Monday, March 29, 2010

Got H2O?

During exercise, your body sweats in order to maintain an ideal body temperature. The amount of sweat obviously depends on environment, type, intensity and characteristics of the person exercising. But here is the kicker: dehydration reduces the body’s capacity for sweating and can impair performance by decreasing strength, endurance and coordination. More severely, it can increase the risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

You should be drinking water before, during and after exercise in order to replace the fluid you will lose when sweating and working out. An ideal method to figure out how much water you lost is weighing yourself before and after the activity. Then for each pound lost, you should drink about 16 oz of water. By drinking enough before and during, it will minimize the amount you need to replace later on.

WARNING: don’t fall into the trap of sports drinks, thinking any activity calls for drinking them during working out, or even during the day. People are frequently taking the idea of “replacing electrolytes” too far. The majority of people that exercise are replacing their electrolytes by eating well. When you exercise in extreme conditions for longer than an hour (continuously), then it might be smart to mix a swig of a sports drink in with the water you are drinking. But really just concentrate on drinking water. Also, before buying a drink, read the label to make sure you are getting electrolytes and not just sugar and food coloring and a nice bottle full of flavored water!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inspiring runner has a message

Check Out this Link for a quick boost before your next workout :)

Inspiring runner has a message

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Interval Training

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but interval training is starting to make it big. But why? I am going to attempt to answer this question the simpleist way I can, even though the answer can be quite complex when you really get into it.

Everyone has three sources of energy: immediate, short term and long term. And the primary energy source for work is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Immediate energy is supplied by a different high energy phosphate called Creatine Phosphate (CP). The CP is able to donate its phosphate to ADP to make ATP, which gives you the energy you need quickly. The problem is, CP storage lasts only about 3 to 5 seconds.
Short term energy comes into play when CP runs out and muscles begin to break down glucose from the muscles glycogen store. Glucose then goes through a process called glycolysis which allows ADP to be converted to ATP again. This makes the muscle able to maintain a high rate of work a little longer. This doesn’t last though because while glycolysis helps make ADP to ATP, it also produces lactic acid which eventually slows the rate of this process and slows you down.
So finally we have the long term energy source! This involves production of ATP from sources like muscle glycogen, blood glucose, and intramuscular fats. This process takes longer because unlike the others it actually requires oxygen. But if lasts longer because of that.
So back to the question…why interval training? Well, when you sprint or do any burst of energy, it doesn’t take you as long to use up those first energy sources. Then once you use those up, you can start using the long-term energy source which uses fats from your muscles. And most people want to use up that fat!
If you’re interested in interval training I would suggest getting a program before just starting out and running as fast as you can then stopping. Your body needs to be training the correct way to prevent injury and maximize results. But, if you are interested, it is a great way to train and get in shape!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Best of the Best

If we were to make a list of the best foods to eat each day, the list would go on forever. I mean really, think of all the whole grains, veggies and fruits you could eat! But there are certain foods that are the best for certain aspects of life. Here are some:

Best food for your brain: BLUEBERRIES
The antioxidant that makes blueberries blue has a huge effect on learning and memory. Studies have shown there is a huge connection between blueberry consumption and cognitive function.
Best food for all-day energy: QUINOA
I’m a huge fan of this! And it’s not very common. But it’s the only whole wheat grain that is a complete protein and has the highest concentration of energy-producing B vitamins. In addition to that, it’s delicious!
Best food for boosting your mood: SALMONOkay, so Salmon is already great because of its omega-3 fats. But many tests have shown the main form of these omega-3s help decrease risk of depression.
Best food for healthy skin: ALMONDS
It has been shown that food with high levels of monounsaturated fats have protective properties that prevent wrinkles and sun damage. Almonds fit in that category quite nicely (:
Best food for surviving the flu season: RED BELL PEPPERS
For your liver to eliminate toxins it needs Vitamin C and vitamin A is needed to help white blood cells work correctly. So get this…red bell peppers has TWICE as much vitamin C as an orange and THREE TIMES as much vitamin A as a tomato.
Best food to keep your joints strong: SPINACH
Vitamin C helps reduce risk of strain or injure to joints, and vitamin E helps reduce pain in joints. Spinach packs huge amounts of both!
Best food to reduce stress: STRAWBERRIES
Not only do strawberries have lots of serotonin, but they have a load of vitamin C that helps clear out the hormone responsible for stress-related symptoms.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Let’s look at the last 3 aspects when training with weights!

#5 Rests Between Sets and Exercises:
Resting between sets and exercises greatly influences energy recovery and training adaptations that need to take place. Here is a general rule of thumb: if you are looking for muscular strength, use higher weight with longer rests (2-3 min). On the other hand, muscular endurance can be better achieved by less weight, and shorter rests (<1 min). As a beginner, you should never rest lest than 30 seconds in order for your body to recover and your blood lactate concentration to go down. Once you have trained, if you wish to shorten rest time you can.

#6 Repetition Velocity:
So, according to a nifty principle of training specificity, it says that gains in muscle strength and performance are specific to training velocity. For example, fast-velocity training enhances speed and power, whereas slow-velocity exercises don’t influence that as much. There are two times up slow-velocity though, unintentional and intentional. Unintentional is when the weight is so much that despite your effort to make it fast, you can’t. Intentional is just what it sounds like…moving slowly on the eccentric and concentric actions of lifting. As a beginning it is best to learn to perform each exercise with correct form, so start with light resistance and go at a slow to moderate velocity. As you progress you can mix in some unintentional slow-velocity lifts with some moderate to fast velocity training.

#7 Training Frequency:
Generally, a training frequency of 2 to 3 times each week on nonconsecutive days is recommended for beginners, which allows for adequate recovery time. More trained individuals might take more time between training, but still lift 4 times a week. But they only do upper body two days a week, and lower 2 days a week, with more rest between doing the same body parts. An increase in training experience doesn’t mean you need to increase frequency, but it can be beneficial if done with correct resting periods and form. Always listen to your body, whether you are experienced or novice. If it needs a day off, take it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where's Waldo...or fruits and veggies!

Next time you are looking to add some fruits or veggies to a meal, here are some tricks to play Where’s Waldo with your produce!
Grilled cheese: add apple slices, peppers, or tomatoes in with that cheese and whole grain bread
Turkey Sandwich: see how colorful you can make the inside…with cucumbers, yellow peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, or any other vegetable!
Chicken Tacos or Burritos: Opt out of adding rice, since you already have a tortilla, and add chopped veggies instead. Or try a fruity version with peach and pear slices, or orange slices. You’ll be surprised how yummy chicken, a tortilla and fruit taste together!
Fajitas: Try to fill your tortilla with more veggies than meat. You’ll still taste plenty of meat and bread, but get an added bonus of veggies
Pasta: Whatever dish you are making, whether it be alfredo, linguine or spaghetti, load up on the veggies mixed in with the sauce and meat. Half the time we add way too much sauce for the noodles and meat, so if your veggies have delicious sauce on them, you’ll want to eat even more!
Stuffed Chicken: instead of stuffing it with cheese, bacon and ranch that just adds a whole bunch of fat, stuff them with veggies and a tiny bit of cheese and avoid breading it.
Chips and Salsa: Next time you are filling the platter with chips, take out half and add some veggies. Veggies dipped in salsa is just as good, and a lot of times you still get the crunch like you do from the chips.
Pizza: fill up the top with tomatoes, peppers, and any other veggies you like! You can even hide the veggies under a little cheese and lean turkey. Delicious!

Monday, March 8, 2010


So, lets talk about the next couple components of lifting. We already addressed choice of exercise…
#2 is Order of Exercise:

Normally, exercises for the large muscle groups are done before smaller muscle groups. For example, working out quads and hams before smaller arms muscles. Also, multijoint exercises are usually performed before single-joint. Such as doing squat jumps and push-ups before doing bicep curls and calf raises.
This is done so you can use the heavier weights on bigger muscles since you will have more energy at the beginning and not fatigue as fast.
As for doing cardio or weights first, use your judgement. If you are working more toward cardio fitness and endurance training, do your run or cardio first, then weights. If you are focusing on muscle building, lift first and then follow up with cardio. Just remember, no matter what your goal is, weights AND cardio are necessary for optimum performance!

#3 Resistance Used / #4 Training Volume:
It is said that to maximize gains in muscle strength and performance, it is recommended that training sets be performed to fatigue, where you couldn’t perform another lift because of temporary fatigue.
To get a general idea of how many reps you should do, this is what is recommended for certain goals:
muscular strength: 6 or fewer
muscular endurance: 20 or more
Most common is doing between 10 and 12 reps to enhance muscular strength and performance, so that is what I recommend to start with unless you have specific goals.
Keep in mind that these reps do need to be performed with good form. So when you are trying to find out what weight to use depending on reps, even if you can do 17 reps with 30 lbs, it won’t do anything if your form is wacky (:
Training Volume is influenced by the number of exercises per session, number of repetitions per set, and number of sets. The main thing to remember is that training volume doesn’t need to be the same each time you work out. Mix it up, and your muscles will be grateful. Try doing more weight with less repetitions and fewer sets one time, and the next doing lots of sets of light weights, ect. If you are short on time though, the benefits of only doing one set is still big, so don’t opt out because of time. But if you have the time, try to get 2 or 3 sets in.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Exercise Program Tips

Programs are a great way to exercise. Not only do they map out what you do each time you exercise so you have a plan, but they also help with creating long term habits of exercise because after a program, there is a high chance you will stick with exercise since you’re used to it. There are all kinds of programs to choose from: training for races, strength programs, endurance programs, all around fitness programs, flexibility, you name it. The first step is finding one that interests you. Once you have an idea, here are some tips that could help make the training more enjoyable :)

1. Make goals, and track progress: Writing things down really helps you stay dedicated. Even better is putting your goal up somewhere that not only you see every day, but other people see every day as well. That way people can ask how you’re doing and it will give you more motivation to not quit

2. Stay Safe and Be Aware: If you start a program and something doesn’t feel right, or you feel more pain than soreness, don’t keep going. Stop and assess what the problem is and if you need to get medical attention, or just change things up a bit

3. Start Slow: Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will too. Burn out is common with people starting their first program. They are excited and they also want to see results fast. They won’t come fast, and pushing yourself too hard too fast will hurt you in the long run.

4. Think Positive: Focus on the reasons why you started the program, and once you’re further along, look back at your progress. And there is nothing wrong with imagining what you will feel and look like in coming weeks as you keep with your program!

5. Take Responsibility: You can do this by simply having close friends know about your program, or doing the program with other people. When you know other people know, or other people are counting on you at the gym, you will feel more motivated and responsible.

6. Set Aside Time: Just like we set aside time to eat dinner, and we set aside time to watch our favorite TV show, you need to have a set time when you will exercise. Plan it in your day and you won’t have an excuse to not do it.

7. Warm up and Cool Down: This is important to prevent injury, and get your body in a place ready for a work out and then ready to go do other things after

8. Rest: Sleep is really important, no matter how hard or easy you are training. Your body can’t perform if it isn’t rested. Also, take at least 1 day a week to rest your body. It will thank you, and you will be able to go farther the next time you work out.

9. Mix it Up: Make things fun. You won’t want to quit if you are doing a variety of activities. Even if you are just trying to improve cardio fitness, you can do that by running, cycling, swimming, playing sports, or a variety of cardio machines. Mixing up which muslces you use will make your body respond better also.

10. Reward Yourself: If you reach your goal, by all means reward yourself. I recommend not making it a food reward, or a reward of taking too much time off. But maybe go buy a new outfit, go to a movie you’ve wanted to see or go get a massage.

Everyone can make a fitness program that is right for them and stick to it; it’s just a matter of picking the right one and taking the right steps while you do it. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The majority of people think of a “fit person” and see the girl at the pool with the long lean muscles, toned but not huge, or the guy at the weight room that has named the veins in his arm because they are so defined. But how do we get there?

A weight room can be intimidating, especially for a beginner. But there is no reason to be intimidated! Everyone can go to a weight room and participate in exercises suited for their skill and ability. That is the key though…finding what level is best for you, and then knowing how to progress without injury.

As nice as it would be, there isn’t one optimal combination of sets, repetitions and exercises that works for everyone. Instead, there are several factors to consider when beginning resistance training.

1. Choice of exercise

2. Order of exercise

3. Resistance Used

4. Training Volume

5. Rest intervals between sets and exercises

6. Repetition Velocity

7. Training Frequency

To avoid information OVERLOAD, I will just start with addressing #1: Choice of Exercise

One thing to always remember is that it’s essential to exercise opposing muscle groups at similar times to allow balance and muscle health. (such as abs and low back, or triceps and biceps, etc.) There are single joint and multi-joint exercises. Those are exactly what they sound like: they either isolate a specific muscle, like in a bicep curl, or multiple muscles like in a squat. The more functional movements are the multi-joint exercises because they usually closely resemble everyday activities. But for beginners, I recommend starting with single joint exercises that can be done easily on weight machines or with dumb bells. With weight machines, the path of movement is fixed so you don’t have to worry about form as much.

Whatever method you decide, don’t feel like you can’t go back and forth. In fact it is best to mix it up. But remember to work low back and abdominal muscles, along with other opposing muscle groups that are more common to work. It’s best to start small, doing simple movements with major muscle groups and then work to more complex movements.

Happy Lifting!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

There’s a reason breakfast is called breakfast…it is breaking your fast that you experienced while sleeping. And while sleep is good for your body and brain, when you wake up, it is necessary for your body, metabolism and brain to get fueled in order for it to work properly and function at its highest level.

When you eat breakfast, your body is able to increase its glucose levels, or blood sugar, which is your main energy source. And for any people trying to lose weight, it has been proven over and over again that if you eat a substantial breakfast, it will keep you full longer and prevent binge eating later on during the day. How great is that!

A lot of people have reasons for not eating breakfast such as lack of time, they aren’t hungry, or they don’t like breakfast food. To fix the time issue, try making something the night before. Or if you’re really in a crunch, at least grab a piece of fruit and take a glass of milk before running out the door. If you wake up not hungry, it’s probably because you are eating too late at night. If you eat too late at night, your body starts digesting, but then digestion slows down when you go to bed. That results in waking up with food still in your stomach. So it’s best to stop eating after dinner, and try to keep it at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. If you don’t like breakfast food, opt for healthy breads or some lean meat like turkey and some fruit or veggies.

In need of some great breakfast options? Here are some of my favorites:

• Homemade fruit muffins (blueberry are delicious! And give you those needed antioxidants)

• Cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (to keep you full longer) with a banana or another favorite fruit

• Two pieces of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter smeared on top, along with a glass of milk

• Breakfast Smoothie! Pick your two favorite fruits, fresh or frozen, mix them with ½ c of low fat plain yogurt, add a little milk and ice and you are good to go! (make it even better with a top of ¼ c of granola)

• 2 hard boiled eggs with whole wheat toast

• Oatmeal with chopped fruit mixed in and a glass of milk

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