Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November Health Questionnaire

Here is the Health Questionnaire for the month of November.  Good luck!
Answers will be posted on the 15th

1.       Applying a moist heat pack alone will help increase the flexibility of a muscle?
A.      True
B.      False

2.       What is the recommended amount of moderate-intensity exercise time per week for the overweight and obese population?
A.      100 minutes
B.      150 minutes
C.      200 minutes
D.      250 minutes

3.       Doing abdominal exercises is an effective way to lose extra fat around the mid-section?
A.      True
B.      False

4.       What percentage of American women are dieting?
A.      10%
B.      20%
C.      40%
D.      80%

5.       The initial weight loss seen at the beginning of a diet comes from?
A.      Sudden drop in fat stores
B.      Change in metabolic rate
C.      Loss of water
D.      All of the above

6.       What percentage of your daily caloric intake should come from fat?
A.      2-5%
B.      5-10%
C.      25-35%
D.      35-50%

7.       What does the acronym FITT of the FITT Principle stand for in describing exercise?
A.      Frequency, Intensity, Type, Timing
B.      Functional Interval Training Technique
C.      Fun Intervals To Try
D.      None of the above

8.       What does RPE stand for?
A.      Reps Per Exercise
B.      Rate of Perceived Exertion
C.      Rate of Pulmonary Extraction
D.      Rapid Plyometric Exercises

9.       How often should a healthy person get their blood pressure checked?
A.      Every time you see the Doctor
B.      Every 6 months
C.      Every year after age 40
D.      Every 5 years after age 20

10.   Which of the following dietary habits does NOT contribute to high blood pressure?
A.      High sodium intake
B.      Low fiber intake
C.      Low potassium intake
D.      Moderate alcohol intake
E.       High calcium intake

11.   When exercising with high blood pressure, what is the best advice to follow?
A.      Always talk to your doctor when beginning an exercise program
B.      Start out slowly, making gradual increases
C.      Never hold your breath
D.      Don’t rely on Heart Rate alone to monitor exercise intensity
E.       All of the above

12.   Exercising 3 or more time a week will increase your metabolism even while you rest?
A.      True
B.      False

13.   Unsaturated fat, a healthy fatty acid, can be found in all of the following foods except which one?
A.      Avocados
B.      Meat
C.      Nuts and Seeds
D.      Olive Oil

14.   Which of the following contains the most energy (calories)?
A.      Carbohydrates
B.      Fats
C.      Proteins
D.      Alcohol

15.   What does the American College of Sports Medicine recommend  as the ideal length of time you hold a stretch to improve flexibility?
A.      5-10 sec.
B.      10-15 sec.
C.      15-30 sec.
D.      30-45 sec.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend workout # 22

Today's workout will consist of lots of cardio work.  This will be a great addition to your strength workout that you did ( you did do one right?).

The goal today will be to get the HR up and keep it there throughout the circuit.  If you are planning to do a strength workout today, I would suggest that you do that first in order to maximize that workout.  Today's workout is meant to be a high intensity workout or a "finisher" to your regular workout (being completed at the end).

Warm up good for about 10 min, or if you are finishing your strength workout move right into this workout with minimal rest.  The equipment you will need are 2 light dumbbells, and either a step box or several stair steps.

Complete each exercise below for 30 sec and move to the next with no ( or very minimal) rest.  When finished with the last exercise, rest 45 sec and repeat 3-4 times.  Just watch the calories melt away.

Jumping jacks 
Squat jumps (or regular squats if you have bad knees)
Skier swings with dumbbells (hold dumbbells in hands and slightly bend your knees.  Then just like you are using your arms to move forward on your skis, swings the DB's down by your sides as you bend your knees.  Then return the DB's back up as you stand up.  This should be done in a relatively fast motion to get/keep the HR up.
Side step with punches  (holding a DB in each hand, step to the right with your right foot and punch left with your right arm, then step back feet together and then step left foot to the left and punch left arm to the right)
Burpees (always a favorite)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food Day!

Today is Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.  For more information visit this site

Food Day is an effort to strengthen our nations' food policies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

AMRAP Nutrition bar

I have something for you to try and I'm pretty sure you will find it to your liking, just like I did. I'm talking about the AMRAP Refuel Bar, a new energy bar designed to be 100% paleo.

The bar is packed with 300 calories of fuel.  It's about the same size of a Balance Bar.  I recently used the bar as my nutrition on a 2-hour mountain bike ride and it provided plenty of fuel to keep me riding strong.  What makes this bar unique is that there are no sticky fingers or melted chocolate to deal with.  Even while exercising, chewing and digesting the bar was easy, I didn't have to waste energy in order to swallow each bite.  And did I mention that the bar tastes damn good?  Yeah I did, but it's worth repeating.

As I mentioned above the bar is loaded with healthy ingredients, and plenty of vitamins/minerals.

You can purchase the bars in boxes of 8, I ordered 3 boxes for a total of 24 bars. Each box of 8 will run you $23.95 + shipping.  Per bar that equates to $2.99/BAR (shipping not included).  Yes this is a high price to pay for an energy bar, but it is still competitive with all the other bars on the market and you are paying for healthy ingredients (not added preservatives).  

Try one for yourself, I'm sure you too will enjoy.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Workout #21

Ohhh you are going to love this workout.  I recently did this workout with one of my clients and she was exhausted by the end.  This is a great metabolic workout, completing both structural and compound exercises with minimal rest in between.  This type of workout will burn many calories during the workout, but will also spike your metabolism so you continue to burn calories after your done.

Metabolic workouts are high-intensity anaerobic workouts (without the use of oxygen), and almost leave you breathless.  Conversely, aerobic workouts (with the use of oxygen) are ones that you could carry on a conversation with someone while exercising.  When you are limited on time, or want to get in an efficient workout, metabolic workouts are a great choice.

Finally, when doing these types of workouts, you should be feeling a burning sensation in your muscles near the last rep of each exercise.  With this "muscle burning" effect, the body tends to make hormonal changes that result in more fat burning and building more muscle.  Who doesn't want that to happen?

Equipment needed:

The only piece of equipment you will need is a jump rope (if you don't have one you can either act like you have one in your hands and still do the same motion, or simply do jumping jacks instead).
This is a great workout to do on your non-strength training days.

Workout details:

  • 4 supersets of 6 exercises.  
  • Perform each exercise without any rest  (or as little as possible), and only 30 sec. between sets
  • Superset #1 = jump rope for 3 min. and 20 reps of all exercises
  • Superset #2 = jump rope for 3 min. and only 15 reps of all exercises
  • Superset #3 = jump rope for 3 min. and 10 reps of all exercises
  • Superset #4 = jump rope for 3 min. and 5 reps for all exercises
  • Jump rope
  • Pushups
  • Alternating lunges
  • Mtn climbers
  • Knee tucks 
  • Burpees
** Knee tucks - sitting with knees bent and feet off the floor, bring knees toward chest as you crunch your upper body.  Then extend your legs and lower your upper body back towards the floor, repeat.

As always, make sure to warm up good and then  follow up this workout with some easy stretching. Do this with a friend to add a little competitiveness.  You'll burn about 300 calories in 20-30 min. with this workout if you are able to complete all reps listed above.  

Let me know what you think of this workout by leaving a comment in the "Comments" section below.
Have fun!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

The best strength exercise you are probably NOT doing

Ok, ok, so maybe not the BEST exercise, but definitely one of the most efficient exercises for building overall strength.  If you have ever watched the Strongest Man competition on TV then you have seen this exercise.  I'm talking about the Farmer's Walk, (also known as the farmer's carry) a simple yet effective exercise to build strength in many body parts with limited equipment and a low movement IQ.  If you can walk and hold on to a weight/s, you can perform the Farmer's Walk.  You don;t have to be training as an athlete or to bulk up in order to do this exercise.  Woman of all ages and young children can also do this, just use a proper weight.  I'll explain more on this later.

You can use either dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, or if you are lucky and you or your gym has them, specifically designed barbells that allow you to add weighted plates.  The farmer's Walk is a great addition to most workouts and can be done as a stand alone strength exercise, or at the end of your regular workout.  There are several different variations when performing this movement, simply by holding the weight in various positions.
  • holding both weights at your side
  • holding both weights overhead
  • holding the weight in only 1 hand
  • holding 1 weight overhead and 1 weight at your side
All are effective but will target a slightly different muscle group or put more emphasis one one muscle group.  If you want to see how strong your core muscles are, try the 3rd variation (holding weight in only 1 hand) and walk for 30-50 yards.  Then initial tendency will be to lean the body, but if you really focus and use your core muscle (abs, low back) to maintain an upright posture you will get a great workout for the mid region.  Pretty hard, huh?

Why do you need to do this exercise?

Because it is very functional!  You may have heard this word thrown around in your gym when referring to exercising.  Functional exercises are ones that mimic what we do in our normal daily living (squatting, pulling, pushing, carrying).  Now you may be thinking, I don't carry kettlebells every day.  You're right.  However, you probably do carry groceries, boxes, baby seats (if you have kids - and maybe even twins), wheel-barrels when doing yard work,etc.  It doesn't get much more functional than that. 

How much weight should you carry?

As a general rule of thumb, when you first try this exercise, choose a weight no heavier than 1/2 your body weight.  The goal is to grab a weight that is heavy enough that you can't swing back and forth easily, but one that you are able to pick up with proper lifting form.  However, I would suggest choosing a weight that for 50 yards (think half a football field) is challenging, and repeat that length 2-3 times with 30 sec. rest.  It should be very challenging towards the end of the determined length, almost to the point that you want to drop the weight.  As this length becomes easier add more distance before adding weight.  I've heard of some people carrying weight for 10 min. at a time.  Damn!  When you can carry the weight for 200 yards (2 lengths of a football field) then add more weight and return to your 50 yards distance and repeat this cycle working up to 200 yards.  When picking up and setting the weight down, try to focus on proper form much like a deadlift exercise (bending legs while keeping back flat).  

Which muscles are used during this exercise?

As I mentioned earlier this exercises involves many body parts; which in turn recruits many different muscles. I'll start with the obvious muscles.  The legs (glutes, quads, hammies, calves) are all used in order to walk with the loaded weight.  The shoulders and upper back are used to hold the loaded weight up.  Your forearms are used in order to hold on to the loaded weight.  Now here is where you will be amazed by the effectiveness of this exercise.  Your abs, low back, and hips are all used to help stabilize your body while walking with the loaded weight.  

There you have it, a simple yet effective way to build strength.  Now start carrying some heavy weight and prepare to compete against Thor and Vladimar.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October Health Questionnaire Answers

1.  D
2.  A
3.  D
4.  D
5.  B
6.  A
7.  B
8.  B
9.  B
10.  C
11.  C
12.  B
13.  B
14.  B
15.  B

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Workout #20

Jog easy for 3-5 minutes, then do the following exercises for 30 seconds each.

jumping jacks
side lunges (alternate)
side shuffles (both directions)
seal jacks (same as jumping jacks, but bring hands together in front rather than overhead)
arm circles (both directions)
jumping jacks

perform each exercise without any rest between.  Rest 30-60 sec. between rounds.  Aim for 2-4 rounds.

8   Reverse Lunge with Knee Lifts (lunge back with left leg, then step forward and lift the left knee up towards chest (if you have dumbbells you can also include a shoulder press as you lunge back)
5   Lateral Lunges w/ Knee Lifts (lunge to one side and squat down, then return as you bring your knee up)
5   Push-ups
5   Inverted Hamstring (stand on 1-leg and lift arms out to sides at 90 degrees, then keeping back flat bend at waist and lift opposite leg towards the sky, then switch sides)
10  Split Squats
5    Tricep Dips (you can do these on a step, or a bench - whatever is nearby) - keep legs straight for a more challenge, and bent to make it a little easier

16  Reverse Lunge with Knee Lifts
10  Lateral Lunges w/ Knee Lifts
15  Push-ups
10  Inverted Hamstring
20  Split Squats
15  Tricep Dips

25  Reverse Lunge with Knee Lifts
20  Lateral Lunges w/ Knee Lifts
25  Push-ups
15  Inverted Hamstring
25  Split Squats
25  Tricep Dips

Metabolic Blast
(complete the following without any rest in between each exercise)
60 sec jumping jacks
30 sec run in place
20 sec mtn climbers
30 sec skier abs (start in plank position, then jump both feet in and to the left, then jump back to center, and now over to the right and in...repeat this sequence keeping abs contracted for time listed.

Cool Down  5-10 minutes
Walk easy for time and then do several static stretches (holding each for 10-20 sec.) without bouncing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Join the movement

On New Year's Day - January 1, 2013, Lifetime Fitness is producing a movement, called Commitment Day, to help everyone commit to a healthy lifestyle.  Several cities across the country will be hosting a 5k run/walk/crawl/stroll event, so look for a city near you.  They want you to "commit" to a healthy lifestyle rather than make a resolution.  See the video below for more about the movement.

The most staggering statistics about our state of health is that 105 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, and 2 out of 3 Americans are considered obese or overweight.

Now I'm not saying sit around until January 1st to commit to living a healthy lifestyle, but maybe you can start getting yourself prepared.  If you already exercise outdoors or belong to a gym continue to do so.  However, if you have not exercised for several years, you now will have something to help motivate you to get ready to start living healthy again.  And it will be a great way to join hundreds of thousands of others who have the same mentality as you and I.  So mark your calendar, and either start a new exercise program today, or begin to get yourself mentally prepared to a path of healthy living.  As an added bonus, maybe you can set yourself a goal to run the entire 5k rather than walk it.

Good luck on your journey.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekend Workout #19

Instead of pushing yourself through a challenging workout today, I would like you to give your body what it really needs...some regeneration.  This is simply the process of letting your body recover from all the stress of training during the week.  I want you to think of today as a "active recovery day", as apposed to thinking of it as a day off.  It's what you do today that allows to to be able to push yourself hard during your workouts.

Today's recovery day will include some "active" rest; simply taking a break from your serious training and doing some light physical activity such as golf, a light hike, or some flexibility work and stretching.  Not only is this a day to rest physically, but also mentally.  Let your mind be free of all the clutter.

Rules of Active Rest

  • Keep it moderate to low intensity
  • Don’t overdo it, but do at least 20 minutes
  • Incorporate movements that develop flexibility and mobility
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
  • Form over power, take this chance to refine movement skills and techniques

By moving lightly you are pumping blood throughout your body, which then delivers nutrients to your muscles leading to a faster recovery period.  Regeneration can be the difference between reaching and not reaching your goals.  Your body actually improves and adapts to stress on these regeneration days.  The benefit to recovering faster is that you are then able to return to your high-intensity workout/s much sooner.  If our bodies don't get enough active rest, sooner or later it will burn out.

Other things to consider on regeneration days are either getting a massage or simply doing some foam rolling.
If you have never used or seen a foam roller, this could soon become your best friend.  Foam rolls are essentially a self-massage tool.

If you have never used a foam roll before, be cautious because it can be quite painful in the beginning.  Not only does a foam roll stretch muscles and tendons, but it also breaks down soft tissue adhesion and scar tissue.  I remember the first time I used one and I nearly screamed through the roof.  Adding a few minutes of foam rolling each week is a great addition to any exercise program.

Here are several areas to focus on when foam rolling.  

Lower Back

More areas can be added as you become familiar with using the roll, and when your muscles and fascia are ready.  Roll on each location for about 20-30 sec.  The more painful it is, the more attention your muscles need.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Snack or lunch recipe

If you are tired if eating the same thing every day, each week for your snack or lunch (depending on your caloric needs), here is a simple recipe you can try that will help freshen up your diet.

1 can tuna
2 Tbsp tahini (can also use almond butter)
1 tsp parsley
1/4 cup chopped carrots

Blend everything together and enjoy alone or with a whole wheat tortilla or bread.  I like to also include a little avocado for some extra added healthy fat.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10 Nutrition rules to live by...

I cannot stress it enough, but when trying make health/fitness/performance improvements, it all has to start with nutrition.  What you put in your body will ultimately determine your body's capability to produce greater adaptations to the stresses to put on it.  Ironically, what you put in your body today will actually effect your body's response 3-6 months down the road, especially when considering performance in a sport.

Do you want bigger muscles?  Sorry, but a eating a cheeseburger and fries will not help accomplish that.

Do you want to run faster?  Sorry, but drinking 3 beers a day ain't gonna cut it.

How about climbing a hill faster on your bike?  Nope, that brownie won't help.

Here are 10 nutrition rules to live by from Amanda Carlson, MS,RD
1.  Eliminate processed foods and eat foods that come from animals (unless vegetarian), that grow from the ground or grow from a tree.

2.  Eat breakfast

3.  Eat smaller portions more frequently throughout the day (aim for 5-8 meals per day)

4.  Drink water - I've mentioned before to aim for an average of 64 oz per day and adjust as needed.  Amanda recommends his formula to determine your water intake per day in ounces (.6 x body weight)

5.  Include LEAN protein sources with each meal (chicken, grass fed beef, eggs, fish, etc)

6.  Eat carbohydrates rich in fiber (vegetables, quinoa)

7.  Include a multivitamin

8.  Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal (your best choice would be green veggies)

9.  Before and after your workout, drink a protein/carbohydrate mixture (whey protein with a banana)

10.  Get enough rest!  This is when your muscles will be rebuilding and repairing

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Health Questionnaire

Here is this months' Questionnaire.  Post your answers in the Comments link at the bottom of the page.  Good luck!  
Answers will be posted on October 15th.

1.       Which of the following foods has the most fiber?
A.      Raspberries
B.      Black Beans
C.      Almonds
D.      Lentils

2.       Ina recent research study, which of the following 3 exercises were the MOST effective for strengthening the chest muscles?
A.      Barbell bench press, pec deck, bent-forward cable crossovers
B.      Suspended pushups, incline dumbbell fly’s, dips
C.      Barbell bench press, stability ball pushups, chest press machines
D.      Dips, bent-forward cable crossovers, standard pushups on floor

3.       Which food has the most calcium?
A.      Fresh, cooked kale (1 cup)
B.      Broccoli (raw) – 1 medium stalk
C.      Spinach, cooked (1 cup)
D.      Collards, boiled (1 cup)

4.       Which of the following foods has the most iron?
A.      Kidney Beans, cooked (1 cup)
B.      White mushroom, boiled (1 cup)
C.      Pumpkin seeds (1oz)
D.      Chickpeas/hummus (1 cup)

5.       Which of the following is NOT one of the variables that effect metabolic rate (the rate at which our body burns calories)?
A.      Genetics
B.      Ethnicity
C.      Height
D.      Body temperature

6.        Fish oil (at least 9000mg EPA/DHA per day) helps to reduce inflammation in our body, can help lower body fat, and can increase testosterone levels?
A.      True
B.      False

7.       The following foods are good sources of which nutrient?
A.      Carbs
B.      Fats
C.      Protein
D.      All of the above

8.        Water is one of the most important parts to losing weight.  How many ounces of  water (on average) should you aim to drink per day?
A.      32
B.      64
C.      76
D.      85

9.       Which of the following foods contains more sugar?
A.      An ounce of regular cola
B.      An ounce of ketchup
C.      An ounce of orange juice
D.      An ounce of Gatorade

10.   How many calories do you have to burn in order to lose 1 pound ?
A.      1500
B.      2500
C.      3500
D.      4000

11.   What is the #1 leading cause of death in the USA?
A.      Cancer
B.      Stroke
C.      Heart Disease
D.      Suicide

12.   What is the daily amount of steps a person should walk in a day to equal 5 miles?
A.      5,000
B.      10,000
C.      20,000
D.      30,000

13.   The most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States is?
A.      Poor diet
B.      Cigarette smoking
C.      Lack of medical checkups
D.      AIDS

14.   The morning is the best time of day to exercise?
A.      True
B.      False

15.   The best way to tone your muscles without bulking up is to perform many reps with lighter weights?
A.      True
B.      False