Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is it Possible to lose weight and build muscle at the same time

Answer: Absolutely, and it is also possible to add weight while losing fat. It is not uncommon for a change in body composition to occur when one begins getting serious about exercise and nutrition. It is important to determine what your primary goal is, since maximizing fat loss or maximizing muscle gain essentially require opposite approaches. If you find that your body fat is getting lower but weight has remained stable, then what is likely happening is that you are adding LBM at the same rate you are losing fat. It is highly unlikely that this rate of change will continue for very long and you will either begin to lose more fat than muscle is gained or vice-versa, as determined by calorie and nutrient availability. There are other factors that may affect weight as well: body water fluctuations, monthly cycle for women, creatine use, water and food intake, and time of day. Be sure to stay consistent with the time of day and conditions surrounding your weight and body fat measurements and understand that weight can fluctuate daily and even over the course of a single day. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Class Schedule

Don't miss out on all of the xmas specials this month at Gold's Gym. All workout apparel on sale for 20% off. Get a 1 month membership for only $45 or chooose from a super ten pass for only $50!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gold's Gym Challenge

Enroll now for the Gold's Gym Fitness Challenge starting this January! Get in shape and win prizes. Entry is only $50! Come in to Gold's today and register today for the 2013 Gold's Gym Challenge. First flight starts January 5th!!!
Photo: Enroll now for Gold's Gym Fitness Challenge starting this January! Get in shape and win prizes. Entry is only $50!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Scheule of Classes

Xmas Specials

Don't miss out on the xmas savings at Gold's Gym this holiday season. All new workout apparel on sale now!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Bean, Beef & Chile Burritos

1 ¼ lb. Low Sodium Canned Black Beans – Drained and Rinsed
¾ lb. Ground Beef – 80/20, Raw
½ lb. Yellow Onions – Fresh, Diced ¼”
1 ½ Cups Diced Tomatoes – Canned, With Juice
3 oz. Diced Green Chilies – Canned, Drained, Chopped
½ Tbsp Chili Powder
6 10” Flour Tortillas
3 oz. Iceberg Lettuce – Shredded
1 Cup 2 Tbsp Tomatoes – Fresh, Diced

PreparationCook beef and onion until beef is thoroughly browned, with no pink. Drain excess fat.
Coarsely mash cooked beans. Stir into above. Add tomatoes, green chiles and chili powder. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until mixture firms up.
Wrap tortillas in foil. Heat in a 375 degree F. oven for 10 minutes to soften. Keep wrapped for use.
Place 1 cup beef mixture in center of each tortilla. Add ½ ounce lettuce and 3 Tbls tomato.  Fold bottom edge of tortilla up and over filling. Fold 2 sides in to meet the center. Flip filled part over onto top edge.

Serves 6
Serving Size: 1 10” Burrito

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why Food Logging is Critical for Weight Control

Food Logging – A Powerful Weight Loss Tool
You may surprised by the fact that losing weight is not the main challenge for most people. Keeping it off is much more of a struggle. In fact, only a small percentage of those who lose at least 10 percent of their initial body weight manage to sustain their results.1 The remaining majority regain all of the weight lost within three to five years.2,3 This is likely due to the way many individuals go about losing weight – short-term, or fad diets. The issue with diets is that they tend to be a temporary fix and the eating rules are difficult to sustain. Although you lose weight initially, once you resume your old habits, the weight comes back and often more. It is simply unnatural to cut out whole food groups and drastically cut calories - our bodies will fight it. For you to lose weight and keep it off for good, you’ll have to adjust your food choices and activity level permanently. That means the changes you make should be something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. And they don’t have to be earth shattering. Perhaps you switch regular soda for diet and save 200 calories a day. And maybe you add a 15 minute walk twice a day and burn 200 more calories, but the bottom line is they’re doable for life. Remember, the only proven method to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in, and research shows that different eating patterns, whether high-carb, low-carb, low-fat or high-fat, can all yield results as long as you burn more than you take in.4 Only you can determine what works best for you.
So how do you change or adjust your eating and activity habits? You must first be fully aware of your body’s needs and what you’re doing now – and you probably aren’t. Studies show that most people:
  • Don’t know how much to eat to maintain their current weight
  • Believe  they eat less than they actually do
  • Have no idea they take in extra calories in different situations
  • Slowly gain 1-3 pounds a year during adulthood until they are overweight or obese
The solution to becoming aware of your food choices and how much you’re eating is to simply pay attention by tracking everything you consume. When you track what you eat, you can’t help but notice the types of foods you’re eating, the calories in those items, and how your choices affect your weight, appetite and energy levels. Your dotFIT online program shows you the number of calories you should eat daily to reach your goal, and by tracking your calories it becomes clear when you need to make an adjustment. Without knowing what and how much you’re eating – it’s difficult to make educated decisions. For example, if your daily calorie budget is 1,600 and you eat 1,000 for breakfast, you know you have 600 left for the rest of the day. At this point it’s clear that you’re probably eating too many calories at breakfast and it’s wise to adjust your food choices. You can adjust the portion size of that meal or the choose different foods that have fewer calories and hopefully more nutrients. Again, it’s your decision.
If you still need a reason to track your calories, here it is – you’ll get twice the results. A large study spanning almost 3 years showed that people who kept tabs of their daily food intake lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.5 In this day and age where food is everywhere any time of day and in very large quantities, you can’t afford to be unconscious of your choices. By paying attention to portion sizes, calories and nutrients in foods, you become equipped with new knowledge and therefore, new power to reach and maintain your goals. It is true that knowledge is power, but only if you use that knowledge by taking action.  Take action and start logging your food today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Does there come a time that your body says you are where you need to be?

You may be at a plateau, which eventually happens to everyone. As you get in shape, you become more efficient at burning calories (like getting a tune-up for your car) which means that you burn fewer calories than you used to.  If you tend to do the same thing for your cardio workouts, consider changing it up (Stairmaster one day, bike the next, jog the next, or try the elliptical or rowing machine).
You’ve probably had to reduce your food intake and increase your activity level a lot during the time you’ve been losing weight. If you choose to continue to lose fat, make sure you have room to add activity and/or lower calories and still enjoy what you are doing. If not, stay where you are for now until you feel like taking another run at losing weight.
You must be able to maintain the lifestyle that got you to your current level of fitness. If it is too hard to maintain, you won’t. You may be where you need to be from a health standpoint.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

10 DAYS FOR $10

Come and get a jump start on your New Year's Resolution at Gold's Gym this November and save big!! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zumba Master Class

Gold's Gym will be hosting a Master Zumba class with Carolina Arias from New Zealand on November 9th. The class will be followed by the Zumba basic training course being offered exclusively at Gold's Gym on November 10th. Sign up today at Gold' Gym!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exercise and Psychological Well-Being

Are you one of the 16 million Americans who suffer from depression, or one of the approximately 32 million who experience anxiety or stress?  It has been “estimated that by the year 2020, depression will surpass cancer as the second largest worldwide cause of disability and death, behind cardiovascular disease." Although people typically deal with these issues through counseling, individuals are now looking at exercise as a way to enhance their psychological well-being. There is ample support for the belief that exercise can improve mood, which is why many clinical psychologists and psychiatrists view exercise as an adjunct to therapy. Not only is exercise beneficial to mental health, it is also more cost effective than therapy, and is associated with numerous other positive health benefits.
Some of the symptoms of depression include withdrawal, inactivity, and feelings of hopelessness and loss of control. Because exercise can alleviate these symptoms, exercise can be a useful intervention tool for depression. In support of the effects of exercise on depression, “a recent Gallup poll identified exercise as a close second behind religion as an alternative means of relieving depression.”

Researchers have even examined exercise as a treatment for depression. Individuals who had been diagnosed as depressed were put into three groups: time-limited psychotherapy (10 weeks), time-unlimited psychotherapy, and a running-treatment group. Under the guidance of a running therapist, runners would stretch, walk, and run for 30-45 minutes, and discuss issues while exercising, with little emphasis on the depression itself. Results indicated that six of the eight patients in the running-treatment group were essentially well at the end of three weeks; another had recovered by the end of the 16th week; and only one neither improved nor deteriorated. This should not be taken to mean that depressed individuals should drop out of traditional forms of treatment, just that running is a useful adjunct to traditional treatment.
Anxiety is defined as a state of worry, apprehension, or tension. It occurs many times without real or obvious danger. Research has shown that many people feel calm after a hard workout. They have forgotten their worries, and use exercise as an outlet for their nervous energy. Thus, like depression, exercise seems to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

In one study, subjects were placed in one of three groups: jogging, stress-inoculation training, and waiting list. The participants’ self-report statements indicated that both the jogging and stress-inoculation groups had lower levels of anxiety than the waiting-list group immediately following the intervention. Furthermore, this finding held true when researchers followed up one month and 15 months later. It is important to note that the joggers only continued to experience lower levels of anxiety if they continued to exercise (which was about 40% of the original group).

With anxiety, the reasons for improvement are unclear. It is thought that, in certain situations, the exercise environment plays a role in relieving anxiety, although it might be that subjects are distracted by exercise enough to divert their attention from what would normally be anxiety-producing stressors. What is clear and important for the purpose of this article is that exercise does alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Stress includes some or all of the following symptoms: muscle tension, headache, stomach upset, racing heart, high blood pressure, sweating, flushing, dry mouth, and behaviors ranging from aggression to hyperactivity to withdrawal. Stress can occur during a crisis of high impact or during the smaller everyday hassles of life. Studies have confirmed that exercise reduces and lessens the number of symptoms of stress by providing a short term distraction and increasing feelings of control, which might buffer the impact of stressful events.

In order to study stress reactivity, researchers compared the ability of exercisers and non-exercisers to recover after being subjected to a stressor, such as a timed, frustrating mental activity. In order to determine the magnitude of their psychological and physiological response to stress, and the amount of time it takes to return to baseline levels, these activities were given either to people who were in shape, or to people following intense exercise. It is believed that exercise may contribute to a “hardy” personality type, which is a person who can transform or buffer stressful events into less stressful forms by altering their perception of those events and placing less value on them. In that exercise contributes to a person’s hardiness, it is believed that exercise can lead to a reduction of stress-related illness by buffering reactions to stressful life events.
From the above discussion, “it is clear that there are many benefits on psychological functioning that result from exercise.” However, it is important to note that, although there is a relationship between exercise and psychological well-being, exercise should not be thought of as the sole cause for the improvements in psychological well-being.

So how do we tie all of this together? One of the best approaches for people dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress is to use exercise as an adjunct to any other forms of treatment that might be necessary. And in order for exercise to work in alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, it has been suggested that the workout environment include fun, consistency, an avoidance of competitive situations, and activities that are personally satisfying and enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eat Your Breakfast -- Especially Before Activity

Here is another one your mom got right: “Eat your breakfast.”
Unfortunately many people, especially young people, are not hungry when they first rise in the morning. AND when they finally do eat something, because of the long wait from yesterday’s last meal, often the food choices are not exactly what you would consider ideal. There are good reasons why no one should miss breakfast, but even more reasons for athletes.

Breakfast 101

This quick course on breakfast will help explain the loss of appetite.
The name breakfast says it all: “Break the overnight fast,” and this is accomplished by eating something. When the body has had no food for a certain amount of hours, it goes into a fasting or semi-starvation state in which the metabolism slows down, the fuel mix switches to increasing the use of fat for energy because glycogen (sugar/energy) stores are depleted. The switch to fat as your primary energy source decreases your appetite so you don’t wake up and chew your arm off. This also explains why traditional breakfast foods are primarily fast-digesting carbohydrates (short- and long-chain sugar foods) such as cereals, breads, etc. Your body is looking for what it wants to quickly fill the depleted glycogen, but for some people it takes a while for true hunger to set in, especially if the available food is not sweet tasting.

Always eat before you exercise, no matter the goal or when you train

Weight/body fat  
Unfortunately, the old saying that “a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous” is spot on when it comes to how the above information is often interpreted. Because the popular press (non-scientific media sources such as fitness magazines, newspapers, etc.) does a great job of taking information out of context, exercisers with the goal of weight or body fat reduction often follow bad advice such as, “Don’t eat before you go to the gym,” or, “Do your cardio on an empty stomach and you will burn more fat.” Boy, how wrong can you be! As we have discussed many times in previous articles, it’s how many calories in versus out that determines how much fat you lose or gain, not the time of day you consume the calories. In fact, eating before you workout will allow you to burn MORE calories during your activity. And who cares where the calories come from, because at the end of the day, the difference between your calories in and out is how much fat will be taken from your stores – PERIOD.

Don’t forget, I did not say anything about adding food calories to your day. All you are doing is spreading them out further, which has additional benefits such as using more calories to digest each meal and giving your body a steady stream of nutrition (enhancing recovery and energy).

More on breakfast and weight control

Data from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) and other studies clearly shows an association between skipping breakfast and being overweight. Although the actual mechanisms aren’t clear, missing breakfast generally leads to a greater appetite when finally confronted with your first meal, causing poor choices and overeating in order to compensate for 12-18 hours with no food.
By the way, a fancy coffee drink is not breakfast. In fact, popular coffee concoctions have more calories than an average breakfast, but do little to fill you up—so now you’ve had 500 calories and will be very hungry soon. Basically it’s a double whammy: lots of calories, little satiety, leading to lots more calories.


Eating before you work out is mandatory for performance athletes in order to enhance each training bout, recovery and the final outcome. Therefore, it should be intuitive that anyone would ingest part of their energy requirements before they train (even if you go straight from the bed to the workout or game) for the following reasons:
  1. Filling energy stores before a workout (not adding daily calories, just redistributing them) so you can perform better and longer
  2. Breaking the fast to bump the metabolism back up and continue a constant flow of nutrients
  3. Increasing workout performance which will use more calories and allow for a higher intensity workout that will also burn two to three times more fat throughout the day following exercise
  4. Enhancing recovery to improve maintenance or growth of muscle which also adds to the metabolic rate; and finally
  5. Increasing daily activity so you are never in a fasting thus “lazy” state beyond rising in the morning, causing the body to naturally move more and drive the desire to train
So, eat before you train. Common sense tells you to consume fuel if you have not eaten for the last 6-12 hours and you are about to perform an activity that requires more energy than anything else you do all day. It takes calories to burn more calories and fill energy systems to perform optimally.

Breakfast and your brain

As we have discussed, especially during your growth years, you do NOT want to miss meals. You need a steady flow of nutrition daily to maximize all the growth potential within your body and the brain is no exception. There are windows of opportunity for intellectual and physical growth from infancy through adolescence. A person whose diet is not nutritionally complete during these critical periods will not be able to compensate for the loss at another time.
Studies strongly suggest that omitting breakfast interferes with cognition and learning. An extended fast (missing breakfast) is perceived by your body as a stress event, and therefore your body releases adrenal corticosteroid and catecholamine, two well-known stress hormones, in order to maintain brain nutrition. This may lead to irrational or less-controlled thinking (hmmm that sounds familiar – that is, “getting a little moody when hungry”). To be sure, cognitive test scores are higher in adolescent breakfast eaters than non-breakfast eaters. At the very least, chronic breakfast skipping may have a negative impact on one’s overall nutritional status based on years of omitting valuable breakfast-type nutrients and the fact that the body/brain is continually going undernourished for extended periods of time.


There you have it – don’t miss breakfast under any circumstances. Always be prepared one way or another. Follow your dotFIT athletic meal plans that have your meal times set around your activities, including what to eat if you go straight from waking up to the workout or event (also see previous article, The Basics of Performance Nutrition).
  • Force yourself to eat breakfast regardless of appetite or time constraints – you will eventually adjust to both
  • Consume a full meal when possible as shown in your menu plans and previous articles
  • Little to no preparation breakfast ideas that are easy to consume:
    • Milk with favorite healthy carbohydrate (bread, bagel, cereal, etc.)
    • Nutrition bars/shake high in carbohydrates, moderate protein and low in fat

Early morning workout/event and no time for full meal

  • Eat your pre-workout/game meal as late as possible the night before
  • Consume an appropriate nutrition bar or workout shake ASAP upon rising or 30 minutes before event
One of my favorite comments I get after I have convinced a non-breakfast eater to begin consuming this important meal: “I can’t believe the difference in my workouts and entire day.”
If after reading this you STILL miss breakfast, you probably always will. But hey, you will also never know what you missed, except the meal.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What can be used to boost metabolism?

Anyone can boost their metabolism by simply consistently increasing their physical activities, including standing and moving in any fashion. Metabolism is the sum of all the bodily processes necessary to run our bodies. The energy/fuel that these processes used is measured in calories. Everyone has complete control over total metabolism or the calories they burn per day. The more you move, the more bodily processes take place so the more calories you burn. Therefore, moving more is the only significant practical method to boost metabolism.

Other practices to potentially boost metabolism:

There are natural and synthetic compounds that can slightly increase resting metabolic rate (RMR). Caffeine is the most common compound used to increase RMR and has been shown to increase metabolism/energy expenditure (EE) ~3-5% in the first 2.5 hours after ingestion. Comparable increases in EE have been shown with Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) a compound found it green tea. Combining caffeine and EGCG together, as found in some weight loss supplements, may have a synergistic effect on 24 hour EE. Capsaicin from cayenne fruit may also increase RMR by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. To be fair, some of the documented daily increases in the total 24 Hour EE from any of these 3 substances may also come from their well known abilities to induce more daily movement, whether it be through fidgeting at rest, or simply from an increased desire to move more due to feeling more energetic. There are also a few weight loss drugs such as Phentermine and Sibutramine that can increase RMR but generally have more negative side effects than effective supplements.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What kind of snack would you recommend eating after my workout for the best recovery?

Question: What kind of snack would you recommend eating after my workout for the best recovery?  What’s the ideal protein/carb/fat ratio?

Answer: It depends on your sport. If you are an endurance athlete, you want a significantly higher carbohydrate (CHO) to protein (P) ratio than most other athletes – somewhere in the range of 2-4 grams of CHO to 1 gram of protein with relatively low fat. Where you fall in that range will depend on the length of the activity; the longer the activity the greater need for a higher CHO to protein ratio.

Using a powder such as the dotFIT™ Pre/Post Workout and Meal Replacement Formula or FirstString™ gives you the proper starting materials and allows you to make the drink according to the percentages that you need. Add whatever you like to the mix in order to adjust the CHO, protein and calories where you want or need them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Class Schedule

Smoothie of the month

Come in and grab a quick and healthy nutritious lunch. Call ahead of time and will have it ready for you!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Maternal Weight Gain

Women who are pregnant or who want to be have many questions about how to have a healthy baby, a healthy pregnancy, maintain some level of fitness and return to their pre-pregnancy weight as quickly as possible. The short answer for a normal-weight woman is to eat as perfectly as possible, gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, exercise in moderation and you will likely be within a few pounds of your former weight in about 6 months.

Gaining the correct amount of weight is important as excesses in either direction may have detrimental effects for the baby and mother.   A strong predictor of weight gain for the baby is the starting BMI (Body Mass Index – a measure of weight for a given height) of the mother and the amount of weight she gains.  Weighing too little at the beginning of pregnancy for the mom can lead to growth slowing and an underweight baby. Slowed growth can be bad for the baby since it increases the risk for problems shortly after birth. Being underweight or gaining too little from inadequate nutrient intake also puts the mother at risk for larger than normal losses of mineral stores. Weight gained during pregnancy above recommendations is more likely to be retained weight after delivery. Too much weight gain for the mother increases the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and can indicate preeclampsia.  It also increases the risk of either preterm delivery and low birth weight, or excessive weight gain for the baby.  The table below shows the recommended amount of weight gain for a single pregnancy based on the starting BMI of the mother.

Recommended Pregnancy Weight Gain Based on Starting BM
Starting BMI                             Under 20         20 to 26         26.1 to 29      Above 29
Recommended Weight Gain       30 to 40 lbs     25 to 35 lbs    15 to 25 lbs    Up to 15 lbs

Based on this chart a woman who is 5’4” tall weighing between 117 and 151 lbs should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy for optimal health for her and her baby. The weight gain recommendation is to supply adequate energy and nutrients to support tissue growth in several areas and averages 300 calories daily. This energy cost is not even throughout the pregnancy. The beginning of pregnancy demands little to no additional energy, while the last half sees a large surge in energy needs. Figure 1 below shows an estimated breakdown of the components of a 25 pound weight gain during the pregnancy for a 7 pound baby.

Figure 1 Weight Gain in Pregnancy in pounds.

At week four there is not enough of a change to equal a pound so it appears as zero on the figure.


To support optimum weight gain during pregnancy, avoid alcohol, cigarettes, limit or avoid caffeine and exercise in moderation. Proper formation of the central nervous system, spine and skull occurs early in development and requires an ample supply of nutrients such as folic acid even before calorie needs begin to climb. Inadequate folic acid to the developing baby can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Calcium and iron intakes need to be increased in addition to many others. This can be a difficult time to eat properly for women with nausea, vomiting, heartburn and a limited stomach size.
The intake of alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. There is a strong relationship between alcohol intake and abnormal baby development in women who drink alcohol during pregnancy. The severe form of this is called fetal alcohol syndrome, which is characterized by facial changes, small size for age and problems with the central nervous system including low IQ. The bottom line: there is no safe period during pregnancy to drink alcohol and no safe amount to drink. 

Caffeine is safer than alcohol in small amounts. It is still important to limit caffeine to 300mg daily. Recent studies of caffeine use during pregnancy show an increased risk of a preterm delivery although there is no proof that caffeine causes it.

Not much needs to be said about tobacco during pregnancy. Cigarettes contain numerous harmful chemicals that reach the baby when a woman smokes. One of the better known compounds in tobacco is nicotine, which constricts blood vessels and limits the oxygen that reaches the baby. Don’t do it.

Exercise during pregnancy is covered elsewhere on this website and will be briefly discussed here. In general exercise during pregnancy is healthy and can be beneficial for the mother and delivery. Ask your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Avoid exercises that make it easy to lose balance, contact sports, and large increases in volume or intensity to the workload. Start slowly, make gradual changes and pay attention to your body; when it is painful or difficult to continue, stop. Also, don’t do exercises on your back during the second and third trimesters.  Click here to download a workout routine for pregnant women designed by the experts at NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).

Dietary Supplements
dotFIT recommends the use of a multivitamin formula for everyone, especially women of child bearing years. Iron and folic acid can be very difficult to consume in the quantities required by pregnancy, which is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the use of supplements to supply iron for pregnant women. Ask your doctor for instructions if you have been diagnosed with any blood disorder, have a history of birthing children with neural tube defects or take medicine for seizures. Otherwise, it is prudent to use the dotFIT PrenatalMV™ or a prescription prenatal multivitamin/mineral supplement for the duration of the pregnancy. This will augment your best attempts at eating a perfect diet. The table below shows the contents of the dotFIT PrenatalMV along with the RDA for pregnant women aged 18 to 50.

Table 2 Nutrient needs during pregnancy and the dotFIT PrenatalMV multivitamin.

* Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body as needed. Large doses of vitamin A during pregnancy have negative effects, whereas beta carotene does not. dotFIT has chosen to use beta carotene for the vitamin A source in the prenatal.
+ Calcium was left out of this product to maximize iron absorption and minimize pill size. Adding 1000 mg of calcium to this formula would result in a pill too large for most women to swallow comfortably. Instead, the dotFIT SuperCalcium+™can be used to add calcium to any diet with inadequate intake.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why your measurement results may not be what you expected as you build muscle

Consistency and reliability are the keys to making measurement results as accurate as possible. To help ensure this you were given a “checklist” when you first designed your dotFIT Me Program. Tips such as taking weight and body fat measurements at the same time of day and under the same conditions, using the same method and scale, and having the same person take the measurements each time helps to minimize fluctuations and maximize accuracy in the measurement process.

Following are some additional reasons that may contribute to “non-expected” measurement results:
  • Not following your recommended supplement plan
    • These recommendations were made to ensure the appropriate level of nutrients to maximize your lean body mass (LBM) gains
    • Proper supplementation can ensure feeding of new and current muscle while losing fat
    • Certain formulas can increase your training intensity and lead to greater muscle building stimulus
    • Certain formulas can enhance recovery or prevent overtraining or a plateau
  • Your resistance training program may not be appropriate
  • An incorrect body fat measurement may have been provided at your last measurement. If this is the case, take the measurement again to rule out any accidental errors
  • Different equipment was used to obtain the measurement
    • Consistency is key. Try to take measurements at the same time of day, in the same place using the same scale. Body fat measurements should be taken by the same person using the same method. This will eliminate any tester inconsistencies
    • We recommend the use of skin fold calipers for their use of anatomical landmarks and ability to track small changes in body composition
  • Some unforeseen factor(s) in your eating or lifestyle has affected your weight and body fat significantly today. Try again tomorrow to see if there’s any change. If not, follow the program’s feedback after each progress check to stay on track to your goal or set a new goal

If you’re tracking
weight only
  • You may be losing body fat while gaining muscle at close to an equal rate, leading to little change in weight. This is a good thing, so keep adding calories to your daily intake as suggested
  • A temporary water fluctuation may have skewed your weight

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When I’ve exercised a lot in the past, why do my legs seem to get lean much sooner than my abdomen?

Answer: Exercising a particular body part does not mean you will automatically lose a significant amount of fat from that area. This is a common myth called spot reducing. One may be genetically geared toward losing leg fat, while their goal is to have an abdomen like a washboard. Some studies suggest that high intensity exercise may shave a bit of fat from the working muscles, but if no calorie deficit exists, fat will just be stored in another area. The contrast here is that exercise induces small decreases of fat stores locally in working muscle, while genetics and stress hormones have a greater influence over where fat will be lost during a calorie deficit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When will the pounds start coming off?

Question:  I have been on the 90-day program for two weeks now and even though I’ve lost body fat, but I haven’t lost any weight. When will the pounds start coming off?

Answer:  It should happen soon. You must be adding muscle at a rate that equals your fat loss. If you’ve added resistance training, then this has allowed you to add some muscle (a good thing) but it is unlikely that it will continue at this rate, unless that’s your primary goal. If muscle gain were your primary goal, your diet and exercise would be designed accordingly. It is also possible that you could get away with eating less, so try reducing your calories by 250/day. This should slow the muscle growth and maximize your fat loss. Be sure that your workouts are appropriate for your fat loss goal. Intense workouts with a lot of sets can lead to muscle growth. Also, supplements such as creatine can increase muscle cell volume, leading to an increase in weight (but not fat).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tomato Asparagus Salad

1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
8 cups romaine lettuce, torn
1/3 cup low fat Italian salad dressing
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded
Cook asparagus in boiling water 5-6 minutes or until crisp tender; plunge in ice water to cool and stop cooking. Divide lettuce between 6 plates, arrange asparagus and tomatoes on top and drizzle with Italian dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and chill 1 hour before serving.
Makes 6 Servings
Serving Size: 12 ounces

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why do Core Training?

The Basics of the Core
In fitness, "the core" is a term thrown around often and is a buzzword used to denote the abdominal muscles. We're told it is important and that we should have a strong one, but do you really know what the core is and what it does?

The core region consists of the pelvis, hips, spine, and rib cage. Approximately 29 muscles make up the core musculature. These muscles are divided into two categories, depending on their primary function. The stabilization category is composed of small muscles positioned relatively close to the spine. These muscles include the transverses abdominis (our internal weight belt that when engaged, makes our waist line slimmer), multifidus (little muscles that attach vertebrae together and stabilize them), internal obliques, and diaphragm, to name a few. These muscles are responsible for stability of the spine and core region. The movement category comprises muscles that are more superficial (closer to the surface) in the core region. Muscles in this category include the rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles), external obliques (rotational, side muscles), and erector spinae muscles (muscles that run the length of the spine on the back of our body). These muscles fall into this group because of their function in the movement of the spine and core region.

Why is the Core Important?
The core is critical to the integrity of our structure. A properly functioning core allows us to generate forces, accept forces, and stabilize forces that are placed on our structure in every activity we perform. In other words, if the core musculature is not working properly, our ability to control our structure and stabilize our spine is hindered, thus increasing the risk of injury. Consider these facts:

  • Low back pain affects nearly 80 percent of all adults.
  • 43 percent of work-related injuries are sprains and strains, with over 60 percent involving the core.
  • Men who spend over half their workday sitting in a car have a 300% increased chance of disc herniation.
After reviewing the above statistics, it becomes evident that, because of a sedentary lifestyle and a structure that is less than prepared to handle the stresses placed upon it, core training becomes a critical portion in a health and fitness program.

Core Training for Weight Loss

An efficiently functioning core can help firm both the entire abdominal region and the hip region (the glutes)—two problem areas for most people. While creating a stable and safe internal foundation for training, core training also burns more calories than traditional ab and back work. That is a definite plus for most exercisers, since weight loss is the number one reason people give for joining a health club!

Remember, we are teaching the small, deep muscles of the core to work properly so that, as you begin more complex exercises, such as crunches or back extensions, the spine is protected. Also, it is important to understand that core stabilization training helps the nervous system recruit muscles better, thereby increasing the amount of muscle fibers working, and, in turn, increasing the amount of work that can be done. Again, this equals more calories burned and better muscle definition!

Core Training for Hypertrophy (growth)

Core training is an important component in programs designed for hypertrophy. To grow, muscles need time under tension, increased load and volume, efficient muscle recruitment, proper nutrition intake, and rest. Because the core is where all movement begins, most exercisers are limited by their ability to stabilize, particularly at the spine. Remember, the core acts like an anchor for the arms and legs. If the anchor isn’t strong, the extremities will not be able to lift heavy loads.

Given that premise, people training for hypertrophy must make sure that the small muscles that protect the spine are working properly so as to control unwanted movement, and that the nervous system is communicating properly with the core muscles. Core training teaches the nervous system to recruit muscles in the proper synergy so movement is more efficient. However, one of the most important benefits of core training is the fact that, when muscles are recruited properly, the nervous system is recruiting more muscle fibers, thus allowing the body to lift heavier loads for longer periods of time, and creating hypertrophy in an increased number of muscle fibers.

Core Training for Increased Health
If you want to improve your health, you need to keep moving, which means you need to remain injury free. The bottom line is that, when exercisers get injured, they have a harder time reaching their goals, if they ever reach them at all. Injuries stop people from being able to work, play, or function. Core training works to increase movement efficiency by firing the small spinal and hip muscles to control unwanted movement during activities and protect the spine. This helps to avoid devastating obstacles such as injuries. Considering that about 80 percent of the population suffers from back pain or discomfort, it is important to create a solid muscular foundation to help exercisers perform their programs safely and efficiently.

Remember, we can’t neglect the internal muscles of the body. They need to be trained to stabilize the body, and then integrated to function in conjunction with the larger superficial muscles. This is how you can help to keep your body health and strong.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weight Gain & Birth Control Pills

What's the connection, if any, between oral contraceptives and weight gain? This article will clarify what research shows.
The Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) or birth control pill belongs to a class of birth control compounds called hormonal contraceptives.  The basic science behind them is to interrupt the normal release of hormones in the female that lead to ovulation, or the release of an egg. If there is no egg released, no fertilization can occur. OCPs may also make periods milder, more regular and help control some conditions such as endometriosis. The overwhelming majority of women in the United States use OCPs at some point in their lives. Recently, a large-scale survey of women in America indicates that about 82 percent have used OCPs at some time between age 15 and 44 and at any given time about 20 percent of the women in this age range are using OCPs.   Between 20 and 60 percent of women will discontinue using OCPs because of side effects such as headaches, mood changes, and weight gain.   Many hormonal contraceptives list weight change as a side effect. This point of this article is to discuss OCPs and weight gain.

Weight gain - what the research says

There is a decent body of research suggesting most women will experience little to no weight gain from OCPs when compared to women using no hormonal control or other methods. Several such studies are described here:

•    A study using adolescents evaluated weight gain in OCPs users compared with those receiving depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera®).   It found no significant increase in the weight of OCP users, but those using the depot injection, however, did see some significant weight change. Weight gain and depot is discussed later.

•    In the O’Connell study mentioned above, no weight gain was attributed to OCPs or NuvaRing® for a period of three months.3

•     The majority of OCP users in a study designed to find out why women quit using OCPs did not gain weight. About 76 percent of the participants had no weight change or decreased and about 20 percent of the participants experienced some level of weight gain.2

•    Another study of adolescents grouped users by starting weight. Participants were then separated into groups using Depo, OCPs, or no hormonal contraceptives, but were also grouped into either nonobese or obese categories.  In this study, OCP use was associated with no weight gain in the obese category and a smaller increase in the healthy weight category than non-hormone users. In fact, the nonobese and obese girls not using hormones gained more weight (7 to 8 pounds in a year and a half) than either group of OCP users. Obese OCP users gained less than a half-pound and nonobese OCP users gained 6 lbs in the same period. 

The bottom line is that a large number of recent studies provide little evidence that using an OCP causes weight gain in either obese or nonobese women.

What about Depo?

Depot Medroxyprogesterone acetate is a different method of hormonal contraceptive. Users receive an injection every three months and take no pills. Several studies have shown a significant increase in body weight for users, which seems to be worse for heavier women in stark contrast to OCPs. One older study from 1995 compared groups of women using three types of contraceptive hormones and found negligible changes in body weight.  Thus, there may be a select group of women who have an easier time gaining weight than the average depot user. This group may represent women who are heavier at the start of depot use.

In a study comparing OCP users with Depot, the majority gained less than 5% of their original weight. A much larger number of users of Depot gained more than 10% of their starting weight. It appears that women who use birth control pills will experience minimal or no weight gain due to the pill and those who use Depot may be at greater risk of gaining weight. But remember – you can always prevent weight gain or lose weight by increasing your activity level (daily steps, short walks, exercise, etc.) and eating fewer calories.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

No Time for the Gym

With our busy lifestyles, how do we find the time to make it to the gym? In today’s world, this is a big problem. Finding that extra hour out of our day for a workout does not seem feasible when the kids need to be cared for, bills need to be paid, the dog needs a bath, the dinner needs to be cooked and the best TV shows start at 7. Honestly, is there ever enough time?

So, if it seems impossible to leave the house, why not do a workout at home? You do not necessarily need to go to a gym to reach your health-related goals. You can do a full body workout in the privacy in your own home by adding a few little exercises that will benefit you and give you the energy you need to make it through those stressful times. The only one who will take care of you is you; so why not get started now?

During the course of a day, you can add resistance training to your daily agenda. Below are some helpful exercising tips that can get to your goals without going to the gym or buying expensive machines.
Lunges (
view exercise)
Start by taking a step in front of you and then lowering your back knee towards the ground while your front knee bends as well. Make sure that both feet are pointed straight ahead and squeeze your glutes on the way up. Repeat this up to 15 times and then switch legs. As you begin to feel comfortable with this exercise, try to do them walking. This is a great exercise for the quadriceps and glute region.

Body Weight Squats (
view exercise)
Start by putting a chair behind you and then act as if you were going to sit down. You will then tap your glutes on the chair (do not sit all the way down) and then stand back up. You want to make sure that your feet are approximately hip width apart and they are pointed straight ahead. While you are rising back up from the squat, focus on squeezing the glutes and standing completely upright between each one that you perform. Begin doing approximately 15 of these and then add more reps and/or hold on to a gallon of milk or water (approximately 8 pounds) for extra resistance.

Isometric Body Weight Squats

Put your back up against the wall and lower yourself to a chair height position. Try to remain in this position for up to 25 seconds and then add more time as this gets easier (push yourself to hold this exercise for one complete minute). You can also add a gallon of milk or water in each hand for extra resistance. Repeat up to 5 times throughout your day.

If you want to include some “cardio” type exercises to burn more calories, try these:
Mountain Climbers Start in a push-up position. Feet should be hip width apart and hand should ideally be placed directly underneath your shoulders. Run in place for approximately 30 seconds, making sure your feet stay pointed straight forward and that your head does not drop down. As this gets easier, push yourself to a minute for each round. Repeat up to 3 times.

Squat Jumps (
view exercise)
Start in a squat position and then jump up and down. Try to realign yourself every time you hit the ground before going into the next jump. Make sure that your feet stay approximately hip width apart and that the feet stay pointed forward. Each landing should be silent. If you hear yourself land, try to focus on tightening your stomach and landing directly behind the ball of your foot. Repeat 15 times each.
StairsIf you have stairs in your home, walk or run them! Try to walk/run the stairs 3 times (single step) and then immediately skip a step for three rounds. Always run down the stairs without skipping a step just to make sure that you do not fall. The total should be performed 6 times, counting this as one “set.” Repeat each set up to three times throughout your day. Once this gets easier, you can add resistance (such as a laundry basket, gallon of water, or weights if you have them).


Arm Raises (view exercise - seen with weights, not necessary to begin)
Start by lifting your arms out to the side (with no bend in the elbow) and then slowly lower them back down to your body. You can also do this exercise with your arms straight in front of you. As you get comfortable with these exercises, you can then begin to combine them. Do approximately 15 repetitions and then repeat. For extra resistance, hold onto a soup can in each hand (approximately 1 pound each) and add more weight as needed.

Push-ups (
view exercise)
Start face down on the ground with your arms out to the side of your shoulders. Push yourself up and then slowly lower yourself towards the ground. Remain looking at the ground and keep your chin neutral at all times so you do not irritate your neck and keep your glutes squeezed throughout the exercise. Repeat approximately 15 times. If you cannot do this exercise on your feet, drop to your knees and perform the exercise. If you do decide that the knee position is better for you, keep feet in contact with the ground at all times.

One Arm Row (
view exercise - seen without external stabilization; couch or low table)
Start by putting your left knee and left hand on a firm surface (such as a couch or low table), making sure you keep your back in a leveled position. Hold on to a gallon of milk or water in your right hand and bring this arm up by the right side of your body (around your right ribcage area). Repeat 15 times and then switch sides.

While there are numerous exercises you can do at home, these are some ideas for you to try for a full body workout routine. If you do not have time to perform all of these daily, switch them up and incorporate one or two from the list above. Remember the key here is to get moving! Good luck and happy exercising!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kids get fit, rock out

Zumbatomic® classes are high-energy fitness-parties that offer real results. Packed with specially choreographed routines and the latest music, like hip-hop, reggaeton and cumbia, Zumbatomic classes increase focus and self-confidence, boost metabolism and improve coordination. More than just a great reason to head to the gym, Zumbatomic classes make getting fit a fun family experience too.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nutrition Myth - High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) makes you fat and ruins your health

Much controversy and misinformation surround this food additive. It has been accused of causing obesity, diabetes, cancer and liver failure. Many of these allegations are outright ridiculous and are spread by non-scientific, uninformed sources with little to no knowledge of human physiology, nutrition and biochemistry. The additional implications relating to weight gain, diabetes and appetite are often based upon animal studies using excessively high levels of fructose given as the sole carbohydrate. Studies have looked at the metabolism of HFCS, its effect on insulin, appetite, leptin and ghrelin (appetite and satiety hormones) and found no significant differences from sucrose (table sugar) It is important to understand that HFCS is not fructose. HFCS starts as corn syrup, which is primarily glucose. Through an enzymatic process, much of the glucose becomes fructose, making the syrup comparatively high in fructose when compared to regular corn syrup (hence the name high fructose corn syrup). White, granulated sugar is about 50/50 glucose and fructose. HFCS used in beverages or food is either 42% or 55% fructose, not significantly higher and maybe even lower in fructose than regular sugar (sucrose). To imply that HFCS has some unforeseen physiological impact beyond its fructose and glucose content that does not exist in sugar stretches the boundaries of credibility.
The ratio of glucose to fructose in the American food supply has remained quite constant since the 1960s. To truly eat a diet high in fructose, one would have to go out of their way and it would not be easy. It would be convenient and simple if HFCS were the hazardous substance that many want it to be. However, consider that the rise in obesity in the US is mirrored around the world in all developed countries, yet HFCS is not a significant contributor of calories to the daily diet of countries outside of the US. In Latin American countries, for example, soft drink consumption makes up a significant portion of total daily calorie intake, obesity is on the rise and they still use sucrose to sweeten their beverages. There is no impact of HFCS beyond the calories in the food it is contained in. Spending time trying to blame HFCS for Americans' weight gain and poor health is to take the focus off of the true culprit: excess caloric intake, poor food choices and a lack of physical activity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nutrition Myth - Eating carbs past 7pm leads to fat/weight gain

Weight gain is a result of eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis, not when you eat those calories. Due to their preference or schedule, there are many people who eat later in the evening, before bed or even wake up in the middle of the night to take in calories. If one gained weight doing this, it was due to excess calorie intake, not the timing.

The body does not have an enzyme with a watch that after 7 p.m. preferentially stores items, especially carbohydrates, as fat. We all have a certain number of calories that we can consume without gaining weight. As long as that number is not exceeded, weight gain will not occur. Imagine this scenario: it has been established that you burn 2750 calories in a 24 hour period. You had a busy day and since your 350 calorie breakfast, you have not had the opportunity to eat. You get home late after a long day of meetings and you are ravenous. At 9 pm you eat an enormous 1500 calorie meal. Added to the 350 calorie breakfast this brings your daily total to 1850 calories. After your late meal you are exhausted and promptly go to bed. Will you gain weight? Let's look at the math: your daily energy expenditure is 2750 calories and you ate 1850 calories. This leaves a deficit of 900 calories. The body cannot make/retain body fat from nothing. In this example, considerably more calories were used during the day than were eaten, leading to a reduction in fat stores when all was said and done. The goal is to figure out how many calories you can have during the day to lose or maintain weight and distribute those calories/foods in a manner that makes you feel your best, including preventing hunger. If you do this regularly, then you will accomplish your goal no matter what time you eat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nutrition Myth - Carbohydrates stimulate insulin and fat storage

As periodic eaters, humans need insulin to survive. Insulin helps the body store energy to fuel the body’s continuous needs and activities. Insulin is secreted after eating in order to store energy (e.g. glucose, amino acids) into the liver, muscle and adipose tissue (fat)—the body’s primary fuel source. Within about an hour after a meal, insulin levels diminish, leading to an increase in the hormone glucagon. Glucagon signals the body to begin releasing stored energy (glycogen from the liver and muscle, and fatty acids from adipose tissue) into the blood stream to fuel the body’s continuous energy needs, essentially reversing the actions of insulin. This cycle is repeated with every meal.

Insulin plays a major role in keeping us alive, but in short, this hormone is not responsible for weight loss or continuous body fat gains. Only we are in control of our weight. Whether one increases or decreases the size of their fat stores from day to day depends upon the relationship of calories eaten to the amount of calories used through metabolism and daily activity. If, at the end of the day, you are in a caloric deficit (more calories/fat burned than stored), then fat stores will decrease. However, if calories eaten exceed calories used, body fat stores will increase. Insulin is just doing its job, which is storing things, including amino acids, to build muscle. However, it is the person, through eating, who gives insulin the "things" to store. In other words, insulin does not cause a person to become fat. The excess food one consumes leads to the average adult’s growing waistline, and of course that is 100% under the control of the person eating the calories.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nutrition Myth - Sugar makes you fat

All legitimate science agrees that the causes of continuous weight gain in developed nations consists of a variety of environmental, psychological and physiological factors, not sugar and sweeteners.[1] Researchers found that obesity was positively linked with time spent watching TV or at a computer and diets high in fat. Sweeteners are unfortunately guilty by association because of their presence in the foods and drinks (thus calories) we choose to consume. In other words, we can get fat on anything if we eat more calories than we burn. According to a 2003 article in Obesity Research, “The use of caloric sweeteners has risen across the world, and has contributed to an increasing number of calories consumed per day, which leads to weight gain”.[2] The sad truth is that as a society we simply make poor food and drink choices. No one would argue that a diet high in sugar and the low nutrient density foods that deliver it is good for you, but in the end these poor food choices are simply a delivery vehicle for excess calories. There is nothing inherently fat producing about sugar. But, the reality is that sugary foods do make up a significant portion of the typical American’s diet. Coupled with low daily activity, this is a recipe for disaster, tipping the scale in favor of weight gain. The take home message should be more accurately, “reduce junk food intake and increase physical activity to improve health and body composition”. Not, “don’t eat sugar, it will make you fat.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nutrition Myth - High protein diets

high protein foods image

Things have changed over the years in how scientists and nutrition professionals view dieting and what is truly considered “high protein.” When it comes to health, as long as the diet falls within the current and much wider range of acceptable amounts of protein, carbs and fats (45-65% Carbs, 10-30% Protein, 20-35% Fat), then the best diet for producing weight loss is the one that works for the individual. As long as the diet does not vastly exceed the guidelines, weight loss itself trumps the dieting method when it comes to improving health. In other words, weight loss is the primary driver of health improvement rather than the type of diet used. Other important facts to consider are presented here.
The current recommendation for protein is 10 to 30 percent of total daily calories. Therefore, diets that were once considered high in protein (e.g. 40/30/30, Zone Diet) are well within recommended guidelines and are widely acceptable among scientists and nutrition professionals.

Low-carb diets (e.g. Atkins) are those that severely restrict daily carbohydrate intake to below recommended levels (< 130 g/d) and allow unlimited protein and fat intake. Protein intake often falls within guidelines while fat intake exceeds guidelines (>35% of total calories). A recent review evaluating the safety and effectiveness of low-carb versus traditional high-carb, low fat diets has found that low-carb diets produce greater weight loss at six months but the diets are equally effective after one year. The effectiveness of low carb/high-protein diets is likely be due to 1) protein’s increased ability to prolong the feeling of satisfaction when compared to carbohydrates and 2) limiting food choices to mostly protein and fat sources which often leads to fewer calories consumed daily. Despite this, widespread use of low-carb diets is not recommended because of adverse changes in LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol levels. It’s also important to note that drop-out rates were significantly high – almost 50% for both diets -- and that most people who lose weight return to their original weight within three to five years. 
Data accumulated through the National Weight Control Registry and other sources has revealed that people use a variety of dieting and food intake strategies to lose and maintain weight loss long-term. While most participants follow a lower fat diet, there is variability in the amount of protein and carbohydrate used. More consistent among successful losers were certain behaviors including eating breakfast daily, tracking food intake, maintaining a high activity level (mostly walking), limiting TV time and self-weighing regularly. Although participants of the National Weight Control Registry represent a model for long-term weight loss success, this population represents a very small percentage of those who attempt weight loss. Therefore, to lose weight individuals should select sustainable eating patterns and activity behaviors that create a calorie deficit and regularly check weight, inches gained/lost or body composition to determine if adjustments are needed. Gaining continuous visibility of weight changes and self-regulating food intake and activity are critical for maintaining losses.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Get the facts on The Biggest Loser

This is a great example of the difference between reality and television. The contestants on the show get to exist in a controlled environment where their primary daily activity IS activity, and they are medically supervised during their time on the show.  It is not uncommon for contestants to do 4-8 hours a day of intense exercise. Add to this a low- or very-low calorie diet and you have the recipe for weight loss: increased calories out and decreased calories in. Also, especially prior to weigh-ins, dehydration strategies are not uncommon, leading to additional weight loss. So, a huge energy expenditure coupled with a sparse calorie intake yields a dramatic calorie deficit and the loss of fat, muscle and water, yielding impressive numbers on the scale. And no, it’s not safe for most overweight people.
More Info
In the real world, rapid weight loss can lead to weight regain. In fact, there has been a lot of controversy around former contestants regaining much of the lost weight. Generally a 1- 2 lb loss per week (more if you have a lot of weight to lose) creates a realistic lifestyle that, for most people, is more sustainable. If you cannot maintain the severity of the lifestyle necessary to promote rapid weight loss, then you most likely will not maintain the weight loss. For more info, read
Keys to Permanent Weight Loss, and Proven Strategies for Weight Loss.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't Just Sit There, Move!

Weight control is possible without traditional exercise (though there's no substitute for true exercise).
Somehow during the last few decades, somewhere between 20 and 40 years of age, you’ve gained about 20 pounds. This didn’t have to happen--if you had walked an average of 150 more steps daily (which takes about three minutes) during a period you would normally have been sitting, chances are you would still have that same 20-year-old body. If only you’d paced around your office or home while you were on a three-minute phone call, or walked around your house once daily. If you had gone to the gym only ten times each year for approximately half an hour, engaging in a light workout, you would be 20 pounds lighter. And that’s without changing what you ate and drank during those 20 years!

Now, imagine you gained 40 pounds during the last 20 years. Simply double the above numbers and picture yourself 40 pounds lighter. You get the picture. Most people don’t gain weight because they are slothful creatures. Instead, slow, steady weight gain creeps up on us. Many people arrive at a point where they feel it’s too late, the damage is done, it’s too hard to lose weight or they don’t have enough time in their busy lives to make changes.

Take it up a notch

If you need to lose weight and don’t want it to take the 20 years it took to put it on—but at the same time you fall into that category of “no time” or “can’t stick to a diet”—use the formula above and accelerate it up to the point where you can erase the weight over the next year. Like the sound of losing weight without working out and dieting? Basically, you can consume the same foods and fluids but simply move more within your normal daily activities. Here is an example of what a 175 pound person, who does not wish to change his/her lifestyle and eating habits, can do to lose 20 pounds. Refer to “Your Life is Exercise” for additional calorie burning tips.

Start here

Put a stop to the instinctual habit that tells you to take the path of least resistance, the easy way out. Instead, choose to take the path of more resistance anytime you can. In other words, anywhere you can squeeze in some extra steps or movement, do it. Park further out from your destination, pace or stand at home or in the office while on the phone, reading or simply talking to someone. Think “why sit when I can walk or stand”? Get a pedometer and find out how many steps a day you are currently walking. Gradually add an extra 500 steps to your day until you are regularly averaging 2500 steps more per day than you were prior to reading this article. Maintain your same basic lifestyle and eating habits, but incorporate the “move when you can” attitude and stand or pace when performing tasks you previously would have done sitting down. You don’t have to do all this at once; break it up any way you want to. Just average an extra 2500 steps daily. For current physical activity guidelines, click here.

A little goes a long way

For a 175 pound person, every ten minutes of normal walking or pacing while doing something equates to burning approximately 20-30 more calories than sitting down doing the same activity. So, by moving upright for one hour (about 2500 slow steps) more than before, you will lose about 1.5 pounds per month or 18 pounds over the course of a year without working out in a gym (as long as your food intake doesn’t increase). If you did add gym time and a slight reduction in your food intake as well, you could lose significantly more. Not so daunting of a task anymore, is it?
Note: the lighter you get, the fewer calories your body burns, so for every 5-7 pounds you lose, you should add about 500 more steps per day if you choose not to slightly reduce or alter your food intake. Continue the process until you achieve your goal weight.

Tips for extra movement in the gym

Use the same tips recommended in the “your life is exercise” section, but use them in the gym or while going to the gym. 

  • Park your car in a safe place at least 1250 paces from the gym
  • Always pace or stand between sets
  • Circuit train (i.e., move from one exercise to another with little to no rest but rotating body parts)
  • Get all 2500 steps/day using cardio machines. On non-workout days, follow the daily life tips or simply do more steps during the three days you are in the gym using a treadmill, stepper, etc., to make the weekly total.
Bottom line

Everyone sits at least an hour a day; the vast majority of people sit a minimum of eight. Find the parts of the day when you can stand, sit or pace while performing something you would normally do sitting down. No matter what you do or how, just be sure you have added an average of 2500 steps to your daily routine and as you lose weight, slowly increase your steps. Always remember, every calorie counts, in or out. That’s a scientific fact. Remember this: if you are wearing it, you ate it.

So there you have it, the easiest, least painful method to stop or reverse weight gain. This is something anyone can do and—most importantly—maintain.

Your Life is Exercise

Around the House

  • Get a cordless phone if you do not have one. Walk around the house or yard while you chat.
  • Put away the remote control a few days a week and change channels on the TV itself.
  • Forget the car wash! Do it yourself and burn about 200 cal.
  • Cut back on your cleaning service; schedule them less frequently to save money and boost your activity.
  • During commercial breaks on television: Unload one level of the dishwasher. Put in or take out one load of laundry. Clean out one shelf in the refrigerator. Clean out what’s fallen under the sofa cushions. Take out the trash.
  • Put away laundry in smaller loads. You’ll make a few extra trips to burn some extra calories.

  • When traveling by air, walk around the airport till boarding time.
  • Walk rather than using moving sidewalks.
  • Walk to the airport gate or parking lot instead of using a shuttle.
  • Walk to nearby restaurants rather than dining in the hotel.

Errands on the Run
  • Bypass the drive through. Use walk-up options at the bank, pharmacy, cleaners, etc. Park at the back of the lot and walk.
  • Carry smaller loads into the house to make a few extra trips.
  • Hit the mall instead of the Internet.
  • Take a lap of the mall or grocery store before starting to shop.
  • When loading your purchases, park the shopping cart at the front of the car and carry the bags to the trunk.
  • Offer to run errands for an elderly or ill neighbor or friend.

At the Office
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get off the elevator two floors early—walk the rest of the way.
  • Park a couple of blocks away from your office and walk.
  • Use the restroom or coffee maker farthest from your office.
  • Use a smaller water bottle and coffee cup. You’ll get up for refills more often.
  • Take regular breaks and walk once around the office building.
  • Walk to lunch instead of ordering it.
  • Sit on a fitness ball instead of a chair. You’ll burn more calories and strengthen those abs.
  • Waiting for copies? Take a quick walk while the copier finishes your job.
  • Don’t eat at your desk. Take a walk, eat in a nearby park, or climb a few flights of stairs.
  • Visit people’s offices instead of calling or e-mailing them.
  • Walk the entire office a couple times/day. Visit departments you don’t normally deal with.
  • Start an office walking club. You can meet before or after work or even at lunch.
Do these things really add up and make a difference? Refer to the two figures below. They illustrate the impact adding daily movement can have on the same person. All of these “little” tweaks to your daily activity have a significantly greater impact than the daily exercise session. Now, if you did both you’d be golden!