Thursday, December 28, 2017

Youre Invited to Join Me and Welcome 2018 with a Hike

Winter is the prime time for hiking in SoCal. Trails are bug-free. In addition, you can bank precious winter sunlight, which trigger's your body's ability to produce mood-boosting vitamin D. Cooler winter temperatures allow you to appreciate the energy of the hike and the views without the intensity of the heat in our other seasons.

Remember these two winter hiking precautions. Keep in mind days are much shorter now. If you're choosing to do a longer hike, it's a good idea to start early in the morning to give yourself plenty of time to finish before nightfall. Remember water. Just because you sweat less during your winter workout doesn't mean you can skip toting water. Always carry two liters of water to stay hydrated.

Start the new year right with a hike in the nearby hills. Welcome a brand-new year with a morning trek, notice nature around you and explore new places above all the noise and clamor of the city. It's fun to greet each group you meet on the trail with "Happy New Year!"


I'm inviting all of you who read my blog, Y members and my Smilers walking group to join me for a New Year's Day hike. We will meet at 8:30am at Stough Canyon Nature Center. Be prepared for a wide dirt trail. The walk/hike should last about 1 1/2 hours. We will have a champagne toast at the top of the hill. Let me know if you can but you don't need to RSVP - just be there at 8:30.

Check out more cool weather hiking tips and benefits in this Winter Workout blog from December 2016. Winter can be your new favorite trekking season.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas! 
Thanks to all of you in my private training, group fitness and blog communities who have helped make 2017 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 2018

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Keep Moving During the Holidays

Keep moving the next few weeks with a little planning and active mindset. There are quite a few obstacles to fitness and movement during the holidays. Crazy schedules bump our exercise routine, home-bound kids throw a kink in your plans, dark evenings encourage hibernating and visiting relatives always involve lots of eating and sitting. Here are a few Burbank ideas to help you and your family avoid the couch from now until the new year.

Default to walking or biking
Consider using your body to get you where you need to go. 

* Bike or walk to downtown Burbank to ice-skate at The Rink (Dec 14 - Jan 7).

* During the school year, Saturdays are crazy busy. Use these slower Saturday mornings to walk down to the Farmer's Market with the kids. Try a fruit or vegetable you haven't seen before.

* Don't drive - walk to downtown to see a morning movie at the AMC.

*Stroll to Olive & Glenoaks to see the Burbank float the week after the Rose Parade.

Choose active over sedentary

* Take the relatives bowling at Pickwick Bowl.

* Drive to the beach in the winter. The cousins can play tag in the sand, get a volleyball game together or put their toes in the water.

* Take bikes or boards to the Burbank Skate Park.

* Splurge on a horseback ride for the group at the Equestrian Center.

This holiday season a little planning and an active mind-set can help you:

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Make Every Kitchen Moment Count

During the holidays, busy lives and from-scratch cooking can seem hopelessly at odds. They don't have to be. Try these strategies for keeping your healthy eating on track during the busy holiday (or any-day) season.

Instead of prepping all weekend, make the most of whatever kitchen time you get. While the family is eating breakfast, saute onions or chop fajita vegetables for dinner. While the dinner pasta water is coming to a boil, prep overnight oatmeal for the next morning. During dinner clean-up, hard-boil eggs to stow in the frig for lunches.

Grill chicken, do some Asian bowls that night and use it the next night in a big chop salad. Roast butternut squash, serve half as a side one night, use the other half for a pasta dish the next. Grill flank steak for dinner one night, make up burritos for lunches the next day.

Marketing with a menu plan and prepared list is a winning way to save money and focus on whole foods. Extend your success by carving out time to prep veggies as soon as you unload the bags. I immediately wash all my produce in a water and vinegar solution. After rinsing, I slice carrots,  peppers and celery. I bag grape tomatoes and green grapes in small bags ready to take for lunches. Strawberries and blueberries are clean and ready in small bowls in the frig to top morning cereal. If the lovely fruit and vegetables you buy are not ready to eat, the family will probably leave them to spoil until next week's market run.

Plan and prep each week to make sure you and your family 
eat as healthy as possible and avoid the temptation of frozen pizza!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, December 1, 2017

Seven Minute Travel Workout

Tis the season for travel and visiting. You can maintain your fitness while traveling this holiday season with a little ingenuity and a dose of discipline. The 7 Minute Workout below includes cardio, isometric strength, dynamic strength and agility all in one quick package.

Use the props available to you in your hotel room, gym or relative's house/yard. Pick out your wall spot and have the chair/bench and mat set up ahead of time so you can move quickly from one set to the next. Shoes can be optional, if you are crunched for space in your luggage.

Set a timer on your phone to buzz every 30 seconds. Try this Tabata App. Warm up with dynamic moves, then immediately move to the next exercise without any rest. Ideally, you will go through the set twice with a 60 - 90 second recovery in between. I think the moves are all pretty self-explanatory. Here is a clarification for the one that might be unfamiliar to some. 

Push up to Rotation: Start in plank position, do a push up, then reach hand toward ceiling, rotating body to face sideways, like a side plank. Immediately return to pushup, rotate and reach opposite hand to ceiling.

7 minute workout
30 seconds each move
Jumping Jacks
Wall Sit
Step up onto chair, alternating leg

Tricep dip on chair 

High Knees in place 

Alternating Forward Lunge
Pushup and Rotation 

Side Plank on forearm
Side Plank, other Side
Repeat, if possible 


Maintain your fitness level and feel good while you are traveling this holiday season.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Healthy Holidays

"My three biggest pieces of advice for surviving the holiday season are to avoid skipping meals, wear real pants and, if you want dessert, put it on a real plate and enjoy it thoroughly." 

Shira Lenchewski, RD, author of The Food Therapist

Avoid Skipping Meals
Make sure you eat a filling breakfast and lunch before a dinner engagement or cocktail party. Include protein and whole-grain carbs at each meal, adding in a few more servings of veggies than you normally do. This strategy will leave you satisfied so that you don't arrive at the event ravenous. Eating regularly will keep you full enough to make conscious choices that let you enjoy the delicious holiday food without gluttony.

Wear Real Pants
Yoga pants are for yoga. Don't fall into the trap of wearing them all day long for shopping, errands, etc. The stretchy fabric can hide holiday weight-gain and leave you feeling uncomfortable in January. Let your clothes be a helpful guide to tell you if it is time to leave that extra cookie on the plate and slip in another gym class for the week.

Enjoy Dessert
Spend your calories on the treat you enjoy most. When you get a chance to have a special Christmas bread or cookie, sit down with a plate (yes, a plate), making a conscious choice to eat dessert, and savor every bite. Spend time noticing the flavors and textures from your memories. Give yourself the gift of time to enjoy it.

Use these three strategies to survive the holiday season and 
welcome January with energy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Holiday Running Streak

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

But 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. 

I did this running streak last year and I really felt good about my fitness during the holidays. If I had done a tough workout that day or it was late in the day when I was tired, my mile might be a stroll. On the other hand, if I felt energized, I jogged the whole mile. My dog, Sadie Mae, benefited by getting in an extra mile walk or jog during the holidays, too.

You might like to print out a calendar or make a list of days and check off the date when you accomplish your daily goal. That little gold star can still be motivating even as an adult! And, at the end of the holidays, you will have a record of your amazing running streak and your achievement.

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.
Start with the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and 
keep moving until New Year's Day. 
Begin 2018 with energy!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cop An Attitude

What would you say if I told you there was an exercise that could help you feel happier and healthier, all without breaking a sweat? My guess is that, if you're like most people, you'd be all in. This ancient exercise traces it's roots back to Socrates and Plato. Namely adopting an "attitude of gratitude".

Gratitude is one of the most rigorously studied emotions in our human repertoire, and multiple peer-reviewed academic studies have found it to have surprising benefits.

Expressing our appreciation for all that we have (and all that we've been spared from) is a powerful remedy for psychological ailments like the vague, free-floating sense of discontentment we sometimes experience. Researchers have found that cultivating this skill by focusing daily on what we're grateful for is one of the most reliable methods for increasing positive feelings.

What's more, developing an attitude of gratitude can have physiological upsides, including lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, and minimizing everyday aches and pains. Focusing on your blessings has even been shown to help people sleep more soundly and awake feeling more rested.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I suspect many of you will be thinking of, maybe even articulating, some of the things you're grateful for in the days to come. Which raises the question, why limit these expressions of appreciation to just this one holiday when they can make such a difference in our everyday lives?

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Express Gratitude This Week
(And Maybe Every Week)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Beyond the Pie

Pumpkin can be used for more than baked goods and sweets. This economical winter vegetable is a great source of vitamin A and fiber. Don't feel bad about choosing the convenience of canned over freshly boiled and mashed. Canned pumpkin offers more fiber, protein, vitamin A, calcium and iron than fresh, boiled pumpkin and it's less time consuming. (Make sure you use canned pumpkin puree not a can of pumpkin pie mix.)

Pumpkin Oatmeal - 
Stir a few spoonfuls of pumpkin into hot oatmeal. Top with toasted pecans, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. If you're feeling creative, add shredded carrots and coconut milk.

Pumpkin Smoothie -
Combine pumpkin puree, plain Greek yogurt, a banana and milk in the blender. Pump up the protein by adding chia seeds. Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pasta - 
Swap your standard marinara sauce for a pumpkin sage sauce. In a medium saucepan, thin pumpkin puree with a little milk. Stir in thinly sliced fresh sage, salt, pepper and a pat of butter. Toss with warm, freshly cooked whole wheat pasta. Top with Parmesan and toasted walnuts.

Pumpkin Hummus - 
In a food processor, blend chickpeas or white beans with pumpkin, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Pumpkin!

Friday, October 27, 2017

I Can See Clearly Now

Blue light is part of our daily life from morning until evening. Most of us average about 11 hours a day staring at the screen. Blue light can damage the retina, and that exposure can lead to problems like eye strain, eye fatigue, and headaches. Blue-violet rays that emanate from our ubiquitous screens can penetrate into the retina, where they induce photochemical stress that directly damages retinal cells and indirectly leads them to self-destruct. Looking for ways to offset the damage? Keep reading!

Replacing the carotenoid pigments in the eye’s protective layer is an effective means of quenching much of the photochemical damage done by blue light. Lutein and zeaxanthin are key carotenoid nutrients needed to protect your eyes. They are deposited in the center of your retina and absorb a lot of this blue light. Start looking in the produce aisle for foods rich in these eye-boosting nutrients

Begin with leafy greens like cooked spinach, kale, Swiss chard or collard greens.

Move on to veggies like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, peas or corn.

The egg is a powerhouse of the disease-fighting nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. Make sure to add in this tiny miracle food for only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. 

It sounds like the beginnings of a Buddha Bowl or Super Bowl to me! Check out my blog post about those new power foods from a few weeks ago. Be sure to include amazing carotenoids in your diet each day to give you a sharper view for the years ahead.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Can I Run Faster Than a Turkey?

Two weeks ago, I reminded you that the Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot is coming up. You may have started the 7 week training schedule then. Today I want to share a couple of tips to get you running faster.

Humans run one leg at a time. We don't usually think of it that way, but there is a moment of balance or suspension between each stride. Because of this, unilateral power movements are especially effective at building speed.

It's important to remember that single-leg power moves increase the force affecting your lower legs. With running and jumping, some people may experience shin pain. Take care to land softly when jumping. If you feel pain, it may be helpful to increase your recovery time between sessions.

Single Leg Bound
Standing on your right leg, swing arms back and bend knee. Swing arms forward and jump off your standing foot. Land softly, slightly bending your knee. Repeat movement for no longer than 20 seconds. Switch legs.

Box Hops
Imagine a Four Square box on the ground in front of you (or draw one with chalk). Using a single leg, hop from box to box in different patterns. Forward and back, side to side. Mix it up. Switch legs.

Leap & Hold
Leap from foot to foot laterally as wide as you can, swinging arms and bending the hips and knees as you land softly to each side. Complete five seconds, then hold on one side balancing on one leg. Continue leaping five more seconds, this time holding and balancing on the other leg.  Repeat for ten rounds.

Hop on one foot side to side for no longer than 20 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg.

Unilateral moves can strengthen your legs, fine-tune your balance and help you run faster! 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food


Friday, October 13, 2017

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.
I've posted this blog before but the tips are so good I want to share it with you again this year. 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, October 6, 2017

Get Ready for the Turkey Trot!

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 tech T-shirt to wear around town throughout the year. Everyone will know you did the race Thanksgiving morning.

You have seven weeks to prepare and achieve your 5K or 10K goal. There are lots of "Couch to 5K" apps and programs to follow. Click here to try one from the Mayo Clinic. The general idea is to start with a short distance and alternate walking and jogging. Each time you head out for a run, you increase either the jogging time or the distance. Eventually, you can run the entire distance!

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 participate with our family, including a stroller and two dogs, while wearing turkey headwear and Pilgrim hats.  Look for us!

Save $5 by using the code SMILTT5 when you register: Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dragon Bowl!

With so many people looking for good food made fast, dragon bowls are a one-stop shop.  Also called Super bowls or Buddha bowls, the typical all-in-one meal is packed with healthy, diverse and colorful foods, both raw and cooked. The final touch is a generous drizzle of an addictive dressing that features Asian overtones. The dressing often includes ginger, garlic, and Sriracha. Other flavor choices may be tamari, tahini or wasabi.

Make Prep Fast
Pre-cooking grains and roasting vegetables ahead of time can help you assemble your bowl quickly. Bake tofu or chicken the night before. You can even whirl the dressing together and store in the frig for a week or so.

On the Run
If you're dashing out to a soccer game or packing your lunch for work the next day, place vinaigrette at the bottom of a large container that has a snug seal. Layer on the various ingredients. When you are ready to eat, turn the container over, give it a few shakes and you have a delicious, nutritious meal that will make your appetite come alive.


Base of fresh greens: kale, spring mix, spinach

Grains or Noodles: quinoa, brown rice, ramen

Vegetables: cooked or uncooked carrots, squash, onions, cabbage, avocado

Protein: Hard-boiled eggs, legumes (like lentils), tofu, chicken

Toppings: nuts, dried fruits, chia or sesame or sunflower seeds, sprouts, herbs

Dressing: Flavors from Asian cuisine - ginger, soy, peanut sauce, etc.

Try this dressing or check on-line for another recipe that appeals to you.

1/2 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp plum sauce or mango chutney
1/3 cup olive or grapeseed oil

Combine all ingredients except olive or grapeseed oil. Blend well in food
processor. Slowly drizzle oil in a thin stream until all is incorporated and mixture is well blended.

Dragon bowls are easy on your budget and help you stay away from the temptations of fast food. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Dragon Bowl

Friday, September 22, 2017

Playground Boot Camp

The kids are back to school, temperatures are cooling off a little bit and you find yourself at the playground with your little ones. Or maybe you want to head over in the morning when the playground is empty except for you and a workout buddy. Try these outdoor boot camp moves!

The swings can sub in for TRX straps and intensify your efforts.

Bulgarian Split Squats
Stand with your back to the swing, about a foot or two away. Place the top of your left foot atop the seat, sole facing up. Bend your right knee 90 degrees to lower into a lunge. (Photo above.) 20 reps.

Reverse Crunch
Facing away from swing, start in plank with the tops of your feet resting in swing. Pull knees to chest, extend legs. 20 reps

Use any sturdy platform - bench, bleachers, etc. - for these total body moves.

Stand facing away from bench. Lower into squat, tapping seat with your tush. Stand, lifting right knee. Repeat, this time lifting left knee. 20 reps.

Incline pushups
Face bench and place palms on seat. Lower into pushup while lifting alternate leg. 20 reps.

Step Ups
Face bench, place right foot on seat. Push through right heel to stand, bringing left knee toward chest. Repeat, this time stepping with left foot. 20 reps.

Tricep Dips
Sit on edge of bench, palms flat. Walk feet forward and scoot tush off bench. Bend elbows to dip. 20 reps.

Going from bar to bar is great, but try this serious ab move, too.

Hanging Abs
Grasp bar with both hands, hang down. Bring feet off ground and curl bent knees to chest. Hold for one count and slowly lower knees, without letting them touch the ground. 10 - 20 reps

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 15, 2017


My husband and I bought kayaks and recently had the opportunity to try them out. Kayaking is great exercise and gives you a low-to-the-water view that really immerses you in the experience. Here are more health benefits from kayaking:

Reduces stress: Watching your boat move through the water by your own effort, spending a few hours under the sky, on the water, watching the colors of the blues, the greens, the grays, and the browns, this is all a relaxing and enjoyable experience. It taps into the Blue Mind that I discussed in this blog.

Upper body workout: Placing the paddle in the water and executing a good stroke is going to incorporate every muscle in the upper body. This means that in one hour at 3 mph you are going to do about 1,500 repetitions of low impact upper body movements, which no matter what your fitness goals are, are going to tone up almost every muscle in your upper body.

Core strengthening: The core, made up of the upper and lower abdominal muscles, is strengthened in the sport through the control and balance part of participation. Turning the kayak relies on the shifting and turning of the core area of the body. Each turn of the kayak results in the use of these muscles and, over time, builds this area. 

Tones legs: Pressure applied by the legs assists in turning and balancing the kayak. The tightening of the muscles in the legs for this purpose acts as an isometric exercise. The constant squeezing over time increases the strength of your leg muscles.

Improves heart health: The brisk movements involved in the sport are another benefit of kayaking as exercise. The continuous movement raises the heart rate and increases cardiovascular health.

Get out and explore. Try something new! Kayak.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 8, 2017

Golden Goodness

Look out green juice, golden milk is becoming the healthy drink of choice around the West

Made with fresh turmeric, a root that's now more widely available in supermarkets, the creamy sip has an earthy-sweet flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits. I blogged about some of the benefits of the active compound in turmeric, curcumin, last week. This recipe comes from Emanne Desouky, co-owner of Super Juiced in Oakland, CA.

I made it for my family as a dessert and served it with gingersnaps. You might like to use it as post-workout fuel or a mid-afternoon boost. We thought it had an Indian flavor to it, influenced by the turmeric and the cardamom.

Super Juiced Golden Milk

2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup coconut cream or milk
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 or 2 pitted Medjool dates
1 inch piece each of fresh ginger and turmeric, peeled
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, vanilla extract and sea salt
1/4 tsp. cardamom
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Whirl ingredients in blender until frothy on top, 30 seconds. Strain and discard pulp. Chill until cold. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 1, 2017

Three Ways Turmeric Protects You

You've heard that turmeric is a ‘miracle herb’. What makes this herb so miraculous? Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. Bioactive ingredients found in this herb are pleiotropic in nature- the same mol*-+ecule can bind to a variety of enzymes and other molecular targets in the body. Here are just a few of turmeric's benefits:

Cucurmin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributor to many common Western diseases. Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases. The anti-inflammatory effect is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some pharmaceutical drugs.

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own due to it's chemical structure. Additionally, it stimulates the body's own antioxidant enzymes, delivering a double dose of anti-aging benefits.

Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain. Alzheimer's and depression are both linked to decreased BDNF levels in the brain so the curcumin can have a protective effect.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with turmeric.  The pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. (That's not a typo.) Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to ingest it with a fatty meal.

Both of those factors are deliciously taken into account with the Golden Milk recipe in next week's post. The recipe includes fat from the coconut cream and a bit of black pepper.

Be on the lookout for the recipe next week.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, August 18, 2017

Snack Swaps

Snacking can be an important part of your daily meal choices. Try these simple food swaps to save calories, cut sugar and sodium and shift your focus to whole foods.

Instead of guacamole dip & chips try:
Avocado Toast - Whole grain toast with avocado slices and cracked pepper satisfies the crunchy/creamy cravings.

Instead of dried fruit try:
Fresh Fruit - Dried fruits are healthy snacks but they're calorie dense. Fresh fruit weighs in with less calories and sugar because of it's high water content. 

Instead of dry-roasted peanuts try:
Steamed Edamame - Peanuts are heart-healthy but contain 200 calories per 1/4 cup. Trade for 1/2 cup shelled edamame sprinkled with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds.

Instead of a bake-shop brownie try:
Cookies and Milk - Big bakery brownies can easily top 300 calories. Two chocolate cream-filled cookies have just 106 calories, leaving room to dunk them in 8 oz. of low-fat milk. The cookies might not pass the "whole foods" test but they can head off cravings in a pinch.

Make wise food choices throughout the day. When you do decide to indulge in a treat, make sure you enjoy it. Healthy body and Healthy mind.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ways to Make Exercise Fun #2

Are you intimidated by exercise? You know it's good for you but you can't seem to find time for exercise? Like most activities, exercise gets easier with practice. And you are more likely to stick with something that you enjoy. Make it fun! Today I share five more ways to have fun while working out.

Take classes
Exercising with others is motivating. A new study suggests that any activity which involves moving and socializing helps maintain brain health, too. Check on my blog post from June 10, 2016 for more on how exercising with a group can motivate you.

Buddy Up
No classes near you? Find a workout partner. You'll encourage each other and keep each other accountable. You won't skip a workout if it means letting your buddy down.

Switch Things Up
Do different types of exercise - cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance - not only to avoid boredom but to improve overall fitness. Balance training helps prevent falls as you get older. Flexibility helps you nail tougher strength exercises. Strength makes fitness functional.

Switch Up the Format
In addition to the types of exercise, I also like to switch up group classes, buddy workouts and solo exercise. The variety keeps me engaged and motivated as well as giving me time for quiet & reflection.

Set a Goal
Register to run a 5K. Promise to dance at a friend's wedding. Schedule a cycling vacation. Once you have a goal in mind, design a fitness program to help you reach your goal. If you're not sure of which steps to take, ask your trainer for a plan.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ways to Make Exercise Fun #1

Are you intimidated by exercise? You know it's good for you but you can't seem to find time for it? Like most activities, exercise gets easier with practice. And you are more likely to stick with something that you enjoy. Make it fun!

Start slowly
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate cardio, such as brisk walking, and build from there. If you have an injury or medical condition, check with your doctor first.

Work with a trainer
It's good to understand proper form before jumping into an exercise program. The trainer can demonstrate correct alignment and suggest appropriate exercises for your current level and progressive exercises as you get stronger.

Make it part of your daily routine
Put exercise on your calendar just like you would for any other appointment. Working out at the same time each day means you'll be less likely to miss a session.

Move to music
Music adds to your workout by setting the pace and elevating your mood. Studies have shown that listening to music makes exercise, even high-intensity interval training, seem easier. Check out my blog post from April 15, 2016 for more on how music motivates.

Think positive
Don't let defeatist thoughts deter you. For example, instead of "I'm too old (too fat, too tired) to get in shape." remind yourself "Day by day, step by step, I'm getting stronger."

Check back next week for five more ways to make exercise fun. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sugar is the Secret Part 4

Today I will finish my series on stabilizing blood sugar. The latest research shows that blood sugar is a primary determinate of your health and can be the key to staying healthy, energized and slim. Look back at previous posts for the biological explanation of how it all works. Today I share more tips on how to keep your blood sugar stable.

#9 Have a cocktail with dinner
Sipping a drink with your evening meal reduces blood sugar spikes by up to 37%. A moderate amount of alcohol improves your body's ability to utilize glucose. Unfortunately, the benefit disappears with a second drink. 

#10 Save bread for last
Your blood sugar will be more stable if you eat vegetables and protein-rich foods first and carbohydrates last. Researcher Dr. Aronne at Weill Cornell Medicine says, "The difference is tremendous." Vegetables and protein slow the release of carbohydrates from the stomach, which keeps glucose from spiking.  Eating chicken and broccoli first may also trigger the release of a blood sugar-controlling hormone in the gut.

#11 Dip that bread in olive oil and vinegar
Adding one or two tablespoons of vinegar to a meal containing white bread or rice lowers blood sugar by 25 - 35%. Experts believe that the acidity of vinegar slows digestion, preventing glucose from surging. The mono-saturated fats in olive oil help regulate the body's insulin response and blood sugar control.

This sounds like a delicious meal! Considering last week's post and the 50-36-14 plan, start your evening meal with a couple of slices of chicken breast or a small fish fillet, add some zucchini & carrots, sip one glass of wine and finish with some crusty bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Afterwards, using the Get Moving tip from Part 2, take a relaxing stroll around the block. What a fabulous way to stabilize blood sugar.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sugar is the Secret! Part 3

A couple of weeks ago, I began a series on stabilizing blood sugar. The latest research shows that blood sugar is a primary determinate of your health and can be the key to staying healthy, energized and slim. Look back at the July 7th post for the biological explanation of how it all works. Today I share more tips on how to keep your blood sugar stable.

#6 Feed your gut bugs
Some of the good microbes that live in your gut may help stabilize blood sugar. To keep your intestinal flora healthy, eat fermented foods like Greek yogurt, kimchi, refrigerated sauerkraut and dill pickles. Note that the shelf-stable sauerkraut & pickles do not have active pro-biotics in them. 

#7 Skip artificial sweeteners
Fake sugars cause your blood sugar to rise just like regular sugar. Researchers conclude that artificial sweeteners affect the gut bacteria in a way that makes the body more intolerant to glucose, resulting in higher blood sugar levels.

#8 Follow the 50-36-14 plan
Blood sugar is markedly worse at 7:00pm and 7:00am according to a study from Pennington Biomedical Research. Scientists have found that different parts of our bodies peak at different times. The pancreas produces insulin faster first thing in the morning to help lower blood sugar, and it slows down as early as 3:00pm. That's a problem because most people eat 40% of their calories at night, when their bodies can't keep their blood sugar as stable.

To prevent this effect, eat a big breakfast that's about 50% of your daily calories, a lunch that's about 36% of your calories and a small dinner that's just 14% of your calories. Study participants who did this saw reductions in their levels of glucose, insulin, and appetite-triggering hormones which caused them to lose weight. Try to eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime to give yourself time to digest your meal.

Check in next week for more tips to keep blood sugar steady and healthy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sugar is the Secret! Part 2

Last week, I began a series on stabilizing blood sugar. The latest research shows that blood sugar is a primary determinate of your health and can be the key to staying healthy, energized and slim. Look back at last week's post for the biological explanation of how it all works. Today I share more tips on how to keep your blood sugar stable.

#3 Don't snack before your workout
When you exercise, your muscles take glucose out of your bloodstream for fuel. When you've used up available blood sugar, your body burns belly fat for fuel. But if you eat too much before your workout, your body never needs to burn that fat.

If it's been more than four hours since your last meal and you plan to exercise for more than 50 minutes, have a 200-calorie snack 30 - 60 minutes beforehand. Otherwise, skip the snack and your body will use fat for fuel instead of glucose.

#4 Combine cardio and strength
Instead of focusing on weights one day and cardio the next, do a half hour of each at every gym session. Aerobic exercise boosts your cells' energy-burning ability and torches fat. Strength training builds glucose-utilizing muscle. Combining both cardio and strength can lower your odds of developing diabetes by almost 60%.

#5 Get moving after lunch
If you eat and then sit, which basically describes our modern lifestyle, the sugar from your meal builds up. If you do something active, your cells will use that glucose for fuel, so your blood sugar level stays steadier. Wait 30 minutes after finishing your meal to give the food enough time to break down into sugar, then take a walk or do some lunges and squats. Spending 15 active minutes can reduce blood sugar spikes and keep levels lower for 24 hours.

Check in next week for more tips to keep blood sugar steady and healthy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sugar is the Secret!

Most of us have heard in popular news that sugar is the new diet villain. During the 90s, we all strove to eliminate fat from our diet. New research has shown that sugar can wreak more havoc than fat in our modern American diet.

How It Works
Blood sugar, or glucose, is your body's main source of energy. After you eat, glucose enters your bloodstream quickly, which causes a bump in your blood sugar level. Your pancreas then revs its production of insulin, helping your body absorb glucose and use it to function.

When you consume meals of healthy whole foods, the rise in your blood sugar and insulin levels is small, steady and long lasting. But highly processed foods cause a huge spike. When that happens, the amount of glucose in your system exceeds your body's capacity to deal with it. 

Dangers of High Blood Sugar
An elevated blood sugar level triggers a surge in free radicals, which cause systemic inflammation. The spike can damage the lining of blood vessels and it can cause blood clots. A steep rise in blood sugar prompts your pancreas to release large amounts of insulin, which sends your blood sugar and energy levels crashing causing your body to store fat.

High blood sugar can age you. Glucose causes collagen to cross-link, making skin stiffer and more leathery. Blood sugar spikes lead to lows that limit the amount of glucose your brain receives, resulting in brain fog and fatigue. A sugar high may cause your body to produce higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline, making it harder to sleep.

Elevated blood sugar levels can pre-dispose you to diabetes, a chronic disease that can lead to neuropathy, loss of sight, heart damage and other serious consequences.

What You Can Do
The good news is, it doesn't take a lot of work to stabilize your blood sugar and improve your well-being. The next few weeks I will share some easy strategies that make a big impact for better health.

#1 Sprinkle cinnamon on your breakfast
People who added a teaspoon of cinnamon to cereal had significantly lower blood sugar two hours after eating than those who did not. Evidence suggests that cinnamon prompts cells to absorb more glucose from blood and use it for energy. Add one or two teaspoons to your smoothie, protein shake, oatmeal or a half teaspoon to yogurt or coffee.

#2 Drink at least 34 ounces of water a day
Dehydration can drive up blood sugar by increasing vasopressin, a hormone that boosts glucose levels. Four and 1/4 cups of water is all it takes to keep your levels steady.

Check in next week for more tips to keep blood sugar steady and healthy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 30, 2017

Be Stronger, Live Longer

You can control how young you look and feel by tapping into your cell's power sources. Telomeres, tiny protein sheaths on the ends of your chromosomes, help keep your DNA in prime condition. Our 21st century lifestyle can cause our telomeres to deteriorate. Make these small changes to strengthen these DNA safety caps.

Exercise increases levels of telomerase, making telomeres longer and healthier. Switch up your activity. People who participated in two, three or four types of movement were less likely to have short telomeres compared to those who did none. Different forms of exercise will have the biggest impact on telomere length.

Meditative yoga practice can increase activity of telomerase by 43%. This enzyme lengthens telomeres. Find a type of exercise that reduces chronic stress to prevent deterioration of your telomeres.

Move all day to lengthen telomeres. Biologically speaking, a person who sits more than 10 hours a day is considered eight years older than someone who moves every hour. Take your phone calls standing up, go for short walk every hour, get up and do a few stretches. Each hour you move reduces your risk of short telomeres by 7%.

Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber help fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation makes your cells divide faster, wearing down telomeres. Your body converts omega-3s into hormones that moderate inflammation. Fiber prevents the insulin spikes that fuel inflammation. In addition, vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables protect cells from oxidative damage which can shorten telomeres. 

Keep your telomeres durable and resilient to ensure you stay healthy for a lifetime.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Snack Swaps

Sometimes small changes can add up to big differences. Here are a few changes that give you more nutritional value for your calories.

Instead of reduced-fat peanut butter with pretzels
Choose full-fat natural peanut butter with carrots

The dark brown color of the pretzels may make them seem filling and fibrous but they contain mostly refined flour. Look for natural peanut butter with no added sugar. 

Instead of a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese
Choose sprouted whole-grain bread with avocado

Bagels can be nutritionally empty and high in calories. The sprouted grain toast delivers protein with less calories. Add avocado and you also get healthy fats and fiber.

Instead of a cup of fruit
Choose chia pudding topped with almonds and berries

Fruit by itself will only dampen those hunger pangs for a little while. Get protein from the chia pudding, healthy fats & fiber from the almonds and low sugar sweetness from the berries.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food    

Friday, June 16, 2017

Enjoy the Outdoors this Summer

Summertime is here. I love to sit out on the deck in the balmy evenings. I don't like mosquitoes, though. Here are a few ways to keep the little critters at bay:

1. Hunt for breeding grounds
Mosquitoes can breed in something as small as a soda bottle cap. Look for kids' toys, rain gutters, and flowerpots filled with a bit of stagnant water. Ask neighbors to check, too. The insects might be breeding next door and visiting your yard.

2. Blow them away
Mosquitoes are weak fliers. Any breeze stronger than 1 mile per hour is enough to deter them. Bring a plug-in fan out to the deck to create air movement around your legs and feet. Mosquitoes fly low to avoid the wind, so a fan on your face won't protect your feet.

3. Wear the atheleisure look
Reduce your risk of getting bitten by covering exposed skin. Avoid loose-weave fabrics and choose synthetic and athletic fabrics that are tougher for mosquitoes to bite through.

4. Wear repellent
During the dawn and dusk hours, when mosquitoes tend to be more active, spray yourself even if you're just going out for a minute. For a backyard evening, try Picaridin at 15 to 20%. It is safe for kids under 3 and has a light feel that is comfortable to be worn daily.

Enjoy outdoor evenings this summer and avoid the itches!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 9, 2017

Powerful Pushups #3

So far, I have discussed hand and arm position and pelvic position for pushups. This week I will share a technique to progress your pushup practice to a full range pushup. Many of us struggle to fully lower the body to the floor while maintaining the "toes on the floor" plank position. We cut the movement short and settle for the half-rep pushup.

The negative pushup might be just what you need to move from knee plank pushups to full toe pushups.


   Give it a try during your next workout session.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Powerful Pushup Position #2

Previously, I discussed hand and arm position for pushups. This week I will focus on the pelvis.

The push-up naturally encourages anterior pelvic tilt (APT) and an arched back due to forces on the body induced by gravity. Contraction of the abs is required to prevent an arched back and keep the hip region in neutral, but further contraction of the glutes and abs will take you into posterior pelvic tilt (PPT), or tucking your hip under. Whether you should enter into PPT is up for debate.

Most trainers would agree that doing push-ups in APT is unwise. As long as you can keep a neutral posture, then all is well. However, some coaches believe that the push-up should be performed with a maximal glute and lower ab contraction to facilitate a strong PPT.

The PPT push-ups have three distinct advantages over the traditional push-up.
  • Since it requires a strong butt and lower ab contraction to create the tilt, it serves as a static glute activation exercise. This allows you to kill two birds with one stone by improving the neural drive to the glutes while working the upper body.
  • By shifting the pelvis forward with your glutes, you're no longer hanging the front of your hips down to the floor. This requires a stronger abdominal contraction as now you're using active muscles to keep you stable rather than passive muscles and ligaments.
  • The extra muscle force from the abs and glutes makes it a more effective core exercise and makes the push-up a "total body exercise."
  • Third, it "locks you in" so there's really no chance of losing core stability. In other words, you maintain a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while you perform push-ups. 

Power out those pushups during your next workout with the mind engaged
 and the body working as a unit.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Powerful Pushup Position #1

I recently read a short article in Shape magazine explaining pushup form that was quite helpful to me. I want to share it with all of you.

Does it matter where my elbows point during pushups?

You basically have three options for where to send your elbows during a standard pushup: wide, tight to your ribs or about 45 degrees back.

"Bowing your arms out wide may cause you to hike up your shoulders, which fires up the trapezoid muscles and can limit your mobility." says Kelvin Gary, trainer at Body Space Fitness. This puts a lot of stress on your shoulders and neck, and it puts you at risk for injury.

When you bend your arms straight back so that your elbows are tight to your sides, your triceps and anterior shoulders take on almost all the work - fine, but you're asking some of your smallest muscles to move your entire body up and down "You'll lose stamina, your form will go out the window, and ultimately you'll likely shortchange results." says Gary.

Direct your elbows about halfway between your shoulders and torso to let your chest muscles kick in. Gary says, "This locks everything into place. The more muscles that contribute to your pushup the more reps you'll be able to do with better form, getting you stronger."

Power out those pushups during your next workout with the mind engaged
 and the body working as a unit.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Willpower

We all wish we had more will power, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. The good news is you can train your brain to get better at controlling your behavior. Here are a few tips from The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal.

Pause and Plan
The fight-or-flight instinct destroys our willpower because it triggers impulsive reactions. Choose the "pause and plan" response. "Your brain needs to bring the body on board to put the brakes on your impulses." Pause and Plan slows down your heart rate and blood pressure stays normal. You take a deep breath and relax your muscles a little. Here's how to do it:

Take a Deep Breath
Slowing down your breathing boosts your sense of self-control and allows you to respond more effectively to difficult situations. Deep breath shifts the brain and body from a state of stress to self-control mode, capable of handling cravings and challenges. Aim to make your exhale longer than your inhale.

Daily meditation can increase neural connections to help you to stay focused, ignore distractions and control impulses. Incredibly, increased blood flow can reshape your brain quickly resulting in increased self-awareness and improved self-control.

Get Moving
Exercise can increase your willpower. Brains of new exercisers show increases in both gray matter - brain cells - and white matter, the insulation on brain cells that helps them communicate effectively. Exercise to feel energized and in control throughout the day. 

Use these three effective strategies; slow breathing, meditation and exercise; to keep will power saboteurs like depression, anxiety and chronic pain at bay. Reap the rewards of improved health and happiness.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, May 5, 2017

Magnesium for Health

Magnesium is important to maintain good health. It is a catalyst in many processes throughout the body. Yet hardly anyone gets enough. Ty Vincent, an integrative physician, says, "(Magnesium) is in lots of different foods, but because the soil they're grown in is often nutritionally depleted, it's difficult to consume an adequate amount." He suggests supplementing with 600 mg per day and notes that there are certain circumstances where 1000 mg may be beneficial. Magnesium regulates your blood pressure and helps to maintain strong bones. You might choose to supplement if...

You lead an active lifestyle
Magnesium is important for muscle functioning.  When you workout a lot, your reserves are used up quickly.

Your morning coffee extends to the afternoon
Drinking lots of coffee (or other diuretics) causes your kidneys to excrete large amounts of magnesium into your urine.

You suffer from frequent back pain, tension headaches or migraines
The mineral relieves muscles spasms, including those in your back and head.

You have chronic sleep problems
In addition to unkinking muscles, magnesium helps your body produce the sleep hormone melatonin.

You're often constipated
Magnesium helps by pulling water into your colon and improving muscle function. Look for magnesium glycinate which is easiest on the stomach.

Dr. Vincent recommends pairing the supplement with 50 to 100mg of vitamin B6, as these nutrients often work in tandem. Check with your doctor to see if magnesium supplements are right for you.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, April 28, 2017


I'm backpacking for the first time this weekend! There’s something inherently satisfying and refreshing in traversing a span nature for a period of time with nothing but what you can carry on your back. From the invigorating sights to the quiet moments of self-reflection, backpacking the outdoors provides a number of health benefits ranging from physical to mental to spiritual.

Cardiovascular strength – Because backpacking requires covering large distances, usually by walking  up and down hills and mountains, the heart has to pump harder to keep up with the oxygen demand. Though trekking is not necessarily a highly intense sport, the heart rate does maintain a steady, increased rate, increasing blood flow to the muscles and the brain.

Toned Muscles
Straight-up walking can get your butt in better shape, but taking on sharp inclines, using trekking poles to propel you forward and clambering over rocks gives your body an all-over workout.
Physiologically, you're going to work your whole body, and especially the lower body — namely the quads, glutes and hamstrings. If you're carrying a pack, then you're going to challenge the strength and endurance of your upper body as well.

Builds strong bones – Trekking requires optimum effort from the human body, as it requires stretching, jumping, climbing and dodging at several intervals.  Such small burst of exercises at regular intervals during a trek help make bones stronger. Backpackers also have the added beneficial burden of carrying supplies which means added weight on the shoulders and spine. If carried properly, this weight training can help add on bone density thereby achieving overall fitness. Hiking regularly will decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis and arthritis. If you have arthritis, studies have shown that 150 minutes of hiking per week will maintain flexibility in your joints and decrease joint stiffness. 

Camaraderie with your cardio.
A study published in Biology Letters found that group exercise heightened pain threshold, indicating a surge of an athlete's best friend: endorphins. Social group dynamics and working with like-minded hikers is something that makes people feel better. Hiking can help build long-term friendships that keep you accountable to your fitness. A regular weekend meet-up or a planned long-distance trek can help you forge bonds while you shape up.

Mental benefits – Stress can disrupt your everyday life, causing health problems and depression. Taking in the fresh air and nature around you while hiking is a great way to help improve your mental health, and it is believed to also improve memory and functionality of the brain. Breathing in the fresh air, as well as seeing plants and animals can also give you a better appreciation of the world and a sense of calmness and joy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

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