Friday, April 21, 2017

Gym Myths #4

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

This is the last week I will share information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.


Pain is weakness leaving the body - FALSE - some soreness is normal when you exercise, but true pain is a warning sign that something is wrong.
A session of hard exercise can be uncomfortable and a touch of DOMS - delayed on-set muscle soreness - is normal. But stabbing pain in your back? Pain that effects the way you walk? Real pain is an indicator directing your attention to something important. Identify the pain and use it to enhance your path forward. See a physician or physical therapist for immediate relief.  Ask a trainer or coach for help with form and technique to prevent pain in the future.


You can stay fit - or even get fitter - as you age. - TRUE - you can take charge of your body's aging process. 
Some of the effects of aging are tough to avoid. The cardiovascular system loses efficiency; muscles and bones get weaker; memory, sex drive and recovery time all decline. But how quickly these vital capacities drop off is largely up to you. A 2008 study revealed that older athletes are able to keep pace with all but the most elite of their younger competition. Another study found that strength training improves muscle mass, strength, power, balance, and energy levels even among adults as old as 90. An additional study found that exercise, especially in middle age, can influence telomere length, a measure of a cell's capacity to function and an important marker for longevity.

Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats can help prevent brain disease, heart disease and other chronic conditions that threaten quality of life in older people. As you age, your health and vitality are dictated as much or more by lifestyle choices as they are by genetics.



Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, April 14, 2017

Should I Eat My Easter Eggs This Weekend?


Eggs have cholesterol in them so they are bad for you, right?
 
Eggs are high in HDL cholesterol
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol. People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and various health problems. Eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL. In one study, 2 eggs per day for 6 weeks increased HDL levels by 10%.

Eggs turn LDL cholesterol from small & dense particles to large particles
LDL cholesterol is generally known as the “bad” cholesterol. It is well known that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. But what many people don’t realize is that there are subtypes of LDL that have to do with the size of the particles. There are small, dense LDL particles and then there are large LDL particles. Many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large LDL particles. Even if eggs tend to mildly raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the particles change from small, dense to large LDL… which is a good thing.

Enjoy your Easter eggs this weekend.  
Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gym Myths Exposed #3

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

For the next couple of weeks I am sharing information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.

Squatting and deadlifting are bad for your back - FALSE - smart exercise techniques mitigate the risk of these strength-training essentials. 
Heavy barbell moves are gaining popularity. You might know someone who's tweaked his/her back while squatting or deadlifting. Some people become so cautious about injury that they swear off these exercises all together. The problem is not the exercise, it is the way people perform the exercise. One cause of bad form is to try to lift a heavy weight without working up to it gradually over time. When learning correct form, engage your core and keep breathing. Ask a personal trainer or your class instructor for specific form tips.

Walking improves bone density - TRUE - but you'll build it faster if you hop, skip and jump.
Bones shrink without stimulation, Weight-bearing activity can help stave off bone loss. Walking is good, but it is not the most time-efficient choice. The way to build bone in the hips and pelvis is explosive, simultaneous straightening of the ankles, knees, and hips. Think running, jumping, skipping and hopping.  Not ready for all that bounding? Try weight-bearing movements that involve standing and walking such as farmer's walk, squats and deadlifts.

Lifting weights makes you bulky - FALSE - lifting weights makes you healthy and strong.
"Bulk" is not something that happens by accident. Regardless of your gender,  muscle mass requires years of hard work and devotion to a specialized diet. Women don't gain as easily as men because of their lower testosterone levels. Most men can expect to gain 4 - 7 pounds of lean body mass over a 12 week program.

Check in next week for three more gym myths exposed!
 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food
 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Gym Myths Exposed #2

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

For the next couple of weeks I am sharing information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.

You need to load up on carbs before a race - FALSE - eat a balanced meal before a race.
It's true that aerobic activities like running are fueled by a combination of carbohydrates (in the form of a readily usable energy source called glycogen) and fat. There's a limit to how much glycogen we can store, though. And even a long race doesn't burn nearly as many calories as you might think. Eating a normal-sized meal, balanced in protein and fats, and high in easily digested carbs is sufficient.


Exercise makes you smarter - TRUE - working out has many positive effects on the brain.
Science has proven it: what's good for the body is good for the brain. Regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus. Exercise stimulates the release of growth factors that promote the formation of new neural pathways, brain cells and blood vessels. Exercise initiates changes in body chemistry, such as reduced inflammation, improved circulation and improved sleep, that support healthy brain function.

Fasting before exercise burns more fat - FALSE - exercising after a small meal may burn more fat than a fasted workout.
A 2014 study found that women who exercised after an overnight fast lost no more fat than a second group who had a meal before their cardio sessions. Another study suggests that eating a small meal pre-workout may lead to greater excess postexercise oxygen consumption or EPOC (the bump in metabolism in the hours after a workout) than eating nothing at all. Aim for a light, easily-digestible meal before your sweat session. That said, if you're not hungry and your energy doesn't suffer, don't force yourself to eat. Your body's intuition may be more useful than studies.

Check in next week for three more gym myths exposed!


Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gym Myths Exposed #1

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

The next couple of weeks I will share information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.

Machines are safer than free weights - TRUE - but free weights are still the better option.
Resistance training machines may look like medieval torture devices but dumbbells cause more weight-training injuries. Machines support your whole body and encourage motion in one plane with one joint. Free weights force you to control a weight in all directions and they teach you better movement mechanics and body awareness. These skills translate readily into the functional movements of everyday life. Studies found that barbell squats stimulated significantly more beneficial hormones than the same number of machine leg presses. Barbell bench presses were found to activate more muscle tissue than a machine equivalent.


You don't have to be "thin" to be healthy - TRUE - body fat is just one measure of health.
Lifestyle is one of the best predictors of long-term health. Four basic healthy habits minimize the impact of a high BMI.
        * exercise regularly
        * eat five servings of vegetables and fruits daily
        * refrain from smoking
        * drink alcohol in moderation
A person who has more body fat but less stress, who sleeps well, lifts weights and eats fruits and vegetables is often healthier than someone with low body fat who doesn't have the same healthy habits. Strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health and healthy hormonal levels are influenced as much or more by what you DO than what you weigh.


Running is bad for your knees - FALSE - bad running form is bad for your knees.
Perfect running form should be painless. the human body was designed to move far more than we do now. These days people often jump into the sport too quickly and too intensely after years of sedentary living. A new stimulus on the body with that intensity is asking for trouble. Pain in the feet, knees, back and hips is the common outcome. Your knee should track over your foot, not inside or outside of it. Your toes should track forward, not in or out. You should feel equal pressure in the inside and outside edges of your foot each time you stride. Strive for quality form over mileage. Don't increase your mileage more than 10% per week.


Check in next week for three more gym myths exposed!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, March 17, 2017

Eat Green for St. Patrick's Day

I enjoy celebrating the holidays and am making corned beef and cabbage with whole-wheat Irish Soda bread for a special celebration.

What naturally green foods can you enjoy this St. Patrick's Day?

Kale is trendy right now. It is a powerhouse of nutrition, rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron and fiber. Add some to salads or soups. I enjoy the bagged kale salad from Costco.

Green Tea has been linked to protection against diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It might slow the growth of cancer. I brew a gallon of green tea at a time and enjoy it all day long. I have developed such a taste for it that I crave it over most other beverages.

Kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange and is also rich in the antioxidant lutein. You can actually eat the skin but if you prefer not to, you can peel and slice it to eat as is or to add to salads. Another way to eat a kiwi is to slice it in half crosswise and scoop it out with a spoon.

Basil is an amazing herb. It has fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and B6 as well as calcium, zinc and iron. You can add basil to your salad for a flavor punch. Try topping your whole-wheat veggie pizza with slivers of basil. What about including it in whole-wheat pasta along with broccoli & a few artichoke hearts? Since basil can be pricey, I like to buy the basil plant and have it available in my kitchen for a few weeks.

Cabbage is economical and and low in calories. It contains sinigrin which has shown unique cancer preventive properties. Cabbage also has cholesterol-lowering benefits which are enhanced when it is steamed. Add cabbage to your winter vegetable list along with butternut squash and sweet potatoes.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Green Food