Thursday, January 31, 2013

Choose the trainer that's right for you

If you’re in the market for a personal trainer, not just anyone will do. I’m definitely your best bet…hehe…just kidding. You want to make sure that your trainer is exactly what you need…you are paying good money for them and their expertise. Here are some questions to ask yourself or ask your potential trainer before beginning a fitness program with him or her.

  1. Is the trainer nationally certified? There are a zillion personal trainer certifications out there, but only a handful of them are nationally recognized. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is an organization ensures the public’s health, welfare and safety. The  NCCA accredited personal training certification programs are listed below:

o   American Council on Exercise (ACE)
o   American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
o   The Cooper Institute (CI)
o   International Fitness Professionals Assn. (IFPA)
o   National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
o   National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
o   National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)
o   National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
o   National Exercise & Sports Trainers Assn. (NESTA)
o   National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
o   National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
o   National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)
o   Training and Wellness Certification Commission (TW-CC)

  1. Does the trainer practice what he/she preaches? An unfit trainer may not be the best person to take advice from. This doesn’t mean that a male trainer has to have a body builder’s body or a female trainer has to be a size zero, it just means that they should be in good shape, eat right, exercise and take care of their body…just as they are helping you do!

  1. How do current and past clients feel about their experience? That’s right, ask for references…you want to make sure that they have satisfied clients that are able to reach their goals with the trainers help.

  1. Will the training be convenient? If your trainer is at a place that’s hard for you to get to or is too far away from home or is at an bad time, you are more likely to cancel sessions, flake out or just not go.

  1. Does your personality match that of the trainer? If you are a person that responds well to gentle encouragement, your trainer should not be a yeller, boot-camp sergeant of a trainer. Make sure to meet the trainer or talk for a bit over the phone to see if your personalities and styles are the same. Also, consider whether you are comfortable with a trainer of the opposite sex since training can be somewhat physical.

Other questions to ask a potential personal trainer:
  • How long have you been training and what kind of clients do you normally work with?
  • How do you motivate your clients to reach their goals?
  • How do you measure achievement? Do you have a fitness evaluation you use?
  • Knowing my specific fitness goals, what kind of workout plan will you develop to help me?
  • How often will you change my workout routine?
  • What are your rates?
  • What is your cancellation policy?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cleanse Day!

Okay…like many of you…I hear the phrase “I’m doing a cleanse” and I immediately think “EW…not for me!” But I tried a cellular cleanse designed to engage the body’s own way of ridding itself of toxins including the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. This was NOT a colon cleanse…I’m not into that. But I wanted to document the way it went in case you are interested in doing something similar.
Every 2 hours or so, I was able to drink a cleansing product, eat a snack option and of course drink plenty of water and hot decaf tea (since I run a bit cold right now). I am writing this first part at 4:30 In the afternoon and have been up and at ‘em since 4:45 a.m. I’m feeling pretty good. I have had plenty of energy and haven’t even really been all that hungry, which I find amazing since I had to sit through a lunch at SPIN! Pizza (one of my favorite places).
What’s so great about cleansing this way? Well, let me tell you:
·         It Jumpstarts fat burning! I don’t know too many people do don’t have a little more fat on them than they would like, and research has showed that the calorie restriction that happens on cleanse days increases the human growth hormone which stimulates the body’s fat burning systems as well as suppresses the proteins in the body that synthesis and store fat
·         Intermittent fasting, such as including a cleanse day in your normal week or month can reset your insulin sensitivity and therefore helps you regulate your blood sugar on a daily basis. This has the added perk of decreasing your risk for Type-Two  Diabetes…hurray!
·         The lack of food on a cleanse day gives the digestive system a break and therefore kicks the body into detox and fat release mode since it’s not focused on getting your food from mouth to …you know…
Later in the evening…
I’m getting ready for bed and still feeling great. Am I excited for breakfast tomorrow? Heck yes! The only side effect I’ve had is a bit of a headache but I am chalking this up to a coffee-free day.  But this is totally doable even with an active lifestyle. Plus, feel light...I’ll be interested to see what the scale says tomorrow morning (which is my normal weigh-in time).

UPDATE: It's the day after and I lost 2.5 lbs and 2 inches off my waist...BOOM!
Need some more reasons to cleanse or interested in doing a cleanse to detox your body and release fat? E-mail me at

Beat the winter blues with food, exercise and sex

We’ve survived the holidays and now we are really into winter. And with winter's short days, cloudy skies and freezing temperatures comes the winter blues. You might start feel sad, low energy, sleepy and just plain not-yourself around this time of year. You can help yourself get through the winter-funk with a (genuine) smile on your face by eating certain foods, exercising and getting it on between the sheets.

Foods that make us happy:

Nourish the happy part of the brain by eating these foods often:

Chocolate: It’s not your imagination; chocolate makes us feel good. Eating chocolate triggers the release of the feel-good hormone serotonin as well as endorphins which give us a feeling of euphoria. So slowly enjoy about 100 calories of chocolate if you need a pick-me-up without having to worry about your waist-line.

Green Leafy Greens: Spinach and Kale contain a B-vitamin called folate which maintains normal levels of serotonin. People that get the recommended dietary allowance of 400 micrograms of folate a day, also show a decreased risk of depression.

Walnuts and Salmon: The Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like walnuts and salmon have been shown to decrease depression symptoms. A recent animal study suggests that Omega-3 Fatty Acids, as well as uridine found in walnuts and fish, actually act like antidepressants!

Healthy Carbs: Carbohydrates make us feel good. They enable us to release tryptophan which is converted into that feel good hormone serotonin. So be sure to eat plenty of whole grain carbs such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and brown rice.

A couple foods that will make your crash and burn…

Alcohol: Your wine, beer or cocktails might make you feel good in the short term, but alcohol is a depressant, so if you’re feeling down in the dumps, skip the mixed drink and opt for a natural sugar high from 100% juice.

Sugary food: You just read that carbs boost mood, but not all carbs are created equal. Things like cookies, cake and white bread are made of high-glycemic ingredients that cause the “sugar crash.” So avoid them to get rid of the blues.

Move and improve your mood

Perhaps a reason that many of us feel so down and out during the dead of winter is that we are less active. Exercise is good for a ton of things like maintaining a healthy weight, decreasing the risk of heart disease and cancer, and relieving the symptoms of arthritis. It also helps relieve depression.

Get high (on exercise).Ever heard of a runners high? That’s not just a made up thing that runners tell you about to get your butt up and out running with them. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins and neurotransmitters which are feel good chemicals in the brain.

Turn the heat up. Exercise increases body temperature which has a relaxing effect on the body…so in the winter it’s waaaay good!

Zone out. Doing exercise can take your mind off of whatever is getting to you, whether it is the weather outside or the let down after the holidays, going to your favorite exercise class or lifting weights can help you focus on something good you’re doing for your body.

Make new friends and keep the old. Being around people is an instant pick me up, so grab a friend, bundle up and go for a walk together or join a gym where you know people that will become your workout buddies.

Get happy between the sheets.

Sex, like exercise, is good for the heart, immune system and mood. The act of sex releases endorphins which act the same as morphine…they mellow you out as well as block pain and give you a sense of euphoria. So even though the blues can decrease your sex drive, just do it and to reap the benefits of a healthy sex life.

SAD? Seek help…

There is a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. If you experience the following symptoms particularly during the cold, cloudy winter months, talk to a healthcare professional.

  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight gain
  • Over sleeping
SAD is usually treated with light therapy, medication, psychotherapy or a combination of therapies.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prepared for success...

Happy Sunday! For most, the work week starts tomorrow and that means busy schedules, deadline and long hours and lots and lots of sitting. All of those things combined can make it hard to stay on track to reach your health goals. So what's a busy person to do? PREPARE!

Here are three things to do before your week starts to ensure the best possible outcomes for your health.

1. PREPARE your food:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Foods to put in your stomach in 2013

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 2013 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

Hungry for more information about superfoods…checkout World’s Healthiest Foods' website…all the info you can dream of and more!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Treadmill vs. Pavement

Recently, I’ve been forced to take my outdoor running onto a treadmill because of snow, ice, rain and freezing temperatures. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it gets the job done. However, I know of many people who prefer the treadmill to running or walking on pavement. So whether you are forced to run or walk on a machine or it’s your preference, 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.
  • 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 ability to balance.
  • 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.
  • Doing interval training on a treadmill is a great way to get faster and scorch calories because you force yourself to run at faster speeds (or you fall off the machine). Click here for the calorie-speed gaining workout I did this morning.
  • The great outdoors provides different inclines and declines without you having to mess with “settings”
Really, what it boils down to is your preference. Just get moving!

Looking for a way to challenge your body on a treadmill? Click here for a fantastic interval workout.

Treadmill Interval Training...whew!

Because it was raining and dark this morning, I chose to take my run to the treadmill. I have been working on my speed, and interval training is a great way to get faster and burn a ton of calories. Here's what I did...maybe you would like to do it too! :)

Set treadmill at a 1% incline
Warm-up: 3 mins @ 5.5 mph
Interval Set #1: 2 minutes at 6 mph, 1 minute at 7 mph (repeat a total of 5 times)
Interval Set #2: 1 minute at 6 mph, 30 seconds at 7.7 mph (repeat a total of 10 times)
Cool down: 2 minutes @ 5.5 mph followed by 2 minutes slow walk

You can make this as fast or as slow as you want. But whatever you do, make it challenging and don't forget how you will feel when it's done...don't quit in the thick of things!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

So you're going to join a gym...

Congratulations! 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!

  1. Join a gym in a location that you are going to drive to. Duh, right? But 4 out of 5 people that pay for a gym membership, don’t use it…crazy! For most people, 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 in 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 gym needs an indoor pool.
·         Will you be changing into your workout gear or showering 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. Join a clean gym. Exercise facilities and locker rooms can be a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria. Ask your prospective fitness facility how often they machines are cleaned, equipment is disinfected and the locker rooms and childcare areas are scrubbed down.
  2. Are the membership fees within your budget? If you can’t pay for the membership, then you obviously shouldn’t join.
  3. 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 notice while others have lengthy contracts that are difficult and expensive to break. Know what and how long you’re signing up for before you sign on the dotted line.
  4. 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

  1. 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 can try out classes, make sure you’re comfortable with the environment and other members and staff.
  2. Make sure that the instructors and personal trainers have a current national certification. Many gyms require that their trainers to have highly reputable national fitness certifications and some do not. You want the experts at your gym to be trained properly so that they can train you properly, so ask.

Happy gym hunting!