|Posted on October 10, 2018 at 4:40 PM||comments (1)|
Six Habits to Help You Sleep Better!
Music Soundtrack: “Sleep”
Time Magazine did a piece on Max Richter last fall about his collaboration with neuroscientists in creating an album to help individuals fall asleep too. I listen to this every night before I fall asleep and it’s now the most listened to songs in my iTunes library!
Essential Oil Diffuser
I recently began diffusing Young Living essential oils on my nightstand before I go to sleep. I have a few favorites but it typically depends on if I’m having any seasonal allergy irritations. If you are interested in learning more about Young Living essential oils feel free to message me and I’ll help you get started!
If you don’t already have a device that helps you track your sleep you can download an application to your smartphone and set it on your mattress while you sleep. I’ve had success with “Sleep Cycle” before I purchased my FitBit.
Electronic Device Filters
It’s goes without saying several of us are addicted to our electronic devices (iPhone/iPad etc.) and sometimes we find ourselves lying in bed staring at them catching up from our busy day. The blue light that is emitted from these devices drains our bodies natural ability to produce melatonin. If you find yourself in this situation be sure to turn on a blue light filter. I have my devices set to automatically “flux” for sunrise & sunset.
Breathing Techniques & Meditation
Headspace is my favorite go to app if I want to decompress throughout the day, take a power nap, or even listen to before bed. These guided meditations are short 10 minute routines to help you focus on breathing and relaxing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The monthly fee to join is $13/month but if you don’t want to subscribe you can still download the app and use 10 free routines.
Hot epsom salt baths can signal a melatonin release that actually helps extend our lifespan. The epsom salt contains magnesium that will help with sore muscles. Infuse it with lavender oil for a nice calming effect. I also enjoy adding about a tablespoon of baking soda to the mix to help flush the lymphatic system.
|Posted on September 28, 2018 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Do you know the benefits of coconut oil? If I had to guess I bet you probably don’t and that is why I am writing this blog post. First, let’s talk about the right kind of coconut oil you should be using. There are two main types of coconut oil; refined & unrefined. While there are still health benefits to both be sure to choose the UNREFINED jar. (I personally like the organic unrefined oil from Aldi.) I don’t want to bore you with the differences of each because that isn’t the purpose of this post but don’t worry if you get to the store and chose the wrong jar there are still benefits to both.
I first started using coconut oil when I started CrossFit in 2011 and was interested in fueling my body the best way I could for athletic performance & recovery. Not knowing how to cook except via directions from a box I subscribed to the Paleo Plan online for six months. Wow, were my eyes opened! Certainly was a new chapter for me and a damn good one at that.
Today I use coconut oil daily but not just for cooking. I use coconut oil for my face with a few drops of lavender or cedarwood depending on the time of day. (Lavender is best for sleep.) Adding coconut oil to your coffee in the mornings not only makes your coffee taste great but it changes your brain chemistry and channels the micronutrients to prevent mental fatigue.
I also like to blend coconut oil with essential oils like peppermint & lavender with epsom salt after a hard day of training. This will help with muscle recovery and leave your skin feeling hydrated instead of dry from the hot soak.
There are many other nutritional benefits of coconut oil I haven’t discussed here but these are just a few uses I like to incorporate into my daily routine. Coconut oil is a healthy macronutrient that everyone needs to get on board with. So what are you waiting for? Go grab a jar and get to work! As always, I hope this post helped create some inspiration to living a healthier happier lifestyle!
|Posted on June 13, 2017 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
What makes a coach better than the rest?
It has been six months since my last blog post. As you can tell writing is not something I enjoy or excel at but I understand its a vehicle to communicate to everyone inside and outside the gym. It puts everyone on the same playing field, same chapter, same page. Yet, we still have our own personal goals, fears, and motivations in and outside the gym as well. While I know some will read this post and some others won’t know it was written. My goal for this post is to give you an insight of my thoughts about why we train the way we do and how I’ve established myself as a fitness professional helping others be the best they can be….inside and outside the gym!
As a fitness professional I not only want to help my clients achieve their fitness goals but largely change how the world trains and even greater change the way the world lives. I believe training, teaching, and communicating this can be done. Okay, maybe not the world, but you get the point. I think you’ll agree with me that most individuals that begin a fitness journey walk into a gym and haven’t a clue about what to do. They wander from machine to machine thinking, “This looks good, I think I’ll do a bit of this and a little of that” and call it a day. Not only are those individuals not using their time effectively they are not recording their workouts either.
Think of yourself as your own science project i.e. the gym is your lab, and you are the experiment, testing and retesting lifts while recording your results.
Cue: Personal Trainer (That’s me!)
An effective personal trainer, weight lifting coach, and/or “fill in the blank” coach should show empathy to his/her athletes, have a willingness to learn, push for the best performance from everyone, and stay committed to those athletes. I understand that becoming a better trainer/coach daily gives advantage to my clients. This, yielding better results and a better athlete. That is my goal for myself, for the individuals reading this post, and those that are not.
Become the best you and own the process. If it’s a two pound personal best or three seconds faster than your last time then you’re better than you were yesterday!
All the best,
|Posted on December 28, 2016 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
The busy season is upon us here in the fitness industry. Not only is it my favorite time of year to help others accomplish goals they never thought imaginable but also a time to spread knowledge I have learned from my time training the past. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making the commitment to become a healthier, stronger, & more awesome you!
- Start out with small goals! Whether it's just getting to the gym for 10 minutes for three times a week. Getting in the habit of just going to the gym will help launch your new lifestyle instead of becoming a statistic that falls off by spring break.
- Protein shakes after every workout unless it's real food. Remember to drink a protein shake after your workout to help build lean muscle tissue and burn fat. Yes, that includes you too "fat burners", "calorie counters", and "don't want to get big ladies".
- Create a reward system. Setting rewards for yourself once your reach your goals helps us stay focus and movitated so don't forget to treat yourself on occassion!
- Don't make excuses! No body knows yourself better than you do so don't let your mind play games with you. Stick to a routine for at least 8 weeks and you'll more than likely continue doing whatever it is you're doing.
- Don't change everything in your diet at once! When it comes to your nutrition drop bad habits gradually than all at once. These will help keep your moral high and the low deflating cheat meal failures at bay.
- Don't compare yourself to others! Remember everyone is on a different chapter in their fitness journey so don't get down if Bob or Jane is all aboard the gains train and you feel like your stuck in the caboose. Everyone's body is different and it's up to your to figure out what works best for you and your body.
I hope these tips help you with your goals this New Year! Be safe, have fun, and keep it simple.
For more reviews and training qualifications click the link below!
|Posted on October 12, 2016 at 5:55 PM||comments (1)|
Foam Rolling Basics & Trigger Point Performance
Most of you that have visited my studio know I have a plethora of self massaging tools for you to use at your disposal and to help release any tight spots that have occurred in your day to day lifestyle or even from that set of deadlifts from the training day before.
With any exercise routine self care and maintenance is a top priority to recovery and overall biomechanics. Foam rolling & trigger point massage helps set the stage for injury prevention and optimal performance.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind next time you begin your foam rolling session:
- Always relax the area being massaged to allow for myofascial release. Remember we are “hunting” for tight spots.
- Always begin working distal (farthest) from the heart and when possible roll toward the heart. This will allow proper emptying of metabolic waste to exit from our lymphatic system.
- Foam rolling for a few minutes in one particular area is best. But foam rolling for longer than a few minutes at a time can be damaging so don’t spend an over amount on one area at a time. Keep your sessions short. No more than 10 minutes.
I hope these tips help you get the most out of your foam rolling recovery session.
DAVID J. ALVAREZ, D.O., and PAMELA G. ROCKWELL, D.O., University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Am Fam Physician. 2002 Feb 15;65(4):653-661.
|Posted on August 19, 2016 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
A brief overview of sedentary lifestyle behaviors and their health outcomes
McCombs, Brandon W.
Sedentary behavior and leisure time sitting have increased over the last few decades. As a result negative health outcomes such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases have exponentially increased. Sedentary activities consist of, but not limited to, commuting to and from work, watching TV, reading, and sitting at work. Over the last 50 or so odd years the transition from manual labor to a more occupational sitting has led to increased sedentary behavior. This coupled with increased home and leisure time activity due to technological advances, such as TV and computer usage, has drastically increased time spent sitting for adults inside and outside of the workplace. Data has been collected and used for research over several decades to combat this growing issue of poor health amongst adults. Previous research has shown a direct correlation between sedentary behavior and obesity along with other negative health concerns. With these results a need to increase awareness on the subject has risen with proactive solutions being introduced in today’s social institutions.
Research Design & Methods
Data was commonly collected through in-home interviews, questionnaires, surveys sent through the mail, and other larger databases. These surveys and questionnaires consisted of breaking populations among their gender demographics and anthropometric measurements. Such as age, sex, race, employment status, highest educational level completed, and body waist circumferences.
Sedentary Adults Through these data collection methods, a breakdown into visible results occurs. Focusing on the inactive population of the research, there are several results and takeaways from these surveys performed. It should be noted that many inactive adults were excluded from these surveys if they were missing information or had a family history of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and/or hypertension.
Physiologically, consuming more food stores and prolonged sitting time leads to a negative energy balance thus, over time developing into unhealthy weight gain. According to Thorp et al sitting time was shown to be more consistently associated with other metabolic biomarkers (8). For example once an individual is obese the likelihood of them obtaining high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or cardiovascular diseases increases. It can easily be seen there are several negative connotations to an inactive lifestyle at the work place and home.
The research on the inactive population creates an increasingly threatening issue to the general populace. It becomes necessary to thus look into the research and results for the active population and see if the same health concerns plaguing the inactive population occur in those that are active.
Nonsedentary Adults Those reported engaging in more moderate physical activity and currently being employed were associated with significantly lower odds of being obese and/or having hypertension (2). Although there is good evidence that higher levels or moderate-to vigorous activity lead to substantial health benefits, there is increasing interest in identifying the health risks associated with sedentary behaviors (5). The active participants of this research therefore live overall healthy lives with low negative health risks.
There are many takeaways from comparing both the active and inactive populations of the research. First, mortality rates increased as daily sitting time increased from almost none of the time to almost all of the time as shown in the Katzmarzyk study. However, even with physically active individuals there was a strong relationship between sitting and risk of mortality (5). Compared to participants that spend time sitting 1-2 hours a day and participants that who reported sitting for more than 4 hours per day had a higher odds of being obese, having diabetes and/or hypertension (2). Along with daily sitting time body mass index (BMI) increased (2,5,6,8). Such attributes is thought to be, in part, due to a reduction in energy expenditure.
Thus, the active population of the research has very few of the health concerns that the inactive population has.
The relative strengths and weaknesses of the research performed needs to be taken into account for when discussing the validity of the results. In some studies only BMI as an indicator of obesity was available, whereas waist circumference has been shown to be a stronger predictor of obesity and other health related conditions. Other limitations found that surveys did not distinguish between occupational sitting, leisure time sitting, and total time sitting. Other studies had shown a lack of sample size and inability to screen for potential preexisting diseases during the initial consultations. Although that misreporting of data collected from self-reporting measures such as time spend sitting, physical activity, and all other demographics including height and weight studies still found similar characteristics across most studies regarding sedentary behavior and physical activity. In contrast, studies also reported having a larger sample size population and were clinically free of diagnosed diabetes or cardiovascular diseases (4,7). Despite the limitations discussed, the results of the research are accurate enough to necessitate action into finding a resolution for this growing issue.
Due to the data directly showing a correlation between sedentary lifestyle and increased negative health concerns, public awareness and healthy solutions need to be developed. Current public health activity focuses on accumulating adequate levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity. For example, the most recent recommendations from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine call for a minimum of 30 min of moderate-intensity 5 days/wk or 20 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity 3 days/wk (5). Although there are currently no guidelines for sitting time duration, consulting a physician or other fitness professional is highly suggested for those combating poor health and the obesity epidemic. Another notion to raise awareness on this topic, regardless of physical activity levels, public health messages should include being physically active and reducing time spent sitting. Intervention strategies as simple as encouraging individuals to stand up and walk around more while at work or watching television have found to be beneficial. Likewise, experiments such as the Alkhajah et al study that focuses on office-based workers have tested the efficacy of sit-stand workstations to limit prolonged periods of sitting in the workplace. Though the sit-stand workstations can reduce sitting time, there are still many limitations as to whether this can be implemented in the workplace. Factors including the workplace layout and the overall interest of participants’ competence of the health impact of prolonged sitting are still confounding. This current research into the effects of a sedentary lifestyle should call for a need for continued research to be done in the future.
Alkhajah TA, Reeves MM, Eakin EG, Winkler EAH, Owen N, Healy GN. Sit-Stand Workstations A Pilot Intervention to Reduce Office Sitting Time. Amer J Prev Med 2012; 43(3):298-303
de Heer HD, Wilkinson AV, Strong LL, Bondy ML, Koehly LM. Sitting Time and Health Outcomes Among Mexican Origin Adults: Obesity as a Mediator. BMC Public Health 2012; 12:896
Ford ES, Kohl III HW, Mokdad AH, Ajani UA. Sedentary Behavior, physical activity, and the metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults. Obes Res 2005;13:608-614
Genevieve NH, Dunstand DW, Salmon J, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Owen N. Television Time and Continuous Metabolic Risk in Physically Active Adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2008;40(4):639-645
Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2009; 41(5):998-1005
Leon-Munoz LM, Martinez-Gomez D, Balboa-Castillo T, Lopez-Garcia E, Guallar-Castillon P, Rodriguez-Artalejo F. Continued Sedentariness, Change in Sitting Time, and Mortality in Older Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2013; 45(8):1501-1507
Patel AV, Bernstein L, Deka A, Feigelson HS, Campbell PT, Gapstur SM, Colditz GA, Thun MJ. Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults. American Jornal of Epidemiology 2010;172(4):419-429
Thorp AA, Healy GN, Owen N, Salmon J, Ball K, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Dunstan DW. Deleterious Associations of Sitting Time and Television Viewing Time with Cardiometabolic Risk Biomarkers. Diatetes Care 2010; 33: 327-334
|Posted on June 24, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Do you take a fish oil supplement? Do you feel better? Worse? Indifferent?
People report feeling less arthritis pain after taking fish oil capsules. Whether or not taking fish oil supplements really relieves the joint pain caused by arthritis or is it possibly a psychological trick; convincing oneself that by thinking they are taking a fish oil supplement when they actually are not somehow makes them feel better.
First let’s look at the theory; do taking fish oil supplements relieve arthritis pain? This theory is internally and externally consistent because it is consistent with the data it is supposed to explain and it implies that something is possibly true. To assess the evidence for this theory would take a significant amount of time, however, there are several studies done to test whether or not taking a fish oil supplement relieves arthritis pain. Some studies show no evidence that taking a fish oil supplement actually relieves arthritis pain. Other studies suggest a slight improvement when taking the fish oil supplements. There are several plausible arguments that may contest the validity of this theory, to name a few, “Exercise helps relieve arthritis pain” and “Topical creams relieve arthritis pain.” When applying the criteria of adequacy this theory is testable, fruitful (meaning there are a number of predictions made), has a broad scope, is simplistic, and is conservative with the existing evidence examined.
The second theory, the placebo effect, implies that subjects with arthritis pain are given a supplement to relieve their discomfort in their joints from arthritis. To their knowledge they think they are taking an actual supplement but in turn it is not. This theory is also internally and externally consistent because experimenters have also collected data this theory supports to claim and is possibly true that taking a “fake” supplement provides the individual with a stronger mental capacity for pain. Once again, to review the evidence given for this theory would take quite some time but to my knowledge there are studies that have shown improvement among individuals with arthritis while taking a placebo supplement. Other possible theories to evaluate are, “Individuals with arthritis already take pain medication” or “Persons with arthritis are told to eat more fish to help with their arthritis pain”. The criteria of adequacy for this theory is testable, fruitful, has a broad scope, simplistic and conservative as well because there are several studies done by experimenters examining supplements when compared to a placebo supplement.
In conclusion one theory did not seem to be stronger than the other. These two theories are both well tested and I leave it up to the individual to decide what works best for them. As for me, I believe that eating (on a daily basis) lean meats (to include fish), fruits and vegetables, some nuts, no starch, and no refined sugars with moderate to intense exercise three times a week will reduce the arthritis pain. I'm trying my first can of sardines next week! Think that's enough fish oil?
|Posted on February 14, 2016 at 3:40 PM||comments (1)|
Here is a short essay I wrote during my undergraduate studies at Purdue University. Given what I know now about nutrion and the other pysiological effects that occur during exercise this may still be of benefit to some athlethes and thought I'd share something sweet with you all this Valentine's Day. Side note: if you are not a highly active individual or prehaps someone that would like to loose weight I would not suggest consuming this amount of sugar. But I'll leave that for you to decide. I hope you enjoy.
"Chocolate Milk as a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid" Journal Review
Endurance exercise is influenced by the amount of stored glycogen molecules in skeletal muscles. During this forceful endurance exercise muscle glycogen stores become depleted. To accelerate glycogen resynthesis after an intense exercise it is recommended to consume carbohydrates approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour following the training session. However, it has been shown that consuming these carbohydrates along with protein will slow the rate at which one’s body uses up the glycogen stores for energy as well as improve athletic endurance. Like many other commercial post-recovery drinks, chocolate milk, has similar carbohydrate to protein ratios to aid individuals to perform at a greater intensity the next training day. However, these substances do not have the same amounts of carbohydrates and proteins that other post-workout drinks contain and thus increasing the time of exhaustion during an exercise.
The purpose of this study was to examine the truth behind using chocolate milk as a post-workout supplement and the affects it has following an initial exercise. This experiment examined what happens to an individual’s glycogen stores when drinking chocolate milk after exercising as opposed to consuming other post-recovery aids. Learning how individuals’ glycogen re-synthesis make-up works allows scientists to possibly determine how long it may take for an athlete to become exhausted.
The subjects used for this study were nine healthy male participants, all of which are physically fit, experienced cyclists from Indiana University. The majority of the young experienced athletes were 22 years of age about 179.9cm in height and 73.0kg in weight. According to the article, all subjects participated in four testing sessions once a week. The first test the subjects were tested on their max oxygen consumption and their max power output during an incremental exercise using a cycling ergometer (model 834E, Monark, Varberg, Sweden). The other three sessions were randomized exercises each based on the individuals endurance. Each testing session consisted of two training periods separated by four hours of rest. The cyclists were given orders to monitor their diet and refrain from exercising 24 hours prior to training as well as report to the lab after fasting the night before. Once in the lab the observers had the participants complete an interval training exercise to deplete the majority of their muscle glycogen stores. After this exercise each subject consumed different recovery drinks consisting of low-fat chocolate milk (The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, OH), a fluid replacement drink (Gatorade, The Gatorade Co., Chicago, IL), or a carbohydrate replacement drink (Endurox R4, Pacific Health Laboratories, Woodbridge, NJ). Proceeding the recovery stage the cyclists performed another bout of exercise at 70% of their VO2max until failure while heart rates were recorded every 15 minutes. Blood samples were taken from each of the participants fingertips before and after each exercise trial and two hours into their recovery period. Body mass and hydration status were also recorded before and after exercise bouts using a digital scale and a bioelectrode impedance analysis.
Both chocolate milk and fluid replacement drink trials were greater than the carbohydrate replacement drink in both total work performed and time to exhaustion. However, there were no significant differences in the participants’ heart rates or their rating of perceived exertion in each of the trials performed. Body mass and hydration status did not change as well between different drinks and/or among trials.
Even though chocolate milk and the carbohydrate replacement drink have similar carbohydrate contents, and even less in the fluid replacement drink, participants cycled 49%-54% longer when chocolate milk and the fluid replacement drinks were ingested compared to the carbohydrate replacement drink. This was also the case when the participants cycled at 70% of their VO2max. Some studies have shown that this is not always the case but differences in the current study as compared to other studies may be from different methodologies, such as, cycling at different percentages of one’s VO2max. It is also possible that the different types of carbohydrate composition in the drinks may contribute to a difference in workout performance. Chocolate milk and fluid replacement drinks are very similar in this aspect, though the carbohydrate replacement drink is not. The absence of sucrose in the carbohydrate replacement drink did contribute to a shorter time to exhaustion and less total work due to less glycogen resynthesis in the liver. Glycogen resynthesis and rehydration after intense exercise is very important in obtaining optimal substrate availabilities during following exercises. Because of this the data recorded after the glycogen depletion and endurance trials suggest that fatigue during the exercise bouts occurred as a result of less glycogen stores rather than any other metabolic factor.
In conclusion, this study shows that, chocolate milk may be a more effective post-workout/recovery drink than other commercial drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or Endurox resulting from intense exercise.
|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 5:30 PM||comments (0)|
How I keep my health, psychology, and nutrition sharp!
Increase your Gray Matter: Our ancient ancestors thrived on a healthy trifecta of socialization, nature, and physical activity. I love to go to the corec and get in a pick up basketball game for a few hours. (Side note: open gym times are Monday, Wed., & Friday's around noon). If I can't make it to the Rec I will take Layla on a long walk. She doesn't really talk back much but I'm working on teaching her how to speak!
Become a more Learned Human: The learn something new every day mantra isn't just a saying its also important in fresh connections in your brain. I cannot wait to attend Burning Man this year. If you've never heard of it I would highly reccommend checking it out here. In short, Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
Put Your Ear on the Pillow: Did you know that sleeping in the fetal position was ideal? Research from Stony Brook University suggests that sleeping on your side helps your brain clear metabolic plaque faster, thus decreasing the likely-hood of Alzeheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Never sleep on your stomach!
Learn to Breathe: Five minutes of deep breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system (you know the one opposite of sympathetic "Fight or Flight" that increases your heartrate) and increasing your focus.
Eat Fish Oil Often: Consuming omega-3 fatty acid DHA stimulates your brain's ability to adapt to challenges by creating new neurological pathways. Eat or look for these ingredients on the back of your fish oil supplement for sardines, arctic char, and salmon. I eat at least two servings a week. Also, concuming red wine, coffee, and dark chocolate have antioxidants that may help prevent cognitive decline. Yes, you read that correctly. Everything is okay in moderation right?!
I hope you all had a Happy New Year!!
|Posted on October 26, 2015 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
I have been consistently following a yoga program called ROMWOD for the last three weeks and it has made me feel so much better throughout my day to day. Many of you may or may not already know but I suffer from sciatica (occassionally) and periformis syndrome. ROMWOD allows me to do their program at any time which is nice since my schedule changes very often working full time as a personal trainer. The workouts are short and sweet and some days they offer a shorter version of the workout if you are time constrained, usually under 10 mins but the average 20 min workout goes by so fast it's incredible! I am forever a believer in their programming and definitely think it's the best $10 I ever spend all month on myself. If you are interested I suggest doing their free 7 day trial and see for yourself the benefits of increasing your Range Of Motion!
Be flexible & strong,