Archive for May, 2013

Non training physical activity…..? Sounds like a contradicting statement doesn’t it? However, many people who workout both regularly and intensely have a hard time meeting their fitness goals because they are not physically active throughout the rest of their day. Sure, getting to the gym for a full body resistance training session, walking a brisk 3 miles at a high incline on the treadmill or sweating profusely on the elliptical for thirty minutes are great activities that you should be doing. But you need to be active the other 14-16 hours you are awake as well.

Many of you work very hard at during your bouts of exercise, unfortunately the amount of calories we think we burn is much higher than what we actually expend during a workout. Often times after finishing a workout I feel like I have burned thousands of calories to discover I have only burned 600. Furthermore, most of us (myself included) eat more calories in a day than we should. So, when we return home from our morning workout and fulfill the rest of our day sitting at our computer, our desk, watching TV or various other sedentary activities, we still end up at a calorie surplus. Also, when we sit for long periods of times throughout the day we totally turn off our muscles in our core and legs negating that tough weight lifting session or abs class.

Our body is not meant to do physical activity for 30 minutes or an hour, four to five days a week. It is meant to do some sort of physical activity for numerous hours just about every day. Sure, we are not designed to be able to lift heavy weights from dawn until dusk, but we are capable of doing 30 minutes of resistance training, taking a mid-day walk and a little afternoon gardening. Your body is also capable of doing some other physical activities in between these events. Granted, we all need a little rest, but we need to move more than we rest. There are numerous things we can do to boost the amount of non-training physical activity throughout the day. Work around the house is a good calorie burner and strength builder. Shopping can help boost your activity if you choose to walk from shop to shop. Golf is always a good physical activity to do throughout your day…..Of course, carrying your bags and not using a cart is a better way to add to that non training physical activity! There are plenty of opportunities to be active throughout the day and if you are really committed to meeting your health and fitness goals, you will find ways to keep moving.

The industry of health, fitness and exercise is a rapidly growing field, both in knowledge and in demand. New equipment, workout schemes, online workouts and video workouts are being produced, refined and used. Group exercise instructors and trainers are needed everywhere from Los Angeles to Highlands. Scientists discover new evidence of the importance of exercise seemingly every day and also find new ways to maximize exercise modalities for various groups of people.

There is a plethora of information available to anyone with access to a computer or a personal trainer regarding this industry. This is a blessing and a curse. The information in regards to fitness and exercise can be misunderstood, misused or inappropriate for some individuals. Or, the information can make positive life changes for individuals. Needless to say, information regarding this industry can be both conflicting and confusing even to a fitness professional such as me. The information regarding exercise, in addition to all of the gadgets and gismos one can buy to use during workouts, can make a person feel unsure how to go about choosing, designing and implementing the best workout for them.

Throughout my first four years here at HCC I have enjoyed answering many questions about fitness, usually which regard some sort of comparison. Questions like, “should I walk or ride the bike?” Or, “is yoga better than Pilates?” Or, “Do I need a trainer, or is it better if I exercise on my own?” All of which are valid questions. In the past (and probably I will continue to in the future) I have given lengthy explanations on the positives and negatives of both things in question. Truth be told, there are not many negatives to most movement forms. However, there may be things that are better for certain individuals, or certain situations, but as long as someone is moving I feel they are doing something right!

Eventually, I reach a point in my explanations where I discuss how one’s effort towards the exercise is of most importance….and it is! This could be physical effort, such as pushing oneself to increase the intensity of an exercise or mental effort like when someone commits to modifying one’s daily schedule to allow for a workout. Over the years I have used a lot of words to try to get the point across that the significance of what you do for exercise is not as important as to how you exercise.

Over this past winter I realized that the best way I could sum up the point I’ve been trying to get across the past few year is to say that exercise doesn’t work unless you do. You can put as much time, money and hope into improving your fitness, but if you are not willing to go outside of your comfort level and work for the changes you wish to see, your improvement will be minimal at best. There are lots of fitness toys and great ideas about exercise available to people, but these things do not exercise the person; the person must exercise the equipment.

Another Deceiving Product….
So, let’s review: Nutella is not good for you, in any way shape or form (see previous article on Nutella). Ok, now we can move on. I want to mention another tasty product like Nutella, but maybe a bit more deceiving in terms of nutrition. The reason it is deceiving is that it is yogurt, which is supposed to be healthy. For the most part, yogurt is healthy.

However, last July I was introduced to Greek God’s yogurt by one of the many culinary experts at Highlands Country Club. I was floored at how amazing it tasted. The word “heavenly” comes to mind, but does not do this delicious food the justice it deserves. It was so good that I commented I liked it better than ice cream. It was that good…plain. Once I added some pineapple or strawberries to it with a spot of peanut butter and some granola it was a snack that could literally knock your socks off. I made plans to substitute Greek God’s yogurt for my ice cream cravings. This yogurt, such a healthy treat was so tasty it was better than finding the fountain of youth, scoring a perfect score on an SAT or hitting the lottery, it was mind blowing. Peace had been restored throughout the galaxy!

But, thanks to the wonderful educators I have had throughout life who have made me a critical thinker in every situation I experience, I knew this yogurt was too good to be true. I knew that this yogurt had to be a Trojan horse so to speak, carrying unhealthy agents into my body hiding beneath its amazing taste and healthy name. While this product was yogurt, and was Greek, it only took a glance at the ingredient list to realize it was not healthy. The first item on this list (which is also the most concentrated ingredient) stated that this savory dairy treat was made with heavy whipping cream! Next, I looked to the nutrition label to see if by any chance it would reveal something healthy about this breakfast and midnight snack to be. Again, I was disappointed as I learned that Greek God’s yogurt had more fat, more sugar and more total calories than the Breyer’s Ice Cream in my freezer.

On one hand I was devastated, shocked and confused. How could yogurt be less healthy than ice cream!? On the other hand, I felt lucky that I had actually checked the nutrition facts before I began to down this decadent food as a replacement to ice cream! The disappointment I felt from this discovery did and still does out weight the good fortunes from this same unearthing. However, it taught me a lesson and this lesson should be passed on to all of you….READ NUTRITION LABELS! READ INGREDIENT LISTS! The labels on the front are not as important as the labels on the back! Know your foods in comparisons to other foods. Know your foods well!

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Posted: May 22, 2013 in Thought of the Day

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