Happy holidays, Fitness Friends! How's your protein intake? I just read an article from the National Academy of Sports Medicine that may help you maximize this essential nutrient. As a fitness professional, I'm always benchmarking my nutrition against the latest data. I thought you might want to as well since protein is such a vital nutrient to those seeking strength and fitness gains.
The article, titled, "THE SECOND SCOOP ON PROTEIN: WHEN, WHAT AND HOW MUCH?," by Fabio Comana, revisits the importance of protein ingestion as part of an athlete's nutritional strategy (and by athlete, I mean you!). But that always begs questions, as the title implies: when is the optimal time to ingest protein? What kinds of protein are most useful? And how much is optimal?
I have included the link to the full article here for those who want the complete breakdown, but for those like me with a short attention span who just want the science-based bottom line from leading dietitians, fitness experts, and certifying agencies, here you go:
Aside from eating whole foods-based protein sources, my personal habit of more than a decade is consuming a protein shake immediately after a strenuous workout. My go-to recipe is a scoop of vanilla or chocolate Swiig Daily Whey Protein (20 g), a scoop of Swiig Get Flexible supplement (for joint health and mobility), a scoop of Get Recovered supplement (for regeneration and recovery), a handful of spinach and/or kale, a handful of sliced carrots, a handful of seasonal berries, half a banana, about a half a cup of organic milk and some ice. If I need the shake to tide me over longer, I will blend in a spoonful of raw, organic almond butter.
If after reading this you realize that you're not getting enough protein, or the right kinds of protein, or ingesting it with sufficient frequency, make that a goal as we head into 2018.
I had the pleasure of leading a very special group fitness class this month. Participants got to sprout like trees, fly like birds, swing like monkeys, run like lions, crawl like bears, jump like frogs, lumber like elephants and slither like snakes. No, this wasn't another novel version of a boot camp, but a Kid Fit class at my youngest son's preschool. While coaching and corralling 20 three- and four-year-olds is like herding cats, the end result was achieved: to get these kids moving, and to instill a love for fitness through age-appropriate, play-based exercise.
The need to develop foundational habits of wellness in children is more important than ever. Why? Because America's kids are fatter and more sedentary than ever. To raise awareness of the obesity epidemic among children, September has been designated National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Consider these startling facts and statistics:
The Centers for Disease Control report that childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.
Immediate health effects:
Long-term health effects:
Beyond the health implications, childhood obesity carries a heavy price tag. Overweight and obesity in childhood is associated with $14.1 billion in additional prescription drug, emergency room and outpatient visit healthcare costs annually. And because many overweight children, without intervention, become obese adults, the health care costs just skyrocket from there.
Just as in adults, the CDC explains that, "Overweight and obesity are the result of 'caloric imbalance'—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors."
So what are some things parents and caregivers can do to prevent obesity and support healthy growth in children?
With all of this in mind, our very best solution for improving the health of our kids is to set an example and live a healthy lifestyle ourselves. No, that doesn't mean you have to lead a crazy Kid Fit class at your child's school! But if we eat nutritious foods and only stock good stuff in our homes, if we make time to exercise (and involve them), if we make sleep a priority, and if we limit screen and device time, we will be modeling the kinds of behaviors we wish for our children so that they may grow into healthy adults.
ACE Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist Manual
This summer, I learned that yet another friend was diagnosed with cancer. As the tears welled in my eyes with this revelation, I started counting: one, two, three, four, five. FIVE. I have five friends who are currently conquering cancer. Three have breast cancer, one is in the midst of a bone marrow transplant, and another has a treatable, but inoperable brain tumor.
With cancer’s prevalence in this country--1 in 2 males, and 1 in 3 females are predicted to have cancer in their lifetime--perhaps you, too, have been similarly impacted by this disease. With these odds, nearly half of us reading this will likely battle it ourselves.
Being diagnosed with some form of cancer seems nearly inevitable, but are there things we can do to lower our risk? The hopeful answer is yes.
The American Cancer Society reports that, “A substantial proportion of cancers could be prevented. All cancers caused by tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption could be prevented completely. In 2015, almost 171,000 of the estimated 589,430 cancer deaths in the US will be caused by tobacco smoking. In addition, the World Cancer Research Fund has estimated that up to one-third of the cancer cases that occur in economically developed countries like the US are related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could also be prevented.”
So, by avoiding tobacco products, minimizing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and eating right, we can reduce our risk of cancer by one-third or more? That’s all the motivation I need to make my health a priority. How about you?
For more insight into specific cancer-prevention lifestyle habits, read the following article provided by the American Cancer Society:
Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?
How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you do something about this.
Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
The evidence for this is strong: Each year, about 589,430 Americans die of cancer; around one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.
CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others.
Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.
What’s a healthy weight? One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.
To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.
If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!
For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
BE MORE ACTIVE. Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.
More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!
The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.
It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.
EAT HEALTHY FOODS. Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
If you drink alcohol, limit how much
People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.
A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.
These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other problems.
Reducing cancer risk in our communities
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.
We all can be part of these changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.
The bottom line
It has been estimated that as much as one-third of all cancer deaths in the US are related to diet and activity factors. Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.
If you’d like more information on preventing cancer through diet and exercise, I've attached the pdf, "American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention," which may also be referenced at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002577-pdf.pdf.
The ACS Cancer Facts & Figures 2015 annual report is also available at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf
My 8-year-old son, Magnus, regularly asks me, "What's your favorite?" questions. Recently, he queried, "Mom, what's your favorite sport?" My response: "I like a lot of sports, but my favorite is probably football, followed closely by basketball."
When we watch television at home, it's usually on a sports channel. The thing that bugs me about a lot of televised games is how late they're aired on the east coast. Take the NCAA national football championship, for example. The game starts at 8:30p, and likely won't end until past midnight. If the game is a blowout, I won't mind turning if off early. But if it's a tight game, I'll want to watch til the end, sacrificing much-needed beauty rest.
Beyond that, staying up past my regular bedtime might give me the munchies. While I'm expecting my substantial dinner of grass-fed beef burgers, sweet potato fries and organic green beans to tide me over until the morning, you fellow sports fans out there who ate a lesser meal might want to consider these late-night snack suggestions, offered by the co-founders of BioTrust Nutrition.
But isn't it bad to eat late at night, you may ask? Firstly, a calorie isn't worth more when the sun goes down. Secondly, "the right night-time meal can often positively affect your results and recovery from exercise by feeding your muscles with quality nutrition as you sleep," say Joel Marion and Josh Bezoni from BioTrust (The key here is the assumption that you exercised today! You did, right?!). "The trick, as always, is choosing the RIGHT foods before bed, and knowing which foods those are."
Here are the BioTrust guys' general "rules" to creating the ultimate pre-bed meal:
1. Avoid carbs and insulin. Because consuming carbohydrates will result in a significant insulin release (which will in turn put the breaks on fat-burning), carbs are ill-advised for a pre-bed meal. Carbs are also much more easily stored as fat in the evening hours when metabolism is naturally slowing in preparation for sleep. Besides, you have very little opportunity to burn off that energy when consuming carbs at night -- sleep isn't a very calorically expensive activity!
In addition to carbs, certain animal proteins have been shown to yield a significant insulin response as well, such as red meat and certain fish. While these protein foods are OK for a pre-bed meal, there are better choices, like those mentioned below.
2. Choose slow digesting proteins. Slow digesting proteins, like white meat proteins such as turkey and chicken, are great night-time meal choices as they digest slowly and fail to produce a significant insulin response.
Another great choice is the milk protein casein, found in many protein blends and also in cottage cheese. Casein coats the stomach, digests slowly, and provides quality nutrition to your muscles over several hours...very ideal as a pre-bedtime protein source!
3. Add fat. Quality, healthy fats such as nuts, oils, and nut butters are great additions to a pre-bedtime meal as they will help to further slow gastric emptying and digestion while increasing fullness and satiety so you don't wind up snacking all night long.
The guys add, "Just follow these 3 simple rules for night-time snacking (slow digesting protein, low carb, add fat) and you'll be in great shape...give it a try with an evening snack tonight!"
And finally, GO BUCKEYES!
Need to pass the time while en route to your holiday destination? Want a quick diversion from shopping or wrapping presents? Need some bullet points to keep you on track over the break? Check out the following list that provides useful guidelines for general health. Note the number of minutes suggested to workout each week (hint: break it up into 30-minute increments).
Your Health: It's a Numbers Game (by Emily Bibb posted on http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Health-Numbers-Know-32173074#reactions)
While healthcare specifics vary by individual, having a general understanding established by doctors and research can help guide your daily choices for the better. Covering topics from diet to sleep, we've rounded up a few numbers you should strive for or, at the very least, consider. Some numbers are simply a reminder, while others may surprise you. Check out the complete list below.
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I am often asked if I "detox," and what detoxing solutions I recommend. I must first admit that I don't follow detox trends, and consider the detox movement to be gimmicky. That's not to say that some detox recipes aren't nutritious, hydrating or harmlessly benign, but beyond that, I'm just not convinced. I still provide a response to the question, however: Drink lots of water, poop daily, eat clean and exercise.
To be honest, I've grown weary of all of the quick fixes, special concoctions and miracle products. Folks, there is no secret. Eat right. Move more. Don't smoke. Get rest.
One of my sisters in the medical field shared the following article with me (thanks, Lauren!), which debunks detoxes. No doubt there are articles out there that would vehemently refute the findings here, but I found this information posted on TheGuardian.com worth sharing with my readers.
You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?
There’s no such thing as ‘detoxing’. In medical terms, it’s a nonsense. Diet and exercise is the only way to get healthy. But which of the latest fad regimes can really make a difference? We look at the facts
by Dara Mohammadi, theguardian.com
Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.
“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
Much of the sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are. If they were named they could be measured before and after treatment to test effectiveness. Yet, much like floaters in your eye, try to focus on these toxins and they scamper from view. In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins.
Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.
Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away. Unfortunately for them – and possibly fortunately for you – no doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel.
Other tactics are more insidious. Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase. Detoxing foot pads turn brown overnight with what manufacturers claim is toxic sludge drawn from your body. This sludge is nothing of the sort – a substance in the pads turns brown when it mixes with water from your sweat.
“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”
That the concept of detoxification is so nebulous might be why it has evaded public suspicion. When most of us utter the word detox, it’s usually when we’re bleary eyed and stumbling out of the wrong end of a heavy weekend. In this case, surely, a detox from alcohol is a good thing? “It’s definitely good to have non-alcohol days as part of your lifestyle,” says Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George’s Hospital. “It’ll probably give you a chance to reassess your drinking habits if you’re drinking too much. But the idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous.”
The liver breaks down alcohol in a two-step process. Enzymes in the liver first convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance that damages liver cells. It is then almost immediately converted into carbon dioxide and water which the body gets rid of. Drinking too much can overwhelm these enzymes and the acetaldehyde buildup will lead to liver damage. Moderate and occasional drinking, though, might have a protective effect. Population studies, says Collins, have shown that teetotallers and those who drink alcohol excessively have a shorter life expectancy than people who drink moderately and in small amounts.
“We know that a little bit of alcohol seems to be helpful,” she says. “Maybe because its sedative effect relaxes you slightly or because it keeps the liver primed with these detoxifying enzymes to help deal with other toxins you’ve consumed. That’s why the government guidelines don’t say, ‘Don’t drink’; they say, ‘OK drink, but only modestly.’ It’s like a little of what doesn’t kill you cures you.”
This adage also applies in an unexpected place – to broccoli, the luvvie of the high-street “superfood” detox salad. Broccoli does help the liver out but, unlike the broad-shouldered, cape-wearing image that its superfood moniker suggests, it is no hero. Broccoli, as with all brassicas – sprouts, mustard plants, cabbages – contains cyanide. Eating it provides a tiny bit of poison that, like alcohol, primes the enzymes in your liver to deal better with any other poisons.
Collins guffaws at the notion of superfoods. “Most people think that you should restrict or pay particular attention to certain food groups, but this is totally not the case,” she says. “The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.”
Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red chequered table cloth adorned with meats, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, wholegrain cereals, nuts and fruits. All these foods give the protein, amino acids, unsaturated fats, fibre, starches, vitamins and minerals to keep the body – and your immune system, the biggest protector from ill-health – functioning perfectly.
So why, then, with such a feast available on doctor’s orders, do we feel the need to punish ourselves to be healthy? Are we hard-wired to want to detox, given that many of the oldest religions practise fasting and purification? Has the scientific awakening shunted bad spirits to the periphery and replaced them with environmental toxins that we think we have to purge ourselves of?
Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist, doesn’t think so. “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on.
“The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.”
Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.”
Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.”
Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”
Article link: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/05/detox-myth-health-diet-science-ignorance
The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.
Q. Can I eat whatever I want as long as I exercise?
A. The majority of daily caloric expenditure is not in the time spent exercising but in the total energy expenditure during 24 hours. Approximately 3,500 calories equals one pound of body fat, so to lose one to two pounds per week, one must maintain an average caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. However, a person may burn 250 calories from exercise and spend the rest of the day participating in sedentary activities. Calories that are not used for energy production are stored as fat. Therefore, a person can eat 100 calories a day more than what their body needs to maintain, and in the course of 35 days, theoretically they will gain a pound of fat. Even a mere 10 extra calories a day over daily maintenance needs could add up to a pound of weight gain over 350 days!
Q. What are the risks of starvation (very low calorie) diets?
A. Most nutrition experts do not recommend an energy intake any lower than 1,200 calories, and even that may be too low for an active or very large person.
Very low calorie diets (VLCD) should be followed only under the supervision of a medical professional. A VLCD is a doctor-supervised diet that typically uses commercially prepared formulas to promote rapid weight loss in patients who are obese. These formulas, usually liquid shakes or bars, replace all food intake for several weeks or months. VLCD formulas need to contain appropriate levels of vitamins and micronutrients to ensure that patients meet their nutritional requirements. People on a VLCD consume about 800 calories per day or less.
When used under proper medical supervision, VLCDs may produce significant short-term weight loss in patients who are moderately to extremely obese. VLCDs should be part of a comprehensive weight-loss treatment program that includes behavior therapy, nutrition counseling and physical activity. Additionally, long-term maintenance of weight loss with VLCDs is poor and no better than other forms of obesity treatment.
Some of the risks of following an overly restrictive diet include:
[On a personal note, clients I've worked with whose "diet doctors" prescribed a VLCD for them had poor long-term results. They were cranky, hungry and lethargic. While they did lose weight, it was determined that much of what they lost was lean mass--a most unfortunate outcome since muscle is your body's fat-burning engine. When your body lacks sufficient nourishment, it becomes catabolic. That's a scientific term for the state your body enters when it's starved and begins to break down muscle tissue. You must eat to fuel optimal results!]
The human body is a marvel of resilience and adaptability. Depending on the combination of circumstances, we can live just about anywhere, in just about any climate. We can adapt to different foods, types of shelter, seasonal variations, and levels of stress. We can exist weeks, months or even years with nutrient deficiencies.
But there's one thing, besides a lack of oxygen, that our bodies can't adapt to. It's dehydration.
"The importance of proper hydration cannot be stressed enough," reports the National Academy of Sports Medicine. "Water is vital to life itself; it constitutes approximately 60% of the adult human body by weight...Studies show that a fluid loss of even 2% of body weight will adversely affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels."
When we stay properly hydrated, our bodies benefit in the following ways:
What happens to our bodies when we're DE-hydrated? We experience decreases in performance, blood pressure and volume, sweat rate, cardiac output and blood flow to the skin. Our heart rate, core temperature, perceived exertion and use of muscle glycogen increases. We retain more water and sodium.
At most clubs where I've worked, we would measure clients' total body water percentage using a bioelectric impedance scale, which also measures body fat. Invariably, the majority of clients were below recommended hydration levels. One trainer would tell her achy clients that due to dehydration, "Your joints are like the Sahara Desert." A lack of water affects every physiologic function, so yes, even joint pain and stiffness can be at least partially attributed to this deficit.
Different tissues in your body contain different amounts of water. Livestrong.com reports that body fat contains approximately 10 percent water, while muscle is approximately 75 percent water. "In general, men should aim for a total body water percentage between 50 and 65 percent, while the ideal range for women is between 45 and 60 percent."
So, how do we determine if we need to drink more water? Just go by our thirst, right? Wrong, according to NASM. "Thirst alone is a poor indicator of how much water is needed. Athletes consistently consume inadequate fluid volume, managing to replace approximately 50% of sweat losses."
Daily water intake recommendations state that sedentary men should consume an average of 3.0 L (approximately 13 cups) and sedentary women should consume an average of 2.2 L (approximately 9 cups) of water. For those trying to lose weight, drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every 25 pounds above ideal weight. Increase water intake before, during and after exercise, and if you're in a hot climate.
When exercising for less than an hour, experts say to stick with water for fluid replacement. For exercise lasting more than 60 minutes, sports drinks are acceptable and help replenish muscle glycogen stores.
Now that you're convinced to consume more water, here are a few of my personal tips to help you make that happen:
Considering that every aspect of your physical health, down to the cellular level, is impacted by hydration, drink up TODAY. This is one area of your health and wellness that you can control!
Q. Do carbohydrates make me fat?
A. The answer is no. Carbohydrates are necessary nutrients. They provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, spare muscle proteins, and provide essential fiber, vitamins and minerals. Excess intake of any nutrient, carbohydrate, fat, protein or alcohol over daily calorie needs will cause weight gain.
Selecting carbohydrates that are moderate- to low-glycemic foods and high in fiber can help with satiety, blood sugar regulation and energy balance indirectly. Overconsumption of sugar, refined processed carbohydrates and high-glycemic foods could lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy and increased appetite. Therefore, to avoid hunger, it is advised to choose unprocessed, whole-food carbohydrates sources such as vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole fruit and grains to provide fiber, vitamins and minerals for healthy weight loss. In addition, carbohydrate is imperative to glycogen repletion before, during and after exercise for strength, power, aerobic and anaerobic performance, and conditioning. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for carbohydrate intake for an adult is 45 to 65% of total caloric intake.
Q. Does eating at night make me fat?
A. Weight gain is a result of eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis, not when you eat. Because of their preference or schedule, many people eat later in the evening, before bed, or even wake up in the middle of the night to take in calories. If one gains weight doing this, it is because of excess calorie intake, not the timing.
The body does not have an enzyme with a watch that after 7 pm preferentially stores items, especially carbohydrates, as fat. We all have a certain number of calories that we can consume without gaining weight. As long as we do not exceed that number, weight gain will not occur.
Imagine this scenario: at your height, weight, and activity level, you know that you burn 2,750 calories in a 24-hour period. You have had a busy day, and since your 350-calorie breakfast, you have not had the opportunity to eat. You get home late after a long day and you are starving. At 9 pm, you eat an enormous 1,000-calorie meal. Added to the 350-calorie breakfast, this brings your total calories consumed for the day to 1,350 calories. After your late meal you are exhausted and promptly go to bed. Will you gain weight? Simply put, no. You have burned 1,400 calories more than you consumed. So, the moral here is to figure out how many calories you can have during the day to lose or maintain weight and distribute those calories and foods in a manner that makes you feel your best and prevents hunger.
Questions and answers provided by NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Fourth Edition Revised
Hear ye, hear ye, all milk lovers (and haters!)! I've come across some information that will contribute to the conversation about milk. (WHAT?! You're not engaged in a dialogue about milk?! Ok, leave it to us food geeks to hash out this topic.)
Over the last year or so, I've engaged in conversations about milk with some of my nutritionally saavy friends, most of whom shun cow's milk (or certainly non-organic versions). Their reasons vary, including that it sets off immune disorders, exacerbates chronic respiratory diseases, creates digestive issues, is filled with antibiotics and chemicals, is zapped of its nutrient content through pasteurization and homogenization, and simply, that it's just not natural to drink the milk of another creature.
In full disclosure, cow's milk has been one of my favorite beverages since I was old enough to pour my own satisfying, thirst quenching, creamy cup. As a girl, I truly believed that the reason I never broke a bone growing up was because the calcium in this miracle drink made them stronger than steel (truth is, ounce for ounce, bone IS stronger than steel!). But as a wellness advocate, I felt compelled to research my options in the milk category, particularly because it's a staple of my kids' diet (one of whom has asthma), and I want my family to consume what's healthiest.
If you peered into my refrigerator over the last few months, you would have found a combination of organic skim cow's milk, organic plain soy milk, organic rice milk, organic almond milk and organic coconut milk, and last year, I experimented with raw cow's milk (geez, I've spent a ton of money on milk!).
After all of this sampling, what remains in my fridge today? Organic skim cow's milk and a carton of Silk's almond/coconut blend (Score! Two in one!). As info, I use the almond/coconut blend in smoothies that will also include either yogurt or powdered whey protein.
So, for now, I'm comfortable continuing with organic cow's milk, particularly when I come across articles like the one I included below from The Running Blog by The Guardian. The article (with only minor edits for brevity) aims to prove that milk is the best recovery drink out there. Additionally, several other sources support milk's benefits for post-workout recovery:
For those of us who train hard, want quick recovery and nutrient replenishment, and desire faster results, what we consume, and when, really matters. Based on these articles, milk--with yummy chocolate!--should be on the menu.
THE SECRET POWERS OF CHOCOLATE MILK
Source: The Running Blog by The Guardian
Mo Farah drinks it, scientific studies recommend it, and a round-the-world athlete swears by it – could chocolate milk drink be a runner's best friend?
Studies indicate that chocolate milk contains the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio for post-run recovery.
Mo Farah has a penchant for chocolate milk after races and intense training sessions, but far from being a rare moment when the double Olympic champion strays from his almost monastic nutritional regime, this is actually a vital part of his post-run recovery program.
The explosion of research in sports science over the past decade has allowed elite athletes to approach every aspect of racing in minute detail in a bid to gain even the smallest of edges. And as unlikely as it sounds, there is a growing belief that a humble bottle of chocolate milk may be the best recovery drink out there: "We now know that chocolate milk has the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which your muscles require to replenish glycogen levels," says Kelly Pritchett of the department of foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia.
The surprisingly revitalising qualities of chocolate milk were only discovered by accident. A scientific study looking at the best beverages for post-exercise rehydration was supposed to pit the finest electrolyte sports drinks on the market against each other. Nine elite cyclists were taken through a series of glycogen-depleting exercises, consuming various recovery drinks in between, while a handful were given just milk as a control to gauge the relative benefits of each drink. But in an unexpected twist, the cyclists on milk outperformed their rivals by a considerable margin.
Initially this was thought to be a fluke, but sports scientists from a variety of different institutions have since repeated the experiment with similar results. Chocolate milk contains a three-to-one ratio of carbohydrate grams to protein grams which appears to enhance glycogen replenishment, as well as far more potassium, calcium and vitamin D than most sports drinks. Crucially, chocolate milk also appears to be naturally tuned to human digestive systems – the dairy-intolerant or allergic clearly notwithstanding – containing exactly the right balance of fast-absorbing proteins such as whey protein (which pumps essential amino acids into the bloodstream promoting muscle growth and repair), and slow-absorbing proteins such as casein (which keeps amino acids in the blood stream many hours later, reducing the amount of muscle breakdown).
In response, the manufacturers of Gatorade and other similar post-exercise thirst quenchers have attempted to copy the optimal carbohydrate-protein ratio found in milk, but even with their upgraded products, they cannot outperform the real thing.
"The key thing is there are still no studies which have found chocolate milk to be inferior, so it's always either equal or superior to your over-the-counter recovery drinks," Pritchett says. "And from a cost standpoint, on a weekly basis you're looking at maybe £7 a week versus up to £24. So it's more economical."
While it may appear that the chocolate is only there to make it taste nice, the extra sugar actually plays a key part in ensuring you're getting the post-exercise recommendations for carbohydrate: an 8oz glass of chocolate milk contains about 30-35g of carbohydrate compared to just 12g in normal milk.
With athletes including Farah constantly seeking ways to push the boundaries, several studies have also investigated whether alternative milks such as almond or soy may prove even more effective recovery beverages. But while it was found neither contains the optimum balance that makes low-fat chocolate milk ideal – with soy lacking the carbohydrate content and almond lacking the requisite amount of protein – this research did reveal that timing is crucial.
"In order to enhance recovery, the key is to get the carbohydrate and protein you need in the first two hours after exercise," says Pritchett. "We say this is the window of opportunity, as the ability to replace muscle glycogen is boosted during that period when you have increased blood flow going to the muscles. If you wait longer, it could take more time to restore your natural levels."
Chocolate milk has also been found to be an excellent drink for runners taking part in intense multi-day endurance events. Last September, 52-year-old Tom Denniss, a mathematics researcher from Sydney, broke the world record for a round-the-world run, completing more than 600 consecutive marathons to cover 26,000km in just 622 days. Denniss firmly believes that chocolate milk made a huge difference to his ability to clock up the miles without sustaining injury: "To recover I just sat down at the end of each day, and before the day started, and I'd mix up a litre of chocolate milk," he said. "I found that was really important for hydration. I had always been a reasonably big milk drinker anyway, but I thought that was just me, just what I liked. It turns out it contains exactly the right sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium electrochemical balance which the body requires for the muscle synapses to fire."
"Chocolate milk is a very effective recovery beverage especially when doing something like multiple marathons back to back," Pritchett confirms. "You're not going to be able to recover if you can't get in the carbs and the protein, and the nice thing about it is that it's convenient and it's an easy way to get something in if you find you don't want to eat after exercise."
How often have you looked at a magazine and wished you had the body of the model gracing the cover--her long limbs, narrow torso and lighter-than-air presence? If you're an ectomorph, you likely share her figure. But if you're a mesomorph or endomorph, fuggetaboutit, turn the page and delve into an unrelated article, because that's not how you were (wonderfully!) made.
If you're now thinking, "Ecto- what? Endo- who?," allow me to explain.
In the 1940s, a PhD MD by the name of Willam H. Sheldon developed the idea of somatotypes, or human physical types. "People are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition." Generally speaking, the gist is that everyone falls into one of three body type categories: ectomorph--slim, linear type, mesomorph--muscular type, and endomorph--round, higher fat type.
Let's delve deeper into each somatotype, courtesy of directlyfitness.net, to learn common characteristics, male and female examples, training and dieting tips for each one.
The ECTOMORPH Body Type
Ectomorphs are often below the average weight for their height and have a skinny appearance. Ectomorphs tend to have very high metabolisms and often complain of relentless eating with little to no weight gain.
Common Ectomorph Characteristics Include:
Ectomorph Training Tips:
Ectomorph Dieting Tips:
The ENDOMORPH Body Type
The endomorphic body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. This individual will usually be larger in appearance with heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. They find it hard to drop weight even though they try several diets or workout programs.
Common Endomorph Characteristics Include:
Endomorphs Training Tips:
Endomorphs Dieting Tips:
The MESOMORPH Body Type
The mesomorph is somewhat in between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, displays qualities from both. This individual is capable of being both muscular and lean. S/he has a larger frame (bone structure) as the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph has. Bodybuilders possess this somatotype.
Common Mesomorph Characteristics Include:
Mesomorph Training Tips:
Mesomorph Dieting Tips:
Most people are a combination of types. You may be predominantly one of these, but recognize characteristics of another type. For instance, I'm an ecto-meso combo based on the characteristics outlined here.
So, which one(s) are you? Once you've identified your dominant somatotype, embrace it, and adopt training, diet and lifestyle habits that allow you to be the healthiest ecto, endo or meso you can be!
Sources: http://www.uh.edu/fitness/comm_educators/3_somatotypesNEW.htm; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553976/somatotype; http://www.directlyfitness.com/store/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/
Let's take a little fitness quiz, shall we? Fill in the blanks using each of these three words one time:
____________ CONTROLS weight
____________ CONDITIONS your organs
____________ CHANGES your shape
The answers are:
How'd you do? And why does it matter anyway? Because while each component--diet, cardio and resistance training--is important in its own right, a balanced combination of the three is required for long-term weight management. Most of us are usually decent at one or two of these at one time, but the remaining component(s) may be elusive to us--and therein lies why fitness goals fail to be reached.
Now, let's delve into the quiz statements a little deeper:
Q: What is your opinion on Clif Bars? Supreme Bars? Protein bars in general?
-- Nicole D
A: Useful questions, Nicole, as I'm sure a number of my readers consume these. You know, I used to eat protein bars pretty regularly years ago, but have cut them out completely. It's not that there aren't some decent ones out there, but they're really most appropriate for those who won't/don't make time to plan their meals, and who would choose fast food otherwise. They're a convenience food, and certainly a better alternative than most drive-through.
That said, many are filled with sugar, chemicals and additives that I just don't want. Instead, if I'm in a hurry and need to grab-n-go, I choose KIND bars. I like the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, which contains the brand's highest protein content--7 grams. It's not as much as I'd like, but I'm willing to sacrifice protein for non-gmo, nutrient-dense, natural ingredients that I can pronounce. That's really my focus now--real, natural food that my body can process.
I also like KIND's line of Healthy Grains snacks, which use "5 super grains". I give them to my boys, rather than those artificial granola bars. And I like to remind my fellow parents of kids with nut allergies that the Healthy Grains line is nut free.
Keep a few of these convenience foods around when you're in a pinch, but otherwise, plan your meals ahead so you're never tempted to drive through and super size it!
Q. What is your favorite type of protein powder? What is the best type of smoothie for after a workout? -- Heather S.
A. Thanks for asking, Heather! I'd like to start with an answer to your second question regarding the best type of smoothie after a workout, because I don't think most exercisers realize the impact of a post-recovery shake. Recent studies have shown that consuming a shake made up of a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of a workout will offset muscle damage and facilitate greater training adaptations. The value of this snack should not be underestimated, and it rivals breakfast as the most important meal of the day.
In fact, I've worked with clients who, simply by regularly incorporating a recovery shake into their postworkout ritual, accelerated their fitness results. Eating immediately after working out may seem counterintuitive, but timing is everything.
The ideal recovery shake consists of around 20 grams of protein--whey, ideally, because it contains the amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscle--mixed with whole fruit or some other carbohydrate (60-80 grams). Some fitness experts even suggest consuming your shake during and postworkout. The sooner the better. (Click here for one of my post workout recovery shake recipes.)
Why a shake at all? Because you want to get nutrients to those muscles as quickly as possible, and liquids metabolize faster than solids. If a shake isn't available, have milk, eggs, yogurt or something similar that delivers protein to muscles fast.
"You must replace what you've depleted," says Rachel Cosgrove, fitness expert, author and co-owner of one of the nation's top rated gyms. "Do not dillydally; instead, have your shake ready to go for immediate replenishment. You won't get everything out of your workout if you skip this step."
Furthermore, don't skimp on the protein: "The simple act of eating more protein increases the amount of protein in your muscles. Why? Because that's pretty much the only place your body can store it," says Lou Shuler, fitness journalist, author and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. "Your body breaks down and builds up muscle tissue at an accelerated rate when you work out with weights. In fact, if you don't supply your muscles with fresh protein after you lift, you'll end up with a net loss of muscle protein in the hours immediately following your workout."
Now, on to the first question about protein powder. My favorite powder for the last few years has been PFC's Performance Bio-Whey. It uses simple, high quality ingredients (the vanilla, for instance, only contains 100% cold filtered whey protein isolate, ultra-filtered whey, fructose, natural gum, natural flavoring, digestive enzyme blend and stevia.). One level scoop is 110 calories and 20 grams of protein. It blends really well, can easily be added to baked goods for extra fortification, and tastes awesome. It used to only be available in health clubs, but is now available online in a variety of flavors. I stick with Creamy Vanilla and Rich Chocolate.
Another option that you may find more convenient (albeit more expensive), is to buy pre-made protein shakes from your grocer. Because I often teach fitness classes back-to-back and need ready-made replenishment, I sometimes drink the Protein Plus shakes by Bolthouse Farms. They include 210 calories and 16 grams of protein per serving (I sometimes have two servings at once), plus 21 vitamins and minerals. I admit that the sugar content is higher than I'd like, but remember that sugar is best consumed postworkout. Beyond that, I like that this brand uses no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and no genetically modified ingredients. A money-saving trick with these is to buy several when they're on sale, then freeze them since they're perishable. Put one in the fridge the day before to let it thaw.
Ok, now's the time to start planning for your next workout. Do you need to acquire some protein powder or other forms of high quality protein to have on hand? Preparation is key! As Cosgrove said, you won't maximize your efforts if you skip this step!!
In my previous blog, "When you know better," I talk about voting with your groceries. Every time you place an item in your cart, you're casting a vote for the kinds of products you want to see carried in that store.
Well, let's talk about where more votes are cast than probably any grocer in the country--Walmart. And I happen to cast A LOT of votes at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market. Do I enjoy the experience? Not particularly, but because I, like most fitness professionals, don't earn Gillian Michaels' salary, and because food is my largest monthly purchase, I go where I can save. I also shop at other mass grocers, and occasionally at Whole Foods and a natural foods market when I feel like splurging and wasting a lot of time driving. But by and large, Walmart it is, because I'm frugal, because it's on the way home, and because I've learned to find healthy options there.
I realize that each Walmart (superstores and neighborhood markets) offers a slightly different assortment of products, so some of the items I highlight may not yet have reached your store. But use these finds as a guide, and don't be afraid to ask a manager to stock similar items.
As you take a look at these products and read the captions, I'd like to remind everyone that locally-sourced, fresh, unprocessed, homemade food is best. We're all on the same page with that, right? Good. But I'm a realist and don't take an elitist attitude about my food or its source. I'm a busy mom with two kids and a husband with a demanding job, so I do what works best for my life. The point of this blog is simply to show you that healthy options are available, even at Walmart, and if we want to keep seeing more good stuff, we have to buy the good stuff.
Do all of these items cost more than other options in the store? Yes. Are they worth it? To my family, absolutely. If we are what we eat--down to a cellular level--how can I accept less than quality food? And we have made adjustments in our budget to afford these items. As such, we only consume bison or grass fed beef once every 7-10 days, chicken once or twice a week, salmon (I buy the wild caught frozen filets from either Wal-Mart or Target) once a week and tuna once or twice a week. Other days, we have a vegetarian or bean-based meal, and every Sunday, we consume a family ritual of popcorn, cheese and fruit for dinner. And we rarely eat fast food, or eat out for that matter.
If the idea of incorporating more organic, high quality--and thus, more expensive--foods into your diet seems daunting, start small. Little by little, start swapping bad stuff for good, and good stuff for better. And make the healthier stuff go farther. For instance, I buy organic milk, which is stupid expensive, so I only allow my boys to consume it at breakfast and dinner. To bulk up a pound of ground bison, I add cooked quinoa, brown rice or black beans. To turn organic vegetable soups into a heftier, protein enhanced meal, I blend in cottage cheese (or tofu, which I haven't found at Walmart). You get the idea (and if not, leave a comment and I'll help you out!).
I'd like to leave you with a simple challenge: take a look in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboard and determine one item in each that you will replace with something healthier the next time you shop. That's just three small changes...and a great start!
I admit it. I was scared to watch it. I was afraid I would suddenly find revolting all the things that taste good. That depictions of inhumane treatment of cows, pigs and chickens would turn me against consuming animal protein. That I would be left with the powerless feeling of, "I know this is happening, but I can't do anything about it." But you know what? I watched it this week, and none of that happened. I actually walked away feeling enlightened and empowered. And good thing, because this girl likes a burger.
The film to which I'm referring is 'Food, Inc.' Many of you have probably seen it a time or two already since it's been out for six years. As I said, I've been reluctant to watch it, knowing it might force me to change, because as Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better.' And how might doing better disrupt the diet with which I've grown accustomed? I shuddered at the thought.
This probably seems counterintuitive that I would respond this way, but food is a highly personal thing, and I like what I like. Here's the good news: I like healthy stuff. That wasn't always the case. But as I've become educated over the years on the power of what we eat, particularly as it relates to our performance, I already (mostly) eat clean, lean and green. And the difference in how you feel, look and function when you eat what your body needs is nothing short of significant.
But even if our dietary intentions are pure, how are we to avoid the deceptive practices of food producers pointed out in the documentary? Ideally, we'd grow our own produce, buy meats from a local farmer, knead our own bread (check out this easy einkorn bread recipe on my 'Favorite Recipes' page), and make all meals from scratch. Yeah, um, not happening, at least not all of them at once. One guy in the documentary drove five hours to purchase meat from a featured farmer. More power (and fuel) to him, but I prefer quick, close and cheap!
The most meaningful takeaway for me in the film came, appropriately, at the end. The guy who runs Stonyfield Organic, which is now owned by multinational food giant Danone (its line of YoKids yogurt is in my fridge as I type this), reminded viewers that every time we purchase a product, we're casting a vote. That vote determines what continues to be supplied in stores, or what gets discontinued. At the end of the day, food stores just want to carry what sells. It means little to them if it's healthy or unhealthy.
So the next time you're at the grocery store and about to place an item in your basket, ask yourself, 'What am I voting for, and how does this impact my health?'
More on how to choose healthier options at discount grocers in an upcoming blog!
1. Tap Squats 20x (With a stable surface, such as a chair or bench, behind you, lower your backside to the surface without releasing your body weight, then immediately rise to standing)
2. Up-Down Plank 10x (Start in a high plank on your hands and toes. Drop down to your elbows, then rise to your hands again. The pattern is 'elbow-elbow-hand-hand,' or 'down-down-up-up'. Perform on your knees to reduce the challenge.)
REPEAT 3 times!
"Raise your hand if you had breakfast this morning."
It's a poll I regularly take in my morning fitness classes. Invariably, there are attendees whose hands remain at their sides. They still haven't grasped the importance of the first meal of the day.
They'll say, "I'm just not hungry in the morning," or, "The morning is too rushed for breakfast,", or the worst one, "I'm skipping meals to lose weight."
The funny thing is, they're often the same people who complain of not being able to lose weight, of a slow metabolism, of results unrealized. Don't get me wrong--eating breakfast won't solve every weight loss woe, but it's an important part of healthy lifestyle that contributes to sustained weight management, among other benefits.
And while experts argue over whether eating breakfast affects body composition, or by what degree it impacts metabolism, research overwhelming supports that those who regularly eat breakfast demonstrate a decreased risk for obesity and heart disease, and better cognitive function. Beyond that, those who regularly eat breakfast tend to be leaner than those who don't.
According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
And if you're one of those who regularly skips meals, understand that restricting calories slows your metabolism--the thing you need to keep revving to burn calories. "Skipping meals increases your likelihood for metabolic syndrome, which includes decreasing your good cholesterol, increasing your blood pressure, and worst of all increasing your belly fat," says Rachel Cosgrove, renowned women's fitness expert and author.
Furthermore, randomized controlled trials have shown the metabolisms of people on starvation or crash diets slow down to conserve energy, which means their basal metabolic rate (BMR) can drop by up to about 15 percent. BMR is the amount of kilojoules (or energy) your body burns to maintain functioning at rest. This accounts for 50 to 80 per cent of your overall energy requirements.
Ok, now that you're convinced to start your day with breakfast, what should you eat? Those who say they aren't hungry in the morning can start with something small, like a piece of fruit with a scoop of nut butter, an easy-to-drink protein-fruit smoothie, yogurt or pre-made bag of granola with nuts/seeds. Heck, you could even combine your coffee with a protein shake (vanilla or chocolate) to have an all-in-one kickstart to your morning. If yours is a time issue, get up 15 minutes earlier! That, or prepare your breakfast the night before so that you can just grab and go.
Whenever I enter the breakfast discussion with folks, the question always comes up, "What do you eat for breakfast?" Well, I'll tell you. I'm a creature of habit, so when I find something I like, I stick with it. Each morning, within 30 minutes of rising, I eat a bowl of Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola with skim milk and blueberries, and one mug of Starbucks coffee with stevia, honey, cinnamon and organic plain soymilk. This has been my breakfast ritual for a few years now, and it just works for me. It's also safe to eat for my son with a peanut allergy. I don't recommend most cereals, which are laden with sugar and void of nutrients, but this one is nutrient dense with 5g of fiber, 6g of protein (not including the skim milk), 31g of whole grain and 0.7g of ALA Omega 3. This combo of rolled oats, pumpkin and flax seeds, and brown rice flour sustains me during the classes I teach, tiding me over until my late morning, post-workout recovery shake. I literally order it by the case from Amazon because it's either out of stock at the local store or is grossly overpriced.
Now, the only question that remains is, what are you having for breakfast tomorrow?
1. Alternating reverse lunges 10x/leg (from standing, step one foot back into a lunge, then step feet together again. Repeat other side.)
2. Quadruped with opposite arm/leg raises 10x/pair (on hands and knees, slowly lift and lower left arm and right leg. Repeat with right arm and left leg)
REPEAT 3-5 times!
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.