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Midtown Athletic Club in Willowbrook, IL Personal Trainer Nicole Duval takes over the blog today to discuss how to navigate the muddy (and calorie-laden) waters of the holiday season and still maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.
Ahh, the holidays. Such a joyous time: themed parties, family get-togethers, surprise presents.
But all of these “fun” times can wreck havoc on waistlines. So how do you stay within your happy weight range and still have fun through the new year? Here are a few tips to help you stay an active and smart party-goer!
This holiday is fast approaching and the biggest temptation is not the candy your kids get when they trick-or-treat, but the candy you buy to give out!
The stores advertise their HUGE sales weeks in advance, so not only are you tempted to buy candy at these stores, but you’ll buy it, eat it all, and have to buy more. So wait until the last minute and it won’t be sitting in your cupboard calling your name when you sit down to watch that DVR’d episode of Parenthood. I promise, it will still be on sale.
If you must have a few pieces, steal them from your kid’s loot. Just don’t tell them I told you to do that.
Another idea is to buy candy you don’t really enjoy. Nerds and Smarties just don’t do it for me so I’m not going to eat half a bag before the doorbell starts ringing. If you buy candy you’re not crazy about, you’re less likely to pig out when you’re giving the candy away.
Use this tip throughout the season. If you stock-up on hostess gifts such as boxes of candy or tins full of nuts just in case you have a last-minute event to attend, buy treats that you won’t eat by the handful. If you’re not a popcorn person, buy three-flavor tins of popcorn for hosts, or if you prefer red wine, buy a few whites to have in your stockpile. You’ll be less likely to open one of these “gifts” if you don’t like them.
So now Thanksgiving is drawing near followed by Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Your calendar is filling up with parties to attend and you can already feel your pants getting tighter.
How do you enjoy your friends and family without having to buy new clothes next year? Your first step is to check your calendar every Sunday for the upcoming week and see what function(s) you’re attending. Plan your “cheat” meal to be that event. That way you’ll have something to look forward to when you’re eating ”good and clean” all week.
When you arrive at the event, scan the party for the entire spread before you start noshing. Pick one or two treats that you’ll indulge in (such as mini beef wellingtons or chocolate chip cheesecake) and fill the rest of your plate with vegetable-based appetizers, shrimp cocktail, and anything without puff pastry.
Pick a lower-calorie beverage such as wine (100 calories per 4 oz. serving), or a light beer; preferably one that has the amount of calories in the name, such as Budweiser Select 55 or MGD 64, so you can easily track your alcohol calories.
It’s also best to stop after one alcoholic beverage, not only for the calorie count or to be a safe driver, but because the more tipsy you get, the more your inhibitions go down and the more mindlessly you’ll end up eating. You don’t want to ruin your entire week’s worth of workouts on a whole bottle of wine and in turn eat the entire bowl of chips!
Lastly, if there is dancing at any of these events, then bust a move! Getting some cardio in will help you burn off your extra treat pounds so when 2014 comes, you can slip back into your skinny jeans just like it’s 2013. Or maybe 2001 if you REALLY break it down!
So what are your holiday healthy tips? Do share!
Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, is back to talk about overcoming the dreaded fitness plateau, one of the most challenging parts of meeting a fitness goal.
In the outdoor cycling world, reaching a plateau often gives you a needed break before you ascend another gradient of incline. However, if your goal is to get stronger or lose weight, then reaching a plateau is an obstacle that you need to overcome and not embrace.
A fitness plateau happens when your progress toward gaining strength or losing weight stops and levels out. This can affect you both emotionally and physically, and can become a critical time in your fitness journey, as some people tend to quit as the effort they’re putting in no longer shows results.
Here are four techniques to ensure you don’t get stuck on a fitness plateau:
When you flip the calendar page to the next month, change your workout. I often see people lifting the same amount of weight and performing the same number of repetitions each time they visit the club. When you work out this way, your body is smart enough that it operates more efficiently and doesn’t need to burn as many calories as it used to and the body doesn’t work as hard to gain as much strength.
You can also make changes on a weekly basis. For example if you are weight lifting, you can lift heavy twice a week with fewer reps and lift light once a week with increased reps. The following week you would switch it up so you lift light twice a week and lift heavy once. Your body doesn’t know what to expect, and therefore it won’t operate on cruise control.
I cannot stress enough the benefits of cross training, or regularly switching up your workouts. Cross training allows you to keep your body guessing as to what it will need to do. For several days last week, I worked out for thirty minutes in an anaerobic (almost breathless) mode. Then, I went for a 2.5-hour bike ride. At some point during the ride, my body began to suffer. I had been training it for thirty minutes of hardcore work and not an endurance workout.
The bottom line is to keep your body guessing. For any economists out there, cross training is the macro version of calendar training.
Whether you’re doing cardio or weight training, you need to increase the intensity to prevent plateaus. If you are doing cardio, mix up the workout by either increasing the incline, adding speed, or both. Don’t stay at the same speed or incline for the entire session. If you plan on running for thirty minutes at 6.0 mph, then your body will get used to this and you won’t get as much from your workout. Also, if you are weight training, always remember to add weight and reduce the repetitions. Even if you work out intensely, make sure one of your workouts is easier or reduce the weight. Engage in the same type of workout, even an intense one, and your body will get used to those types of workouts.
When weight training, take some rest days. Rest days allow your muscles to grow. Even bodybuilders build in a rest day or two during their weekly training schedule. If you currently break your weight training into upper body one day and lower body the next, then you are giving your upper body a rest on the day that you are working your lower body. If you are doing a total body workout, then take a day off and feel those muscles grow.
Not sure if you’re overtraining? Here’s how you can tell:
Most people don’t like change and tend to stay with what they feel comfortable. It is easy to hop on that treadmill and run 3 miles followed by some abdominal work. However, when you keep your body guessing, you’ll avoid plateaus and meet your fitness goal more quickly.
What’s your tip for avoiding a fitness plateau?
The Mediterranean and Paleo diets both have their strong devotees and their fervent critics. Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester Nutritionist Sarah Guilbert takes over the blog to compare two popular diet patterns to help you discern which, if either, is the healthiest option for you.
The word “diet” tends to be associated with negative self-image and restriction (“I can’t blow my diet” or “I need to go on a diet and lose these love handles”). It also implies that eating habits are temporary when healthy eating should be an enduring and sustainable lifestyle.
An “eating pattern,” however, is comprised of lifestyle eating habits that serve as a guide to how many servings of different foods you should have each day. Both the Mediterranean Diet and the Paleo Diet fall into the “eating pattern” category.
Before we dive into the specific aspects of each diet, keep in mind that I never recommend one specific eating pattern for everyone. There are benefits and drawbacks to every way of eating. It’s important to find one that is balanced, sustainable, enjoyable, and tailored to your specific needs.
Now let’s take a closer look at these two popular eating patterns.
Longitudinal evidence has demonstrated that the Mediterranean eating pattern lowers your risk of many developing several diseases, including cancer and heart disease (1, 2, 3).
The Mediterranean eating pattern pyramid divides foods into ones that you should eat at every meal, foods that you should eat every day, and foods that you should eat weekly. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olives/olive oil, nuts, and seeds. It encourages limiting starchy vegetables, red meat, and processed meat. White meat, fish, and legumes fall in the middle, with approximately two servings per week of each recommended.
The Mediterranean eating pattern is a good choice for many other reasons. It promotes whole/natural foods, increased fruit and vegetable intake, and it does not restrict any major food groups. It emphasizes cardio-protective fats and encourages limiting the types of fats that have been shown to negatively affect your health (saturated fat and trans fat). The eating pattern promotes the consumption of healthy fat and fiber, which will help promote satiety, and includes potassium-rich food, because it is primarily plant-based and includes many fruits and vegetables.
One criticism of the Mediterranean eating pattern is that it can be low-to-moderate in protein, which is a concern for athletes. It limits white meat to two servings/week and places fish/eggs higher up on the pyramid, which implies that they should be eaten less frequently (although it recommends having at least two servings of fish/week).
For the sample breakdown menu shown below, lunch was low in protein (14 grams). Athletes who require 25-30g protein per meal may need to add more protein to their plates.
The Paleo Diet boasts that it is the “world’s healthiest diet, based on wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Stone Age” (5). It aims to improve overall health, promote weight loss, and lower disease risk (6). It is a relatively new diet and does not have the longitudinal data that other eating patterns have to support it.
Let’s look at the breakdown of a typical day. The Paleo eating pattern encourages meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruits (mostly berries and melons). It excludes grains, dairy, legumes, added sugar, and salt because people living in the Paleolithic age would not have eaten those foods.
The Paleo eating pattern has many benefits. Natural foods and limited processed foods are a big part of this eating pattern, which helps to lower empty calorie intake and reduce sodium intake. It also emphasizes vegetable consumption and is higher in protein than the Mediterranean Diet. This combination will increase satiety and may promote weight loss. The Paleo eating pattern promotes the consumption of lots of fiber (the sample menu below has 47 grams), which can help healthy gastrointestinal function and lower cholesterol levels.
However, this much fiber may be a shock if new followers of the eating pattern try to increase their intake too quickly. Fiber intake should be increased gradually and should be coupled with increased water intake. The typical Paleo eating pattern is also high in potassium, which helps prevent hypertension. By encouraging nuts, the Paleo eating pattern also includes many heart-healthy fats, like the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in almonds.
On the negative side, this eating pattern eliminates multiple key food groups (dairy, grains, legumes). In a study of over 75,000 women, Harvard researchers showed that including 2-to-3 servings of whole grains per day correlated with a 30% lower risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease (8).
This study took place over ten years (compared to the ten days that some of the Paleo studies were conducted). Yes, Americans tend to eat too much processed grains; however, this does not mean that grains should be eliminated from the diet completely.
Another negative aspect is that this diet is excessively high in protein. Based on the 1,800-calorie plan outlined below, a Paleo eater would be getting 151g protein/day on the low end (there is an optional added 3 ounces of fish if protein intake was not satisfying for the day).
Generally acceptable protein intake ranges from .8-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram that you weigh. For example, a 130 pound person would have an upper limit on protein intake of 118g protein/day. This diet also excludes the major source of calcium in the diet: dairy products. Inadequate calcium intake can lead to developing osteopenia and can also be detrimental to heart health (9).
The Mediterranean eating pattern is a much more established, balanced way of eating for lifelong health. I would recommend it to most clients, but would also recommend increasing protein slightly at mealtimes. Is the Paleo diet the worst eating pattern out there? No. However, I would not recommend it unless it was modified slightly to reduce protein intake and include at least three servings of whole grains and two servings of dairy products daily. This would ensure that followers of this eating pattern obtain adequate healthy fuel and calcium sources while not overdoing it with protein.
In a future post, I will compare two diets: Advocare and The South Beach Diet. If you would like me to examine other eating patterns and diets, leave a comment on this post.
|Mediterranean||Paleo (menu from bodybuilding.com)|
|Breakfast||6 oz Greek yogurt
½ cup strawberries
1 tsp honey
1 slice WW toast
½ mashed avocado
|4 slices lean ham
2 cups mixed berries
|AM Snack||None||Low sodium beef jerky
|Lunch||1 WW pita
2 Tbsp hummus
1 cup fresh greens
2 slices tomato
1 cup minestrone soup
1 medium orange
|4 oz salmon
2 cups salad
1 T olive oil
2 cups melon
|PM Snack||1/8 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup peanuts
|3 oz grilled chicken
1 serving raw vegetables
|Dinner||3 oz salmon
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp mustard
½ cup couscous
½ cup zucchini
4 spears asparagus
Salad with ½ cup arugala, ½ cup baby spinach, 1 T shaved parmesan cheese, 1 T vinaigrette dressing
5 oz red wine (optional)
|3 oz grilled lean steak
2 cups steamed broccoli
|Dessert/PM Snack||Small bunch grapes
½ cup lemon sorbet
|1 handful walnuts
3 oz grilled fish (optional)
|Calories: 1621 with wine, 1491 without
Carbs: 194g (50.5%)
Fat: 53g (31%)
Protein: 71g (18.5%)
Sodium: 1746 mg
|Calories: 1796 without fish
Carbs: 176g (39%)
Fat: 77g (39%)
Protein: 151g (34%)
(1) Couto E, Boffetta P, Lagiou P, & Ferrari P et.al. Medierranean dietary pattern and cancer risk in the EPIC cohort. April 26, 2011. Br J Cancer 104(9): 1493-9. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21468044.
(2) Mitrou P, Kipnis V, Thiebaut A, & Reedy J et al. Mediterranean dietary pattern and prediction of all cause mortality in a US population. December 24, 2007. Arch Intern Med (3) 167(22): 2461-2468. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=770019.
(4) USNews Health. Medierranean Diet-Sample Menu. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mediterranean-diet/menu.
(5) Innocenzi, L. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Should we eat like our caveman ancestors? Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471551.
(6) The Paleo Diet. Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from www.thepaleodiet.com.
(7) Life Expectancy-what is life expectancy. Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Life-Expectancy-What-is-Life-Expectancy.aspx.
(8) Harvard School of Public Health. Health gains from whole grains. 2013. Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/health-gains-from-whole-grains/#references.
(9) Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. November 16, 2012. Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/.
(10) Clark, S. Body Building. What is the Paleo Diet? Dec 29, 2010. Retrieved on March 11, 2013, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/what-is-the-paleo-diet.html.
March is National Nutrition Month, and today is Registered Dietitian Day, which was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase the awareness of registered dietitians as indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize them for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.
To celebrate, Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester Nutritionist Sarah Guilbert is back to talk about how to properly fuel up for your workout, and what you should eat post-workout as well.
Pre-workout nutrition is important for ensuring that you have adequate energy stores (through carbohydrates) to fuel your workout. Consuming a moderate amount of protein before your workout is thought to increase muscle mass and strength performance.
Post-workout nutrition is important for repleting your carbohydrate stores (glycogen) in your muscles, repairing muscle damage, and helping to synthesize muscle mass through protein.
The number of carbohydrates that you’ll need will vary slightly depending on whether you are trying to lose/maintain weight (30g carbs/10-15g protein) or build more mass (40-50g carbs/15g protein). If you have a long workout day, try to get slightly higher carbohydrate repletion so that your glycogen stores are refueled optimally for the next workout.
Pre-workout snacks should be eaten 30-60 minutes before you begin exercising. Post-workout recovery eating is optimal within 30 minutes of exercise completion. Note that liquid nutrition will get into your muscles faster than solid food because solid food has to be broken down more and has a longer transit time through the GI tract.
Whey protein is quickly absorbed by muscles and has also been shown to have a greater effect on stimulating muscle protein synthesis than casein and soy. However, slower-absorbed proteins do have their benefits for providing repletion to muscles for a longer period of time after a workout.
Here are some appropriate pre- and post-workout snack options, whether you like to add protein to your shakes, have cottage cheese and fruit, or go old-school with skim milk and fruit smoothie. Try one and let us know what you think!
Strawberry protein shake
12 oz skim milk
1 cup strawberries
1 cup ice
177 calories, 13g protein, 30g carbs
Tropical fruit smoothie
4 oz vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup mixed tropical fruit (frozen)
4 oz vanilla almond milk
½ cup ice
195 calories, 10g protein, 38g carbs
½ large banana
8 oz chocolate soymilk
1 T peanut butter
1 cup ice
276 calories, 10g protein, 38g carbs
Berry Vanilla Smoothie
¾ cup blueberries
¾ cup blackberries
4 oz light vanilla soymilk
½ scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup ice
193 calories, 15g protein, 34g carbs
6 oz flavored fat-free Greek yogurt + ½ banana
201 calories, 15g protein, 36g carbs
6 oz vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup granola
228 calories, 11g protein, 39g carbs
4 oz 1% cottage cheese + 1 cup mango
187 calories, 15g protein, 32g carbs
1/4 cup egg whites + 2 slices toast
187 calories, 12g protein, 30g carbs
*The fat in peanut butter will delay gastric emptying and may cause GI distress if you have a sensitive stomach. This one is better to have post-workout.
What does it mean to be fit?
For many of us, being fit means maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise.
However, the “healthy weight = fit” idea omits and misrepresents several important components of what being truly fit means. In biological terms, “being fit” means “being able to provide for one’s own life and wellbeing; the fittest are those who can do so the best.” Now that’s a little closer to what we should be working toward. Not just being fit to the point of sufficiency, but being the fittest.
So, the question is: What can you do to be the fittest you can be, or to obtain the best quality of life possible?
To answer that question, we’ll examine the five components of physical fitness. That’s right, there are five. Not just “fitting into my favorite jeans,” “being able to run a marathon,” or “bench pressing twice my body weight.” Our definitions are from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Body Composition: This refers to the relative amount of muscle, fat, bone, and other vital parts of the body. Body composition can provide a better evaluation of overall health than weight or BMI alone, so it is important to maintain a level of body fat that is neither too low (below 3-5% for men and 8-12% for women), nor too high (above 20-25% for men and 29-35% for women).
A variety of body fat measurement tools exist including calipers and bio-electrical impedance devices, and although some are more accurate and expensive than others, all can help you monitor changes.
Tip: Have a body fat analysis performed to know your starting point, and begin implementing small, healthy diet and exercise changes to improve body composition.
Cardiorespiratory Endurance: Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during physical activity. This means being able to sustain an elevated heart rate. Activities like walking, swimming, and bicycling will all lead to improvement, and the good news is that the activity you choose does not necessarily have to be strenuous (at least initially).
Tip: choose an activity you enjoy and start slowly, increasing the intensity and duration over time.
Flexibility: Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. Maintaining good flexibility helps protect the muscles and joints from injury in all kinds of activity. A basic stretching program, such as 10-15 minutes of light stretching for the upper body, lower body, and core after a workout, may be all you need to improve this oft-neglected fitness component. Yoga and Pilates classes can also add more structure to your flexibility program.
Tip: the key to improving flexibility is to make time for it! Add 10 minutes to the end of your workout to stretch or take 10-minute walking/stretching breaks at work.
Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue. You can improve muscular endurance by doing sustained activities such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. When it comes to weight training, completing longer sets (12-25 repetitions) would be considered working in the endurance range.
Tip: look for opportunities to activate your muscles outside the club. For example, walk to the grocery store and flex those biceps by carrying groceries.
Muscular Strength: Muscular strength is the ability of the muscles to exert force during an activity. Sorry to those of you who want to stick to the treadmill, but this means using your muscles against resistance, whether that comes in the form of a dumbbell, resistance band, or your own body weight against gravity.
Tip: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do some pushups during TV commercial breaks.
To be truly, “totally fit” we need to focus on all five components of physical fitness. Not only will we be healthier overall, but we will also enjoy the benefits of reduced risk of injury and disease prevention (osteoporosis, diabetes, etc.). The added bonus? Improving any single area of fitness will help the others improve as well.
So what are you waiting for?! What areas of physical fitness are you focusing on right now?
College students have plenty to worry about these days, with finding a job in a tough economy topping the list. Between the job search, studying, campus activities, and time spent “living the college life,” it’s easy to put your health on the back burner.
And that’s okay, right? I mean, you’re young, and your body can handle the stress of too little sleep and exercise, and too much unhealthy food…
Or can it?
In truth, it’s only a matter of time before the poor health choices you make as a young adult catch up with you. Your health is no one’s responsibility but your own and maintaining it takes constant effort. Learn that lesson now and you will set yourself up for success in the years to come.
Here are 3 of the most common health mistakes college students make and how you can avoid them:
Eating Too Much Junk Food: Dorm cafeterias put soft-serve ice cream machines and waffle makers at your finger tips, and campus convenience stores provide all of the salty snacks and sugary sodas you could ever want to propel yourself through late night study sessions. Add in a few midnight pizza runs and party binges and you’ve created quite a mess for your body to clean up.
In fact, according to teenshealth.org, studies have shown that snacking between 8PM and 4AM is a leading contributor to weight gain.
Avoid It: Eat at regular times without skipping meals and incorporate plenty of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Pay attention to portion sizes and nutrition labels (many dorm menus provide them) and limit your intake of high-calorie foods, including alcohol.
If you are up late, fuel your food cravings with lower calorie fruits, vegetables, or sugar-free drinks. Your body will thank you for it!
Not Exercising Enough: Without high school sports or gym class programmed into your daily schedule, many college students let exercise fall by the wayside. Combining lower activity levels with increased caloric intake makes putting on the “freshman 15″ a real possibility.
Avoid It: Take at least 30 minutes every day to do something active, such as walking, jogging, swimming, taking a group exercise class or working out at the campus gym. Also get up and stretch or walk around if you catch yourself sitting for an extended period of time.
Researchers have found that students who exercise at least 3 days a week are more likely to report better physical health, as well as greater happiness, than those who do not exercise. Students who stay active are also more likely to report using their time productively. If just a little bit of exercise can help boost your health and your grades, it sounds like a no-brainer.
Sleeping Too Little (and No, Naps Don’t Count): From studying and other school-related activities to social outings and noisy roommates, it’s hard to avoid poor nights of sleep in college. Among other consequences, a lack of quality sleep can lead to increased stress levels and weight gain.
Avoid It: Do the best you can to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Don’t rely on naps or power 10+ hour sleep sessions to catch up on missed sleep. Finally, avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime, as well as other stimulating activities such as exercise, TV, texting and Facebook.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself this school year is to keep your health on track. If your health is not already a priority, begin introducing positive changes slowly and build healthy habits now. You’ve got a lot of off-campus years ahead of you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you will be healthy enough to enjoy them.
What are your tips to help stay healthy on campus?
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is urging Americans to “Get Your Plate In Shape.” With the help of the “My Plate” model, which replaced the Food Pyramid in June 2011, the experts are giving us a reminder of the healthy nutrition goals we have heard before:
Offre valide pour les personnes qui viennent au Midtown pour la première fois. 18 ans et plus.