fitness should be natural

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Real Vs. Fake Sugar

My gym is doing a weight loss challenge for the new year. A couple of weeks back, I was asked to talk about sugar (among other topics) during a nutrition seminar we were having for the weight loss challenge. The advice I gave to the people gather was to cut out all added sweeteners both caloric, and non caloric. No sugar, no matter what the name. As soon as I said that, a lady raised her hand to ask a question. She asked, ” If you have to have sweetener though, which do you choose?” I tried to explain to her that, in the context of this being a weight loss challenge, and that the people here are trying to lose weight, choose neither. There is no reason to eat added sugar of any kind when you are trying to lose weight. You don’t ‘need’ it as I hear a lot of clients say, that’s in your head and you can get over it with a dash will power instead. 

Now, for those of us at a healthy body weight, who can maintain said weight with a 80%/20% strict diet, what about us? Are we allowed to have added sweetener once in a while? Do we go the real or fake route? The answer to the the first question, I believe, is yes, if you are at a healthy body weight, and are not trying to lose, then yes you can indulge in things (sparingly) that I wouldn’t recommend to weight loss clients. Things like whole grain, or no grain, pancakes. However, that commercial HFCS syrup like substance is still a no no. Be smart with your sweetener choices. Choices like organic maple syrup, agave nectar, or coconut nectar are much better for you. These choices are lower glycemic index, so they don’t cause the insulin spike that regular table sugar does. In addition, they are sweeter than table sugar, so you’ll use less of them. Finally, practice using these products in moderation. If you are drowning pancakes in agave nectar everyday, you will gain weight. It is still sugar people and must be handled with caution.

So what about artificial sweeteners? They have no calories in them, so that is a plus! However, the ones that have been around longer have been shown in studies to potentially be hazardous to your health. The newer ones, have not been extensively studied. Bottom line for these is that I wouldn’t risk it. If it doesn’t benefit your health, and potentially may negetively affect it, then to me it is not worth my time. Besides, several studies link artificial sweetener consumption to weight gain link

So, in conclusion, if you are trying to lose weight, avaiod all sugar. If you are at a healthy weight, indulge in healthier (doesn’t mean healthy, I mean they ain’t vegetables) real sugar options rarely. Untill next time!

J

Nutrition Vs. Exercise

One of the questions I here most often from my clients is, “which is more important to focus on, nutrition or exercise?” This is always a tough one to answer. On the one hand my job is to work people out, so for my business to continue, I should probably tell clients exercise is more important. On the other hand, I know that excellent nutrition will accomplish the most in helping someone with their weight loss goals. The truth though is more complicated than either answer.

Nutrition will account for up to 80% of your results, no matter what you goals. Whether you want to gain muscle or lose fat, you diet will make or break any workout plan. Notice I said up to 80%. That’s if you stick to you diet plan perfectly.  To be perfectly honest, if your goal is to lose weight, you can lose all of it with little to no exercise at all with perfect nutrition (not the case with weight gain clients, sorry). Here’s the kicker though to eat perfectly, you have to know all of your allergies and sensitivities, as well as what foods work best with your body, and know your exact caloric expenditure every single day. This is not a probable feat. This is where exercise comes in. If you focus on your diet and are very strict with what you eat, exercise will accelerate your results, and (again speaking mostly to the weight loss crowd here, for people trying to gain its about a 50/50 focus on diet and exercise) cover slip ups in your diet.  Exercise will also motivate to keep improving your diet, because eating better will make workouts easier and provide you with the energy to stay active throughout the day. The more energy you have, the more you workout. The more you workout the better your results and the more motivated you are to stay on track with your diet. Health feeds on itself.

Now I would not advocate you do only one or the other, both have benefits. I tell my clients to focus on diet as a weight loss tool, and exercise as both an accelerator, and health improvement tool. See the benefit of exercise goes beyond weight loss. Exercise relieves stress, strengthens the heart and bone, and can be fun believe it or not. So sorry if this post wasn’t the answer you were looking for. Both nutrition and exercise are very important, and my hope is that you strive for excellence in both.

Back In Action

I know that I have not updated this blog in quite a while. The thing is in September I got married, and then moved into an apartment. To save cash we did not get Internet. Until now. So with a brand new modem, and apartment wide wireless, I plan on reviving this blog and bringing you tips and tricks to improve your diet and fitness.

In my off-time, I have not been idle. In December, I received my CSCS credentials from the NSCA. I was ecstatic at the news that I had passed the test, and felt I finally completed my degree ( I had planned upon graduating OSU with my Exercise Science degree to get the CSCS credential, but financial and time constraints hindered my progress).

As far as fitness goes, I have been changing my workouts lately. I recently have had success with countdown sequences. A countdown sequence involves two or more exercises performed alternately for x sets and x reps as fast as you can. For example, you could do 10 burppees, followed immediately by 10 squats, then immediately do 9 burppees then 9 squats, and so on until you get down to one. These sequences can be strung together to get a high intensity workout, or performed before and/or after you regular workout for added cardio.

That’s all for this week, and I hope to be back posting on a regular basis.

New Post!!!!

I haven’t posted here for some time. I more or less ran out of topics to cover on the site. It’s not that I don’t have a wealth of knowledge on fitness and nutrition, but rather that I don’t have a general direction to take the site in. Any comments on what you guys want to see posted, or any questions you might have would be greatly appreciated. As for today I think I’ll leave with a quick exercise tip. Make sure to eat some carbohydrate 15 min before a workout. That way your blood sugar will spike right at the start of the workout, and you will have more energy throughout.

J

Quick Tip

Just a quick tip today. Before you go to bed every night, hold a plank for as long as you can. Add 5 seconds every week. You’ll be surprised how fast you’ll improve, as well as how you’ll start to improve in other fitness areas as well.

J

Out Sick…

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I have been down with gastroenteritis for several days now. I am trying many remedies and will keep you posted on what works. So far, taking porbiotics has helped some but they have by no means won the war inside me.

Pillars of Health

     Lately, I have been thinking about getting back to the basics. What things really contribute to good health? What should all people do regardless of age or health status? This is where the concept for the “Pillars of Health” began. Of course, these are in my opinion, however as an experienced personal trainer, with a BS in Exercise Science, I like to believe that my opinion is well informed. So without further ado, I present (at least the first few) pillars of health.

Walk 30 min. each and every day.

     Walking should be the base of any fitness program. Barring extreme conditions, everyone can do it. It is good for you fitness level, as well as you mind, amongst other things. Walking helps to maintain ideal body weight and promotes overall good health. If it is one thing a reader takes away from this blog it should be to spend 30 min. walking every day.

Drink Water.

     I cannot begin to count the number of clients I have who drink less than 20 oz of water a day. I was once guilty of this myself, and I was once overweight. If you aren’t getting fluids from water, you are likely getting them in the form of high calorie drinks. These drinks are empty calories and are stopping you from losing weight, if not causing you to gain weight! Do yourself a favor and stop drinking yourself into obesity. Drink more water.

Eat Real Food.

     The food you put on your plate every day should be as whole and natural as it can possibly agree. I am not going to beat around the bush any longer, I think grains are simply bad for you. Grain based products (wheat, corn, and rice to name a few) are far to high in carbohydrate, often contain lots of sugar, and are among the most, if not the most outright, processed foods on the planet. Furthermore, they are some of the most genetically modified foods on earth. Processed grains and carbohydrate over-indulgence are the cause of weight gain in America. When you eat, you should eat real food. Whole vegetables, real whole cuts of meat, and fresh fruit should make up 90% of your diet.

     That’s all for now. In the future, I would like to continue to put out different “Pillars,” but as of right now, these are the most important. If you struggle with weight or health, I urge you to at least start with these changes. Nobody is perfect, and I am just now finding these habits are a daily occurrence for me, but I keep moving forward. Best of luck,

J