Wednesday, November 27, 2013

9 Power Foods For Thanksgiving

Every year on Thanksgiving many people who are into fitness plan their meal around exercise. Some run a half-marathon, others are at the gym early and simply want to burn off as many calories as possible as they can so they can enjoy second helpings without the guilt.

Like many of you, I'm thankful for the gift especially at my age to be active participant in my health and to have a regimen that works for me. I know of little else that has the ability to improve mind, body, and spirit while also allowing for indulgences like pecan pie and gravy.

In addition to the exercise there are there is way to get out of the post-Thanksgiving guilt (over eating blues). All it takes is to include some of the following foods on your table. And if these foods are already on the menu, give yourself a pat on the back and tell your guests that you're giving them the green light on second helpings all in the name of better health.
Beets are naturally rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitrites (a precursor for nitric oxide). Nitric oxide is helpful for runners because it dilates blood vessels and therefore aids in the delivery of blood and oxygen to working muscles. Nitric oxide is also an important player in many intracellular processes such as muscle contraction. But enough about chemistry and biology--it's the holidays, after all! Just know that dietary nitrates, like the kind found in beet juice and cooked beets, have been found to alter the energy cost of running, which means that by eating them, you can improve your running economy (and maybe even win the pie prize at this year's Turkey Trot).

Broccoli and brussel sprouts: 
Cruciferous vegetables like these green gems prevent oxidative stress; contain a host of valuable metabolites, which are effective in chemoprevention of cancer; contain disease-fighting and immune-boosting phytonutrients; and are rich in essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid (while being low in calories, unless you coat them with butter and melted cheese). Broccoli is often served as a first-course soup, or you could roast some brussel sprouts and serve them alongside the bird. You might also include another cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, mashed and mixed with potatoes (to bring down the calories of the dish while boosting the nutrient content).
Don't forget to include this superfruit at your Thanksgiving feast. Coming in at less than 50 calories a cup, this filling, fiber-rich side will fill you up without filling you out. For more news on how cranberries can protect your health and therefore your training, read up on the Surprising Benefits of Cranberries.
With only 33 calories per cup, this nutrient-dense choice is chock-full of calcium (100mg), iron (1mg), potassium (329mg), and antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is also a great source of eyesight-protecting lutein, which effectively protects the eyes against macular degeneration, oxidative damage, and the harmful blue light that tends to surround us in our daily lives.
Rich in infammation-fighting antioxidants, this fruit also boasts antibacterial and antiviral properties, which means that it just might help you fight off your next illness without the need for modern medicine. Studies have also found that the pomegranate contains unique antioxidant polyphenols, which may be beneficial to folks working to control Type 2 diabetes. 
No Thanksgiving table is complete until this makes an appearance. A half-cup of canned pumpkin (easy enough to incorporate into soup or bread) contains only 42 caloriesbut still offers 4 grams of fiber to keep your digestive system healthy, 953mg Vitamin A to protect eyesight, and over 250mg of the electrolyte potassium, which is important for heart health and muscle function.
Sweet potatoes: 
Avoid adding lots of butter, sugar, and marshmallows to the traditional sweet potato casserole, and you'll feel a bit better about indulging in all of the antioxidants and other nutrients sweet potatoes have to offer.
Turkey is rich in all the amino acids needed to promote muscle recovery, can easily help you meet your daily needs. Along with being rich in protein, turkey also provides hungry runners with essential nutrients like energizing B vitamins, bone-boosting phosphorus, and all-important zinc (it's hard to find a body process or body structure that isn't impacted in some way by zinc). You might be wondering whether dark meat or light meat is a better choice. Ounce for ounce, either is a good choice; just remember to shed the saturated-fat, calorie-laden skin!
3oz turkey light meat, skinless, roasted: 
134 calories, 25g protein, 3g fat (0.9g saturated), 259mg potassium, 1mg iron, 1.7mg zinc, 59mg cholesterol
3oz turkey dark meat, skinless, roasted: 
159 calories, 24g protein, 6 grams fat (2.1g saturated), 247mg potassium, 2mg iron, 3.8mg zinc, 72mg cholesterol

You might also like:

Other practical tips for a better TG experience

How hard does the average person have to work out to burn off a thanksgiving meal.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hours of exercise to burn off TURKEY DAY CALORIES

Here’s how long it takes to burn off that turkey day treats-binge eating.


GOBBLE GOBBLE---Avoid weight gain: Surviving the Holidays

The skinny on Holiday weight gain: depending on who you read, the average consensus weight gain for people during the holiday season and who are already over-weight/inactive is 7 pounds. For the person who is already fit the weight gain is only 1-2 pounds.

So here are some tips for you to help avoid weight gain this year. Well if you have been following me for a bit you know where this is going, right?

1. The main culprit for most of the weight you with gain during the holidays is ALL THE SUGAR (includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, coke). Avoid the sugar at all cost. Well, if you can't avoid the sugar and you love your pumpkin pie or cakes and pastries then eat only half portions. But in any case, drink tons of water before and after. This helps to decrease sugar cravings, especially since the more sugar you eat the more sugar you will want. The other trick I have learned that helps with my sugar cravings is Black Coffee (Tea), even just two or three sips will stop the craving. Try it it works.

2. Skip the bread and stuffing, and if you can't then eat half of what you'd normally eat. Every little bit DOES add up. Skip the turkey sandwiches (eat the turkey if you're hungry) later in the day while you're watching the Ravens-Steelers game.

3. If you're going to have carbs stick with the veges, sweet potatoes have half the calories of white potatoes. You can eat the mashed potatoes because that's better than eating the bread. Other traditional things served that are good for you would be brussel sprouts, green beans and asparagus.

4. If you're invited out to someones house bring a couple of side dishes that you know are healthy.

5. Have more protein and less sides. If you're a Vegetarian BYOF.

6. Have you ever heard this: "Don't spoil your appetite"! Thanks mom :) Whose mom did't say that... Well DO SPOIL your appetite. Most meals are served at odd times so depending on the situation, bottom line--don't go anywhere hungry. You WILL overeat. Eat something before you get there, an apple or protein shake, Greek yogurt, four slices of lean lunch meat or a 1/2 cup of oatmeal will decrease hunger for a while (all less than 150 cal).

7. Sit down and eat, don't stand around picking at stuff, contrary to popular belief those calories count.

8. Don't put on your favorite sweats or relaxed pants before to sit down for food. As you eat and your stomach distends, this provides the feedback mechanism to stop eating. Don't loosen the belt buckle for that matter either.

9. Studies show that having at least 12 ounces of water or vegetable soup right before a Buffet type meal will cause a 14% less calorie consumption. Have water with lemon, not just a lemon peel, squeeze fresh lemon into your water. Lemon actually improves digestion by increasing liver function. Less bloating and indigestion. Daily practice of drinking water with lemon juice (not concentrate) will improve you digestion and decrease bloating.

10.  Chew, chew, chew your food, there are many digestive enzymes in your saliva that breakdown food to help digestion. Got news for you, your stomach has no eat. You will avoid over eating, eat slower and will eat less and then you don't have to take Zantac or tums later.

11.Watch the size of your bites, don't stuff you're face.

12. Talking. Don't just sit there and gobble your food. Have a conversation! For food to be recognized by the brain the signals have to be transmitted from the stomach, blood stream etc to the brain. That can take 20 mins. So enjoy your company, share something other than just food. But don't talk and chew at the same time.

13. No one needs appetizers, enough said.

14. Skip dessert and go back for some turkey left overs later. Protein is Thermogenic (helps burn calories, because it's hard to digest) sugar does the opposite (puts on fat).

15. Don't go lie on the couch after dinner or take a nap grab a couple of people and go for a walk. A 10 min walk will help with the Turkey Somnolence, improve energy and help with digestion.

16. Brush your teeth right after the meal. Go straight to the bathroom to brush, floss, and mouthwash so that your mouth is feeling nice and clean - this  makes it less appealing to eat more (especially before bedtime). Ever try to eat or drink something after brushing your teeth? Not tasty!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Body Fat Percentage vs. Fitness (the skinny on body fat)

Body-fat percentage tests are among the most popular voluntary exams at health fairs and gyms.

Many people who take the test are consumed by their appearance and have created unrealistic goals for themselves and this maybe due to the hoard of fitness magazines, the men and women pictured in them become role models so to speak for what the body should look like. One must understand that a large part is genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and other variables include nutrition and intensity of exercise. 

Others believe reducing the percentage of body fat improves their level of fitness. Being thin isn't the key; it's being fit. A thin person who looks lean can score high in a body-fat percentage (skinny fat).

Less body fat doesn't mean fit ...People should be more concerned about the placement of that body fat and balancing daily exercise with sensible nutritional habits.

To maintain life, a person needs at least 3 percent to 5 percent body fat. Extremely low body fat, can be detrimental to health and fitness. For most women, 11 percent body fat or less is medically unsafe. For most men, 5 percent or less is medically unsafe.One of the immediate effects of extremely low body fat is a great susceptibility to illness.
  • Body-fat levels affect the immune system. It's not unusual for a triathlete or a marathoner two weeks before competition to get sick or catch a cold. 
  • Over the long haul, very low levels of body fat can lead to loss of bone density, which increases the risk of stress fractures
  • Women's reproductive cycles can be disrupted or stop entirely.

One should be less concerned about the amount of fat and more concerned about its type and location. Recent studies indicate that some body fat is good, and some is not.

  • Most of our fat - somewhere between 70 and 80 percent for men, and more for women - is subcutaneous; that is, right beneath the skin. That's the good body fat.

  • The bad stuff is the deep body fat, also called intra-abdominal or visceral fat, most of it in the abdomen around our internal organs. A lot of deep body fat can give a person an apple shape, and it seems to be associated with all health problems on which fat seems to have any bearing. The more visceral fat you have, the higher the level of free fatty acids in your blood. Some of the bad body fat, released into the bloodstream, can clog arteries, And because visceral fat is so near the liver, a lot of the fatty acids it releases go directly into that organ, which may be impaired by too-high fat levels in the bloodstream. 
  • Genes, gender - men have about twice the amount of bad fat as women - and lifestyle determine the amount and type of body fat. And lifestyle is the only factor we should be concerned about, because it's the only one people can control - with physical activity and sensible nutrition.

  • In the context of fitness, people need to balance lean muscle mass with fat:

    The number and size of muscle and fat cells determine the amount of muscle and fat tissue and, consequently, a person's weight. Someone with a great number of large-size muscle and/or fat cells will weigh more than someone with fewer, smaller cells.

    The number of muscle cells is determined before birth and remains the same for most of our lives, with some decrease in our senior years, Gaesser said. The size of these cells increases naturally as a person ages, but the size also can be increased with intense physical activity such as weightlifting.

    Fat cells are a different story. People are born with a given number of fat cells, somewhere between 5 billion and 10 billion. Recent studies show this number stays constant through out life.

    These realities aside, many people obsess about decreasing body fat, sometimes setting themselves up for failure by comparing themselves to athletes.

    The low-fat bodies of many successful athletes - including most swimmers, gymnasts, runners and beach-volleyball players - tend to be perceived as temples of perfection.

    There's no question that body-fat percentage is one of several statistics used by competitive athletes in monitoring fitness. For many types of athletes, it's important because too much fat tissue is really dead weight and doesn't contribute to performance.

    But it's crucial for people to realize that body-fat percentage is just one small component of an athlete's total training program. Athletes burn a lot of fat and calories in training six to eight hours a day. Most of us non-athletes don't train that much in a week. So the bottom line is to not obsess and definitely not compare when you are looking at magazines. It leads to unrealistic goals and disappointment especially in younger age groups and has been linked to depression, anorexia and bulimia. 

Why You Should NEVER Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine! Part 2

What’s Wrong with Vegetable Oils?

There are many problems with vegetable oil consumption, and in my opinion, no amount is safe. To understand why, let’s look at a few of the biggest problems with vegetable oils:

Our Bodies Aren't Meant to Consume Them!

The fat content of the human body is about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 3 % Polyunsaturated fats. Half of that three percent is Omega-3 fats, and that balance needs to be there. Vegetable oils contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats, and these oils have replaced many of the saturated fats in our diets since the 1950's.

The body needs fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production, but it has to use the building blocks we give it. When we give it a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats instead of the ratios it needs, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into our cells during cell repair and creation.

The problem is that polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body (if they haven’t already oxidized during processing or by light exposure while sitting on the grocery store shelf). These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.

In arterial cells, these mutations cause inflammation that can clog arteries. When these fats are incorporated into skin cells, their mutation causes skin cancer. (This is why people often get the most dangerous forms of skin cancer in places where they are never exposed to the sun, but that is a topic for another day!)

When these oils are incorporated into cells in reproductive tissue, some evidence suggests that this can spur problems like Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary. In short, the body is made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats, and it needs these for optimal health.

Vegetable Oils Contain High Levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

I've talked before about how the body needs Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in balance, preferably a 1:1 ratio. Most people consume a much higher ratio of Omega-6 fats, and this can lead to problems.

Vegetable oils contain a very high concentration of Omega 6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, which cause an imbalance of these oils in the body. Omega 6 fats are easily oxidized with heat or light exposure. This is another reason that when these types of fats/oils are incorporated into tissue like skin cells, the heat and light from sun exposure can increase skin cancer risk.

Unbalanced levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats have been linked to skin cancer and many types of cancers. As this article explains:

In one study performed at the University of Western Ontario, researchers observed the effects of ten different dietary fats ranging from most saturated to least saturated. What they found is that saturated fats produced the least number of cancers, while omega-6 polyunsaturated fats produced the most. Numerous other studies have also shown that polyunsaturated fats stimulate cancer while saturated fat does not1 and that saturated fats do not break down to form free radicals.2

In another study, Dr. Vivienne Reeve, PhD, Head of the Photobiology Research Group at the University of Sydney irradiated a group of mice while feeding while feeding different groups of them polyunsaturated and saturated fats.She discovered that the mice that consumed only saturated fat were totally protected from skin cancer. Those in the polyunsaturated fat group quickly developed skin cancers. Later in the study, the mice in the saturated fat group were given polyunsaturated fats. Skin cancers quickly developed.

The 3% of our body that is made up of polyunsaturated fats is approximately half Omega-3 fatty acids and half Omega-6 fatty acids and our body needs this balance. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation and be protective against cancer, while too much Omega-6 fats cause inflammation and increase cancer risk.

Over time, consumption of these oils high in Omega-6s and polyunsaturated fats can also lead to other problems, as the above article elaborates:

The Journal Epidemiology published a study called, “Margarine Intake and Subsequent Coronary Heart Disease in Men.”Authors of the study followed participants of the Framingham Heart Study for 20 years and recorded their incidence of heart attack. They also tracked both butter and margarine consumption.

The researchers discovered that as margarine consumption increased… heart attacks went up. As butter consumption increased… heart attacks declined.

The study also divided the data into ten year increments. What they discovered is that during the first ten years, there was little association between margarine consumption and heart attacks. However, during the second decade of follow-up, the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none!

Imbalance of these fats can also cause damage to the intestines and along with processed grain consumption can set the body up for a host of food allergies and auto immune problems.


What’s Wrong with Vegetable Oils?

  • Vegetable oils contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats. 
  • The body needs saturated fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body. 
  • These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.In arterial cells, these mutations cause inflammation that can clog arteries, leads to heart disease.
  • When these fats are incorporated into skin cells, their mutation causes skin cancer. 
  • When these oils are incorporated into cells in reproductive tissue, can lead to problems like Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Minor Moves Major Weight Loss

If you don't want to change your diet at all you can still lose a lot of weight over the course of a year.

WATCH THIS VIDEO and make huge progress