Monday, October 31, 2016

Two of My Favorite Exercises For Developing and Strengthening Your Shoulders

Your shoulder joint has more range of motion than any other joint in your body, and your shoulders are involved in every movement of your upper body.  Thus, having strong shoulders makes the activities of everyday life easier to perform.  The video below demonstrates two of my favorite exercises for developing and strengthening your shoulders.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Breakfast Starts Your Day in Either a Fat Burning Or a Fat Storing Mode

Your first meal of the day is very important because it determines whether you start your day in a fat burning or a fat storing mode.  Most people mistakenly start their day in a fat storing mode by eating a meal high in carbohydrates such as cereal, bread, fruit, and juice for breakfast and very little protein.  Your body quickly converts all those carbohydrates to blood sugar, which causes your insulin level to spike and to store most of those calories your just consumed as fat.  Once all that blood sugar is stored, your insulin level hits bottom causing hunger pains and cravings for more foods high in carbohydrates.  This vicious sugar craving cycle can go on all day unless you do something to derail it.

On the other hand,  having a breakfast in which you consume at least 21 grams of high quality protein such as eggs, low-fat dairy, and lean meats starts your day in a fat burning mode.  When you eat a breakfast high in protein your body to start a process called protein synthesis.  This is basically a biological process by which muscle cells are built and maintained and it is very energy intensive causing your body to burn fat as fuel to support it.  Thus, this process increases your metabolism, and levels out your energy until your next meal, which means you burn more calories, and you don't have sugar cravings.

I start my day by having a smoothie with a whey protein powder that is quick and easy to make.   When using a protein supplement, whey based or otherwise, make sure it has at least 21 grams of protein per serving because this is the threshold where your body starts the protein synthesis process.  Below is one of my favorite smoothies for breakfast, I call it my Blueberry Special.

  • One cup of frozen wild blueberries
  • One serving of vanilla whey protein powder (the one I use has 26 grams of protein per serving)
  • One cup of unsweetened almond milk
This smoothie contains 249 calories, 3 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of protein. A quick and easy balanced breakfast that starts my day in a fat burning mode.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Carbohydrates Are An Important Part Of A Healthy Diet

Today people seem to equate eating carbohydrates to weight gain which is not all true.  While eating a lot of easily- digested carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods may contribute to your weight gain, and therefore, interfere with your efforts to lose weight. On the contrary, consuming whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and other intact carbohydrates promotes good health.  A healthy diet is about balance and moderation. A basic knowledge of what carbohydrates are and how you body uses them is essential to understanding how to balance them in your diet.

Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that are excellent sources of energy for your body; they are the preferred fuel for your brain and nervous system. Carbohydrates are found in an array of foods such as bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, rice, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and desserts. The most common and abundant forms are classified as sugars, fibers, and starches.

The basic building block of every carbohydrate is a sugar molecule, a simple union of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Starches and fibers forms of carbohydrates are essentially chains of sugar molecules, some containing hundreds.

As mentioned above, most carbohydrates come from plant sources and are in the form of sugars, starches, and fibers. Sugars, also called simple carbohydrates, include fruit sugar (fructose), corn or grape sugar (dextrose or glucose), and table sugar (sucrose). Starches, also known as complex carbohydrates, include everything made of three or more linked sugars. Starches include foods such as breads, cereals, grains, pasta, rice, and flour. Fibers are technically classified as a starch because they are complex carbohydrates that your body cannot breakdown into sugar molecules. Fibers are more abundant in whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Regardless of their source, your body breaks down all carbohydrates, except for fibers, into simple sugar molecules  These simple sugars are further converted into glucose, also known as blood sugar. Your body is designed to use blood sugar as a universal source of fuel for energy.

Fiber is the form of carbohydrate that your body cannot break down into simple sugar molecules. It passes through your body undigested. Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble, which dissolves in water, and insoluble, which does not. Although neither type provides energy for your body, they both promote health in many ways. Soluble fiber binds to fatty substances in your intestines and carries them out as waste, thus lowering your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol). It also helps regulate your body’s use of sugars, helping you to keep your hunger and blood sugar in check. Insoluble fiber helps push food through your intestinal tract, promoting regularity and helping to prevent constipation.

Here’s what happens when you eat a food containing carbohydrates. Your digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which then enters your blood. As your blood sugar level rises, specials cells in your pancreas churn out insulin, a hormone that signals your cells to absorb the blood sugar for energy or for storage. As your cells soak-up the blood sugar, its level in your bloodstream begins to fall. Now, your pancreas starts making another hormone called glucagon, which signals your liver to start releasing stored blood sugar. This interplay of insulin and glucagon ensures that cells throughout your body have a steady supply of blood sugar. 

As you can see, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.  However, as with all foods, balance and moderation in your daily consumption is key.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Two Exercises For Developing And Strengthening Your Chest

Please see the video below for a demonstration of two of my favorite exercises for developing and strengthening your chest.  And remember, you can get stronger and more fit no matter your age.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Great Abdomnal Exercise Using a BOSU

Below is a video of one of my favorite abdominal exercises using the BOSU.  This exercise really hits all areas of the mid-section.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Living a Healthy Lifestyle is Simply Your Choice

Getting healthier, losing weight, feeling better, and getting fit is not complicated. It’s about the daily choices you make. Choice is a powerful thing. You can choose daily habits that promote a healthy lifestyle or not. That choice is completely yours.

Many of the aliments that we associate with aging are the results of many years of making poor lifestyle choices. I’m a 57 years old personal trainer, and I hear people almost half my age complaining of the aliments of "getting older."  I can honestly tell you I'm as strong and as fit as I was in 20s, and you can be too, it's all about the daily choices you make.  I choose to live a healthy lifestyle. I eat a healthy diet, I exercise on a regular basis, and I fill my mind with positive uplifting thoughts.

Here’s an example of the power of choice. I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago, and across the room I noticed two women sitting together. One woman was extremely over-weight, and the other woman was very fit. The over weight woman was eating a big cookie and drinking a latte, while the fit woman was eating a health breakfast wrap. Now, I’m pretty sure that the over-weight woman did gain those extra pounds by eating a cookie and drinking a latte just one time. Most likely, her extra weight is from years of choosing to eat cookies and drink lattes, or something similar for breakfast, and getting very little physical activity.  No one forced her to make that decision. And on the other hand, no one forces the fit woman to eat the way she eats. It’s all about personal choice. While an occasional mocha latte and a big cookie for breakfast won’t make you over-weight, choosing to have them everyday probably will.

It’s your choice, it’s your health. You and only you are responsible for your health and well-being. Choose healthy eating habits, and healthy lifestyle activities, and you become a healthy person. It's that simple.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Whey Protein: Health Benefits and Side Effects - page 2 - Medical News Today

If you've read many of my posts you know I'm an advocate of protein supplementation, especially as you age.  Below is a link to a great article by Medical News Today about the benefits of adding whey protein to your diet.  Wishing you a healthy day!

Whey Protein: Health Benefits and Side Effects - page 2 - Medical News Today

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Does Old Age Look Like For You

Experts are now saying it’s true that you are as young as you think. By having the right kind of attitude and the right frame of mind, not only can you live longer, but you can also remain younger for a longer period of time.

Researchers have found that irrespective of race, religion, socio-economic background, diet etc., the people who age the best all seem to share the same background. They tend to be active, keep their stress under check, and maintain a sense of humor. Another interesting aspect is they don’t get stuck in the past, and are always looking forward to the future.

How you think about ageing is the most crucial point in how you actually age. The so called aches, and pains of age has more to do with what you believe about aging than any other factor. In my profession of personal training I’ve heard people in their 30s complain of the effects of aging, while I’ve had clients over 90 never grumble about age.

Those, who stay young as the years pass find that a positive state of mind, an active lifestyle, and balanced nutrition is fundamental to getting and staying healthy as you mature. Here are two examples, Al Beckles and the late Jack LaLanne who can teach us so much about living a healthy lifestyle and aging.

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

Jack LaLanne 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 birthday. Jack worked out well into his 90s, devoting one and a half hours each day to strength training.

In summary, old age has more to do with what your mental image of it looks like than anything else, for that becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Thus, never let statistics and society define what aging looks like for you. Age is only a number and you are much more than that.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Lifestyle Is The Most Significate Factor To Being Healthy

What if I told you that you hold the keys to your health in your hands? Well truth is you do, and it's the choices you make on a daily basis. The major causes of death and chronic diseases today are all related to lifestyle choices. Smoking, overuse of alcohol, poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate relief of chronic stress are key contributors to the development and progression of preventable chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.
  • Smoking is the top preventable cause of death in the United States. If you decide to smoke you also choose to take 10 years off of your life expectancy.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can cause damage to your heart, liver, and pancreas and can increase your risk for certain types of cancer.
  • Poor nutrition can impair your daily health and well-being, and reduce your ability to lead an enjoyable and active life. In the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to stress, tiredness, and your capacity to work. Over time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as:
    • being overweight or obese
    • tooth decay
    • high blood pressure
    • high cholesterol
    • heart disease and stroke
    • type-2 diabetes
    • osteoporosis
    • some cancers
    • depression
    • eating disorders.
  • Lack of exercise can increase your risk of premature death by 30 percent. Data now suggests that at least twice as many deaths occur due to a lack of exercise than due to obesity.
  • Failure to properly deal with chronic stress can disrupt almost all of your body's normal processes. 

Balance and moderation is key to making healthy lifestyle choices. Here are a few suggestions to help you make choices that prolong and improve the quality of your life.
  • Don't smoke and if you presently do smoke get some professional help to stop. Think about this every time you light-up a cigarette your subtract some time from your lifespan.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol may offer some health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, too much alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart. Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
  • A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. In order to get the proper nutrition from your diet, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from:
    • fresh fruits
    • fresh vegetables
    • whole grains
    • legumes
    • nuts
    • lean proteins
  • If you are currently living a sedentary lifestyle, the mere act of incorporating some moderate activity most days of the week can significantly reduce your mortality rate. Research shows that just meeting the minimum requirement of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week, can reduce your risk of death from any cause by 19 percent.
  • Learn to manage your stress. Stressful events are a fact of life and you may not be able to change your current situation, but you can take steps to manage the impact these events have on you. You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations. Stress management strategies include:
    • Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
    • Practicing relaxation techniques such yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and massage
    • Taking time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
    • Fostering healthy friendships
    • Having a sense of humor
    • Volunteering in your community
    • Seeking professional counseling when needed