Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 4)

Here is the final entry in our guest blogger series for this month from Carrie Covington.  Remember, go back and check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before reading this blog.

You are making it worse. 

If you had a disease and your doctor told you that you could take this certain medicine but it would actually make the disease worse, would you do it?  I can guess everyone answered "no".  Dieting is the same way.  It is not a cure to our weight problem; it is part of the problem.

Tip #5:  Stop going on diets.  Educate yourself on nutrients.  Learn what you need and when you need it.  The key to losing weight is changing your metabolism to burn more calories than you take in.  Diets do the exact opposite.  When you restrict your calories too much, your metabolism slows down because your body goes into “starvation mode”.   This is a defense mechanism that allows our bodies to survive on less.  Your body will start using lean muscle as an energy source and it will protect the fat stores.  The less muscle we have, the lower our metabolic rate will be and the less calories we burn.  On the flip side for every pound of muscle you have, you will burn 50 more calories. 

If you are unclear on what a good nutrition plan is then seek help.  Find a professional that can help you with a meal plan to help you lose weight without restriction.  Include foods you enjoy and get plenty of variety.  Combine your meal plan with a balanced exercise program and you will become healthy with the side effect of weight loss.

Remember, the staff at PROMATx Health Club are here to help you but you have to take the first step.  Make an appointment today to talk with our nutrition specialist.  Find out how we can get you back on track and help you lose the weight.  Then work with one of our trainers to get your body back in tip-top shape.  You won't regret it...but you will have to work at it!! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recovery Days...Do You Include Them in Your Training?

Recovery days.  We need them after a heavy workout or competition/game/race but do you incorporate these days into your training regimen?  If not, you should.  During exercise the body actually breaks down muscle tissue in order to rebuild and repair.  If you don't provide your body with adequate rest and recovery, you could be sending yourself into an overtraining scenario.  Now before you get upset with me, recovery days are not always complete rest.  Active recovery days are just as important as your training days.  Once your muscles have been broken down during the workout, they will immediately begin rebuilding and repairing.  You may notice that after a heavy workout or competition, your muscles are sore and you might even feel a little "puffy".  The soreness is a build-up of proteins released during the "breaking down" process.  That usually lasts about 24-48 hours after your workout.  Muscles might be "puffy" or swollen as the body sends extra fluids and white blood cells to the area to help "clean up".  This is a natural body process and is actually helpful, even though it's merely uncomfortable for you.

So how do you know when you should have recovery days?  First and foremost if you have a particularly heavy workout or big competition, active recovery the following day is extremely important.  If your training regimen includes "general" exercise and isn't too strenuous on a daily basis, then you should include at least one or two active recovery days in a week.  But what is "active recovery"?  On the days you dedicate to active recovery, you can perform light cardio activity with an emphasis on stretching.  An excellent way to achieve this is to hop in a pool.  The cooler temperatures of the pool combined with the buoyancy of the water will provide your body with the proper conditions to reduce muscle tension and swelling.  You can perform light activities such as walking or easy lap swimming followed by static stretching at the pool wall.  The key component in an active recovery is to keep the intensity low enough so your body doesn't further deplete your energy stores.  During your active recovery, be sure to rest and rehydrate frequently.

Passive recovery is more along the lines of total rest and stretching.  Here again, pools can be beneficial.  If you have the ability to be in a warmer water pool, focus more on static stretching in the warmer climate.  Be wary of jumping in the hot tub though.  The higher water temperature of the hot tub can increase blood flow to sore muscles which may increase swelling and discomfort.  If you only have access to a hot tub, then keep time spent in the water minimal (i.e., 1-2 minutes).  You can even do a contrast bath where you are in warmer/hot water for a minute or two then immediately get in a cooler shower/bath for 10-60 seconds.  This can be repeated three times.  Again, be sure to properly rehydrate during this time.

Remember, muscle soreness is natural and should be expected after a workout.  If, however, it does not dissipate or gets worse after a couple of days, then you may need to seek the advice of a certified trainer or, worse case scenario, seek medical attention.  Whether you choose active or passive recovery is dependent on the type of activity you perform and the intensity levels.  Regardless you should incorporate one type of recovery in your weekly routine.  Your body will recover faster and performance will improve by giving your body the rest it needs (and deserves!).  You don't have to "go-go-go" all the time.  Give yourself a little down time to recover and reflect.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 3)

Continuing with our guest blogger series from Carrie Covington, here is Part 3 of "Weight Loss Tips".  If you missed the previous entries, check out Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing to read this blog.

There is no wagon to fall off or track to get on… 

We have to change our relationship with food to have permanent weight loss.  I am sure there are some foods you feel like you can’t ever have if you want to lose weight and keep it off.  You may even label every food as “good” or “bad”.  I can relate…I was once there.  It was torture to always wish I could eat anything I wanted.  In reality, I can and you can.

Tip#3:  Get rid of the guilt and get rid of labels.  There is no wagon to fall off of or a track to get back on…be where you are!  We are completely in control of what we put in our mouth and, in moderation, everything is OK.  Learning a proper portion can help you feel that you can eat foods you may label as “bad”.   It is more about being in a place that you want the healthier choices because you know it is better for you.  Hear this. You are in control of your choices, they are not in control of you...although sometimes the vicious cycle makes you feel that way. 

Tip #4:  Learn to have emotion.  A poor relationship with food will often result in emotional eating.  When you are motivated, you will replace the bag of chips or gallon of ice cream at bedtime with carrots and fat free dip but what is more important is finding what void your eating is filling and fill the void.  Emotional eating is a hard habit to break and an easy one to fall back into.  From birth we are comforted with food from the bottle to the suckers at the doctor’s office.  So give yourself slack if you struggle in this area, it is how we are programmed.  However, if you want to have permanent weight loss you need to fill the emotional void without feeding the emotion.  If you are tired, sleep don’t eat.  If you are sad, what can you do to cheer up?  If you are stressed, learn stress management tools.  If you are bored, then finish one of the hundreds of projects that you have started.  Emotional eating will sabotage your weight loss.  Again remember Tip #1:  weight loss is NOT mindless.  Learning to have emotion is healthy...stop trying to numb it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 2)

Hopefully you have had a chance to read "Part 1" of this series this month.  If not, take a moment and go back and read "Weight Loss Tips (Part 1)".  So here is part 2 of the series from Carrie Covington.

Tell me if you can relate…

How many times have you had "THE TIME" you're motivated, encouraged, you have a great plan and then you get into your life and just can’t make it work or just don’t know what to do?  Sure, you have a great plan - set small goals, eat this, do that, blah, blah, blah…but when the reality hits that you have to do it AND follow it, you just don’t. 

Tip #2:  You must want it and you must know exactly what you want.  If you are perfectly content, stop complaining and be thankful.  But, if you are in a place that you so desperately do not want to be, you will do whatever it takes to not be there.  Having a powerful reason to lose the weight is crucial.  I have found that wanting to be a size "X" is not always enough to keep you motivated.  However, wanting to feel confident, being included in the family pictures, or being able to have energy to play with your kids is enough.  Some questions to ask yourself would be…
  1. What are you missing out on because of your weight?  
  2. What would your life look like if you were "X" pounds lighter? 
  3. What activities would you be doing that you are not doing now?  
  4. What is it that you want that you don’t have?  
  5.  If you don’t lose the weight what will happen?  
Once you have your reason, create your statement.  Use verbs such as I will, I can, and I am.  By changing the way you think you will take more positive actions.  Forget the past, it will only hold you back, keep your eyes forward pressing towards your goal. 

Stay tuned for "Part 3" of this series.  In the meantime, if you need assistance getting started, call or stop by PROMATx Health Club and make an appointment with Carrie or our nutrition specialist so that we can help you lose the weight and be more confident.  Don't wait...we are here to help!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nutrition and Injury Recovery

Unfortunately we've all been there before...recovering from some sort of injury.  We've sat on the sidelines a time or two, waiting (sometimes impatiently) to get back on the court/field/course.  While you were waiting, what did you do?  Probably you rested, maybe you did some sort of therapy either through a medical professional or on your own.  But did you take into consideration your nutrition plan while you were recovering?  Probably not.  Nutrition is so important, not only when you are healthy but also when your body is going through its repair process.  This blog will give you a few ideas on how to improve your nutrition plan during recovery to lessen the time spent on the sidelines.

During the injury healing process, inflammation occurs almost immediately and can last up to 5 days post-injury.  This is when the body sends extra help to the injured area to help speed up recovery.  While it may be uncomfortable with swelling, heat and redness in the injured area, this is an important part of the healing process.  During this time dietary fat plays an important role.  Omega-6 fats and trans-fats both promote inflammation in the body while omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats both inhibit inflammation.  As much as you want the swelling to go down, it is vital to allow the body to promote natural healing.  Therefore, during the injury recovery process, especially within a few days of injury, you should up the intake of omega-6 fats slightly.  The ideal ratio during recovery is 2-3 omega-6 fats to every omega-3 fat.  The easiest way to do this, without getting into calculating fat contents, is to increase your intake of olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, ground flax, and other seeds, etc., making sure to get some of each fat source every day.  By eating these foods, you'll likely balance out the saturated fats naturally present in your protein sources.  In addition to that, add approximately 3-6g of fish oil while decreasing your omega-6 fat (i.e., corn oil, safflower oil, processed foods) intake.

Another route you can take to help your body recover from injury is to add certain spices/herbs to your daily nutrition plan.  Because of the side effects of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, many people rely on the anti-inflammatory properties of herbs and spices.  Theoretically, NSAIDs should only be taken during the acute phase of the injury (5 days post injury) because when taken early in the healing process, it rapids blocks the inflammation process.  Remember, this is an important phase because the body sends chemicals to the affected area to clean up the injury and start the healing process.  If inflammation is blocked too early, the body may take longer to heal.  Some herbs and spices that are helpful are:
  1. Curry powder/turmeric – This member of the ginger family has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and for wound healing.  The active ingredient, curcumin, is likely responsible for the effects.  Aim for 1 tsp per day of the powder or 400-600mg of the supplement, 3 times per day. 
  2. Garlic – This has been shown to inhibit inflammatory enzymes.  Adding it to the diet is helpful, but a supplement might be even better.  Aim for 2-4 garlic cloves each day (if you can tolerate it) or 600 to 1,200mg of aged garlic extract. 
  3. Boswellia – A favorite of Ayurvedic medicine, boswellia has many pharmacological uses.  As an anti-inflammatory, try 300mg 3 times per day. 
  4. Pineapple – Bromelain, found in pineapple, is another anti-inflammatory that’s great for digestion and for inflammation/pain relief.  Aim for 2 cups of pineapple per day or 500-1,000mg in supplemental form.
Calorie intake is another important area to take into consideration.  When physical activity is limited or training stops, the body will naturally need less calories to function.  However, even though the training stops, your body still needs an increase in calories to support the healing process.  Many people undereat when they are injured which can slow down the healing process.  Depending on the severity of the injury, your body will need 15-50% more calories than your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  BMR is the amount of calories needed to sustain life and for your body to function at rest.  So while you may not need as many calories during injury healing as you do during active training, it still will be higher than what your body requires when sedentary.

Finally, macronutrients such as protein, carbs and fat should be consumed in sufficient quantities to help the body heal.  Protein should be about 1g per pound of body weight; 1/3 of your diet should come from fat and that amount should be further broken down to include 1/3 saturated fat, 1/3 monounsaturated fat, and 1/3 polyunsaturated fat.  In terms of carbohydrates, there is no recommended level for injury recovery.  You should consume enough carbohydrates to support brain function and provide adequate macronutrient intake.

The important thing to remember is to be sure to eat frequently throughout the day and incorporate the principles listed above to ensure you are consuming high quality, nutrient-dense foods.  Your body will recover quicker and you will be back on the playing field again.  If you still need help with figuring out what to eat during injury recovery, contact PROMATx Health Club and set up an appointment with our nutrition specialist.  We are here to help and we are able to guide you through your recovery process.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 1)

Meet Carrie Covington...

Hi, I’m Carrie.  I have been working out for 20 years now and in the industry as a fitness professional for 17 years with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky.  In 2001, I became a founding partner of PROMATx Health Club.  Working in several different gyms in Lexington, we saw that the industry catered to the fit more than the unfit.  PROMATx was founded to provide a non-intimidating, friendly, and family-oriented atmosphere where real people feel comfortable to workout.  It was our mission to provide this space so that lives can be changed and memberships are used instead of wasted.  My personal passion is to help empower women to find freedom from the mental exhaustion that comes from counting calories in versus calories out, comparing their body to others, and most of all missing out on LIFE!  Over the years, I have watched countless women search for the "secret formula" to weight loss success.  They look for an easy solution that will melt away the pounds without changing the way they eat, the way they think, or by adding more activity.  As a former searcher I can tell you there is NO SECRET! Weight loss is hard and permanent weight loss is about changing everything. During the month of September, I will be coaching you and sharing my top 5 tips to stop the search for the secret to “get and stay skinny” and commit to a lifestyle change. 

Tip #1:  Weight loss is NOT mindless.  It is actually the opposite…it is very mindful.  You must have a plan and you must follow the plan to see results.  Once you have a plan you need to think through all the obstacles that WILL come.  Life doesn’t always go how we plan so having strategies for the obstacles that come is a must.  I suggest looking back on the past attempts to lose weight and see what kept you from success as well as think ahead to what obligations you have.  Make a list and have a plan to execute when life doesn’t go as planned.  The more time you spend on the plan the more empowered you will feel when you overcome an obstacle to your success.

Stay tuned later this week for another "Tip from Carrie".