I thought I had seen it all. But no. As a personal trainer, I experienced a first today. A client showed up to his first personal training session with me with three things in tote: water bottle, cell phone, and Copenhagen.
Really?! It seemed that this guy going to try to train with me while chewing tobacco. It caught me off guard initially. Then I thought wow- what courage it had to take for him to make the decision to begin exercising at all! He is 35-years-old and hasn’t regularly exercised since high school baseball. Maybe he wouldn’t be interested in curbing his bad habit, or even delaying the gratification until after the workout, but you know what- he was moving. I didn’t need to tell him that chewing tobacco would inhibit his performance; he would learn that experientially. Today, my job was just make him feel welcomed, applaud his decision to begin exercising, impart my confidence in him, and get him moving.
As personal trainers, sometimes we desire so desperately to get everyone on the health and fitness bandwagon that we trivialize the small steps. Here’s to my new client for taking the first steps today towards a more active lifestyle, even if that meant doing so with a little snuff in the bottom lip.
Archive for January, 2012
I thought I had seen it all. But no. As a personal trainer, I experienced a first today. A client showed up to his first personal training session with me with three things in tote: water bottle, cell phone, and Copenhagen.
If there are 80 calories in a large apple and 80 calories in in a fun-sized Snickers bar, does it make a difference whether you choose to pop Eve’s temptation or naughty nougat yumminess into your pie hole? According to a study published in 2010 by Food & Nutrition Research, the difference is huge.
Processed food has greater thermodynamic effect than whole food with the same caloric content. A calorie is simply heat energy, or, more specifically, the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 degree Celsius. The post-meal energy expenditure for a “whole food” snack is significantly higher than the post-meal energy expenditure for a “processed food” snack. The study referenced above, led by Dr. Sadie Barr and Jonathan Wright at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, revealed that post-meal energy expenditure is nearly 50% lower after processed food consumption than it is after whole food consumption of the same caloric value.
The abstract from this study reveals that eating a diet primarily comprised of processed foods will likely cause a person to gain weight. Conversely, a diet primarily comprised of whole foods will likely help a person to lose weight. The reason for these phenomenon is that daily energy expenditure is less in metabolizing processed foods.
Contrary to popular belief, a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie.
Stocking up on fresh ingredients for healthy meals and purging the pantry of junk is a simple and effective way to legitimately lose weight and keep it off. If you are hungry and you only have fresh and healthy food in the house, you will eat healthy food. Similarly, if my dog, Kokomo, is hungry and I refuse to give her “people” food, her only option is to eat her dog food. Kokomo has to be hungry to eat her dog food, but she has an appetite for people food every second of every day. I’m not trying to say that fresh and healthy meals are tantamount to dog food. What I am trying to emphasize is that when you are hungry, you will eat what’s available. If you establish a pattern of only having healthy food around, that is what you will eat.
Simply going to the store with no list and tossing some oranges, broccoli, coconut water, and frozen peas in your basket is not going to do the trick. You have to have healthy and fresh ingredients that can create well-rounded nutritious meals. That means that you need to have a game plan when you go to the store: recipes, ingredients, and daily menu outlines. Doing so will allow you to get the food you need to create meals that satisfy and establish an eating pattern that you can sustain for life. Otherwise, with just a plethora of random healthy food, you may eat whatever’s available: frozen peas and broccoli with some orange wedges, guzzled down with some coconut water for one (incomplete) meal, but that kind of random pattern is not going to last long. It would feel like a restrictive diet and it would be over by the end of the week. If you had had the forethought to plan a meal with, let’s say: frozen shrimp (which you would grill or boil) and brown rice, cooked with onions, garlic, cumin, corn, and peas, orange wedges on the side, a side of steamed broccoli, and a glass of coconut water to drink, that is a complete meal that would satisfy and it represents nutritious habits that could be repeated over and over! These are habits that could become a lifestyle.
I often hear people say, “I’m hungry for some chicken wings,” or “I’m hungry for pizza.” They are mistaken. They may be hungry, true, but they have an appetite for chicken wings or pizza. Hunger is the physiological need for food. Appetite is the psychological desire for food. By satisfying hunger with fresh and healthy meals, you begin creating patterns. You aren’t denying yourself of anything- junk food really isn’t pleasing to your body. It is pleasing to your taste buds, but that is short-lived. By giving your body what it really wants- food that comes mostly from the earth, not manufactured in some factory- you are putting the fuel in your body that it needs to operate most efficiently. You will lose weight, but you will also feel better. Your appetite will change, and you will start desiring the things that you have a habit of eating. Your brain and body will work together, instead of seemingly at odds with each other.
Throwing away the things in your fridge and pantry that have little or no nutritional value will be hard. You’ll probably think of excuses- well, my kids like them, etc. You aren’t doing your kids any favors by feeding them garbage. Throw away the junk! Pre-plan your meals and set a fresh and healthy grocery list. With the luxury of the internet, there are plenty of places to go for healthy recipes. I recommend http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/schoolmeals/Recipes/recipefinder.php. This site is created by the USDA, and it allows you to pick by course and cuisine to then give you plenty of recipe options that you may enjoy.
Stock up on fresh, healthy, good-for-you food to change your appetite, satisfy your hunger, lose weight and keep it off!
Food “allergy” and “intolerance” are not the same thing. As a professional in this field, I commonly hear intolerances incorrectly referred to as allergies. To qualify as a food allergy, it must affect the immune system.
Food allergies are common in infants, but by the age of four, when the immune system has matured, food allergies often pass. It’s estimated that only 1-2% of adults in the United States actually have food allergies. Interestingly, about 25% of adults think they do. Food intolerances are far more common than allergies, but, unfortunately, they are also harder to diagnose.
A food intolerance does not affect the immune system. That means that the body doesn’t create immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies against the food. That does not, however, mean that other unfavorable reactions may not occur. These may include gas, bloating, cramps, and- yes, what this countdown addresses- difficulty losing weight despite reducing total net calories.Two common intolerances that are widely prevalent are lactose and gluten. A person with lactose intolerance lacks the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance can affect people of all ages, but it is very commonly developed later in life. Gluten intolerance is caused by an intolerance to a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye: gluten. The top eight foods causing adverse reactions in some individuals are: milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Skin tests and standard immunological studies that identify allergies are not reliable for identifying intolerances. There are tests for some intolerances, for instance, a hydrogen breath test to detect lactose intolerance.
The best way to diagnose and treat an intolerance is elimination. Treatment can involve long-time avoidance, which, for some people, is more undesirable than coping with the problem, itself.
If you suspect that you may have an adverse reaction to a food, a great first step is to schedule an appointment with your physician. Tests, such as a prick skin test (PST) can be done to test for an allergic reaction. The doctor will put a drop of the substance being tested on your forearm and prick it with a needle, which allows a tiny amount of the substance to enter your skin. If you are allergic, a small bump will occur at the site in approximately 15-minutes. Another potential test is a radioallergosorbent test (RAST), which takes a blood sample that is then sent to a laboratory, where the blood is tested with different foods to see if you have immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies to any of the foods. Some tests can also reveal intolerances, but, as mentioned above, intolerances are much more difficult than allergies to diagnose. Likely, if an allergy test does not reveal an immune response, your physician will suggest an elimination diet. You’ll be asked to refrain from eating the food suspected of causing the adverse reactions for 2-4 weeks. If the symptoms improve, a diagnosis may be made. Again, the treatment may then be to continue eliminating that food from your diet.
Common Foods Provoking Intolerances or Allergies:
FOOD CROSS-REACTING FOODS
Cow’s Milk Goat’s milk, Ewe’s milk
Hen’s eggs Eggs from other birds
Peanuts Soybeans, green beans, green peas
Soybeans Peanuts, green beans, green peas
Cod Mackerel, herring
Shrimp Other crustaceans
Wheat Other grains, mostly rye
People with allergies to pollen may have cross reactions with hazelnuts, green apples, peaches, almonds, kiwis, tomatoes, and potatoes- which have birch pollen- or wheat, rye, and corn- which have grass pollen
“Ultimate” is overused in reference to workouts as much as mama and drinking are overused in country songs… but I truly think I have come up with the ultimate workout! Before I continue, you should know that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the organization that I have my most highly regarded certification as a health and fitness specialist, and the fitness industry’s “gold standard” training non-athletes, frowns on workouts that last over 60-minutes for the general population. Many of us are not exactly “general population.”
Before attempting The Ultimate Workout, it is essential that you have an established aerobic base. Furthermore, check with your physician before beginning this or any vigorous workout program. The workout that I am about to impart to you will exhaust you, mentally and physically. During the most intense intervals, I find myself praying and quoting scripture just to get through them! In my opinion, this is the ultimate workout- mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The Ultimate Workout is a progression of “The BB Workout.” http://cardiopump.com/2011/08/25/the-brook-benten-workout/ The BB Workout is a great challenge! I achieved the best physical figure of my life simply using that workout. The thing is, with time, the body adjusts to the demands that you put on it. Once that happens, it’s time for progressive overload.
The first step to intensifying “The BB Workout” is to add a 30-second sprint at the end of each ascending interval. Simply perform that exact same workout, but change the last 30-seconds in each ascending interval to a personal sprint pace, instead of the 3.5 or 4.0 MPH power walk, as indicated. *If you have join issues or injuries that make hi-impact exercises (like running) contraindicated, this intensification is not for you.
It will take months before you need to progress from there. The general population will strive to be able to, one day, complete “The BB Workout” without modifications. Highly conditioned individuals will progress to the intensified option, suggested above, with adding the 30-second sprint intervals. The extremely conditioned- and a little bit crazy- individuals will finally turn to The Ultimate Workout!
THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT:
Perform “The BB Workout” with adding a sprint for the last 30-seconds of each ascending interval. Finish the workout, as prescribed. THEN, put on a 10-pound weighted vest (Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro) and perform the exact same thing over again, with the extra weight!
I, personally, prefer to add the extra weight for the second round through, but you could vary the workout by adding the weighted vest for the first hour and performing it with body weight alone for the second hour.
You could also modify this workout by just going through the series one time (60-minutes) with the weighted vest and ending your workout there. I wouldn’t call that “The Ultimate Workout,” but I’d qualify it as a pant-kicking, calorie-torching, heart-pounding, slap-yo-mama good workout!
*Adding a weighted vest adds greater impact on the joints. Overweight individuals and those with joint issues should not run with a weighted vest. Lean and injury-free individuals should not run for long periods of time with a weighted vest because of the greater impact on the joints.
May you find that one of the workouts above is just right for you. Here’s me raising my bottle of Evian and toasting YOU to a healthy and fit 2012! May we continue to push our limits, strive for more, and amaze ourselves at all that our mortal bodies are capable of!
This video is a cute example of what may go on in our heads. Let’s call Twin A the “messenger” and Twin B the “receiver.” Twin A may be saying “I am so tired; I really need to take a nap,” but Twin B receives it as “I am hungry; I believe I need a snack.” So, you snack. Twin A may then say “No, no, no! That’s not it. A nap! I’m tired; I want a nap!” Twin B receives “That didn’t quite hit the spot. Perhaps another snack?” It’s a funny way of saying that sometimes, things get lost in translation.
If you are not getting enough sleep- quality sleep (uninterrupted sleep), there is a good chance that you are receiving a signal from your brain that is trying to tell you that it needs more sleep. The very brain that sent the message sometimes has a hard time understanding the message that it sent. We misunderstand the message for sleep as a message for coffee or a Snickers bar. #91 on our countdown explains some of the science between sleep and weight control.
Another common misunderstanding is the message for water. Often times, the “I’m thirsty” message is confused for hunger or an alcohol or soft drink craving. #101 on our countdown explains the importance of hydration. Without adequate hydration, it is impossible for the body to function optimally.
Before reaching for the easy fix (food), next time you receive an “I’m uncomfortable” message, think all of the different possible translations. Think about the last time you ate. Think about how much sleep you got last night. Think about how much water you have drank today. Think about if a situation or anticipated situation may be stressing you out. Try to take a moment to consider what the cause of the uncomfortable message may be and try to react appropriately.
In 2008, I was approached by a company in Dallas that sells MBT shoes, given a complimentary pair of these shoes (one pair of shoes, one pair of sandals), and asked to try them out. I agreed. When I went in to meet with the company, I was given the shoes, and told: “You’re going to love these! They lift and tighten the buttocks, tone the calves, make you burn calories just by walking, and can help get rid of cellulite.”
As C+C Music Factory Says, ‘Things that make you go Hmmmm.’
First of all, newsflash, there is something that lifts and tightens the buttocks, tones the calves, and makes you burn calories just by walking; it’s called walking. Second, according to Dr. Len Kravitz, PhD, Dr. Kravitz is the Program Coordinator of Exercise Science and Research at the University of New Mexico, “nothing, besides liposuction, has been effective in getting ‘rid’ of cellulite.” Losing weight can diminish the appearance of cellulite, but not get rid of it.
I was slightly annoyed that the shoe salesman would insult my intelligence by stating such outlandish claims to an exercise science professional, but I brushed it off my shoulder… I was getting some free shoes, after all. To this day, I refer to the MBTs as my “magic shoes,” just because of the outrageous claims the salesman tried to give them. As I agreed to do, I wore the shoes daily for about 3-weeks as a trial. I wouldn’t recommend exercising in them, but just for walking around, I found them fun- being able to rock while you walk is pretty entertaining. I also found that my calve muscles were fatigued more than wearing a traditional pair of running or cross training shoes, which I typically wear. As far as a “workout,” I didn’t consider wearing MBTs as I walked challenging enough to qualify it as any greater workout than wearing traditional shoes. If anything, the fact that the MBTs are fun to walk in may inspire people to walk more, which may help them get in shape. That was my assessment, in a nutshell, and is the testimony I sent to this company.
More and more, in the recent years, companies have released “magic shoes.” The claims are so preposterous that I wonder if people really believe that a pair of kicks could do such things. Then I remember: the weight-loss industry is a multi-billion dollar money maker that pries on people’s vulnerability and desperation to lose weight. Of course people buy it- hook, line, and sinker!
101 Legit Ways to Lose Weight gives ‘shaping shoes’ two big thumbs down. The Federal Trade Commission is on our side on this one, too.
Reebok International Ltd. recently agreed to pay out $25,000,000 in refunds to customers who bought Reebok toning shoes. The company falsely advertised that its line of toning shoes would help consumers shape and tone the glutes, hamstrings, and calves more than regular walking shoes. When a FTC-commissioned study could not produce research to support those claims, charges were filed against Reebok.
Here’s my advice when it comes to footwear: lace up a standard pair of sneakers, hit the walking trail, and lose weigh the old fashioned way!
The average American spends 50% of his/her food money at restaurants. In order to keep customers coming back with their jaws dropped and wallets open, the restaurant food industry creates dishes to hit the “three point compass.” The three points are sugar, fat, and salt. Sugar, fat, and salt, collectively, raise the hedonic value of food, meaning, they make food more pleasureful on the taste buds. Let’s look at some popular dishes at recognizable restaurants and how they send the needle on that three-point compass gyrating.
APPETIZER: Chips & Spinach Dip…
Deep frying a tortilla takes the water down from 40 percent to about 5 percent and replaces the rest with fat. After chemically changing the food to a crispy chip, it’s then salted. Pair that with creamy spinach dip, and you have salt on fat on salt on fat. People often mistakingly think spinach dip is healthy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality, spinach provides little more than color and a bit of appeal; the high-fat, high-salt dairy product is the main ingredient. Most likely, you would have consumed more calories and significantly more sodium and fat than you should have consumed in an entire day, just by the spinach dip & chip appetizer, but people rarely stop with just the appetizer. Let’s move on to a popular main course at an American favorite chain restaurant: Chili’s.
MAIN DISH: Boneless Shanghai Wings…
According to the menu, this is “crispy breaded chicken breast topped with sweet and spicy ginger-citrus sauce and sesame seeds. Served with spicy-cool wasabi-ranch dressing for dipping.” People mistakingly read “chicken breast,” and figure eh- the breading and sauce probably add some calories, but with lean protein (chicken breast) being the main dish, this couldn’t be that bad, could it?
The wings contain a solution of 25% water, hydrolyzed soy protein, salt, and sodium phosphate. The water is in there for three reasons: 1. it bulks up the chicken (reducing shrinkage), 2. it is cheaper than chicken, so it makes the meat larger without adding extra cost to produce, and 3. water makes food softer and easier to chew. The soy protein and sodium phosphate further soften the chicken, altering the structure, and making the food ultra-palatable. By eliminating the need to chew, we eat faster, and modern food processing makes that possible.
The chicken is battered, breaded, pre-dusted, and frozen before it even ships from the manufacturing plant. This creates a salty coating when it’s fried in fatty oil. When the chicken is fried in the oil, fat replaces most of the water content. The crispy coating, which also contains corn-syrup solids, dried yeast, and soybean oil, may represent up to half of the volume of the wings on the plate.
Boxes containing eight 4-pound bags of ginger-citrus sauce, each with a refrigerated shelf life of 4-months, are shipped to Chili’s restaurants to accompany the chicken. Ingredients are: sugar, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, chili paste, modified food starch, and orange juice concentrate. This sauce is the syrupy, sweet, clingy stuff on the wings. It’s sugar on sugar and lots of salt. The hoisin sauce contributes saltiness and a browning effect, while the orange juice concentrate adds a tangy fruit kick.
As if all of this fat (which long, long ago was a piece of chicken breast!) mixed with sugar and salt should be enough to send the three-point compass dinging in all directions, but Chili’s piles on greater hedonic effect by adding wasabi ranch dipping sauce.
The sauce is a mix of mayonnaise, buttermilk, spices, and wasabi powder. Wasabi adds a unique spice for contract, and people love creamy dressings- the fat rolls on the taste buds and coats the back of the mouth as it goes down the throat.
The wings are served in a basked lined with waxed paper at bits of bizarre-looking crispy noodles that absorb excess fat… noodles that people also frequently eat along with their meal, leaving nothing left but a saturated sheet of waxed paper.
DESSERT: Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino…
A fat and sugar marriage with eighteen teaspoons of sugar and a huge Dairy Queen-esque spiral of whipped cream on top. This drink contains more calories than a personal-size pepperoni pizza and more sweetness than six scoops of ice cream.
There you have it: an appetizer that can be ordered just about anywhere, a main dish from one of the most recognizable names in chain restaurants, and a dessert from a powerhouse among the nation’s $333 billion restaurant fast food industry. When eating out, sure you have options to build a healthier plate by requesting special instructions: no sauces, cooked dry, package half the order in a take-out box, etc, but the control you have over your meal is much greater at home. Although it takes time to plan your meals, create a grocery list, shop for fresh ingredients, and cook homemade dishes, one of the most effective ways to lose weight and lower your LDL cholesterol is to make meals from scratch with fresh & healthy ingredients (mostly from the earth) at your own home. Eat in!