June 2009 Week One: This month we are talking about fitness and exercise. When summer hits, many people choose to focus on getting fit, but spending time on your body is important year-round. It might help give you the look you want, but it also helps you feel more energized, more alert, focused, and happy too. This month, let's make exercise a regular part life, and reap the benefits. Some of you may already have added some form of exercise to your weekly routine, and so continue! This month we will have a highlight on yoga (a guide to different types, the benefits, and finding the best style for you), eating for your workout (more recipes!), and a basic guide to working out at the gym (a personal trainer's advice). But this week, lets just get started... Now if you have gotten used to using a trip to the fridge as your exercise for the day (we've ALL done that, right?!), here are five easy ways to start: 5 Ways to Get Started: * Walking If you have a dog, taking a walk is a simple solution. Having a friend who needs to walk keeps you motivated, and adds to the fun. So find a buddy, whether its a pet or a human. * Take the stairs Say you work on the 5th floor of a building, try taking the stairs when you get to work. Even three flights of stairs can help - then you can take the elevator the last two floors if you need to! And if you live on the 20th floor, well then, take as many flights as you can handle without sweating too much through your work clothes! KEY: when you take stairs, don't lean forward too much. This isolates different muscles, and with repetition, can cause lower back strain. Lean back (though it feels weird) and feel your gluteal (aka, butt) muscles activate as you go up stairs, and when going down stairs, don't bounce. Bend and absorb the stairs in your legs (think graceful gliding down the stairs) keeping the upper body stationary (but not stiff). * Try a class A GREAT way to incorporate exercise is to sign up for a class. This way you get motivation AND accountability as you get to know your fellow classmates. And you might even laugh through the sweating too! Personally, I LOVE dance classes! They make me feel energized and I get a good sweat out of them too. And trust me, you don't need to be a skilled dancer to have some fun in a dance exercise class! If you belong to a gym, such as Lifetime Fitness (where I work), they probably offer classes like pilates, yoga, strength, swimming, cycle, and more. Boot Camp is usually a combination of cardio and weight training, and it is lead by a personal trainer who motivates you in a smaller class size. If you aren't sure what kind of class is right for you, visit the Lifetime Fitness website for an obligation-free Fitness Interest Profile. (click to access) Take just a couple of minutes to answer a few personality questions, and then find out what kind of fitness classes are right for you (something calm and quiet? something upbeat and exciting? a little of both?). Its not an exact science, but it might help point you in the right direction (you do not need to be a member of Lifetime Fitness to use this online tool). * Hire a personal trainer Sometimes people shy away from this idea thinking it's too costly and they can just figure out how to workout on their own. But a personal trainer is going to help you get started and help motivate you. They know muscles and how the body works. Even just 3-4 sessions with a personal trainer can help get you going strong in the right direction because trainers design a workout program that is specific for YOUR needs and YOUR goals. Looking to lose weight? Or maybe looking to lose inches? Want to tone and not bulk? Or bulk-up before vacation? A trainer can help you do the specific type of exercise and training that will help you with your individual goals. If you can't hire a trainer to see you through your fitness goals, at least schedule a couple of sessions and let the trainer guide you toward the best fitness plan that you can then follow on your own. * ADD MASSAGE Especially if you are just beginning a new workout routine, massage can help lengthen the muscles, cut down on post-workout soreness, and move along the metabolic waste and toxins that your body will be releasing during your workouts. (BENEFITS OF MASSAGE) Even a 15-minute post-workout massage (after your cool-down) will make a BIG difference whether you are new at working out or a seasoned veteran. Massage therapy can help with range-of-motion limitations as well (having a hard time rotating your shoulder? Hamstrings feel too tight to run? Massage therapy can help with these kinds of issues!). Many people don't realize how therapeutic massage is. It isn't just for relaxing and pampering! Whether your focus is weight, tone, or overall fitness and health, exercise should be near the top of the list! In June, let's get moving and feel the benefits! CHALLENGE: GET STARTED! If you don't already have a routine, start simple and find something that fits with your personality and goals. JUNE 2009, WEEK TWO: This month we are talking about fitness and exercise. When summer hits, many people choose to focus on getting fit, but spending time on your body is important year-round. It might help give you the look you want, but it also helps you feel more energized, more alert, focused, and happy too. This month, let's make exercise a regular part life, and reap the benefits. If you haven't already, be sure to go take the Fitness Interest Profile quiz and find out which type of exercise best suits you! VIEWERS’ FAVE EXERCISE: T-Tapp – by Jennifer, Chicago, IL (www.t-tapp.com) Pilates – by Susan in Barrington, IL Martial Arts – by Joel in Island Lake, IL Yoga – by Mandy in Phoenix, AZ Dance – by Christine in Chicago, IL This week let's talk in-depth about the benefits of adding massage to your regular wellness routine. Adding massage to your regular workout routine is more than just an excuse to relax after a rigorous exercise routine. A skilled and knowledgeable massage therapist knows about the body and about muscle groups. (Be sure your therapist has fulfilled your state requirements for licensure and/or certification.) This means it’s not just about a “rubdown”, but a post-workout massage is about targeting the muscles that you have worked. Massage enhances muscle recovery, increases flexibility, and helps prevent new injuries. It increases blood flow, increases metabolism, and encourages deep breathing, which increases oxygen absorption. Massage also manually manipulates the muscles to help them lengthen, release toxins, release trigger points, and become more pliable. Many professional athletes recognize the importance of making massage a regular part of their workout routine. Even a 15-minute massage after a workout can be extremely helpful. Here are some tips to adding massage to your regular wellness routine: Begin with a consultation with your therapist including any health history that involves previous injuries, surgeries, or current medications you may be taking. You will also want to go over your regular exercise routine with your therapist, being sure to cover which areas, if any, you feel strain or stress in and any soreness you may have after a workout. You and your therapist should agree on your goals. For instance, I have a client who competes in triathlons and she had hamstring pains when she would run. When she came to see me, she was discouraged about the pains, and we identified the exact spot that bothered her. Her goal was to increase her running time because she could only run for about 20 minutes pain-free. We agreed on 4 weekly one-hour sessions that would focus most of the time on her legs and the areas she needed. After achieving her goal of pain-free running with significant improvement in her hamstrings, she maintained her weekly sessions so that we could work on other areas and keep her loose and ready for her rigorous training schedule. Remember to communicate with your therapist before, during, and after the sessions so you can aim for the results you need. Determine how much time you need. Sometimes an hour is needed for more specific or more involved issues such as an injured shoulder or tight hips. Other times, you might want to schedule a 15 or 20 minute session just to focus on your legs or upper body after your workout. Your therapist might want to start with a couple one-hour sessions and then you might be able to maintain with shorter post-workout sessions. If you schedule your massage for AFTER your exercise, workout first, then EAT (remember the golden rule of eating afterwards? More on that later this month), rinse off in the shower (if you are sweaty) and then get your massage. A massage should come after your cool-down, and you need to be sure to drink lots of water and eat something before you lay down for a massage. If you schedule a massage for BEFORE your workout, it should be only 10-15 minutes and it will most likely be a fully-clothed, more vigorous massage involving stretching and waking the muscles up in preparation for the workout. More resources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/massage/SA00082 CHALLENGE: Take massage seriously and see how it can benefit you when you add it to your regular life! JUNE 2009, WEEK THREE: This month we are talking about fitness and exercise. When summer hits, many people choose to focus on getting fit, but spending time on your body is important year-round. It might help give you the look you want, but it also helps you feel more energized, more alert, focused, and happy too. This month, let's make exercise a regular part life, and reap the benefits. If you haven't already, be sure to go take the Fitness Interest Profile quiz and find out which type of exercise best suits you! VIEWERS’ FAVE EXERCISE: T-Tapp – by Jennifer, Chicago, IL (www.t-tapp.com) Pilates – by Susan in Barrington, IL Martial Arts – by Joel in Island Lake, IL Yoga – by Mandy in Phoenix, AZ Dance – by Christine in Chicago, IL Curves Circuit - Tammy in Pittsburgh, PA Running and Biking - Cori, AZ This week, I want to share an article with you about stretching. Many people don't realize that stretching is an important part of life, not just part of exercise. Read this article by Holistic Exercise, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach, Linda Defever. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- S-T-R-E-T-C-H and Feel Better! 16 Feb 2006 By Linda DeFever Holistic Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach Our bodies were meant to move! Many of us do not move enough to maintain adequate ranges of motion around our joints. As we lose flexibility we may be more prone to injury from muscle pulls, or if the muscle/fascia imbalance is one-sided, a joint may be pulled out of alignment creating discomfort or pain. Stretching is an easy and relaxing way to maintain your range of motion, and to increase it if needed. For best results, stretch gently enough to feel a pull, but no pain, and as you hold the stretch over 30 seconds to a minute or two, wait to feel the area loosen. If you feel a tightening sensation as you are holding the stretch, you are probably stretching too hard, and the muscle is contracting in order to prevent injury. This ultimately defeats the purpose of stretching. Be certain that you feel the stretch between the joints and not at the joints, as it is important not to stretch the ligaments that hold your bones together, or the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones. For example, as you stretch your hamstrings (the muscles in the back of your upper thigh) you do not want to feel the stretch behind the knee. Try bending your knee slightly, or adjusting the angle of your leg to move the stretch into the muscle. You may notice as you stretch, that one side feels tighter than the other. Your stretching goal is to achieve balance, so stretch the tight side twice as long. A few weeks to months later, when both sides seem even, stretch them equally, and congratulate yourself on correcting a muscle imbalance! Stretching needs to be done a minimum of five days a week to be effective. Once or twice a week will not achieve results. So schedule 15 to 20 minutes daily, and enjoy the luxury of a relaxing stretch. The best time to stretch is before [and AFTER!] any type of exercise and before going to bed. This will restore the muscle to the best possible length – which is important – because you do not want to do strength training or cardio-vascular exercise on tight muscles. This can lead to injury. Stretching feels wonderful, and is a soothing way to let go of some of the day to day stress that infiltrates our being. ... Yoga is another fantastic way to increase your flexibility; yoga tends to stretch entire fascial lines (many muscles that are connected together with connective tissue) at once, doing away with stretching individual muscles, and in the process, teaches us how to stretch as our body was meant to be used. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A couple of pointers when stretching: 1. Never stretch a cold muscle. Move around a bit and warm up the muscle before you stretch it. 2. As the article says, hold the stretch (no bouncing) for a minimum of 30 seconds. It takes 20 seconds for the muscle to recognize it is being stretched and to release and allow the stretch. After 30 - 40 seconds, you may even find that you can sink a little farther into the stretch. 3. DAILY stretching time can not only help correct muscle imbalances, but helps you to feel healthier, releases toxins from tight muscles, and loosens areas to make you more productive and effective in your workouts, and in your life! CHALLENGE: This month we have picked up a regular workout routine, added massage to our wellness lifestyle, and now this week, add a 10 minute stretching routine for the major muscle groups. Add it before bed on the days you don't workout, and after your workout when you do. For healthy ways to stretch specific muscles, email me, or talk to your own massage therapist. JUNE 2009, WEEK FOUR: (See below for archived Tip articles). This week, I want to talk about post-workout nutrition. I have mentioned it before, but I think it is important to understand why eating the right foods after a workout is so incredibly important. Whether you are working out to lose weight, to stay tone, to feel healthier or to be an athlete, this is important information for you! And those of you who are parents of child athletes: remember this info to keep your child healthy and fit for the activities that keep them going! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Post-Workout Nutrition Every responsible source in body-building and athletics recommends that you eat after training, and preferably within 45 minutes (or even an hour) after a workout. This period, known as the golden hour, is when the muscles absorb the most nutrients and when glycogen, an energy reserve in your muscles, is replaced most efficiently. The actual composition of the post-workout meal is a matter of some debate. For optimal glycogen replacement, most people recommend carbohydrates, but a certain amount of protein (at least 10 percent of the meal) is needed for muscle repair and growth. I think the above recommendation is a good general guideline for athletes, but for weight management you probably have to go higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. You don't need to eat a big meal, but you should eat something after exercising. Lots of people feel good after having a small, high-protein shake, just beware of the extremely high sugar and carbohydrate content of juice-based smoothies. Experiment with the amount of food or drink and proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fat to find out what works best for you. Perhaps what the trainers at your gym are trying to emphasise is the need to moderate carbohydrate intake in a weight-loss program. They want to see you become someone whose metabolism burns fat faster and more efficiently. That is best accomplished by eating a nutritionally dense, low-calorie diet that offers a balance of protein, high-quality fat and the right kind of carbohydrates. This will keep your hormones balanced and your fat-burning machinery working optimally. I agree that you shouldn't load up on carbohydrate and fat after a workout, but you shouldn’t refrain from eating after you exercise. Source: http://www.ivillage.co.uk/dietandfitness/nutrition/protein/qas/0,,247_157870,00.html The "golden hour" means that it is important to eat BEFORE you shower after your workout. Below you will find some recipes for post-workout replenishment. Shakes and smoothies are absorbed faster because they are in liquid form. Here is some more info about this topic: Protein Needs After Exercise Consuming protein has other important uses after exercise. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections. Sports Nutrition - Protein Proteins are often called the building blocks of the body. Protein consists of combinations of structures called amino acids that combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. They serve other functions as well including nutrient transportation and enzyme production. In fact, over 10,000 different proteins are in the body. Adequate, regular protein intake is essential because it isn’t easily stored by the body. Various foods supply protein in varying amounts with complete proteins (those containing 8 essential amino acids) coming mostly from animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs and incomplete protein (lacking one or more essential amino acid) coming from sources like vegetables, fruit and nuts. Vegetarian athletes may have trouble getting adequate protein if they aren’t aware of how to combine foods. Bottom Line If you are looking for the best way to refuel your body after long, strenuous endurance exercise, a 4:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein seems to be your best choice. While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink may be easier to digest make it easier to get the right ratio and meet the 2-hour window. Click the word "protein" above to follow the link to the source of this article ** It is important to note that carbohydrates do NOT automatically mean bread. Fruits can be a good source of carbs too. And as a general rule, stay away from "white" foods - white bread, white rice, white pasta, etc... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RECIPES: I picked up a page of smoothie and shake suggestions from Lifetime Fitness, as suggested by the certified nutritionist on staff. Some of the shakes use protein powder, which you can find at your local health food store. Many powders use whey, but if you would like to stay away from dairy-based products, then go for the hemp protein powders, which are very good for you, come in flavors (like chocolate and vanilla) and are just as tasty. Click on the recipe links below to download some quick and easy recipes for you and your children! Post-Workout Snacks Quick and Easy Shakes and Smoothies (7 recipes!) CHALLENGE: Be sure to EAT after your workout, and try one of these free recipes! Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie, Very Berry Dream Shake, and Chocolate Strawberry Pudding Shake hardly sound like nutrition! But these are the dessert-like names that will help you stay healthy and fit after your workouts. Check it out.