College
2Data cited from Bill Evans Ph.D, Duke University
Are you feeling lethargic? Are you having trouble finishing your work-out? Have you ever talked yourself out of going to the gym?
If you answered yes to any of these three questions, try drinking more fluids throughout the day; a quick fix to increase your motivation. Many of us do not realize the importance of adequate hydration in our exercise plans, but the difference it can make is worth while. Current research from the National Athletic Trainers' Organization reports that a 1% reduction of fluid volume in the body is enough to effect performance, and a 3% reduction in fluid volume causes moderate to severe decreases in performance, concentration, and energy. The only way to combat this reduction in performance and concentration is to hydrate throughout the day. Not the eight cups-a-day
like once thought (approximately 64 oz), eight bottles.
Many health professionals recommend that 2.5 L of fluid per day is what the healthy, inactive individual needs. Key word, inactive. Activity increases the demand for fluid, so the active individual needs more! Most sports medicine journals will recommend replacing lost fluid during exercise (sweat) by 1.5x. This is in addition to the 2.5L needed without activity. Generally, a simple rule of thumb for active individuals is to drink a gallon of fluid or more per day.
So, if you are finding yourself with a lack of motivation to exercise, or having a hard time finishing your practice/work-out, try reinventing your hydration practices. Get the most out of your time and push yourself to the limit safely by hydrating appropriately.
With the best in mind,
Following the national trend of healthier eating, dairy products have resurfaced to create great snacking opportunities. Analysts currently are finding that the nutritional value of dairy products such as Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, milk, or just plain yogurt trump many pricey and synthetic nutritional supplements on the market available to dieters nationwide. In the past few years Sports Medics have come on board in this national trend to adopt diary as a natural alternative to sports supplements.
Most dairy products are packed-full of protein and carbohydrates needed to refuel the athletic population. Just think, in a normal cup of Greek yogurt you can ingest 14-18g of protein with NO fat. The average protein shake will consist of about 26g of protein, but most are packed with unnecessary fats and sweeteners that can put on unnecessary pounds plus they cost more! If you want the protein, just eat another yogurt...
Consider this, after exercise instead of mixing your Muscle Milk in water, make a real fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt, or have a cup of low fat cottage cheese topped with canned fruit, as a healthy, low-fat, natural alternative to the synthetic sports supplement in your pantry, or under your bed. If you can't wait until you get home to ingest some protein, pack a flavored milk such as chocolate milk to drink immediately post exercise. Once you realize the difference you'll become a believer also.
With the best in mind,
Not many people, even in the medical world, understand muscular cramps associated with sport. Most likely this occurs because of the numerous catalysts that can initiate a muscle cramp. You may have heard the myth that supplementing your diet with a few more bananas will cure your cramping nightmares. You may also have heard that an athlete can be prone to cramping. Without any further fluff there are a lot of opinions about where cramps come from. The truth is, they most likely occur from a loss of sodium.
If you have not tried to supplement your diet with more sodium, try it. This is as easy as ingesting a salt packet on your way to practice or eating chicken noodle soup before practice.
If you are struggling with heat cramps ingest more sodium before practice and make sure you hydrate!!!
With the best in mind,