Friday, August 24, 2012

Are You Ready to Get a Little Dirty?

What's the latest craze for competitive adults?  Mud runs and obstacle courses.  What a great way to unleash your inner child!!  Events such as Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash are popping up all over and are adding an "extreme" element to your typical 5K/10K/half-marathon races.  Climb over walls, wade through chest/waist deep muddy water, crawl under barbed wire, and jump over fire.  These competitions aren't for the faint of heart but they do add a different component to the race.  Instead of just focusing on cardiorespiratory fitness for straight running events, these mud run/obstacle course events add muscular strength and endurance into the mix.

Think you are ready to try an obstacle course race?  First, be sure to note, you will have to sign a "death" waiver to be eligible to compete in any of these types of competitions.  If you are not willing (or crazy enough) to have the potential of dying on an obstacle course, then by all means, don't sign up!!  If you do have that wild hair and are looking to reclaim some playground bragging rights, then this type of competition might be what you need.  Click on the links above to check out information on some of the bigger mud runs/obstacle courses.  Get a feel for how long the event is and what types of obstacle you will face.  Once you are committed, it's time to start training.  While you will definitely need to run/jog as part of your training, you will also need to add other exercises to prepare your body for the obstacles.  Head out to the local park and shoo the kids off of the monkey bars.  When the coast is clear, grab on and see how far you can travel without falling off.

Remember, these events aren't for the faint of heart but the mud runs/obstacle courses do help build camaraderie and team spirit.  So find some friends who are just as crazy as you are and sign up for one of these events.  You'll have a new accomplishment to brag about to friends and family members.  How many people can say they jumped over fire and crawled through the mud...on purpose?!?

If you are ready to sign up for one of these events (or you've already committed yourself) and need help with a training program, stop in at PROMATx Health Club and talk with one of trainers.  Learn how we can help you get in shape and prepare your body for an obstacle course.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Does Feeling Fat Make You Fat?

We have all those days.  The ones where you feel fat and frumpy.  But just because you "feel" fat, does that make you fat??  According to a recent study published in the Journal of Obesity by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, normal-weight teens who felt fat were more likely to grow up to be fat.  This study was an eleven-year follow-up that tracked 1196 normal-weight teens as they progressed into adulthood (between ages 24 and 30).  

According to the results of this study, researchers found that half of the participants still maintained a healthy weight as an adult.  Unfortunately, the results also showed that 59 percent of the girls who felt fat as a teen later became an overweight adult (based on body mass index, or BMI).  This is in comparison with 31 percent of girls who did NOT feel fat as a teenager but developed into overweight adults.  This study also showed that normal-weight girls were more likely to perceive themselves as overweight in comparison to normal-weight boys.  Twenty-two percent of the girls in the initial study felt they were overweight whereas only nine percent of boys felt this way.

Why is this??  According to the researchers, psychosocial stress is most likely the main culprit.  The need (or the want) for maintaining an ideal body weight according to social pressure can cause people, especially teenage girls, to gain weight as they progress into adulthood.  This psychosocial stress can cause poor habits such as improper dieting and skipping meals.  Both of these result in weight gain.  Unfortunately, teenage girls are affected more by this psychosocial stress due to media pressure for girls to be thin.

The media's notion of the "ideal" body type for women is based on celebrities and super models.  Young people, both female and male, need to have positive (and healthy) role-models, not ones who severely restrict their calorie intake or engage in unhealthy dietary habits.  Make sure you spend time with your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to ensure they understand what the "ideal" body type is and how to properly achieve healthy results.  Keep kids active and limit time spent in front of the television, video games, and computers.  Schedule family "play-time" to get everyone involved and active so you can help young adults improve their self-esteem.

Need help with getting your teen involved and active?  Check with your school or local government to see what programs or assistance is available to you.  Also, check at local gyms or health clubs for after-school activities or sports for your teens.  Set an example by being active yourself and make appropriate food choices.  Together, we can help turn these statistics around and make the future for our children brighter, happier, and most importantly, healthier!!

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2012, August 8). Feeling fat may make you fat, study suggests. ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies...But Not Too Many!

OK, here I go again with these confusing blog posts.  In theory, this post will make sense but it may leave some of you scratching your head for a few minutes.  I pose a question to it bad to eat too much healthy food?  The answer to that is a definite "yes".  Too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing.  In a recent study by Loyola University Health Systems, registered dietician Brooke Schantz found that eating too much healthy food (such as fruits and vegetables) can lead to weight gain.  Now don't freak out.  Weight gain or weight loss goes back to the simple energy balance equation:

Calories In < Calories Out = Weight Loss
Calories In > Calories Out = Weight Gain
Calories In = Calories Out = Weight Maintenance

There are no fancy tricks to this equation.  If you take in more calories (healthy or unhealthy) than you expend or burn, you will gain weight!

So where do you go from here?  By no means am I telling you not to eat healthy foods.  But you have to consciously make judgment calls when it comes to food.  There are "good", "better", and "best" choices for all foods and even though you may spend the majority of your time choosing the "best" items, you still need keep in mind total calories consumed.  Nonstarchy vegetables, according to Schantz, are higher in water and fiber and create a "stretching" effect on the stomach.  Therefore it is more difficult to overeat these vegetables unless you cover them with fatty cheese and sauces.  When choosing your vegetables, be sure to limit the starchy ones such as peas, corn, and potatoes.

Keep the energy balance equation in the back of your mind at all times.  Choose healthy foods more often while still choosing the "best" items within the "healthy food" umbrella.  Once you get in the habit of eating healthier, food choices become natural and your body will crave the nutrient-dense foods.  Feed your mind and body with the proper nutrients and you will reap the rewards with a more efficient, fat-burning machine!

Still need help with making healthier food choices?  Schedule an appointment to talk with our nutrition specialist.  The fitness and nutrition professionals here at PROMATx Health Club are here to help, but you have to take the first step.  Stop by and talk with us today!

Reference:  Loyola University Health System. "Is there such a thing as eating too many fruits and vegetables?." ScienceDaily, 24 Jul. 2012. Web. 1 Aug. 2012