If You Are Over Age 40, These Publications are For You

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Heart Disease by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You

Healthline recently put together an infograph showcasing heart disease statistics and facts to help someone understand their risk for a heart attack or other heart-related issues.  You can see this very informative and powerful information at Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health 

Please help by sharing this very important information with you family, friends, and loved ones.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Prevent Muscle Loss With Strength Training

I believe strength training is the best thing you can do to improve your health and fitness level as you age. Strength training is so important because around age 40 you start to experience muscle loss. “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body, “says Dr. Edward Laskowski, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Left unabated you can lose up to 10 lbs of muscle each decade starting at age 40.

The reason that loosing muscle is so detrimental to your fitness is because muscle is the component of your body that burns the majority of the calories you consume each day. Therefore, when you lose muscle your body requires less calories to function and consequently those extra calories you consume are stored as fat around your waist ,hips, and other places.

Your body constantly burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. That small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.

Fortunately strength training can mitigate and even reverse the loss of muscle at any age. Thus, increasing the amount of calories you need to function. That’s why you hear some people say that after they have been strength training for awhile their appetites increase. This is a sign that they are starting to build muscle.


I recommend that you build your fitness program around strength training by doing 3 weight lifting sessions each week in which you target all your major muscle groups. Always allow at least one day of recovery between sessions to prevent injuries and over-training.  If you are new to weight lifting, find a qualified fitness professional to help you design your program and to show you the proper lifting techniques.  Also, click on the My Publications link above where you can find my personally designed strength training programs that you can download.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Practice Balance for Long-term Weight Loss

I have to be honest and tell you that more than 75 percent of the exercise required for long-term weight loss involves your fork and knife. No amount of exercise can compensate for poor dietary habits. A successful weight loss plan is one that you can integrate into your lifestyle and live with for the long-term.

Fad diets don’t work because they are too restrictive for most people to follow and to incorporate into their daily lives. How many times have you seen someone lose a lot of weight in a short period and hear people say, “Have you seen so-and-so, since she’s been on that new diet? She looks so good.” Then you see that person a year or so later, and she is heavier than ever. That’s the typical outcome of a fad diet because sooner or later you will start to feel deprived and then you will return to your old eating habits.

The key to eating healthy and maintaining your weight loss over the long-term is balance and moderation in the foods you consume daily. You can eat any food you desire as long as it is in moderation and balanced with the rest of the foods you consume. For example, I love brownies, so when I have a brownie for dessert I only have one. I also balance the carbohydrates and sugar in the brownie by not having bread with my meal.

The first step in learning balance and moderation in your diet is knowing how to classify foods into their basic sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as how they are used in your body. The second step is mastering portion. Knowing how many calories you consume from each food source and what your serving sizes are enables you to balance your meals. Eating this way can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle - it’s a plan you can stick with for the long-term.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Eating Some Fat is Part of a Healthy Diet

Fat has taken a bad rap over the years but, it is very essential to your health and well being.  “Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet” has been the mantra for healthy eating for decades now. Touted as a way to lose weight and prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions, millions of people have followed this advice. Seeing a tremendous marketing opportunity, food companies re-engineered thousands of foods to be lower in fat or fat free. The low-fat approach to eating may have made a difference for the occasional individual, but as a nation it has not helped us control our weight or become healthier. In the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with about 45 percent of their calories and about 13 percent of the population was obese and less than 1 percent had type 2 diabetes. Today Americans take in less fat, getting about 33 percent of calories from fats and oils, yet 34 percent of the population is obese and 8 percent has diabetes (mostly type 2).

Your body packages fat and cholesterol into tiny protein-covered particles called lipoprotein in order to get them into your blood stream. Some of these lipoproteins are big and fluffy, and others are small and dense. However, the most important ones to remember for your health and well-being are low-density lipoproteins, high-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides as explained below.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol form your liver to the rest of your body. Your cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, these particles can form deposits in the walls of your coronary arties and other arties throughout your body. These deposits, called plaque can cause your arties to narrow and limit blood flow resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Thus LDL cholesterol is called your bad cholesterol.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) scavenge cholesterol from your bloodstream, from your LDL, and from your artery walls and ferry it back to your liver for disposal. Thus HDL cholesterol is referred to as your good cholesterol.

Triglycerides make up most of the fat that you eat and that travels through your bloodstream. Triglycerides are your body’s main vehicle for transporting fats to your cells and thus, are very important for your good health. However, an excess of triglycerides can be unhealthy.

The type of fat your diet determines to a large extent the amount of total and LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. Cholesterol in food matters too, but not nearly as much. You can basically break the fats in your diet into three categories; good, bad, and very bad.

Good Fats

Unsaturated fats are called good fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles. Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. They are liquid at room temperature.

Further, there are two types of unsaturated fats. First monounsaturated fats which are found in high concentrations in canola, peanut, and olive oils; avocados; nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds. Secondly, polyunsaturated fats which are found in high concentrations in sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds and fish.

Research has shown that replacing carbohydrates in your diet with good fats reduces harmful levels of LDL and increases protective HDL in your bloodstream. A randomized trail known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health showed that replacing a carbohydrate-rich diet with one rich in unsaturated fat, predominantly monounsaturated fats lowers blood pressure, improves lipid levels, and reduces the estimated cardiovascular risk.

Bad Fats

Saturated fats are called bad fats because they increase your total cholesterol level by elevating your harmful LDL. Your body can make all the saturated fat that it needs, so you don’t need to get any in your diet. In the US and other developed countries saturated fats come mainly from meat, seafood, poultry with skin, and whole-milk dairy products. A few plant sources are also high in saturated fats, such as coconuts and coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil.

As general rule it’s a good idea to keep your intake of saturated fats as low as possible. Saturated fats are a part of many foods, including vegetable oils that are mainly unsaturated fats, so you can’t totally eliminate them from your diet. Red meat and dairy fats are the main sources of saturated fats in most people’s diets, so minimizing them in your diet is the primary way to reduce your intake of saturated fat.

Very Bad Fats

Trans fatty acids, more commonly known as trans fats are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils make them more stable and less likely to spoil. It also converts the oil into a solid which makes transportation easier. Partially hydrogenated oils can also withstand repeated heating without breaking down, which makes them ideal for frying fast foods. This is why partially hydrogenated oils have been a mainstay of restaurants and the food industry.

Trans fats are worse for cholesterol levels than saturated fats because they raise bad LDL and lower good HDL. They also increase inflammation, an over-activity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Even small amounts of trans fats in diet can have harmful health effects. For every extra 2 percent of calories from trans fat daily (the amount in a medium order of fast food French fries) the risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent. It is estimated that eliminating trans fats from the US food supply would prevent between 6 and 19 percent of heart attacks and related deaths (more than 200,000) each year.

 Dr. Donal Layman, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois has developed the most balanced dietary plan that I have seen in my 20 years in the health and fitness industry.  It's a system called Metaboliq manufactured by a company called Qivana.  I follow this system everyday in my diet.  Please send me an email at darvis@fit-to-be.com if wish to receive more information about this amazing weight management system.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eating Lower Glycemic Carbs Helps You to Lose Weight

If you are trying to lose weight, maintaining a steady blood sugar level is a very important component of your dieting effort. While your body breaks down all digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar, some are converted into blood sugar faster than others. Thus, some carbohydrates cause a spike in your blood sugar level which causes you to feel hungry faster and to crave more sugary foods. While other carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar more slowly leveling out you blood sugar resulting in less hunger and less food cravings.

For this reason, the Glycemic Index (GI) was developed to classify how quickly your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar as compared to pure glucose. Glucose has a GI of 100 and all other carbohydrate based foods are ranked against it. Foods with a score of 70 or more are defined as having a high GI while those with a score of 55 or less are considered as low.

Eating lots of food with a high GI causes spikes in your blood sugar level which can lead to many health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. While eating low GI foods causes your blood sugar level to stay even thus, keeping your energy level balanced and causing you to fill fuller longer between meals. The following are some additional benefits of eating low GI carbohydrates.

· Helps you to lose and manage your weight.
· Increases your body's sensitivity to insulin.
· Decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
· Reduces your risk of heart disease.
· Improves your blood cholesterol levels
· Reduces hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
· Helps you prolong physical activity.
· Helps you to re-fuel your carbohydrate stores after exercise.

You can get the GI rating of hundreds of carbohydrate based foods from the Glycemic Index Foundation, sponsored by the University of Sydney in Australia. They maintain a searchable database of over 1600 entries at http://www.glycemicindex.com.

Dr. Donal Layman, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois has developed the most balanced dietary plan that I have seen in my 20 years in the health and fitness industry.  It's a system called Metaboliq manufactured by a company called Qivana.  I follow this system everyday in my diet.  Please send me an email at darvis@fit-to-be.com if wish to receive more information about this amazing weight management system.
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Balancing Protein in Your Diet

I have to be honest and tell you that more than 70 percent of the exercise required to stay fit and firm as you age involves a fork and knife. No amount of exercise can compensate for poor dietary habits. I believe in finding a healthy eating plan that works for you, that you can live with for the long-term.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate a healthy dietary plan into your life is through balance and moderation in the foods you eat everyday.You can eat any food you desire as long as it is in moderation and balanced it with the rest of the foods you consume. For example, I love brownies, so when I have a brownie for dessert I only have one. I also balance the carbohydrates and sugar in the brownie by not having bread with my meal.

The first step to learning balance and moderation in your diet is knowing how to classify foods into their basic source of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as how they are used in your body. The second step is mastering portion. Knowing how many calories you consume from each food source and what your serving sizes are will enable you to balance your meals. Eating this way can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle - it’s a plan you can stick with over time.

So let’s begin by seeing how foods are broken down into their basic components of protein, carbohydrates, and fats and how your body uses them. In this post we'll talk about Protein.

Protein

Protein is a necessary part of every living cell in your body. Next to water, protein comprises up the greatest portion of your body weight. Protein substances make up your muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair, and many vital body fluids. It is essential for the growth, repair, and healing of your bones, tissues, and cells. In addition, the enzymes and hormones that catalyze and regulate your body processes are comprised of protein. So, you see the proper amount of protein in your diet is vital for your health and wellbeing.

Protein is composed of building-block chemicals called amino acids. There are approximately 28 commonly known amino acids that your body uses to create all the various combinations of proteins needed for survival. These 28 commonly known amino acids are further classified as essential and nonessential amino acids. Nonessential amino acids can be produced in your body, while essential amino acids cannot be produced in your body and must be obtained from the foods you eat.

The sources of protein in your diet are classified as complete or incomplete. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids and are mostly from animal sources such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Incomplete proteins lack one or more essential amino acids that your body cannot make itself. Incomplete proteins usually come from plant- based sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. You must eat incomplete sources of protein in a combination that contains all the essential amino acids in order for your body to use them.

As mentioned, you must get your essential amino acids from your diet because your body cannot make them itself. Some of the best animal sources of protein are fish, poultry, lean cuts of meat, and low-fat dairy products. Some of the best vegetable sources are beans, nuts, and whole grains.

So, now you must be thinking how much protein should be in your daily diet? According to research on this topic, people who consume higher amounts of protein while cutting back on their carbohydrate intake, tend to lose weight faster and stay leaner than those people on low-fat diets.  Research by Dr. Donald Layman, one of the foremost experts on protein synthesis reveals that consuming 30 grams of protein at each of these meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner has an effect of reducing blood sugar and causing your body to build and maintain healthy muscle.

The reason higher protein, lower carbohydrates diets are more conducive to weight loss and maintenance is interesting. First, high-protein foods slow the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines, meaning you feel full longer and don’t get hungry as often. Second, protein has a leveling effect on your blood sugar which means you are less likely to get spikes in your blood sugar that lead to cravings for more carbohydrates. Third, your body uses more energy to digest protein than it does to digest fat or carbohydrates.

Now that you know how important protein is in your diet here are some good sources of protein listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you with you serving sizes.

1 ounce meat, fish, poultry equals 7 grams of protein

1 large egg equals 6 grams of protein

4 ounces milk equal 4 grams of protein

4 ounces low-fat yogurt equals 6 grams of protein

4 ounces soy milk equals 5 grams of protein

3 ounces tofu, firm equals 13 grams of protein

1 ounce cheese equals 7 grams of protein

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese equals 14 grams of protein

1/2 cup cooked kidney beans equals 7 grams of protein

1/2 cup lentils equals 9 grams of protein

1 ounce nuts equals 7 grams of protein

2 tablespoons peanut butter equals 8 grams of protein

1/2 cup vegetables equals 2 grams of protein

1 slice bread equals 2 grams of protein

1/2 cup of most grains/pastas equals 2 grams of protein

I hope this helps you start to understand how to balance your meals.  In my next post I'll talk about carbohydrates.

Dr. Layman has developed the most balanced dietary plan that I have seen in my 20 years in the health and fitness industry.  It's a system called Metaboliq manufactured by a company called Qivana.  I follow this system everyday in my diet.  Please send me an email at darvis@fit-to-be.com if wish to receive more information about this amazing weight management system.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Staying Fit and Firm With Age

My name is Darvis Simms, and I am a personal trainer. Over the last 20 years , I’ve helped hundreds of people get healthy and stay fit. In this series of posts, I want to help you realize your fitness potential by showing you what I do myself and with my clients. I’m writing these posts based on the things that I have learned and applied in my exercise program over the last 30 years in my quest to stay fit and firm as I age. My methods are not based on scientific theory but rather on results that I have attained for both myself and my clients.

As I mature and my client base matures, I’m beginning to specialize in fitness over age 40. I’m in my fifties so I understand the challenges you face as you fight the aging process. I am stronger, fitter, and I feel better than I did in my twenties. I’m writing this series of posts to show you how to look and feel as good, or even better, in your forties and fifties than you did in your twenties.

People seem to think that once they reach the age of forty, their bodies start to deteriorate , slipping down the slope into old age. They blame their lack of energy, their pudgy appearance, and their aches and pains on “getting old”. Most of these symptoms are however the result of years of negative thinking, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices. The key to keeping your body fit and firm as you age is making healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis.

It’s a proven fact that people who make healthy lifestyle choices live longer and have a better quality of life than those who adopt unhealthy habits. So, deciding to incorporate healthy habits into your life is the first step to getting and staying fit and firm with age. The next step is choosing those activities that are the most beneficial in your quest to stay fit and firm.

Those, including myself, who stay fit and firm as the years pass find that a positive state of mind, and a proper mix of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and balanced nutrition is fundamental to getting and staying healthy as you mature. People, such as Jack LaLanne and Al Beckles are examples of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

Jack LaLann, who recently passed away, was a living icon to the benefits of healthy thinking, eating, and exercise. Over the years he performed amazing feats of strength and conditioning on his birthdays as he got older. Jack was in great shape, and worked outs two hours each day, devoting one and a half hours to strength training well into his nineties. This is a true testament to the value of strength training as you age.

Al Beckles is a legend in the bodybuilding world. At the age of 55, Al placed second in the Mr. Olympia competition. The Mr. Olympia Competition is the premier bodybuilding event which thousands of competitors from across the world dream of winning each year. Al Beckles competed well into his sixties because his physique was still phenomenal and better than competitors more than half his age.

While I don’t place myself in the same class with Jack LaLanne and Al Beckles I can tell you the value that healthy lifestyle habits have in my life. As mentioned , I am in my fifties and I keep my body fat at 10 percent or less. My fitness program consists of four strength training sessions each week followed by 20 minutes of cardio. I can chest press 100 pound dumbbells for 10 repetitions and leg press more than 1000 pounds, neither of which I could do in my twenties.

The best balanced nutritional plan that I've seen in my 20 years in the health and fitness industry is a system developed by Dr. Donald K. Layman, called Metaboliq.  It's based on balancing the proper amount of protein and carbohydrates in your meals.  This is the way I've eaten for years.  You can find out more about this amazing system by following this link: Metaboliq