Do NOT fall into the Turkey Slump!

We are quickly approaching Thanksgiving and the holiday events that come with this season. You might be starting to feel the air getting colder so the sweat pants feel necessary. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories just on Thanksgiving Day alone. During Thanksgiving Day alone means you will be gaining 1.28 lbs just by consuming food. That does not consider all the turkey leftovers to be eaten throughout the next few weeks.

Top 3 Ways to avoid the “Stuffing” of calories and kicking weight gain of the holidays

  1. Increase physical activity

According to the American Heart Association, by just taking 40 minutes to go to the gym or go outside to enjoy a jog or run you can release endorphins in your body to reduce the stress of the holidays and expend those extra calories that are consuming or will consume. Don’t do this activity alone. Take family members with you and make it a new healthy tradition to go on a walk around the neighborhood or in the park before or following the heavy meals

2. Reduce your fat intake and decrease serving sizes

There are a few ways to avoid the significant increase of caloric intake by simply eating lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods throughout the day. According to the American Heart Association, it is important to prepare for the holidays to be able to handle the worst temptation of having all of the bad foods. One other simple modification that can be made to avoid increased unnecessary caloric intake is taking smaller portions. Instead of getting a serving of the pecan pie and a full serving of the pumpkin pie, take a small slice of each to enhance your portion control.  Lastly, if you are cooking then prepare the food using low-fat options to make the recipe both tasty and better for everyone to consume.

3.  Plan ahead

Knowing how many calories and nutrients are in the meal your are going to have before you eat it will help keep you accountable and help you to control over eating and avoiding the weight gain. According to a recent study performed in Indianapolis by ACSM, getting pre-holiday screenings can also help you plan ahead. The subjects in their study were screened for weight, cholesterol and other factors before and after the holiday season. They were also required to log their nutritional intake. Lead researcher Sukho Lee, Ph.D., believed that this would help them with motivation to watch their weight and make better decisions. Sukho Lee stated, “Instead of telling people what they already know—diet and exercise—we asked them to check their body weight and record what they eat.” This lead to a subconscious effect of knowing someone else will be checking your diet and then checking your weight gain at the end.

At the end of the holiday season, no one will be checking your weight or judging you based on your choices. You are the only person who controls how you feel, what you eat, and how active you are. Make a new holiday tradition this year by taking a holiday walk or incorporating some physical activity throughout the day to keep your endorphins up to avoid the turkey slump that can come with the holiday season.

References:

AHA|ASA Massachusetts. (2014). Heart healthy thanksgiving tips. Retrieved from:             https://massachusetts.heart.org/heart-healthy-thanksgiving-tips/

Calorie Control Council. (2017). Stuff the bird, not yourself: how to deal with the 3,000 calorie   thanksgiving meal. Healthy Eating and Exercise for Life. Retrieved from:             https://caloriecontrol.org/stuff-the-bird-not-yourself-how-to-deal-with-the-3000-calorie-       thanksgiving-meal/

ACSM. (2017). Pre-holiday health screening may help fight weight gain. Retrieved from:             http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/pre-holiday-         health-screening-may-help-fight-weight-gain

 

 

Sports Drinks vs. Water

During and after a tough workout it is vital to keep hydrated. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. Although, sports drinks quench your thirst and taste good they may not be the best option for your body. For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include fruits and vegetables.

Sports drinks with electrolytes, may be useful for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories. Many sports drinks can contain between 50 and 80 calories per 8oz serving (Murphy, 2004). Drinking multiple in a day, every day, can add up. Dr. Paul LeBlanc states that “unless you are extremely active or a high-performance athlete, sports drinks can cause weight gain and electrolyte imbalance” (Current Health, 2000). They are also high in citric acid, so keep your they can have adverse effects on teeth and stomach digestion (Murphy, 2004).

Helping to reduce blood pressure, high cholesterol, the appearances of acne, blemishes, access weight and can combat fatigue is just a few of the more commonly known health benefits water has over sports drinks. Not to mention helping to clean out your digestive system and keep your metabolism going. Drinking water over sports drinks it the right choice for most individuals, so pick up a glass of water and bottoms up!

Should I use wearable technology for my fitness?

by: Alicia Sandlin

In today’s age, everyone owns some sort of wearable technology or has one or two apps for fitness on their phones. The success of wearable health devices has sky rocketed in these last couple of year. It is now the number one fitness trend of 2017 (Thompson 2016). This can be shown as a testament to the public’s appetite for self-improvement.  People want to strive to be healthier, fit, strong, and more active but does it really contribute to their daily activity?

There have been several studies on the effects of wearable technology and how it affects our actual behavior. One study performed in London, had a joint goal and leaderboard-based participation challenge that the participants did daily to see if the changes to their activity behavior at work and throughout their day. The results were that the challenges and technology lead to activity behavior changes both during the challenge period and for six months following the last challenge (Carter 2016).

Types of Wearable Technology for Exercise

There are several devices that are the most popular and affordable that go on your wrist such as the Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Android Watch, and other pedometers that are mass produced. The wearable technology is slowly becoming more affordable and easier to use.

For the more extreme athlete that are able to afford top notch technology there are wearable activity trackers such as smart shoes, HR detectable Bluetooth headphones, and even activity tracking compression shorts.

8 of the Top apps that can benefit daily health and physical activity

  1. Couch to 5K
  2. My Fitness Pal
  3. ActiveX
  4. Sworkit
  5. Charity Miles
  6. PEAR Personal Coach
  7. Strava
  8. LoseIt

All of these apps can be found on any smartphone app store. If someone is truly interested in getting healthy but does not know where to start, this may be an easy and cheap way to begin a start to a healthier life.

Thompson, W. R. (2016). Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2017. ACSM’s Health &            Fitness Journal, 20(6). 8-17. DOI: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000252

Carter, R. (2016). The application of behaviour change theory, delivered through mobile-app and wearable-based technology, proven to engage and improve the health & wellbeing of            populations. Digital Health and Wellbeing. DOI: 10.3389/conf.FPUBH.2016.01.00030

 

The Importance of Rest During and After Exercise

by: Breion Young and Kayla Rogers

A driven person who knows what they want and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it might actually be harming themselves and their fitness goals if they go too hard without rest. Rest is very important for your body. To most people rest is more important than the work done on the field, court, and track or weight room.

Rest in between sets will be based on what type of training you’re doing. “Time is on your side when you’re training for pure strength,” says Stankowski. When training for strength you’re going to be lifting very heavy weight. Once you’re at 80% of your one rep max or more you’re repetitions decrease because the weight has increased. For this type of workout the rest period should be between three to five minutes. Most athletes like myself will do a set with a high percentage weight (80% – 85%) and not take the recommended time to recover. By my third set with the same weight my body will start to slow down a bit.

Recovery outside the gym is also important. It includes diet, stretching and of course rest. Outside the gym recovery is focused of replenishing the muscle or groups of muscle and to begin refueling the body for the next workout. Protein is a muscle builder and repairs the damaged muscles but it doesn’t refuel it (Recovering from Hard Exercise, Clark, Nancy). Carbohydrates and the calories from them will refuel your body so the work you just put in isn’t wasted.

Let’s Talk Aerobic Exercise

By: Kayla Rogers & Breion Young

Ever walk into the cardio area of the gym, and feel overwhelmed with options? Or maybe using a cardio machine/cardio training of any sort is an intimidating factor for you, because you simply do not know how to cardiovascular train. While many associate working out/exercising as, “lifting weights” the aerobic aspect of fitness plays an important role too. Aerobic exercise increases peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak), which is in close relation with overall body fat percentage, body fat loss, and weight loss (Donnelly JE, 2013). In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests 3-5 days a week for 20-60 mins = 150-300mins per week of moderate-vigorous intensity, aerobic exercise, can help reduce body weight (Donnelly JE B. S., 2009).

F.I.T.T Principle

  • Frequency: 3-5 days/week
  • Intensity: Moderate (40-85%)- Vigorous (60-89%)
  • Time: 20-60 minute sessions = 150-300 min/week
  • Type: Treadmill, Bicycle, Elliptical, anything personably enjoyable.

 

The three main machines in the cardio area that are most commonly used, are the bicycle, treadmill, and the elliptical. All three of these machines are beneficial in helping you reach the recommendations that ACSM suggests. It is important to remember that everyone’s aerobic fitness is different, therefore do not feel intimidated by “long distance’ runners on the treadmills, or the marathon participants on the bicycle. If you are internally motivated, all the intimidating factors will play less of a role around you!

References

Donnelly JE, B. S. (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc., 459-471.

Donnelly JE, H. J. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: exercise trial 2. Obesity, 219-229.

 

Overtraining

by: Breion Young & Kayla Rogers

Overtraining is something that everybody has questions about. Is it good for the body? Will my performance increase or decrease? What is considered overtraining? “Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. It occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness”, says the dictionary. Some of the signs of over training are weight loss, loss of motivation, increase of injuries, persistent muscle soreness, and more. One reason this happens in a lot of athletes is because, when they fall short or don’t meet their goal for the day they push harder. Personally I’ve experienced this first hand myself. I used to work out in the gym like crazy for my sport, even though I grew and became stronger and faster, as time went on my performance and gains started to decrease. I used to work out five or six days a week and now I only work out maybe four days a week.

How to get over overtraining? It’s simple and its crazy to say, but take a break from the gym! With three to five days of rest your body should have a positive response. You can do some light cardio to just maintain a little, but no muscle taxing lifts. Also, you can take that to get in more rest or the proper seven to eight hours of sleep.

 

Relax and Breathe

Relax and Breath

Have you ever just felt that the weight of the world is on your shoulders, stress is eating you up, and there just doesn’t seem to be a way to relax? “Take a deep breath and relax.” We have all heard this before but it is very true and important to remember in the midst of our everyday lives. Studies have shown that breathing exercises not only reduce stress but relieve tension, burnout, headache, chronic fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration problems, anxiety and phobia, panic disorder, and depression. Elizabeth Scott (2016) says that the benefits of using breathing exercises to treat these conditions is:

  1. They work quickly.
  2. You can do them anywhere.
  3. They take very little practice to master.
  4. They’re FREE!!
  5. You can use them in a stressful situation to stay calm.
  6. They can effectively reverse your stress response, helping you avoid the negative effects of chronic stress.

Breathing Exercises

Yoga is known as the top stress reliever exercise that incorporates deep breathing exercises. The best part about breathing exercises is that it can be done anywhere. They can be done at your desk, on the floor, in your bedroom, outside in the grass, or in your car before going into work or school. Deep breathing requires you to inhale slowly bringing the air through the nose and pushing down the diaphragm as much as you can to fill the lungs, and releasing through the mouth. Mindy Caplan (2014) suggests to:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit
  • Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths
  • When inhaling, expand the diaphragm, and then exhale completely
  • “Talk” to the muscles in your body and tell them to relax and melt
  • Softening the jaw releases tension in the neck, shoulders and hips, and leads to total body relaxation

Resources:

Caplan, M. (2014, May 14). Learn how to relax with exercise. Retrieved from:             https://certification.acsm.org/blog/2014/may/learn-how-to-relax-with-exercise

Scott, E. (2016, July 6). Breathing exercises for stress relief breathing exercises are popular for a   reason. Retrieved from: https://www.verywell.com/breathing-exercises-for-stress-relief-     3145183

Using pedometers as a motivational tool to increase physical activity.

By: Kayla Rogers & Brieon Young

What tools/ incentives help motivate you get to the gym? Is it your fit bit telling you to, “Get active”? Apple watch telling you to, “Get moving/standing to long”? Or is it a simple app encouraging you to reach your 10,000 step margin? Either way all these motivational tools have one thing in common, a pedometer.

Walking/exercising with a pedometer as a motivational tool, is becoming widely used in many health related settings to help increase overall physical activity and health status (Suliman Mansi, 2013). Pedometers help relay valuable information such as the number of steps taken, distance traveled, time spent physically active, and possible energy expenditure estimate (DR Lubans, 2009).

By wearing such device, this helps you have a physical recording of your physical activity throughout the day. For some, having that information helps them meet their physical activity/fitness goals, therefore becoming a tool of motivation. So if you are in an inactive phase in life, wearing a pedometer might be one of the least expensive ways to get motivated (Harvard Health Letter, 2009). So let’s STEP out of that SEDENTARY Lifestyle today!!

References

DR Lubans, P. M.-L. (2009). A systematic review of studies using pedometers to promote physical activity among youth. Prev Med, 307-315.

Harvard Health Letter. (2009, September). Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsleter_article-every-step-you-take

Suliman Mansi, S. M. (2013). Use of pedometer-driven walking to promote physcial activity and improve health-related quality of life among meat processing workers: a feasibility trial. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1-11.