Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year Motivation

For many people, the new year brings with it a rush to make resolutions. Choose these strategies to keep your new goals from fizzling before February. Goals should be specific, measurable, have deadlines and be realistic.

Motivation Success: Journey to the Goal
When your goal entails acquiring a new skill set, say tennis or taekwondo, focus on the journey, not the destination. Setting a performance goal is less effective than setting a learning goal tied to gaining new knowledge and skills. Resolve to spend a certain amount of time each week practicing.

Motivation Success: Time it Right
Break long-term goals for the future into smaller, short-term aims. Framing your goal in the present is more likely to spark action. Achieve a set amount each month rather than looking at the end goal next January.

Motivation Success: Pace Yourself
Blowing all your energy at the outset of a new diet or exercise plan doesn't ensure success. Motivation at the critical four-week point is a better predictor of success. Avoid this mistake by choosing realistic weekly goals. Trade "No more suger, ever!" for " I will try one new low-sugar recipe each week this month." When goals are manageable, measurable and enjoyable, you're more likely to see success.

Spark your motivation this month and celebrate success in the new year!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! 
Thanks to all of you in my private training, group fitness and blog communities who have helped make 2016 a fabulous year for Priority Fitness Burbank. 
I've had a wonderful time getting to know some of you better and helping you prioritize fitness in your lives. It's great to see progress and have fun working out together. 
Anticipating many more times of fun and fitness in 2017

Plan ahead for Saturday Group Interval Training sessions three consecutive weeks this coming April.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Workouts

It's cold outside - or the Southern California version of cold! You could move your workout indoors but if you brave the chilly conditions, you can boost your workout results.

You'll ramp up your metabolism the minute you step outside. When you exercise in cool conditions, you increase the amount of calories you burn. Chilly temps trigger something called non-shivering thermogenesis. This means your body isn't so cold it's shivering, but behind the scenes it's stoking your metabolism to keep you warm.

You'll get a "nature" boost. People who exercised outdoors reported less anxiety and more happiness than those who exercised indoors. Just looking at nature can raise your self-esteem and mood. Actually moving through the outdoors by walking, running or hiking, takes the feel-good benefits to another level.

Increase your VO2max and running speed. VO2max is a measurement of how fit you are. For most exercise situations, cold is safer and more accommodating than summer heat to work harder and longer. Use this season to push your workout to meet a specific fitness goal.

Tips for Cool Workout Comfort

Layer Up
Wear several thin layers. You'll trap and warm the air between each layer for an insulating effect. As you warm up, you can fine-tune your comfort level by peeling off layers.

Head & Hands
Any area of your body that is exposed is going to lose heat at a greater rate, so be sure to cover up. A hat and gloves can make a big difference.

Strip Quick
Post workout, remove your sweaty clothes as quickly as possible. Completely change your clothes, including undergarments. Sweat underneath your workout clothes will cause you to become cold at a much quicker rate.

With proper clothing and planning, you can rock your winter workouts this season.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, December 9, 2016

Tame Holiday Hunger

The holiday season is in full swing and every special event includes special treats. To help you manage and enjoy Christmas and abundant food, pay attention to your hunger signals.

Allow ample time to eat
People who eat slowly are more aware of what they are eating. This allows you to sense your feelings of hunger and fullness. Peaceful eating enables you to fully enjoy the sensation and flavor of the food, contributing to feelings of satisfaction. Think of it this way: if you quickly scarf that brownie while standing next to the dessert buffet, does that mean it has less calories? In addition, by eating quickly, you have just deprived yourself of the opportunity to really enjoy it.

Start your meal (event, party, etc) with 16 oz of water
Because water stays in the stomach for awhile, it helps reduce feelings of hunger and increase feelings of fullness. People who drank water beforehand consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories during a meal.

Eat breakfast
You may be tempted to skip the morning meal to "save up" calories for the upcoming party. This causes the body to go into starvation mode and metabolism slows. After fasting all night, your body needs fuel. Choose foods with staying power such as a veggie omelet with fruit or steel cut oats. Eating breakfast may reduce food cravings and prevent overeating.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, December 2, 2016

Take A Hike

Winter is the perfect time to hike in Southern California. The weather is cooler, the sky is clearer and the snakes are hiding. It doesn't take a lot to get started. You really only need two items: proper footwear and a water pack. No matter how challenging or easy your trail, every hike has it's perks.

Even a moderate one-hour hike can burn around 400 calories, while sculpting your core and lower body. As the elevation goes up, so do the benefits. Our local hikes here in Burbank all involve climbing a big hill and then coming back down, a combo that's a great workout for your legs. Going up is like doing lunges over and over, which is great for your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. But traveling downhill is what really sculpts your legs. To go downhill, your glutes and quads need to do a lot of slow and controlled work to stabilize your knees and hips so you don't fall. These types of contractions (eccentric) benefit muscle fibers the most because you're resisting the force of gravity against the weight of your body. This means that while you probably won't get short of breath on the descent, your muscles won't get a second to slack.

Research shows that experiences like gazing from atop a mountain or watching a burbling stream benefit your state of mind. People who spent 50 minutes walking through nature reported less anxiety and more happiness than people who walked near traffic. Exercising outdoors offers a wonderful combination of less stress and more happiness.

Hiking with others and working toward a unified goal - like making your way along an unfamiliar trail - strengthens relationships and builds bonds. Hiking usually involves solving little problems together, like "Which way to we turn?" Appreciating beauty in nature and sharing it with fellow hikers increases the communal mood-booster.

Whether you're a runner or love your Spinning class, scheduling some hikes can improve your fitness level in ways that up your running and cycling game. Cyclists tend to have strong quads but underdeveloped hamstrings and runners tend to have weak hamstrings and glutes. Hiking helps strengthen these muscles to eliminate those types of imbalances. A single hike won't have much of an effect. Consistency is the key.

Start a hike habit this winter!
Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, November 18, 2016

Post-Workout Fuel

You make time to exercise, you work hard and you want to fuel your body in a healthy way. Here are a few fat-blasting combos that supply the nutrients you need to refuel your muscles, plus they amplify your after-burn.

Oatmeal and Eggs
B vitamins help you convert the food you eat into energy, which stokes your metabolism. It's tough to get all your B's from one food, so pair these two power sources. Oatmeal topped with a fried egg will give you not only a wide range of B's but also a hit of muscle-making protein.

Turkey and Hummus
The resistant starch in chickpeas, combined with protein, may increase your ability to burn fat, according to a study in Nutrition Journal. Roll up sliced turkey and a few tablespoons of hummus in lettuce leaves for a snack or pair the two in a sandwich if you're working out before lunch. 

Nuts and Fruit
Thanks to their protein and fiber, nuts may actually boost your metabolism as well as help your body blast fat. Eat about an ounce of almonds - the amount that fits in a shot glass - and have them with a piece of fruit, like an apple or pear, for some carbs to replenish your glycogen. 


Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, November 11, 2016

Streak From Thanksgiving to New Year's!

The holiday season is a perfect time to ditch your workouts with excuses of too little time, lack of energy, and no motivation. That doesn't have to be you! More and more people are turning toward a “running streak” to stay motivated, running at least one mile every single day, from Thanksgiving until the New Year

Isn't running every single day bad for you? Running hard and long every single day will certainly lead to burnout or injury. However, you only need to run one mile every day to keep this streak alive, and that mile can be as slow and easy as you want it to be. 

The streak is portable. You can do it at Aunt Bertha's house, in a hotel gym or on a tropical beach - if you are lucky enough to be there for the holidays.   

Prevent Injury 
Angie Spencer, a registered nurse and running coach, said alternating between pairs of shoes for runs during the streak can be a good idea.   

It’s good both mentally and physically to switch up the distances and routes to maintain the streak. Try the treadmill one day, a hilly route one day and flat sidewalks another. 

If you’re streaking temporarily mainly for the calorie-burning benefits, be sure to pump some iron, too. “Folks who are running to lose or keep weight off should also be strength training to maintain lean muscle mass,” says Jason Fitzgerald, a USA Track & Field certified coach. 

Listen to Your Body 
Your health and wellness should be the most important goal above and beyond your streak. If illness strikes, runners can continue through above-the-chest symptoms like a headache, sinus congestion or a runny nose. “If there’s a fever, then it’s best to focus on recovery and rest for a few days,” says Fitzgerald. 

Stop if you’re injured. It is recommended that potential streakers should have been running on a regular basis for at least six months. “I think (the streak) can be a great way to keep your motivation going,” Spencer says. Just don’t get to the point where you’re obsessively maintaining the streak and it's not fun. 

Like Priority Fitness Burbank on Facebook, if you have not already. You can post your progress and encourage others to maintain their streak all the way to the New Year. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, November 4, 2016

Get an Exercise High

Next week we will be asked to vote about legalizing marijuana in the State of California. Your vote is your personal choice but did you know you can get the same kind of high in a totally healthy way without endangering other drivers and without any brain-damaging effects?

The feeling you get after a great workout is a unique mix of euphoria and Zen that's simultaneously motivating and relaxing. It puts you in a great mood, makes you proud of the session you just aced and gets you psyched to tackle the next one.

Scientists have found that the blissful feeling is not just about endorphins, the pain-killing hormones proven to bring on pleasure. Recent studies show that other compounds contribute to the buzz. One compound, endocannabinoids are lipid molecules that help regulate pain and mood. Your brain processes this molecule in almost the same way that it does cannabinoids, the chemicals that cause the marijuana high. 

While our levels of endorphins and endocannabinoids are higher after endurance exercise, endocannanoids have a more powerful effect on how we feel. This compound is believed to produce the stress-busting effects of exercise. Endorphins have been shown to contribute to some of the other aspects of the exercise high.

The study found that the body releases endocannnoids only when you push your intensity level into the moderate zone. Cardio is what counts: anaerobic exercise like weight lifting doesn't activate the endocannanoid system. The sweet spot is 70 - 85% of your maximum heart rate. Using the RPE, aim for 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. If you can barely speak, you are pushing too hard. Ease off a little.

Exercise with others. Social bonding activates the same endocannanoid system that exercise does. So you're scoring even stronger perks when you workout with friends. Group workouts or classes will reap the same benefits.

This week choose the ultimate post-exercise buzz.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, October 28, 2016

Enjoy Pumpkin This Fall

It's pumpkin time! From the Pumpkin Spiced Latte at the coffee shop to pumpkin "everything" at the market, we notice the flavor everywhere in the fall. Most of the processed foods touting pumpkin flavor contain too many sugars and the wrong kind of fats. Do we have to skip our favorite fall flavor? Not at all.

Pumpkin not only tastes good, but it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Just 1 cup of mashed pumpkin contains 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Not only that, but it’s low in calories, rich in fiber and a great source of beta-carotene, one of those antioxidants touted by the medical community.

Try a Pumpkin Parfait for breakfast. Combine canned pumpkin with cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg. Layer with Greek yogurt and granola.

Add pumpkin to pancake batter. (Reduce the liquid a bit.) Top with bananas, cinnamon & walnuts.

I love to use hummus as a veggie dip, wrap filler with greens or instead of mayo in a sandwich. Try this one!

White Bean Pumpkin Hummus

  1. 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  2. 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini (large white) beans, rinsed and drained
  3. 2 tbsp. tahini
  4. 2 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from about half of a large lemon)
  5. 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 tsp. cumin
  8. ½ tsp. smoked paprika, plus extra for serving
  9. Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a pinch of kosher salt, then blend again and taste. Add more salt if desired. Serve in a bowl with extra smoked paprika sprinkled on top.

Enjoy the flavor of fall with pumpkin!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Time to Register for the Turkey Trot

Did you know? More Americans participate in races on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year! Join the crowd and start your holiday on the right foot by participating in the Burbank Community YMCA Turkey Trot. This family friendly 5K/10K race is open to runners, walkers, stroller-pushers and pets. Costumes welcome! There is a Pre-Race Expo for all and Kid's Fun Zone for the little ones. In addition, you'll get a commemorative race T-shirt to wear around town throughout the year. Everyone will know you did the race Thanksgiving morning.

The Turkey Trot is a great Burbank community day with people from all areas of city life coming together to move their bodies before sitting down to dinner. It's fun to see so many friends gathered for the event. John and I will miss this year, but we will be doing a Family Turkey Trot on-board a cruise ship. (Yes, I make people exercise on their vacation!) I have costumes for all twelve of us!

Don't miss this year's Thanksgiving morning fun! Save $5 and pre-register now at

Stay Active, Keep Moving 
Have Fun

Friday, October 14, 2016

Are Gym Machines a Good Workout Choice?

Your gym is probably full of shiny machines designed to hit every muscle in your body. Most weight machines do that in two ways: limiting your range of motion and isolating a muscle group. This format is great for bodybuilders and those recovering from an injury.

If you are not in one of those two groups, which is unlikely, choose a workout that uses multiple muscle groups at the same time. Our bodies are meant to jump, crawl, dance, sprint, squat and lift. Plus, using multiple muscle groups at the same time will raise your heart rate and burn more calories in less time. Here's a few overall workout principles:

Dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and medicine balls are far more versatile than machines. They help you build functional strength because they require you to move in all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse) whereas a machine moves you through only one at a time. And, with free weights, you're more likely to eliminate weaknesses and imbalances because you can't compensate with your dominant side the way you can when lifting on a fixed-path machine.

There are endless ways to use your body as resistance - yoga poses, push-ups & burpees, planks, etc. - and most such exercises have you moving naturally, the way you were meant to, while engaging tons of muscles. To continue getting fitter, simply increase your reps, sets or pace or make your moves more challenging by adding instability.

When you do cardio, make your workout more efficient by heading outside. Run. Take a hike. Ride a bike. The change in terrain as well as the weather - wind, heat, humidity - provide added challenges that can result in better fitness gains. 

Step away from the big, clunky machines and move your body using integrated exercises and natural movement for a more effective workout that burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Halloween Candy Horrors

October is here and that means Halloween. Halloween means candy - and lots of it. When you are on trick-or-treat duty, it's hard to resist dipping in, but those fun-sized bars can add up to hundreds of calories. Here are four tricks to fend off those little treats:

Put empty wrappers on display. A Cornell University study found that people who left these visual reminders ate nearly half as many candies as those who tossed them out.

Don't buy your favorites. Stock a treat that you don't particularly love, so you won't be so tempted to go overboard.

Promise yourself a future treat. In exchange for avoiding the candy you don't really like, promise yourself that you will get to eat a fun-sized version of the treat you REALLY want at another time. And then, keep your promise!

Hide the candy. Use an opaque container with a lid to stow your stash so you won't snag a piece each time you walk by. Make it more difficult to get to the candy so choosing one piece is a conscious choice.
You can be successful in conquering your sweet-tooth this Halloween. Identify the cues that lead to nibbling Halloween candy, make a plan and follow through! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cardio Circuit Class - Last Call!

Take this opportunity to make time for YOU before the crazy holiday season starts. 
Just one hour boosts cardio, stokes metabolism, pumps strength and tightens abs.
Plus, on the 29th, we will do a Halloween-themed workout with real pumpkins!
You can do one of the sessions or all three
Only a few more spots available. Sign up now!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Critical Calcium

Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If people aren't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis.

Knowing which foods to avoid when taking a supplement or eating calcium-rich foods can help your body use more of the calcium you consume. Research reveals that consuming certain foods can interfere with calcium absorption. That's important because we typically use only 30 - 50 % of calcium from food. Try these tips to increase your calcium levels and maintain bone health.

Foods That Dilute Calcium

The oxalates in spinach, sweet potatoes and cocoa reduce the absorption of calcium from those foods. To increase calcium intake, combine with some cheese.

Salt increases calcium excretion through urine and sweat. Try increasing potassium-rich foods like bananas or cantaloupe to help counteract this effect.

High fiber foods reduce the absorption of calcium in other foods eaten at the same time. For example, cereal and milk. When you increase fiber, try to increase calcium intake, too.

Caffeine, a diuretic, can also increase calcium loss through urination. A smart option is to take your supplement in the afternoon or evening when you're probably limiting caffeine intake already.

Phosphorus, found in meat, poultry, corn and potatoes, also interferes with calcium absorption. Choosing a few meatless meals can reduce your phosphorus intake and increase overall calcium levels in your diet.

Ways to Boost Calcium Intake

*Increase Vitamin D to aid absorption

*Add magnesium, which keeps calcium soluble and available for your body.

*Take your supplement with orange juice because Vitamin C improves absorption of calcium.

*Try splitting your supplement into two 500mg doses - one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

*Consume more calcium-rich foods: navy or white beans, Chinese cabbage, dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, seafood (crab, salmon, sardines, shrimp), and seeds.

Make one or two changes this week to increase calcium levels. Enjoy eating a variety of foods and keep those bones strong! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 16, 2016

Strength vs. Power Training

Exactly what are strength and power training? Is there a difference? Which one is better for me?

Strength training is the popular term for exercises that build muscle by harnessing resistance - that is, an opposing force that muscles must strain against. Strength training is sometimes called resistance training or weight training. Resistance can be supplied by your body weight, free weights such as dumbbells, elasticized bands, or specialized machines. No matter what kind of resistance you use, putting more than the usual amount of load on your muscles makes them stronger.

Examples of strength exercises are weighted squats, dead-lifts and chest presses. Each of these exercises are done with consistent, slow exertion focusing on the contraction of the muscle and the extension of the muscle as the weight is lowered. The goal is larger muscle mass and the ability to lift more weight.

Power training is aimed at increasing power, which is the product of both strength and speed. Power reflects how quickly you can exert force to produce the desired movement. Power can help you react swiftly if you trip or lose your balance, helping you avoid a fall. Power moves are very practical for many sports and activities and create control over your strength.  Most power exercises are performed repetitively over a period of time to improve speed, quick reflexes and stamina.

Some power moves are just strength training moves done at a faster speed. Other power routines rely on the use of a weighted vest.  Plyometrics are power moves such as jumping and throwing that involve a rapid loading and stretching of the target muscles before a powerful counter contraction. Examples include depth jumps, hurdle jumps, lateral hops and clap pushups.

When you go to the gym, you have a limited amount of time to spend. Training for power is much more of a balanced approach to physical fitness. Not only will your muscles get stronger, but they will be better coordinated for quick, precise motions. You will gain strength and power while being efficient with your time.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Save the Date for this Fun Circuit Class!

The Saturday morning classes are returning for a short time in October! As a bonus, on the last morning of the series, we will use real pumpkins as part of a Halloween-themed workout. Block out the time slots on your calendar and join us for high-energy fun.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Weight Loss Plateaus #2

Last week I discussed some of the biological and environmental challenges that are faced when you continue with your weight loss plan. It might seem as if the deck is stacked against you, but I offered a few smart changes that can help you push past the plateau. Here are three more strategies to recharge your weight loss.

Cycle Your Eating
Calorie cycling is a fancy term for cutting back calories periodically rather than all the time. This can help you eat less without feeling deprived. Try eating just 1000 to 1200 calories of protein and vegetables for two days a week. On the other days, eat 1500 - 2000 calories.

Go Hard on Protein
Eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein and fat could give your weight loss a jump start.  Low carb diets can increase your metabolism and reduce your appetite because they're high in protein. Plus eating too many carbs can increase your levels of insulin, a hormone that prompts your body to store calories as fat.

Do a Workout Revamp
Besides the obvious benefits, exercise makes your brain more sensitive to leptin, the hormone that triggers fullness. If you've been working out faithfully, a few small changes to your routine can have major payoffs. Adding fat-blasting strength training or intervals to your sessions can help accelerate weight loss by raising your metabolism. Your muscles can get bored with the moves and burn fewer calories when you do the same thing repeatedly. Try adding five minutes of jumping rope, spinning instead of swimming or 10 minutes of cardio after your strength routine.

Stay the course when the scale stalls. Don"t let the weight loss plateau prompt you to quit your diet altogether. Use these science-backed strategies to move forward and see results.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weight Loss Plateaus #1

The dreaded weight loss plateau - it's something most dieters encounter around the six-month mark. You continue working out and eating right, yet you don't see any progress. What is going on?

After you lose weight, your body operates more efficiently and needs less energy to do everything, including your workouts, which means you burn fewer calories. At the time, your system is biologically programmed to get you back to your former, heavier weight - a survival mechanism to help prevent starvation. The phenomenon, called adaptive thermogenesis, puts the brakes on your metabolism. A 10% drop in your body weight will slow your metabolism as much as 25%. And the more you lose, the greater the effect. 

Your hormones also make you hungrier than ever. If you shed 10 - 15% of your body weight, your level of leptin - a hormone critical for making you feel full - plummets by 50%, convincing your brain that you've lost half you body fat. At the same time, your level of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin also spikes disproportionately after weight loss. 

It takes a tremendous amount of physical and emotional effort to overcome all the biological and environmental challenges to weight loss. Initially, you can stick with it because you see the results and you get a lot of positive reinforcement. But after a few months, you become tired and discouraged by all the work required. 

But don't give up! A few smart tweaks to your diet will get results and help renew your commitment.

Get Back to Basics 
If you used to track your food and exercise, it's time to restart that routine. Logging meals and workouts can help you see where you need to step up your efforts. Be careful about portion control. Analyze the weeks that you were particularly successful, figure out what you were doing differently and go back to it. 

Find Your Happy Weight
Often people pick their goal weight arbitrarily, which can set them up for failure. If you’ve hit your plateau and are within 5 or 10 pounds of your target, consider whether the weight you’re at now might be right for you. You’ve already improved your health enormously by reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Don’t be obsessed with reaching a certain number on the scale. Think about what makes you feel good. That’s your happy weight.

Next week, I will share three more strategies
for pushing past a weight loss plateau.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy  Food

Friday, August 19, 2016

Diversify Your Workout

We know workout variety is good, but some of us love our everyday boot camp. How much variety do you really need to see results?

When you're trying to jump-start a workout routine, choose a couple of go-to workouts for cardio and strength and then up the variables.

For six weeks, play with upping the ante on things like the amount of weight you're lifting OR the number of sets or reps you're doing OR decrease the rest time between each exercise or interval. That helps you create a benchmark by which you can judge your progress and it also helps you master skills. Then pick one goal - lose weight, get stronger, build up your endurance - and spend six weeks gearing your workouts to that. It's important to choose ONE goal so that you can focus your work and see progress.

For the next phase, throw your body a curve-ball by taking two weeks or so off from your regular routine and doing just Pilates or yoga to work smaller muscles and try different types of movement patterns.

Workout variety allows you to take advantage of an unusual class, try a sport you used to do in high school or meet a new group of people. Diversifying your exercise also helps prevent injury caused by repetitive motion. Planning your workouts intentionally will allow you to see results that an auto-pilot workout might not deliver. Keep your body guessing, explore new movement and work to create muscle balance.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, August 12, 2016

Second Breakfast is a Good Thing!

If you are familiar with the books or movies based on The Lord of The Rings, you know that Hobbits not only have one breakfast but also Second Breakfast (and Elevenses and Lunch and...). It turns out that Second Breakfast is a great way to help maintain or lose weight. 

A recent study found that those who ate two breakfasts (one at home and one later in the morning) didn't gain more weight that those who ate just one. And the participants were less likely to be overweight than those who skipped the meal entirely.

Most adults don't need two full breakfasts (unlike Hobbits) but if you exercise in the morning or eat late lunches, a hearty mid-morning snack with produce and protein is a good idea. What does that look like? Your breakfast could be a slice of whole wheat toast, eggs scrambled with spinach, sliced tomatoes on the side. Then mid-morning you could have a banana and handful of walnuts.

More mid-morning snack ideas:
  • clementines and a latte
  • smoked salmon on cucumbers
  • plain Greek yogurt and blueberries
  • whole wheat English muffin and peanut butter
  • apple slices and cheddar cheese
  • lowfat cottage cheese on whole wheat crackers topped with salsa
  • pear slices sprinkled with cinnamon and a handful of almonds

Front-load your calories for the day and enjoy a lighter lunch and dinner.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, August 5, 2016

Menopause Weigth Gain is Not Your Fault!

As women enter menopause, their levels of physical activity decrease; for years scientists were unable to determine why. Now, researchers have found a connection between lack of ovarian hormones and changes in the brain's reward center for activity.

A study involved two groups of rats - one highly fit and one low fitness level. The highly fit group showed more activity in the brain's pleasure center with greater wheel running. After the loss of ovarian hormones, the highly fit rats saw a significant reduction in activity correlating to a significant reduction in their dopamine signaling levels. In both groups, the hormonal changes led to changes in the brain that translated to less physical activity. The findings confirm previous evidence in humans and rats that weight gain occurring after menopause is likely due to decreased overall physical activity rather than increased energy intake from diet.

Activation of brain receptors in that part of the brain may serve as a future treatment to improve motivation for physical activity in postmenopausal women. But until then, what coping methods do we have to combat this trend? Activate that reward center of your brain in these different ways.

Choose physical activity you enjoy
Play a sport. Take up a new one!
Run with the kids at the playground. Ditch the park bench.
Garden with manual tools - no power!
Hike in the outdoors - savor nature.
Swim in the ocean. Enjoy the salty breeze.

Choose to do something active daily
Make non-negotiable activity "appointments".
Create a habit that doesn't require daily choice.
Enjoy a different activity every day.

Choose activity with a partner or group
Meeting a friend keeps you accountable.
Talking while exercising makes it seem to fly by faster.
Join a class for accountability and social connection.

Understanding the physical interaction between our brains and our hormones can give us information to make meaningful changes as we journey through this season of life.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Flat Ab Secret

A couple of weeks ago, I exposed the myth that doing 100 crunches a day will practically guarantee flat abs. I noted that all the ab and core muscles need to be strengthened for a strong mid-section. But, regardless of how tight your ab muscles are, they can't erase belly fat that lies above (subcutaneous) or below them (visceral fat).

The best belly fat-melting method is Tabata intervals. You do any cardio move (running, swimming, cycling, etc) as fast as possible for 20 seconds, recover while moving slowly for 10 seconds then repeat the combo seven more times, for a total of four minutes.

Maximum effort cardio intervals like these raise your level of adrenaline which is the secret to burning fat. Higher adrenaline levels cause fat cells to release more fat more efficiently. Tabata releases more adrenaline throughout your body than typical cardio because of the high-intensity effort required. Not only do you burn more fat and calories during Tabata but your body also continues to burn more even after you finish.

To maximize the amount of belly fat you melt off, combine steady-state cardio and Tabata intervals. The steady-state segments (sustained tempo movement) insure that you burn calories and melt subcutaneous fat. The intense intervals do the same but also guarantee you'll work away at the deep stubborn visceral fat.

Complete your Tabata workout three times per week. Start with 10 minutes of moderately hard, steady-state cardio of your choice (power walk, run, bike, swim, elliptical trainer) then do a four-minute Tabata round. Complete that steady state cardio/ Tabata combo three times for a total of 42 minutes.

Your strong ab muscles will be more visible very soon!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tennis For Fitness

I've started taking tennis lessons! I have been wanting to learn tennis skills for a couple of years but have always found a reason to say I was too busy to add in another activity. Finally I bought a tennis outfit. That motivated me to sign up!

The best active sports are the ones that you can enjoy your entire life. According to a meta-analysis published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, tennis is a good fitness fit for almost anyone because of its wide range of health benefits across the age spectrum. Perhaps most interesting were the conclusions reached based on a study of more than 1,000 students in medical school between 1948 and 1964. At the start, the students were asked to rate their ability in tennis, golf, football, baseball and basketball. Researchers assessed these students again 22 years later and then again 40 years later and found that tennis was the only sport in which a greater ability during medical school was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers credit this benefit to the fact that tennis was the sport played most often through midlife.

Playing tennis regularly can:

Boost your heart and lung function
Exercise-related oxygen use and capacity diminish with advancing age, but tennis appears to decrease the rate of this age-related decline. Even moderate-intensity tennis players 30 to 74 showed better overall lung function. Tennis players also proved metabolically more fit, with improved lipid metabolism and lower incidence of hyperlipidemia (the single most meaningful predictor of coronary heart disease). Tennis players older than 55 sported significantly better blood-cholesterol profiles.

Rev up fat-burning
Exercise performance physician Massimo Testa lists tennis as a good choice for moderate aerobic exercise, but his new research takes it up a notch. It notes that singles tennis can provide a vigorous workout, and ranks it among the top five activities in terms of energy expenditure — higher than swimming, rowing, weightlifting, Jazzercise, hiking or golf. 

Strengthen your bones.
In study after study, tennis was found to bolster bone strength in both genders and in all ages. Those who started playing at a young age showed a stronger correlation than those who started at an older age, but healthier bones were maintained even after players decreased their participation.

Streamline coordination
In an analysis of the impact of aging on coordination using tennis players and non-players 20 to 80, non-players showed an increasing decline in their ability to respond with advancing age, while tennis players showed no decline in response at different ages. Researchers cited evidence that in honing focus, tennis outperforms golf, running, weight lifting, inline skating and downhill skiing.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Play Tennis

Friday, July 15, 2016

Unexpected Ways To Eat Less

We are all striving to keep active and clean up our diets. Vague statements like, "I should cut back." won't get us the results we are looking for. Here are four small specific changes that can help us eat less.

Distract Yourself
One study showed that people who played Tetris for three minutes found their desire to eat diminished. We tend to visualize cravings; mind-stimulating activities stop is from picturing that brownie.

Go to Sleep Earlier
Sleep-deprived people consumed an extra 549 calories per day compared with those who were well-rested. Get seven hours of sleep a night.

Choose Your Plate Carefully
When food contrasts with the color of the plate, people tend to eat less. Spaghetti in red sauce on a red plate makes it hard to determine portion size. Additionally, a smaller plate makes a moderate portion look bigger. Choose to use the salad plate for your meal instead of the dinner plate.

Turn Off the TV
Seeing commercials for food while watching TV can trigger people to snack. DVR the show and skip the commercials, choose Netflix, or open a book.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Common Fitness Myths

It can be hard to separate fitness fact from fiction, especially when you're just starting out. Misinformation from unreliable sources and the internet creates confusion. Top experts, Neal Pire of the American College of Sports Medicine, and Michele Olson, professor of exercise science at Auburn University, check in regarding the following fitness myths and confirm facts we can count on.

Doing 100 crunches a day practically guarantees flat abs
Crunches improve one abdominal muscles' strength and endurance (if you do a lot of them) But ultimately, your body fat level dictates whether or not your abs are flat. For well-rounded fitness and balance, you should work all the muscles in your abs, core and back. Planks are one exercise that can target a range of ab muscles.

Skip weights and do only cardio if weight loss is your goal.
Weight training is a must if you want to lose body fat and keep it off. Resistance training helps preserve lean muscle tissue during calorie deficits, which you have to achieve if you are going to lose fat over any length of time. Since muscle burns more calories at rest, weight training also boosts calorie burning even when you're not working out.

If you don't sweat a lot you didn't work out hard enough
How much you sweat depends on the type of workout and your training goal rather than how hard you're working. Power lifters tend not to sweat as much at those who do a high-intensity interval workout. Your environment influences how much you'll sweat. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity result in less sweating. Plus, some people simply sweat more than others.

You should be sore the next day after a good workout
Soreness occurs when you are first starting a program, changing a workout or increasing the amount of weight or number of exercises you are doing. You don't have to feel sore each time you work out in order to train properly. Also, you're not likely allowing yourself enough recovery time if you're sore on a regular basis.  

Exercising smarter makes your limited workout time more productive and safer. Ditch the myths and keep the facts.

  Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 1, 2016

Flavor Strategies

Eating is one of life's great pleasures. How can we indulge our senses of sight, smell, and taste while keeping the calories in check? Here are a couple of ideas that should please your palate.

Darker Chocolate
Intense dark chocolate savored slowly can last a long time and deliver the satisfaction you want. Dark chocolate has half the sugar of milk chocolate. Try two squares versus a whole candy bar.

Darker Beer
One glass of full-flavored sipping beer, even with higher alcohol content, can beat two glasses of a light lager. Be careful: some specialty beers can have up to 10% alcohol - more than wine.

Swap in whole grain treats
Two handfuls of nuts are heart-healthy but calorie-heavy. Downsize the two handfuls of nuts to one handful plus a handful of air-popped popcorn and whole grain Chex cereal. There are 400 calories in a 1/2 cup of nuts so portion carefully. You can add dried fruit, if you like, but again, be careful as dried fruit can bump up the calorie count.

Swap out the crackers for fruit
Enjoy savory sharp cheddar cheese with tart, crisp apple slices instead of crackers. Up your daily fruit count and reduce your sodium intake at the same time!

Intentionally make smart food choices. 
     Sit & pause to appreciate your food. 
          Indulge your senses as you eat.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 24, 2016

Workout Recovery and Foam Rolling

Recovery activities like stretching, foam rolling and even total rest days may feel like the throwaway stuff to make room for more pressing matters. But they're a crucial part of the performance equation. If you exercise hard and you don't allow yourself to recover, you are wasting your time.

Here's why: After a sweat session, your body is in shock - muscles are torn, fuel stores are depleted, and your immune function is zapped. Your body begins to mend muscles and replenish glycogen. Recovered muscles allow you to run faster, or lift more than you could before. But if you don't repair your body, you'll go right back to that initial alarm phase - and never get to the good stuff. Space tough workouts by at least 48 hours. Resting helps you achieve optimal strength, power and speed.

Foam rolling is the reboot tool of choice for physical therapists and personal trainers. Research has shown that foam rolling reduces muscle soreness and leads to better performance in the next workout. Foam rollers are used to help iron out fascia, the collagen-packed connective tissue that stretches over and through your muscles. Fascia can tighten with repeated stress and limit muscles' ability to move. Interestingly, the system is connected throughout, so you can roll out the fascia in your foot and have increased range of motion in your hamstrings.

Combining foam rolling and static stretching will help you recover more quickly, decrease muscles soreness and expose your joints and muscles to a full range of motion. Foam rolling works because the friction it produces raises muscle temperature and softens the fascia. Static stretching can put your joints in positions that foam rolling will not, so it's still important.

For more focused self-massage, you can use a small ball. This allows you to get into a specific area that needs extra work and can access hard-to-reach spots, especially the soles of your feet. Yoga Tune Up balls are a great option to a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball. 

Foam rolling and self-massage is best taught in person. In lieu of that, check out these videos to get you started: Experience L!fe Magazine on Foam Rolling   and   Yoga Tune Up® Self Massage Therapy

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hot New Workout Trend: Recovery

Recovery is the hottest thing in fitness. Edgy gym chains all over the US are dedicating classes, and even full studios, to all the things you do when you are not pushing through a hard workout.

Being smarter about recovery can help you become faster, leaner, stronger and fitter. During recovery your body resets itself: hormone levels re-balance, inflammation goes down, liver and muscles stock up on fuel, cells rid themselves of lactic acid and other waste products, and muscles and connective tissues lay down collagen and patch up tears. Many professionals spend up to half their total training hours on recovery to fully net the benefits of all their hard work.

Smart recovery really works. One runner had so many nagging injuries that she could not make it through a session. When she implemented recovery strategies, she not only felt better, she shaved almost 30 seconds per mile off her Personal Record (PR) in a five mile race.

It's important to limit intense workouts to three days a week. Plan your routine carefully so you're not challenging the same muscles in the same way consecutive days. Overdoing creates hormonal havoc, endocrine burnout and sets your body up for injury.

Try these top techniques to maximize your workout, recover faster and see the results in power and a sculpted body.

Rollers help increase circulation and relax knotted tissues. Stretching returns muscles to their normal resting length and helps line up new collagen fibers that your body creates during recovery. Roll before stretching because the pressure helps turn off overactive muscles so you can stretch them more easily.

Ice for 10 minutes after a tough workout. This slows blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation and swelling. The next day, to combat stiffness and spasms, use heat. The warmth speeds blood flow to the area, relaxing muscles. 

Muscles are primed to take in protein for 30 - 60 minutes after your workout. Proteins will start the repair process and carbs will refuel your glycogen. Your snack should contain 10 - 20 grams of protein and a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of protein to carbs. Re-hydrate as well. Drink 16 - 32 oz of water during the post-workout window.

Lack of sleep leads to fatigue, depressed immunity and higher stress hormones all of which contribute to a less-than-stellar workout. Aim for 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night. On your rest days, keep moving. A little activity will help flush out any remaining lactic acid and keep your muscles loose. Stretch, ride a bike for 15 minutes or do yoga.


Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food


Friday, June 10, 2016

Team Motivation

It's been proven that people imitate the behaviors of the groups they spend time with. What a great idea to spend time with people who model healthy lifestyles! Walking or exercising with a group or a partner increases consistency and enjoyment of the activity.

I blogged about my Saturday morning walking group in February of 2014 and I want to mention it again to update my newer readers. Smilers is a free Burbank community-based walking group. We Smile through the Miles! We walk between 5 - 11 miles each Saturday morning. We meet at a different local location each week at 6:30am. The walks vary from flat sidewalks to canyons to street inclines. Members often stay after the walk for coffee and conversation. Occasionally, the group will train for a half-marathon together and walk the longer mileage. The average pace is a 15 minute mile. It is "power walk" speed.

It is so enjoyable to walk and talk! I don't have to use music to keep my pace, I just keep up with the walker next to me. When else do you get the chance to have a good, long conversation without interruptions? The miles fly by when you are talking with a friend.

If you are interested in participating, contact me at and I will get you the information you need. If you are not in the Burbank area, seek out acquaintances at the gym, in your workplace or in your neighborhood to team up with and walk regularly. The accountability of meeting someone will keep you consistent and motivated to maintain your workout schedule.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 3, 2016

Two More Food Habits That Age You

Nutrition, not age, determines the body's internal chemistry, affecting the quality and resilience of virtually every organ, cell, and system in the body. The condition of your skin, and quality of your bones, brain and connective tissue are all influenced by your diet. Your eating habits play a big role in determining how quickly you see and feel the effects of aging. Here are two more habits to avoid.

A weakness for convenience foods
Partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fats, take their aging toll by promoting inflammation. Chronic inflammation ages the body by shortening the telomeres - the caps at the ends of your chromosomes that are key to protecting your genes. Prematurely shortened telomeres are linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. A legal loophole allows foods with trans fats to be labeled as "trans fat free". Restaurant food and take-out fare can also contain these damaging fats.

THE FIX - Eat fewer processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where produce and fresh foods are displayed. A diet high in phytonutrients and antioxidants is linked to longer telomeres, so eat plenty of leafy greens, berries, cruciferous vegetables and drink green tea.

Eating when you are stressed
The release of adrenaline and cortisol - fight-or-flight chemicals - diverts blood to your limbs and away from your stomach. Food may ferment in your intestines, upsetting the balance of good and bad bacteria. Stressed eating may lead to distracted eating. You may eat more than you intended or eat foods you wouldn't have chosen under better circumstances. Eating on-the-go can contribute to both the release of stress hormones and distracted eating.

THE FIX - If you are stressed, drink a glass of water and go for a five-minute walk. Whenever possible, eat in places where you can feel calm and happy. Sit at a table to eat. Use plates and utensils - don't eat out of the Styrofoam box. Your body will be able to break down and absorb key nutrients more efficiently. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Food Habits That Age You

Nutrition, not age, determines the body's internal chemistry, affecting the quality and resilience of virtually every organ, cell, and system in the body. The condition of your skin, and quality of your bones, brain and connective tissue are all influenced by your diet. Your eating habits play a big role in determining how quickly you see and feel the effects of aging. Here are two habits to avoid.

Giving in to a serious sweet tooth
Excess sugar in your diet loiters in the blood and causes trouble by glomming onto protein molecules. This process, called glycation, causes cellular aging in several ways.
1. It slows the body's repair mechanisms. In the skin, sugar molecules gum up the collagen making skin less elastic.
2. It creates oxidative stress. Oxidation eventually leads to build up of toxins called AGEs. AGEs damage the mitochondria, your body's cellular engines. This can give rise to loss of memory, hearing, vision, and stamina. It is also related to Alzheimer's, arterial plaque and Parkinson's.

THE FIX - Cut back on processed sugar as much as you can. Choose naturally sweetened foods as they tend to contain other whole-food ingredients beneficial for reducing sugar load. Use less sugar in recipes at home. Add less to coffee or tea. Don't swap sugar for artificial sweeteners. They can do as much or more damage to your health in other ways.

Waiting to eat until you're famished
When the stomach is empty, its secretion of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, doubles. Going for a long period without food and then gorging is the textbook way to gain weight. Crashing & spiking blood sugar can create hormonal havoc.
1. When you gorge, you eat more, your blood sugar spikes higher and your body stores more calories for later. Blood sugar spikes are linked to insulin resistance and inflammation.
2. Insulin resistance adds to aging. Over time, we get metabolically less flexible, meaning our bodies have difficulty using insulin to shift micronutrients from the bloodstream into cells. This hastens aging by zapping a person's vitality, strength and sex drive.

THE FIX -Tune in to your body and get to know what it feels like to be moderately hungry. This is your sweet spot. Eat a healthy mix of proteins, fats, and nonstarchy carbs for long-lasting energy. Try hummus & veggies, nut butter & apple slices, or nuts mixed with a little dried fruit.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food  

Friday, May 20, 2016

Which Workout Is Best For Me? #3

I am completing a three-part series to help you determine how much exercise you really need. News headlines tout the seven-minute workout. Another study stated we need to exercise one hour a day to prevent premature death. The truth is, what's best depends largely on your goals and how hard you are willing to push yourself. Use this three week guide to tweak your routine to match your goals.



If your focus is to stay out of the doctor's office and in decent shape, 150 minutes of moderate steady state exercise a week can help you reduce you risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and other health problems.

Do a few higher-intensity intervals during your cardio sessions to make your heart stronger, help your muscles utilize oxygen and glucose and make your blood vessels more elastic so blood flows more easily. You don't have to be gasping for air, just pick up the pace at points throughout your workout. 

One 30 minute resistance total body workout is all you need to sustain strength. Cover all the major muscle groups using body weight, bands or dumbbells.

The key is how you spend those other 23 hours in the day. Reducing overall sedentary time is your goal. Prolonged periods of sitting can increase your risk for metabolic disorders and it even raises your risk of developing cancer. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up from your desk. When watching TV, move during commercial breaks or DVR fast forwarding. Stand, walk a little, do a few stretches, hold a tree pose. Get creative and move your body. Park at the far end of the parking lot, use the stairs, play with the dog.

As I end this series, use these ideas to personalize your exercise routine and get the results you are working for. Remember, the most important aspect of any of these routines is compliance and consistency. The best exercise is the one that you DO. Avoid movement that makes you unhappy or stressed. Choose a workout that gives you energy and life.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food


Friday, May 13, 2016

Which Workout Is Best For Me? #2

I am continuing a three-part series to help you determine how much exercise you really need. News headlines tout the seven-minute workout. Another study stated we need to exercise one hour a day to prevent premature death. The truth is, what's best depends largely on your goals and how hard you are willing to push yourself. Use this three week guide to tweak your routine to match your goals.



Strength training can change your shape even if you haven't lost an ounce. People who did a twice weekly total-body strength routine gained three pounds of lean muscle after 10 weeks. A 72-hour recovery seems to be the best time frame for maximizing muscle development. If you maxed out a muscle on Monday, wait until Thursday to train it hard again. Strength training triggers microscopic tears in muscle cells, which, when repaired days afterward, make muscles stronger. It's important not to shortchange the recovery process.

Do eight to ten different moves to target the major muscle groups (shoulders, chest, back, arms, abs and legs). Start with one set of 12-15 reps. That one set will deliver maximum muscle gains in beginners. As you get stronger, add sets and mix it up with higher reps/lighter weight and lower reps/heavier weight. You need heavy loads to elicit the muscle changes that deliver definition and build strength.

Cardio is key for burning the fat that hides the muscles. Mix up your routine by adding intervals and moderate steady state workouts. Give yourself 48 hours of rest between HIIT and strength training to maximize recovery. To understand more about High Intensity Interval Training, check out my past blog at HIIT Training


Friday, May 6, 2016

What Workout Is Best For Me? #1

I am beginning a three-part series to help you determine how much exercise you really need. News headlines tout the seven-minute workout. Another study stated we need to exercise one hour a day to prevent premature death. The truth is, what's best depends largely on your goals and how hard you are willing to push yourself. Use this three week guide to tweak your routine to match your goals.



Research has shown that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will trim more flab than steady state cardio and save you time. Alternating short periods of exercise at your highest effort with an easy pace allows you to log a 20-minute workout and net roughly the same calorie burn as a 30-45 minute workout at a steady pace. You get a boost during the intervals and also during the rest periods, because your body uses the extra energy to return to normal. Plus you get a nice 10% bonus after-burn.

During an interval, you run on fast-acting glycogen, or carbs, but recoveries are fueled by fat. Don't skimp on the recovery time. Run, cycle, swim - the undulating pattern matters more than the activity you are doing.

One of your HIIT sessions should focus on body-weight moves (burpees, squats, push-ups) to build muscle as well. Those who combined cardio and strength training lost more fat than those who did only cardio. Resistance training protects and builds the lean muscle which is your body's calorie burning furnace.

Add another day of weight training, making sure to hit all the major muscle groups and use weights heavy enough so you're spent with the last rep.

The key to weight loss is consistency.  On alternate days, walk, bike, play tennis. Do something active.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Can Exercise Make Your Skin Look Younger?

Exercise not only keeps your skin youthful but it also helps reverse aging. As you workout, your muscles release all sorts of proteins to start the domino effect of your body's response to exercise. One in particular, IL-15, stimulates the skin's power centers, or mitochondria. The pumped-up mitochondria in turn make skin cells perform better, whether they're cranking out plumping collagen or triggering the cell turnover that renews your complexion. IL-15 makes skin cells' mitochondria fitter and healthier, and that makes skin look and act younger. This priceless youth potion is free: Exercise is the only way to get it.

Scientists created a study to compare exercisers and sedentary adults. The exerciser's skin looked 25 years younger - amazing! Even better, when the scientists put the sedentary adults on a moderate exercise plan, the aging of their skin was reversed in as little as three months. They saw the deep layer of skin become firmer and the top layer being replenished with new cells more often.

Getting your heart pumping faster boosts your circulation. That means more oxygen and nutrients reach your skin cells. Each cell is improved when you exercise and you further ward off the aging process. At the same time your IL-15 is spiking, your muscles are releasing similar interleukins that stimulate the body's immune system, which in turn can reduce whole-body inflammation. That is crucial because inflammation breaks down collagen and is a key driver of aging. When your body is fighting inflammation, it cannot focus on its regular functions that keep skin strong & healthy.

Cardio exercise generates IL-15. According to the study, the specific type - running, swimming, cycling - doesn't matter and moderate intensity gets results. Don't worry about stressing your skin's elasticity with running or impact. The small amount of g-force actually stimulates repair mechanisms in your skin and triggers collagen growth. If you do your cardio outside, apply SPF 30 every two hours. Exercise can temporarily lower the skin's protective antioxidant levels. Take advantage of this free youth potion this week.

Keep Moving, Stay Active and
Enjoy Younger-Looking Skin

Friday, April 22, 2016

Are Avocados a Forbidden Food?

Avocados have become even more popular recently with the trendy debut of avocado toast (being sold in hip restaurants nearby at exorbitant prices) Should you include avocados in your diet or are they a "forbidden" food?

Many people tend to stop eating avocado due to its high calorie content, thinking that it may add to their weight. Much of the fat content comes from unique sources, like phytosterols. This special group of fats has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits to our body systems, including our cardiovascular system.

The addition of avocado to already well-balanced diets has been shown to lower risk of heart disease, improve blood levels of LDL, and lower levels of oxidative stress in the bloodstream. In one particular research study, participants in two groups all consumed a diet with the same overall balance, including 34% fat in both groups. But one avocado per day was included in the meal plan of only one group, and that was the group with the best heart-related results in terms of blood fat levels.

Eating mono-saturated fats can contribute to satiety. You feel fuller and get less hungry when you include healthy fats in your meal plan. Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals.

Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an anti-oxidant as well as related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene and tocopherol (vitamin E). Avocados also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Anywhere from two to six times as much absorption was found to occur with the added avocado! But in addition, avocados also improved conversion of specific carotenoids (most importantly, beta-carotene) into active vitamin A.

Salad greens—including romaine lettuce—and mixed greens like kale, chard, and spinach are great examples of very low fat, carotenoid-rich foods that might be eaten alone but would have more of their carotenoid-richness transferred over into your body with the help of some added avocado. 

Add avocados to your daily diet to improve cardiovascular health, contribute to satiety and improve antioxidant absorption. Enjoy your guacamole this Cinco de Mayo!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy our Food