Friday, January 29, 2010

Normal Weight Obesity

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/29/10)

A recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic suggests that just because a person might be in a normal weight range, it doesn’t mean that they do not have the same health risks as those that are considered obese. This trend has been termed “normal weight obesity” and refers to a person within an acceptable weight range who has a high body fat percentage (a high percentage of body fat is considered higher than 20% for men and higher than 30% for women).

Much of America’s obesity ratings have been based on Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a calculation between a person’s height and weight; click here for a BMI calculator.

A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. But now, researchers have found that even those people with healthy BMIs might still have an excessive amount of fat in their bodies whether you can see it or not. The problem with this is that those people found to be of normal weight but with high body fat also had, like people who are obese, an increased risk of developing heart disease or a metabolic disorder like diabetes.

So how can you find out your very own body fat percentage? There are three main ways to test:

  1. Hydrostatic Weighing is the most accurate test to find your body fat %, but it is also the most expensive and hard to do test. This test involves suspending a person in water while they sit on a scale in a tub of water…not very practical for the normal person, right?
  2. The Skin Fold Test is a good measurement in which an instrument called calipers is used. Though someone uncomfortable because the trainer or doctor is literally pinching your fat and measuring it, it is a relatively accurate measurement of body fat, plus calipers are inexpensive and portable.
  3. Bioelectrical Impedance is a non-invasive and popular way to measure body fat, though it is not as accurate as the first to methods. You typically stand on a scale or hold a device in your hands that sends and electrical current through your body. The analyzer measures the body’s resistance to the electrical flow and spits out the percentage of fat.

The skin fold test and bioelectrical impedance tests are commonly used at gyms during an initial health assessment. These assessments are usually free…so sign up for one today. If you do not have a gym measurement, ask your Dr. during your next visit or call your local friendly personal trainer to sign up for an assessment J.

To read more of the specifics of the normal weight obesity study, click here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

To be or not to be sore after a workout...

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/28/10)

Client question: How sore should I be after a workout? Is it good to be sore the next day?

I have had clients in the past that have been extremely sore (hard to sit down and get back up out of their chair) sore when they start to work out. This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This is typically caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers from overloading the muscles during your workouts. You might experience soreness 24 to 48 hours after a workout in which you did a new exercise or increased the weight that you lifted.

If you are a seasoned exercise buff, you may still experience soreness the day or two after a workout in which you did something different (a different move, more reps, etc.) or when you go up in weight as you get stronger.

Although many people view muscle soreness as an indicator of how hard they worked during their last workout, it is not always the best measure. Varying your work outs, increasing your weight, lifting to fatigue and working in your target heart rate zone are all great ways to make sure you are getting a good workout...with or without soreness.
To prevent soreness or to alliveiate sore, tight muscles try the following:
  • Stretch all major muscle groups after your workout
  • Apply heat to the sore water, heating pads and such rush blood to the warm area to help heal muscles
  • Move it...doing light cardio exercise will increase blood flow and your muscles should relax a bit

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finding your target heart rate

To find your target heart rate, start by taking 220 minus your age. This number will be your maximum heart rate. Your THR is between 55% and 85% or your maximum heart rate. Therefore, take your maximum heart rate and multiply it by .55 and .85 and there you go...your very own target heart rate!

You can measure your heart rate by finding your pulse on your neck or wrist, counting it for 15 seconds and then multiply the number by 4...there you have it...your current beats per minute (bpm). You can also measure your heart rate on most pieces of aerobic equipment or by using a heart rate monitor (ranging from $20-$150 at Target, Wal-mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc).

Snack Attack!

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/27/10)

Next time you're tempted to eat a carton of ice cream or a bag of chips, opt for a healthy sweet or salty snack to keep you fuller longer and to help with your waist-line. The perfect snack should contain protein, carbs and fat without busting your calorie bank. Here are some suggestions for those that love to snack salty, sweet and combine the both. (all snacks below are between 100-200 calories)

Salty Snack Attack:

Popcorn (5 cups!!): Air popped or the 100 calorie bags are your best bet here. Popcorn is relatively low in calories and contains whole grains, fiber and protein.

Soy Crisps (19 crisps): This tasty, crunchy chip-like snacks are full of good protein, plus they come in flavors like salt and pepper, cheddar cheese, BBQ and many more. This is a great substitute for chips!

Hummus and whole wheat pita or better yet, veggies! My all time favorite brand of hummus is Sabra…try it…you’ll love it. It’s creamy and comes in tons of temping flavors. Pair this a few slices of whole wheat pita or cut up celery, carrots and bell peppers. 2 tablespoons of hummus (size of golf ball) is a serving.

Reduced fat Triscuits (6) and 2 wedges laughing cow light cheese. Cheese and crackers…umm…yummy!

Turkey Sandwich: Oh yes… an entire satisfying sandwich for under 200 calories! Throw six slices of deli turkey on a 100 calorie sandwich thin (found in bread/bun isle) with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and spicy mustard. Viola!

Sweet Snack Attack!

Low fat yogurt with berries (1/2 cup): Creamy, smooth and super healthy, pop your yogurt in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it a frozen, protein packed treat. The berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries…you choose) are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Kashi Fruit and Grain Bars: Oh man, this is a fine. With all natural ingredients including a healthy stash of protein and fiber, you will feel like you are indulging but wont have the negative-weight gaining-consequences of a candy bar. My favorite flavor is the dark chocolate coconut…my mouth is watering.

Dark Chocolate: The trick here is to have just a small piece and not the whole bar. Limit your serving to about 150 calories worth and the chocolate should be at least 70% cacao so that the sugar stays low and the antioxidants high. Newman’s Own has a fantastic organic dark chocolate bar.

Soy Dream: I know what you’re thinking…soy ice cream? GROSS…oh no, my friends, it is delicious and since I’ve started eating it, I don’t even think about the milk made ice cream anymore. ½ cup serving of soy dream contains lots of protein a bit of fiber and some good fat…sooooy enjoy (sorry…couldn’t resist J )

Fruit: Fruit is delicious, is loaded with fiber and antioxidants to keep you happy and healthy. So learn to like it…it’s nature’s original candy!

You like both sweet and salty??

Kashi Heart to Heart (3/4 cup) cereal and Almonds (15): This awesomely sweet cereal has tons of protein, fiber and whole grain and the almonds provide good fat!

Ants on a log: 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 20 raisins, 2 stalks of celery cut in half. Spread the PB on the celery “logs” and put the ants on the log! (Kids love this one…my all time favorite snack STILL!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to get great abs...

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/26/10)

The most frequent fitness question I’m asked as a trainer is “how do I get flat abs.” Unfortunately, there is no way to spot-train one area of the body. But here are a few tricks to not only tone up the tummy but to decrease fat all over the body.

  1. Reduce your daily caloric intake with the focus on vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Click here for more information about how to figure out how many calories you need to eat to lose weight.
  2. Incorporate a full body strength routine including abdominal exercises 2-3 times a week. Some of the most effective abdominal exercises are superman back extensions, planks, bicycles and oblique v-ups.
  3. Do moderate to intense cardiovascular workouts 3-5 times a week. Make sure that you are working in the top part of your target heart rate.

**To find your target heart rate, start by taking 220 minus your age. This number will be your maximum heart rate. Your THR is between 55% and 85% or your maximum heart rate. Therefore, take your maximum heart rate and multiply it by .55 and .85 and there you go...your very own target heart rate! You can measure your heart rate on most pieces of aerobic equipment or by using a heart rate monitor (ranging from $20-$150 at Target, Wal-mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running/Walking

If you’re wondering whether you should run/walk outdoors or on a treadmill, here are a few things to consider.

  • Running or walking on a treadmill will seem easier than doing the same activity outdoors because the belt is being pulled underneath you instead of your legs having to propel you forward. Also, there is no wind resistance on a treadmill. Therefore, in order to get the same intensity of workout indoors as outdoors, you should always walk/run on a treadmill at a 1% incline to make up for the lack of wind resistance.
  • Running or walking outdoors provides you with somewhat uneven terrain which can increase your balance ability.
  • A treadmill provides a padded belt which is helpful for people with joint problems to have a softer impact than cement.
  • If you are training for an outdoor race, it is better to train outdoors so that you become accustomed to the wind, terrain differences as well as inclines and declines.
  • Psychologically, it might be easier to run outdoors because you are going somewhere and a treadmill can become monotonous.
  • The calorie burn in both options are approximately the same when you set the treadmill to a 1% incline.
  • The treadmill is a great option for training when the weather is not great outside.
  • If you are concerned with the pace that you keep and tend to slow down instead of keeping a steady pace, the treadmill might be your best bet because it keeps the pace for you.
  • The great outdoors provides different inclines and declines without you having to mess with “settings”

Really, what it boils down to is your preference: do you love the outdoors or prefer to keep pace on the treadmill…

Friday, January 22, 2010

The importance of strength's for EVERYone

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/22/10)

Did you know that exercise doesn’t just include aerobic movement such as running, walking, biking, and working out on the elliptical trainer? Strength training is an extremely important component to your exercise routine. And not just for body builders or fitness buffs…for everyone whether you’re 18, 40 or 78 years old! The benefits of strength training are vast and valuable. Strength training:

· Increases your lean body tissue

· Boosts metabolism

· Helps balance and coordination

· Improves the symptoms and can reverse arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain and much more

· Prevents Sarcopenia, which is just a fancy word for losing muscle mass as we age.

Studies show that we start losing muscle mass at a rate of 1% a year staring in our 30s and 40s. So what? Well, it’s a big deal to lose muscle mass. Not only will you have a higher percentage of body fat which puts stress on your heart, can lead to diabetes and some other horrible things, but keeping your muscles means keeping your balance, preventing osteoporosis, and sustaining our abilities to do every day tasks well into the aging process.

So what can you do? Eat a balanced diet full of health foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains and start strength training…now! Pick up some weights or do body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull ups, sit ups, etc. You will be doing your body good for years to come.

Feeling overwhelmed by weight rooms, don’t have access to equipment or just not so sure how to strength train? If you belong to a gym, take advantage of the facility’s free equipment orientation. If you will be doing your strength training at home, start with push ups, squats, lunges and dips.

You can also always hire a trainer to help put together a personal strength training routine for your needs and goals. E.H. Fitness offers a wide variety of training packages or individual sessions to help you with an introduction to weight training and personalized weight training programs. Visit or e-mail Erin at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

7 Superfoods to eat in 2010

The Superfoods you’ll want to learn to love (if you already don’t) in 2010!

The word “superfood” has been all over media lately and it doesn’t mean food that is as fast as a speeding bullet or eats of steel. Nope, a superfood is a word that describes food that is so good for you, eating them consistently can lead to a long, healthy life. Researchers, doctors and nutritionists alike have all marveled at these foods and their positive effects on aging including the slowing or even reversing of diseases like heart disease, cancer, hypertension and Type II Diabetes.

Therefore, why wouldn’t you choose to eat these super, tasty foods? Make it a resolution for 2010 to get this list of ten superfoods in your diet today!

  1. Walnuts (Heart disease fighting super-nut)
    • Many people think that nuts are just too fatty and caloric to add to their diet, but just a small handful of walnuts 5 days a week can lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease. The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts also acts as an anti-inflammatory. So go nuts!
  2. Blueberries (Phytonutrient filled fruit)
    • Not only are they delicious, but these blue berries are filled with phytonutrients which provide the body with cancer-fighting antioxidants that may also slow and even reverse dementia and Alzheimer’s. Berry, berry good!
  3. Oats (Cholesterol lowering breakfast of champions!)
    • Whip yourself up a wholesome bowl of oatmeal in the morning and you will be taking in protein, fiber as well as other vitamins and minerals. The fiber in oats helps to lower your cholesterol by up to 23% when a bowl of oatmeal is consumed every day. On a side note, the protein and fiber in a bowl of oatmeal keeps your fuller, longer so it’s a great weight loss food too!
  4. Broccoli (Cancer Battling Cruciferous)
    • Your parents told you that broccoli was good for you and they were so right. Broccoli boosts the immune system and research has shown to reduce tumor size as well as prevent tumor growth ( Another great thing about this veggie is that it is very low calorie (30 calories in one cup) with a high nutritious kick.
  5. Turkey (Heart-Healthy Bird)
    • Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. This birdie is one of the leanest sources of protein and is high in heart healthy nutrients such as selenium, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12 and niacin. Gobble up this super-bird!
  6. Soy (The superfood in a pod)
    • For some, soy is not something that is a regular part of a meal. It should be. Soy is the richest dietary source of phytoestrogens which play a role in the prevention of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis, plus (and you can thank me later, ladies) soy helps relieve menstrual and menopausal symptoms. So grab some edamame, tofu, soy nuts and soymilk and start fighting disease!
  7. Spinach (Popeye’s favorite disease fighter)
    • Spinach is a superfood because it has 13 different flavonoid antioxidants that act as cancer-fighting agents. Plus, it has plenty of vitamin K to help stave off osteoporosis and vitamins C and A to protect the heart. So eat this leafy green like Popeye and strengthen your body from the inside!
  8. Salmon (Heart and skin lovin’ swimmer)
    • Salmon, especially wild salmon, is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated “good” fats) protect against heart disease, promote healthy skin and joints and are essential for life. So bake up some of this body-friendly fish!

Other superfoods to keep in your kitchen:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Cinnamon
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Oranges
  • Pomegranates
  • Tea
Click here for a super easy, super meal that combines a ton of superfoods into one tasty dinner!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Work it off...

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/20/10)

Before I indulge in a high-calorie snack or meal, I find it helpful to see how many minutes or even hours it would take me to work off that little “treat.” More times than not, seeing that I will have to run for three hours or do push ups for the rest of the decade is enough to nudge me into making a more healthy decision. Check out some of the worst food offenders in our country and how much exercise it takes to burn off a serving.

If you eat this: A premium burger fast food meal with fries and a regular soda. I compared the nutrition values of the three leading hamburger fast food restaurants and their premium hamburger value meals all contain between 1,500 and 1,600 calories (that is the number of calories that I intake in one entire day!)

You will have to do this:

  • 140 minutes of running (6 mph pace)
  • 378 minutes of walking (3 mph)

If you eat this: Pot Pie. This creamy, flaky crusted comfort food is not so comforting when you find out that many of these pies have around 1,000 calories per serving! AHH!

You will have to do this:

  • 333 minutes of bowling
  • 111 minutes of continuous jump rope

If you eat this: Spaghetti and meatballs with meat sauce (Macaroni Grill). If you order this dish, you will be served up a heaping plate of 2,430 calories.

You will have to do this:

  • 8 hour of pushups
  • 3.5 hours of running (6 mph)

If you eat this: Ice Cream (specifically Dove brand). One half cup (the size of a light bulb) of this creamy, dreamy treat is a nightmare at 300 calories.

You will have to do this:

  • 25 minutes of vigorous spinning (group cycle class)
  • 50 minutes of swimming laps

If you eat this: Large white chocolate mocha (at Starbucks). Drinks like tea and water do not have calories, but this frothy drink had 580 calories…that’s as many as a very large meal!

You will have to do this:

  • 90 minutes of hiking
  • 85 minutes jogging

For a great and comprehensive calorie burn calculator, click here.

Also, find out how many calories you should be eating a day by clicking here.

* All calories burned were based on a 150-pound person. If you weigh more, you will burn slightly more calories, if you weigh less, you will burn slightly less.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Healthiest Fast Foods

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM on 1/19/09)

I’m a realist and know that it might not be possible for people to pack healthy food and eat their pre-prepared food at every meal. Life happens, and when we get busy and get starving, fast food temptations are at every corner ready to derail our healthy eating habits. But it doesn’t have to be a total loss at your favorite fast food place. Just make the healthiest choice possible when faced with a fast food emergency.

Below are some popular fast food spots that offer some of the worst food as far as calories, fat and sodium are concerned, but then also have a few surprisingly healthy choices. Choose wisely and you can survive the drive-thru!


Order this:

  • Premium Baconm Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken and Newmans Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
    • (300 calories, 12 grams of fat)


  • Side Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette and a Single Hamburger (no cheese)
    • (315 calories, 12 grams of fat)


Order this:

  • Small Chili and Side Salad w/out dressing
    • (270 calories, 10 grams of fat)

Taco Bell

Order this:

  • Fresco Burrito Supreme Steak or Chicken
    • (330 calories, 8 grams of fat)


  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco and Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco
    • (330 calories, 8.5 grams of fat)

Pizza Hut

Order this:

  • 2 Slices Veggie Lovers Thin ‘n’ Crispy Pizza (from a medium pizza)
    • (360 calories, 12 grams of fat)


Order this:

  • 2 Grilled Drumsticks, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and Green Beans
    • (315 calories, 11.5 grams of fat)


Order this:

  • Any of these 6” sandwiches: Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, Roast Beef, Subway Club, Turkey Breast, Turkey Breast and Ham, Veggie Delite. You can add all the veggies you want to these sandwiches, but adding cheese, oil, mayo, ranch, etc will cause the calorie and fat content to go up.
    • (about 300 calories and under 6 grams of fat)

Most restaurants have their nutrition information listed on their website, so if you don’t see your favorite fast food joint up there in my list, get the nutrition info before you have to make a pit stop so that you are armed with the information to make a healthy decision.

For more fast food nurition facts all in one place, click here.

Happy eating!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pour some sugar on me...but don't make me eat it!

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM, 1/18/10)

We have all heard that sugar in one way or another is bad for us. Sugar can cause tooth decay, diabetes, weight gain, irritability, problems with the endocrine system and the sweet stuff is totally addictive.

So what’s a girl or boy to do when the sweet tooth demands to be fed? Well in the last few years, many of us have turned to artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet ‘n’ Low, etc. But now, studies are showing that these artificial sweeteners, though low in calories, have actually been causing weight gain, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and elevated blood pressure and have been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer (Circulation, July 2007 and Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol.122, No.1) .

One of those side effects of zero-calories sweeteners seems counter-intuitive, right? How can something that doesn't contain any calories make us gain weight? Well...glad you asked. When we eat something sweet, our body registers it as a high-calorie food. If we eat something that contains chemical non-calorie sweetener our body feels like there is a calorie deficit and therefore we overeat to make up for the lack of calories.

So now what? Give up on cookies or just sacrifice our heath and become overweight? NO WAY! There are fantastic natural sweeteners that are becoming more available and less expensive. Here are a few to try without guilt or fear that your body will react negatively towards them…

Evaporated Cane Juice: This is the closest sweetener to normal table sugar (Kashi uses it in all their products and you seriously can not taste the difference). The great thing about Evaporated Cane Juice is that it isn’t processed as much as regular sugar and so retains the nutrients of sugar such as B2 or riboflavin.

Agave Nectar (the raw/unprocessed kind): Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener that has a high nutrient content and absorbs slowly into the bloodstream so there is no significant impact on blood sugar levels. This sweet stuff is sweeter than regular table sugar so that you can use less, plus it’s low on the glycemic index.

Stevia: This sweet alternative to “bad” calorie-free sugar substitutes is derived from plants found in China and South America. Stevia doesn’t contain calories nor does it effect blood sugar levels plus it helps regulate the digestive tract. Stevia is sweeter than sugar so you don’t have to use as much…hurray!

Maple Syrup: Nope…not the Mrs. Butterworth kind, but pure maple syrup has fewer calories and more minerals such as manganese and zinc than honey. This sticky sweet alternative to sugar is good for the heart, immune system and for the guys, male reproductive health.

So give in to your sweet side with sweet stuff that won’t weigh you down and your body will thank you for it!

For those that have diabetes, check with your Dr. before substituting any of the suggestions above for your normal sweet additives.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Calories in, calories out

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/15/10)

Weight management (weight loss, gain and maintenance) is all about calories in/calories out. You burn a specific amount of calories each day depending on your activity level, weight, age, and gender. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, if you eat less, you will lose weight, if you eat the same amount of calories that you burn, you will maintain your current weight. It’s a simple idea, but people struggle with weight gain or lack of weight loss.

To lose weight, you must first figure out how many calories you burn in a typical day. There are a few different equations to help you figure out your calorie burn, but the easiest way to find out is to go to a great little calculator provided by the Mayo Clinic. Click here to find your current daily calorie burn.

One pound equals 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose weight at the rate of one pound per week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. For two pounds a week (which is the upper limit of healthy weight loss), you need to create a deficit of 1,000 calories per day. For example, I require about 2,000 calories per day to maintain my weight (per my age, weight, activity level and gender). If I want to lose one pound per week, I would need to limit my daily food intake to 1,500 calories. It’s important to note that women should not eat less than 1,200 calories per day and men less than 1,500 calories per day.

Sounds hard right? How are you going to figure out how many calories your food has in it? There are a great deal of very helpful websites that can help you out. My personal favorite is, but is fantastic as well and they are both free. You just search for the food you are looking for and it gives you the entire nutritional content. Plus, both of these sites keep track of your calories for you if you sign up for a free account.

Happy calorie counting!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

H2O: 8 Glasses a day!

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/14/10)

The body is about 60% water, therefore, it’s really important to drink plenty H2O to keep your body properly hydrated. Our body loses a bit over 8 cups of water a day (64 oz) through various bodily processes, so it stands to reason that you need to drink at least 8 cups of water a day to make sure that you replace the lost water.

Why is hydration so important for our overall health? Let’s look at the roles that water plays in the body:

  • Water helps rid the body of toxins
  • Water boosts your metabolism
  • Water carries nutrients to your cells
  • Water keeps you energized
  • Water plays a key role in the function of every organ
  • Water aids in digestion

When you don’t drink enough water, you are at risk to become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause minor to major problems including:

  • Slow Metabolism
  • Low energy
  • Kidney stones
  • Poorly functioning organs
  • Failing kidneys

If the thought of drinking so much plain ol’ water every day doesn’t appeal to you, try to stay away from water mix-ins. These popular fruity powders are full or sugar or worse, chemical sweetners that have been linked to certain types of cancer and even obesity. Instead, try adding the following natural water enhancers:

  • Lemon, Lime or Orange slices
  • Crushed raspberries
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Frozen orange juice “ice cubes”

No excuses, drink your 8 cups a day for weight management and overall health.

On a note for those who exercise regularly:

If you loose a pound or two during a major sweat session, what you’ve lost is not fat, it’s 2 ½ CUPS of water per pound lost from your body-yikes! Dehydration sets in once you loose about 2% of body weight due to water loss (so a 175 lb man could lose only 3.5 lbs of water during a hard workout and succumb to dehydration…scary!)

Sweating is a good thing; it keeps our bodies cool, but it also causes us to loose water and so we must replace what has been lost. It’s super important to drink water before, during and after a good sweat session in normal conditions, but it’s actually a crucial requirement to do such when it’s hot out. Tips to staying hydrated:

  • Remember to drink about two cups (16 oz) of water and hour or two before exercise
  • Drink ½ cup (4 oz or about 2-3 gulps) every 15-20 minutes during exercise.
  • Be sure to continue drinking water even after your workout is complete to ensure that you are properly hydrated.

Remember to listen to your body when exercising in the heat. If you start to get dizzy, light headed or if you stop sweating when you’re working hard, it’s time to quit for the time being and drink some water.

Cheers to your health!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So you're joining a gym...

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/13/10)

So you've decided to join a gym to get in shape, so what gym should you join? Here are several areas to investigate and questions to ask to make the right choice for you! Happy hunting!

  1. Join a gym in a location that you are going to drive to. The gym should be very near (10 minutes or less) from their home or office. If you join a facility that is hard to get to or will make it hard to get a workout done on a busy day, you will not go.
  2. Your ideal gym will have the amenities that you want and need.
    • Are you social and like to spend time with other people? Then join a gym that has group fitness classes.
    • Do you know that you need some extra support and direction to get fit? Make sure that there is personal trainer available.
    • Are your children going to accompany you to the gym? Find out if there is childcare at the facility
    • Are you expecting to swim as part of your routine? Your ideal gym will have an indoor pool.
    • Will you be changing into your workout gear or needing to shower at the gym after your workouts? See if the gym in question has locker rooms with showers, towels and lockers.
    • Do you need a 24 hour facility because of your schedule? There are many gyms that are open 24 hours a day. Check out the facilities hours of operation.
    • Are you on the road frequently? Many gyms are part of a larger organization that has locations all over the country. For those that get around, make sure that your membership fee includes access to these other facilities.
  1. What is the cancelation policy? Life changes, so make sure that there is a reasonable cancelation policy in case you need to quit your membership. Some gyms require a 30 day written cancelation notice while others have lengthy contracts that are difficult and expensive to break. Know what you're signing up for before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. Find out what is included in your membership fee. Some gyms have the following benefits included in the membership and some charge extra. Find out how much your membership is actually going to cost you before joining.
    • Group Exercise Classes
    • Locker rental
    • Child Care
    • Swimming
    • Personal Training
    • Fitness Evaluations
    • Equipment Orientation
5. Try it before you buy it. You might do this with several fitness facilities to get a feel for what you like in a gym. Most gyms give a few days of free passes to use their location and some even give a 2-week free trial. Take advantage of this so that you know what you're getting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Get a better night's sleep tonight!

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 FM 1/12/02)

Some 50 to 70 million Americans report suffering from sleep disorders. If you’re one of these people, you know how important sleep is (click here for earlier post on sleep and health). Frequently, these sleep disorders are a result of our busy, technology heavy lifestyles. Incorporating a few simple changes into your life (especially around bed time) can make a big difference in how easily you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Check out the Sleeping-Don’ts and Dos below and have sweet dreams tonight.

Sleeping Don’ts:

#1 Say good night to caffeine

  • Even if you don’t think that caffeine is effecting your sleep, if you have sleeping problems, try to limit your caffeine to morning times only and it is a good rule for everyone to stop any kind of caffeine intake at least six hours before your bed time.

#2 Skip the nightcap

  • Though alcoholic beverages might make us sleepy and some people may doze off after a glass of wine, alcohol interferes with our natural sleep cycle and cause disturbances. So abstain from drinking to for a better night’s sleep.

#3 Don’t exercise to wear yourself out

  • Exercise is a fantastic way to be more energetic and alert not so much to put us to bed. When we exercise is done too close to our bedtime, our bodies will not be ready to slow down, we’ve revved them up and we’ll be up for a few more hours. A great rule of thumb is to make sure that you have at least 4-5 hours before you plan on going to bed.

#4 Turn off the TV and Computers

  • Falling asleep in front of the TV or heading to bed after updating your Facebook page or finishing a presentation for the next day can deter any real attempt at good quality sleep.

#5 Quit midnight snacking

  • Not only does midnight snacking pack on the pounds, but eating refined carbs (bread, cake, cookies, cereal, etc.) or sugary foods put your body into a hormonal rollercoaster keeping you from sleeping through the night. If you have to eat before you go to bed, focus on protein (a few slices of turkey, a small handful of almonds, etc.)

Sleeping Do’s

#1 Relax

  • Relax both physically and mentally. Stress can be one of the major causes of insomnia and disordered sleeping. Try for just a few minutes before you go to be to do some easy breathing exercises or light yoga and stretching.

#2 Make your bedroom a sleep-haven

  • The only two activities that you should do in the bed room are sleep and sex. This will promote a sleeping environment instead of a room that is used for work, TV watching, doing crafts, etc. Being in your bedroom will signal your body that it is time to rest.

#3 Lights out!

  • Making your bedroom dark when you sleep is important. Our bodies are made to sleep when it is dark outside. So if you have a spouse that likes to read late into the night with the light on, or if you work the night shift and have to sleep during the daylight, get yourself a sleep mask to cover the eyes.

#4 Have a bed-time routine

  • Just like you might have a morning routine where you get up, brush your teeth, go to the gym, eat breakfast, take a shower, etc., have a bed-time schedule as well. Maybe have a cup of herbal tea (it’s caffeine free) while reading a book for a few minutes, then brush your teeth, do some light stretching and turn off the lights and close your eyes. All of those things, when you do them every day, will signal your body that it’s time for sleep.

#5 Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day

  • That’s right, every day. Yep, even the weekends. Having a set schedule for when you go to sleep and when you wake up will get your body and mind into a routine so that your internal clock knows when it’s time to go to bed and more importantly, when it is time to wake up (instead of waking up randomly in the middle of the night.

Follow these tips and get a better night’s sleep…your body will thank you!

Check out your personal sleep style at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sleep and Health

(as heard on Calvary 88.5 1/11/10)

For many, it is common sense that to stay healthy and fit you need to have balance and nutritious eating habits as well as an active lifestyle. I think what many of us forget though, is that even if we are the most healthy eaters ever and exercise every day, we can be ruining our hard work and putting our bodies at risk if we don’t get enough sleep.

We need sleep to survive…much like food and water. Experts say we need between 7 and 8 hours a night to be at our best. Only one-third of Americans report that they get enough sleep, the rest, are lacking. The benefits of sleep are vast and necessary for survival.

Benefits of Sleep:

  • Sleep repairs the body
  • Improves our memory
  • Keeps your heart healthy
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps with your weight loss goals

When we do not get enough sleep (at the very minimum, 6 hours a night) can be tragic to our health.

Consequences of not sleeping enough:

· Loss of memory

· Decreased alertness

· Increased cholesterol

· Raised blood pressure

· Increased risk of getting sick due to a weakened immune system

· Decrease of important of leptin (the hormone that tells us we are full) and an increase of ghrelin (the hormone that tells us we are hungry)

According to National Geographic, when compared to the person who gets the average recommended amount of sleep (7-8 hours per night), the risk of obesity increases 23% when a person gets just 6 hours of sleep up to a whopping 73% when a person only gets 4 hours of sleep per night. That right there are some scary numbers and definitely enough so to make me willing to go to bed an hour or so earlier.

And we don’t just put our own health at risk when we don’t get enough sleep. Drowsy driving is responsible for 4% of all motor vehicle crashes every year. That means that your lack of sleep can hurt others.

So keep sleep in mind when thinking of your health. It’s a requirement. No one wants to be more stressed, put their heart at more risk for heart disease (#1 killer of both men and women in US) or and gain unnecessary weight. Get your sleep! Aim for 7-9 hours a night.