Do We Really Need Nutrition Supplements?

You can’t go down the street or through a shopping mall without seeing a nutrition supplement store these days, can you? With all those stores out there, it must mean supplements are important and we should all be buying them, then, right?

Well ……..maybe. I’ll get to the answer in just bit.

I’m an exercise expert who knows a good deal about nutrition, but I would never claim to be a nutrition expert myself. When I need answers to important nutrition questions I can’t answer, I look to other colleagues I consider experts in the nutrition field.

One of my go-to people for all things nutrition is Registered Dietician, Jayson Hunter. Jayson is one of the founders of the JayLabPro nutrition supplement company (formerly Prograde Nutrition). He has been a great source of advice and support to lifeSport Fitness for over 10 years. Now, you might be wondering, why would a Registered Dietician start a supplement company? Shouldn’t he be consulting with people about real food!!??

Yes—he should, and he does. But he decided to take it a step further. Jayson got frustrated with the lack of quality, science-based products on the market about 10 years ago and decided to team up with a couple of other fitness colleagues to develop products that were safe, effective and high quality. He also believed that many people were OVER-supplementing their diets and wanted to create a company that promoted a “food first” philosophy with supplementation as a secondary measure. JayLabPro puts a lot of effort into nutrition education so that their customers can become better eaters. I have to admire that.

This is one reason we’ve been recommending JayLabPro products for many years. Quality people with high integrity making quality products, and providing solid consumer education. What they say is in the bottle really IS in the bottle. I know that I am sending our clients to a solid resource.

So – about the question at hand: Should we all be supplementing?

Our answer: Yes— but food comes first.

Your first defense against obesity , poor health and chronic disease is solid, whole food nutrition. Supplements won’t do much for your health if you have a poor diet (aside from protect you against deficiencies). Jayson’s mantra is: “Build a decent nutritional foundation through food first before you take any supplements, or the supplements won’t help at all”

Even though we all try to eat healthy, Jayson believes there are 2 areas in our nutritional foundation that are often the weakest points (and this has been backed up by the USDA and other nutritional organizations)

1. Vegetable intake: After all these years of teaching the importance of an abundance of vegetables, society still only eats about 2 servings a day instead of the recommended 6-8. Even the best of eaters still struggle with getting in a wide variety of colorful vegetables daily.

If you’re not getting a consistent 6-8 servings of vegetables every day, Jayson recommends a solid multivitamin that contains fruit and vegetable extracts. He still stresses food first – but suggests the supplement to get additional nutrients that you’re missing due to having a lower intake of vegetables.

2. Omega-3 fatty acid intake: There are thousands of research studies that have shown the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and how our current intake is lopsided with a 30 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 fats(disease promoting) to Omega-3 fats.

Consuming large quantities of Omega 6 fats, scientists believe, may trigger inflammation (which can lead to disease and poor health). By consuming minimal Omega 6 fats and increasing Omega 3 fats in our diet, we may be helping to decrease internal inflammation.

Jayson recommends consuming cold water fatty fish 3-4 times a week along with other foods that contain Omega-3 fats (like Chia seeds). For people who don’t eat fish often, a good Omega-3 supplement is beneficial in strengthening that weak point of our nutritional foundation. Food first — eat some fish and other Omega-3 containing foods, but supplement to make that Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio healthier.

The moral of the story: Food first to the best of your ability, and supplement where your own personal diet falls short.

If you want to save 18% on JayLabPro products, Jayson has given me a coupon code to offer you — but it’s only good until Monday, August 7th at midnight!

Head over here: https://lifesportfitness.jaylabpro.com/

And use the code AUG18 when checking out.

Yours in health,

Becky

Foods to Include In An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

No doubt you’ve heard via some form of media (news, Facebook, magazines) about the benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet. But what does that mean, really? What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?

Just a couple of days ago, a great email from local chiropractor, Dr. Mindy Pelz, came through my inbox. I asked her permission to copy her email into my blog here so that you could learn from it. She lays it out in plain English exactly how to move your eating patterns to a more anti-inflammatory way of eating.

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Here’s Dr. Mindy:

There is nothing better than living in a body that feels and functions the way you want it to.

You have more control over your health than you may realize. Chronic pain and disease can greatly be helped by eating the right foods.

The following are my top recommendations for lowering inflammation in your body. I highly recommend that you incorporate these foods into your diet everyday.

1. Wild Fish & Fish Oil – Specifically it is the EPA and DHA found in fish oil or from eating cold-water fish like salmon that has anti-inflammatory properties. The omega-3 fatty acid can help with joint swelling and inflammation generally caused by the over consumption of omega-6 fatty acids from non grass fed red meat. Be sure you always get your fish wild, as farm raised fish does not carry the same fatty acid content.

2. Fermented foods – Probiotics from either supplements or fermented foods help to build immunity and control infection caused by underlying inflammation in the body by supplying the body with good gut bacteria. Great fermented foods are unpasteurized sauerkraut, unpasteurized kimchi, raw kefir, or kombucha,

3. Juicing Greens – The process of juicing breaks the cell walls of fruit and vegetables, making the nutrients more accessible and allowing the body to quickly absorb mega doses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which can help combat inflammation. Green vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, parsley, and mint, are great to juice because they will put your body on the alkaline side and lower inflammation.

4. Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, beta-carotene, and calcium, giving these vegetables great anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain high levels of glutathione, a necessary amino acid that pulls toxins from your body. Be sure to eat these veggies raw or lightly steamed, as it will retain the most nutrients.

5. Pineapple & Papaya – Along with being packed with vitamin C, pineapple also contains bromelain. Bromelain helps to break down proteins, aids in digestion, reduces swelling, and can even improve blood circulation.

6. Ginger – Used for centuries for medicinal purposes, ginger shares many properties with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), suppressing pro-inflammatory molecules known as prostaglandins with little to no side effects compared to NSAIDs.

7. Turmeric – Over 5000 peer reviewed articles have been written about the health benefits of this miraculous tuber. Turmeric is the main spices added to curry, giving it its distinctive yellow pigment, turmeric contains curcumin. Curcumin blocks several inflammatory chemicals in the body. Like ginger it can prevent the production of prostaglandins and be used like NSAIDs with the added benefit of also being a great antioxidant.

8. Sweet Potato – This is one of my favorite foods ever. It may be sweet, but it’s lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. Packed full of vitamins B6 and C, manganese, beta-carotene, and fiber, these amazing potatoes are a great addition to any diet. Working in concert, these nutrients are powerful antioxidants that help to heal inflammation in the body.

9. Coconut oil– This miraculous oil is packed with medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are digested quickly and can be a powerful source of energy. Coconut oil is also excellent way to keep your joints (especially knees & shoulders) well lubricated. Eating a diet high in coconut oil will also leave your skin hydrated and glowing.

10. Grass Fed Beef – Commercial raised, antibiotic packed, grain fed beef promotes inflammation (packed with omega 6 oils). You want to avoid grain fed beef at all cost. But organic grass fed beef is packed with omega 3 fatty acids and will lower inflammation in your body. Not only is grass fed beef a great source of protein and high in omega 3’s, it contains a good fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is one of the most potent defenses against cancer.

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You can learn more about Dr. Mindy Pelz at: www.familylifechiropractic.com

or

www.drmindypelz.com

Dr. Mindy is on a mission to help us change our health by educating us on how to eat better. Gotta love a doc who wants to help you stay off meds and be healthier! Thanks, Dr. Mindy!

How To Decrease Sugar Cravings

What’s with those sugar cravings, anyway???

Yes, yes, sugar has a hold on us, doesn’t it? We love the way sugar makes so many foods we like taste so dang good. Yet we KNOW we shouldn’t eat too much of it. So—why is it so hard to kick the sugar habit??

Let me count the ways…….

1) It’s kinda like a drug to our brain

Consuming sugar releases endorphins in our brain. Endorphins make us feel better and elevate our mood. Did you know that some anti-depressant drugs work the same way –they keep endorphins circulating in our brain! So, yeah, sugar sort of acts like a drug in our brain.

2) It messes with our hormones

Sugar consumption unfortunately begets MORE sugar consumption for many of us. A big hit of sugar-laden food raises our blood sugar. A rise in blood sugar spurs our pancreas to release a large dose of insulin. Insulin helps drive blood sugar into our muscle tissue. If too much sugar gets dumped into our tissues, our blood sugar drops low again…… and our brain asks us for more sugar. Therefore sugar tricks us into reaching for MORE of the wrong foods

3) It just tastes good 😆

How can we decrease our cravings?

1) Eat a little protein at every meal

This helps slow digestion. The release of insulin is slower , and the uptake of sugar from your blood is slower so your blood sugar stays a bit more stable

2) Go cold turkey

If you can’t give in and have a little w/out totally blowing it, cold turkey is the way to go

It’s brutally hard at first, but cravings do diminish over several days

3) Brush your teeth

If you are an after-meal sugar craver, brush your teeth immediately after your meal

4) Try fruit instead

Some people are successful at switching from sweets to fresh fruit for their sugar fix

5) Try distraction (this one works best for me)

  • Talk a walk
  • Pick up a book
  • Do household chores or errands
  • Check email

6) Avoid going too long between meals

Hunger can lead to bad food choices that often involve sugar

7) Skip artificial sweeteners

They perpetuate your sweet tooth

8) Get enough sleep

Research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep crave more sugar/carbohydrate rich foods

Craving sugar is a huge issue for many people. If you are one of those people, try one or more of the strategies I’ve laid out above to help you decrease your cravings. You’ll likely be more successful with some strategies than others, but you won’t know what works for you until you try!

Image credit: www.flickr.com/lealovora

Creating A Lean Kitchen

Do you have a “lean” kitchen?

What exactly do I mean by that question, anyway? Is there such a thing as an overweight kitchen??? Well, yeah, sort of.

Here’s what I mean when I say “lean kitchen” : Your kitchen environment is specifically set up to help you to make healthy food choices.

Whether or not we are managing our weight and health well has a LOT to do with our environment. We are bombarded every day with multiple messages that spur us to make poor food choices. Those messages are in the grocery store, on television, on the radio and at virtually every social event we go to. We can’t really control a lot of what is out there in the environment, but we CAN control how our kitchen, home and office is set up.

Here are my 5 tips to creating a Lean Kitchen:

1. Begin at the Grocery Store

If “off the plan” foods don’t make it into your kitchen, they’ll have a much more difficult time tempting you 😉 . So before shopping, it’s best to create a list of all the items you’ll need including snacks. Keep in mind that your list is only effective if you stick to it.

2. Put Your Pantry on the Program

  • Troublesome foods exert much less temptation power when they aren’t within your immediate reach or view (“Out of sight, out of mind”).
  • Use opaque containers for treats instead of clear containers
  • Keep your healthier options (fruits, single serve packages of nuts) where you can see them

3. Make splurging more of an effort

  • The harder you have to work for it, the less often you’ll do it
  • Put goodies where you’ll need to get up high or reach way back in a shelf to get them
  • Go out for treats (e.g., frozen yogurt, ice cream, dessert)
  • “Off the plan” items are best kept in single serve packaging

4. Shrink Your Dishes/Glassware

  • Big plates + big spoons = BIG servings
  • Use smaller dinner plates
  • Drink out of tall, thin glassware instead of short, wide glassware
  • Use small wine glasses
  • Use smaller spoons

5. Avoid these mindless kitchen behaviors

  • Eating while cooking
  • Eating out of large bags (chips, popcorn, nuts)
  • Eating while watching TV
  • Eating out of carton while standing at kitchen counter
  • Eating left overs off of kids’ plates

FINAL THOUGHTS
Planning is key to making many healthy changes and having a kitchen/office that doesn’t sabotage your great intentions. Whether it’s creating a grocery list, organizing your pantry or having dishes that make your meal look satisfying, planning helps you prepare in advance to be successful in your endeavors.

A great way to plan ahead is to have healthy snacks ready to go. Whether its individual containers of yogurt, cut up fruits and veggies, or snack-sized bags filled with pre-measured amounts of nuts or string cheese, prepared snacks can serve as important tools to helping you stay on track between meals.

Now, go into your kitchen and start making it “leaner!”

Leave a comment here if you’ve found good ways to avoid poor eating behaviors/tempting eating signals at home or at the office!

Committed to your success,

Becky

“Everyone—every single one of us—eats how much we eat largely because of what’s around us . We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers”. Brian Wansink, PhD

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/billd

Want Fat Loss Fast? Try HIIT Workouts

Increase fat loss with interval trainingIt seems everyone is looking for an easy fat loss strategy these days.  Although it isn’t easy to perform, I highly recommend High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for exceptional fat loss results.

Interval training is an exercise strategy alternating periods of hard exercise effort with lower intensity recovery periods. Unlike your traditional cardio workouts in the gym that might have you on a treadmill or elliptical trainer for 45 plus minutes, interval training workouts are much shorter (usually 5-20 minutes).  These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and conditioning, improved glucose metabolism, and accelerated use of stored fat for fuel in the hours after the HIIT workout is over.

Don’t expect this short workout to be a walk in the park, though! It is very intense if done right.  This is one of the reasons a HIIT session is shorter than a traditional cardio workout.

It’s important to do a proper warm up before engaging in high intensity exercise.  If you are new to exercise, I recommend that you have at least 10 minutes of warm up time, and then approach the higher intensity intervals in a step-wise manner, adding on additional cycles of exercise as you become more fit.

For example, you might do 30 seconds of higher intensity exercise followed by 90 seconds of lower intensity exercise, and repeat this cycle only 3-5 times.  As you become more fit, you can increase the number of cycles you do, and also decrease your recovery time a bit.

There really is no ideal time for work/recovery cycles.  With interval training, you can mix it up!  One day you might do intervals of 40 seconds hard work/20 seconds recovery.  Another day you might do a 20/10 split.  The key to effective interval training is to work HARD on the high intensity segments  (about a 9 on a scale of 1-10 once you’ve built up a good conditioning base).

With regard to what types of exercises you can do in a HIIT workout–the sky is the limit!  Combining sprinting with slower running (or walking) is a simple way to do HIIT.  You can also use a variety of cardio machines at your gym, or utilize any number of calisthenic-type exercises right in your own back yard.

For an idea on how to put together a HIIT workout, please check out a video I did for my customers.  It’s a sample HIIT program you can do in your own backyard.

As San Jose personal trainer for many years, I’ve recommended HIIT as a means to better fat loss results for hundreds of my clients.  Although it’s really hard while you’re doing it—-you’re exercising for a fraction of the time of a typical gym goer.  I call that good exercise math ……..MORE results……..LESS time .:-D.

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

 

 

Getting the Most From Your Personal Trainer in San Jose

Selecting a Personal Trainer in  San JoseAre you thinking of  hiring a personal trainer to help you lose unwanted fat or improve your fitness? Working with a personal trainer, even if only for a few sessions to get you started, is a great way to achieve goals that can be pretty tough to achieve on your own. The right fitness coach can guide your efforts safely and effectively and re-design your program as your body evolves.  How many successful business owners and athletes do you know that have coaches to propel them further in their business or sport?   Many successful business owners and athletes have solid coaching behind them.  Why shouldn’t YOU have a fitness coach to achieve your goals?

One of the most important things to do at the start is  select the right personal trainer for the job.  The personal training situation is just that—personal.  Make sure that you pick a personal trainer with whom you feel comfortable.  Having a good rapport and good communication with your coach is vital.

Another important aspect when choosing a personal trainer is experience and education.  I’ll be honest, though,  I’ve been a personal trainer in San Jose for many, many years, and only a few people have asked for my credentials when I interview them.  Experience has made me a better trainer, but a formal education in kinesiology was a great foundation.  I don’t think a college degree is necessary to be a great trainer, but I do believe it’s a great foundation.

Before signing on with a personal trainer, interview them a bit and ask questions.   Find out if you’d be comfortable with this person for 2-3 hours a week.  Find out if they’ve worked with people like you before.  Some trainers specialize in certain types of clients (e.g., women only, seniors, high level athletes, figure competitors, etc).  The more they’ve worked with people like YOU, the better they will be able to help you get results.

Once you’ve decided on the personal trainer that fits your needs the most, have a frank discussion with him or her about your goals. This is the only way to ensure that you get the most appropriate training. The more specific your goals, the more specific your training program can be.

Once your training with your new coach has started, make sure that you are doing all that is required of you outside of your coached sessions.  In order to see results you may need to exercise outside of your personal training sessions.  You may need to modify your eating habits or your sleep habits.  Be fully transparent with your trainer regarding your food intake, additional exercise and hydration outside of your personal training sessions. Hydration and rest are exceedingly important because they help the muscles rest after the exercise.

As you can see, getting the most from  your personal trainer isn’t just about the workout he/she gives you.  It’s about what you do the other 165+ hours a week outside of your sessions 😉

Here’s an easy check list to follow as you begin your search for a personal trainer in San Jose:

  1. Establish what you want a personal trainer for. Healthy weight loss, building muscle mass, or becoming a faster runner will all require different expertise.
  2. Interview potential trainers to make sure you connect well and have good rapport before signing on with someone
  3. Find out if a trainer has the right qualifications and experience to help you with your specific goals 
  4. Make sure a trainer you’re interested in is available during the timeframe that is convenient for you to work out.
  5. Ask for references
  6. Be very specific when communicating your goals
  7. Ask about rates, cancellation policies and any contracts that might need to be signed

 If you’re interested in interviewing lifeSport Fitness to see if we’re a good match, please give us a call at 408-265-1540 to set up a complimentary consultation!

We currently offer on-site/in-home personal training in most areas of San Jose (Willow Glen, Cambrian and Almaden), and 8-week small group training programs in the Cambrian area of San Jose.

Exercise Motivation: 20 Reasons To Start Exercising (Part 2)

Exercise motivationI’m back with the second half of my list of 20 reasons to start exercising.

If you missed Part 1 of my exercise motivation post, you can see it here.

Remember, if you find yourself losing motivation to exercise–print out this list and post it somewhere so that you have a constant reminder of the benefits of exercise.  The hardest part of working out is just getting up and getting started.

Use reasons 11-20 below to help you get motivated to get up and off the couch!

Ten MORE Reasons to Start Exercising

11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.

12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.

13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.Regular exercise helps you sleep better

14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.

15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.

16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.

17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? Gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends.

>>>>>>oh, and there’s always lifeSport Fitness bootcamp in San Jose if you need FUN people with whom to work out  😉 

18. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.

19. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!

20. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.

Are you ready to alleviate your anxiety by taking action? Good!

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

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Image credits

Exercise Motivation  Quote

Sleeping baby

Exercise Motivation: 20 Reasons To Start Exercising (Part 1)

Motivation to Get Off The Couch The goal of this blog post is to motivate you to take action. Our lives are busy, and exercise motivation can be a real sticking point when you feel your plate is already too full.

I’ll be blunt, though, and tell you that even if you’re busy, it would be a good idea to re-prioritize a few areas in your life to make time for exercise.  If you don’t, you’re eventually going to be sidelined by issues related to poor health and a sedentary lifestyle.

In order to get you motivated to make a lifestyle change, 

I’ve got a list of 20 rewards that you will gain from regular exercise.

I’ll go over the first 10 rewards here, and follow up with another 10 rewards next week.

Do yourself a favor and print this list and post it where you’ll see it every day.

When you need motivation or encouragement, simply read over this list and take action. 

Remember that action alleviates anxiety.

10 Reasons  to Start Exercising

1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep.

2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better, but to look nicer.

3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break ;-). A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.

4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that 90% of them prove exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.

5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.You get strong when you exercise

6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part to an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone which has an appetite-taming effect.

7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Rage war against stored fat with calorie-blasting workouts.

8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch your confidence sky-rocket.

9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.

>>>>(side note:  If you’re not currently having FUN when you work out, puuuullleeeaaasse contact me about a free trial at a lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose!!)

10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.

I think the hardest part about regular exercise is simply getting started.

Hopefully these first 10 reasons have motivated you to get your workout gear on.

I’ll be back with another 10 reasons next week!

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

 

Image credits:

Couch Potato

Strong Women

Strength Training: The Best Way To Get Fit

Strength Training With Kettlebells at San Jose Boot CampTalk to 10 people and you’ll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit.

One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them.

The truth is that there’s really only one effective way to get fit and be lean.

Before I get into the details, it’s important that we agree on the definition of ‘fit’. Too often skinny is mistaken for fit, and that’s not what you should strive for. In my opinion, “fit” means that you’re lean, strong, and flexible and that your body functions well as a unit.

When someone is skinny but has very little muscle tissue, they aren’t truly fit.

Here’s why skinny doesn’t equal fit:

  • A skinny person’s body fat percentage could be higher than ideal—even though you don’t see a lot of fat on them
  • A skinny person’s resting metabolism will be low since little muscle is present to burn calories at rest
  • A skinny person’s body won’t be functionally strong, which can  lead to injuries

So how does one get truly fit? It’s this simple: Strength Training 

Strength training is when resistance is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.

Regular strength training has the following benefits…..

  • Improved strength and muscle tone
  • Improved cardiovascular capacity
  • Higher resistance to injury and disease

If that’s not enough to convince you that strength training is the only way to truly become fit, read on…

Top 9 Reasons To Strength Train

1) To Build Muscle and Gain Strength: Don’t worry, ladies. This does NOT mean that you’re going to ‘bulk up’ or look too masculine. What will happen is that your arms, tummy and legs will become tighter, leaner and more defined.

2) To Lose Fat: When it comes to losing size, all that you want to see go is fat, not muscle. Strength training ensures that you maintain and grow those muscles and lose unwanted fat.

3) To Build Strong Bones: The older we get, the more important our bone density is. A good strength training program is one of your best defenses when it comes to osteoporosis.

4) To Alleviate Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Sure there are plenty of pills out there that claim to give these benefits, but you and I both know that strength training is a more wholesome and effective way. And besides, who really wants pharmaceutical side effects?

5) To Sleep Better: Here’s another pill you can stop taking once you start strength training. Study after study have proven that strength training improves sleep.

6) To Improve Chronic Back Pain: If you are one of the millions across the globe who suffer from back pain then you’ll love the benefit of decreased pain.

7) To Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Today diabetes is a huge threat. Minimize your risk by improving insulin sensitivity through regular, challenging strength training.

8) To Improve Good to Bad Cholesterol Ratio: Here is yet another pill that you could potentially stop taking while on a strength training routine. Blood pressure and heart health are of utmost concern, so why not give yourself the advantage of a strength training routine?

9) To Raise your Metabolism: This helps to reduce body fat and to keep that body fat off, even on the days that you aren’t able to exercise. Pretty awesome, right?

A solid strength training routine will tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and will result in inches and pounds lost.

All those things I mentioned at the beginning of this post–aerobics class, jogging or biking–these are all great things to do to improve your fitness.  However, to round out that fitness program and get the best results, strength training is the key, hands down!

Not sure how to safely add strength training to your current fitness routine?  Contact us at lifeSport Fitness for a free consultation, or sign up for a free one-week trial at our boot camp workouts in San Jose or Campbell.  We can teach you how to successfully strength train in a one-on-one session or at boot camp.

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

 

REST: An important component for strength gains and weight loss

Stretching can be part of a de-load programAs we approach one of our planned hiatus weeks at our San Jose and Campbell boot camp locations, I thought it might be a good idea to address something many folks don’t even consider in their strength training or fat loss programs: REST.  Yes.  That’s right.  REST.

In order to continue to make gains in strength, endurance and even fat loss—-you need to schedule some planned rest time.  All that change you’re trying to create through exercise– bigger muscles, leaner muscles, or a smaller waistline  —creates stress on and in your body.  Working hard and challenging your body to get better is a good thing, but on occasion you need to back off on the challenges you give your body.

In the fitness industry, we often refer to these planned periods of reduced training volume or intensity as “de-load” phases. The term de-loading is often associated with the finely tuned, periodized training protocols that high level athletes do. I think this concept also has a place in our boot camp programs because of the intense nature of the workouts we do.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of doing some sort of exercise 5-6 days a week. But I am NOT an advocate of high intensity training 5 days a week (which is why no single lifeSport Fitness boot camp location operates more than 3 times a week).  My opinion is that the stuff we do at boot camp — high intensity interval training, plyometric moves and sprint work — is too rigorous to do 5 days a week, week in and week out.  I advocate for  longer , lower intensity workouts on off days for campers who are with us 3 times a week.

But I digress–back to the story of why rest is important…………

If we go hard day in and day out and we never take a rest, two things can happen:  1)  Injury, or 2) Lack of progress.  Neither of these things is a good thing for someone who is exercising for results, right?

So, what does a rest period look like?

Not necessarily this:

Rest is an important component in an exercise program

 

A rest week from 3-day a week boot camp workouts might simply mean changing the intensity and the patterns of stress on our body.  For instance taking a Pilates or Yoga class, going for a hike, or swimming.  All of these suggestions are lower intensity forms of movement that don’t have a heavy duty strength component to them.  Therefore, you exercise at a lower heart rate for a longer time, and you move your body through different patterns of movement than you do at boot camp.  Easy peasy.

Although high level athletes often take a de-load week every 4-5 weeks, I think for our purposes a de-load week every 8-12 weeks is a good idea.  With only 5 de-load weeks a year,  we don’t take quite that many weeks off in our program.  However, I figure that most campers miss a week of camp here and there due to vacations and business travel (or hitting the snooze button too many times!), so you’re most likely de-loading yourself from time to time.

If you are a current lifeSport Fitness camper, next week is your week to move in different patterns, decrease your workout intensity, or work on corrective exercises if you’re nursing a sore shoulder, back or knee.  While you’re at it–do a little foam rolling and book a massage!

If you aren’t a lifeSport Fitness customer and you exercise hard 3-4 times a week, have you had a “de-load” week lately?  Consider taking one.  It just might be the break your body needs to come back stronger and healthier in order to keep training hard again and stay injury free.

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

 

Image credit:  Sleeping Couple:  www.flickr.com/photos/epsos