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Food Medicine

By Lizzie Nichols

I’ve been stressed out lately. My mom decided to pay me a visit and brought along a bottle of anti-depressants that she wanted me to take to get me through this period of change in my life. Much to her disappointment, I refused. My parents are of the generation that everything can be solved by popping a pill. It’s not that I’m against western medicine; I just prefer to not take medicine if I really don’t think it’s necessary. I’d rather beat the stress with the gym, yoga and eating right before trying a prescription.

I’m a big believer that food, exercise and a positive attitude can do wonders for just about any situation. I’m always amused by the commercials for prescription medicines and the long list of possible side effects that usually include conditions much worse than what the pill is supposed to be treating. It brings me more anxiety and stress wondering what side effects I might have to endure from the pills, which kind of defeats the purpose of taking them.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” There’s a ton of information written about foods that heal. I’ve pasted a couple of websites that I just found.

Before running to the doctor for a prescription every time you feel a little under the weather, you might try to eat something good for you first.


A Good Night’s Sleep for a Better Workout

By Lizzie Nichols

A friend of mine called me the other day complaining of how little sleep she is getting. She’s up all night with her mind racing on things she needs to get done the next day or other stresses in her life at the moment. She said she’s lucky if she gets about four hours before her kids come get in the bed with her, waking her up and leaving her wide awake until morning. Insomnia seems to be a growing problem, as every other commercial on TV is for some new sleeping pill with a long list of potential side effects.  Lack of sleep not only makes us groggy and moody the next day but can greatly affect our health and even your workout.

Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep according to the Mayo Clinic. A study performed by The University of Chicago Medical School tested athletes’ performance on varying hours of sleep. The participants who had a workout on less sleep showed higher glucose levels and cortisol levels.

An article in The New York Times suggests that athletic performance improves so much with sleep that marathon runners would benefit more by getting extra sleep before the race rather than eating high carbohydrate meals.

If insomnia is a problem for you, regular exercise actually helps. With a little more rest, you’ll notice a lot of benefits.


The importance and purpose of flexibility

Flexibility exercise and training gives the body the ability to achieve a wider range of motion. The joints as well as the muscles surrounding the joints can deteriorate and can only enjoy limited range of movement over time if seldom used. With exercise and regular training, the joints and surrounding muscles can become more flexible and help support movement. Also, by increasing the joint’s ability to move, flexibility exercises aid in providing balance to various muscle groups during periods of exercise and physical activity.

If done regularly, flexibility training  can help improve a person’s physical performance by improving one’s range of movement. Putting joints through regular physical activity and stretching can improve their performance. Flexibility training along with stretching can help reduce muscle strain and soreness. Stretching exercises helps the muscles go through a slow and controlled but an increasing range of motion. This process allows the muscles to gradually adapt to strenuous physical activity. It helps lessen the risk of developing strain and soreness in the muscles used.

Flexibility exercises can also help improve blood circulation. Improved blood circulation helps the nutrients to be transported through the tissues more efficiently and nourish the muscles. Those that  incorporate flexibility training will see increased flow of oxygen to the muscles to fuel it through physical exertion.

A regular flexibility and stretching exercises and training can also help increase the production of synovial fluid in the joints. This fluid acts as the joints lubrication fluid that lessens the friction between the joint’s moving parts.  The synovial fluid also helps transport the nutrients into the joint tissues.

Flexibility exercise and training is one of the most overlooked and often neglected form of fitness programs around thus increasing the risk for muscle strain and injury.  Make sure that you  stretch before and after your workouts. If you have a personal trainer, make sure they incorporate stretching as a part of your fitness program.


Is Your Job Making You Fat? 5 Tips to Keep Away Those Unwanted Pounds

Are there doughnuts in the break room, candy jars at a colleague’s desk? Do you spend countless hours at your desk working on the computer? If this sounds like your workplace, then your job could be attributing to those pesky unwanted pounds on your body.  A recent report showed that almost half of those surveyed indicated they gained weight while at their current job.  You can avoid weight gain at work with these 5 tips.

Workout Smarter not Harder
Studies show that breaking up cardiovascular routines is just as effective as one continuous session.  Therefore split up your routines between morning and evening bouts. The key is to maintain moderate intensity during each bout.  Try to be active while at work. Do exercises or stretches at your desk. Switch to taking the stairs than using the elevator. Work on a high or top floor. Get off a few floors below your floor an walk up.  If you can , go for a 15 minute walk at lunch.  The bottom line is to keep moving.  Try to do something active every 2 hours or so.

Plan Ahead
The more you plan ahead the more successful you will be with weight loss. This is true for both exercise and nutrition.  Know what days you are going to workout and stick with it.  Bring your lunch to work and plan what you are going to have for dinner each day.  This reduces the number of times you eat oversized portions of high calorie fast food.  If you have to eat out for lunch, research the healthy options on the menu.  Lastly, have healthy snacks available at your desk and bring them to meetings were food will be provided.
Eat Regularly
Eating regularly includes eating breakfast.  Breakfast can set the tone for the day. Eating a healthy breakfast with protein and healthy carbohydrates will energize you and fire up your metabolism.  Don’t skip meals. Try to eat every 3 hours. This helps to avoid mindless eating at your desk or overeating at next meal.

Breathe…. Sleep… Woo-Sa!
Stress hormones have been shown to contribute to weight gain when their levels are elevated.  Again get up and move around while at work.  Take walking breaks to get fresh air. Fresh air has many benefits including aiding in digestion, improves mood and will give you more energy.  Getting enough sleep helps our bodies process and store carbohydrates properly.  Sleep also aids in memory functions, prevention of chronic diseases and mood

Avoid Pitfalls of Happy Hour and Work Parties
The best thing to do before going to a happy hour or work party is eat and hydrate before you go.  This reduces the urge to overeat or drink while there.  Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause over eating through blood sugar levels.  Instead of consuming high calorie libations try lower calorie options like Gin and Tonic, Vodka and Sprite and Mojito and wines like Chardonay and Pinot Grigio.


5 Reasons Why You Should Exercise

Exercise is more than just for good looks.  Engaging in some form of physical activity is essential to remaining healthy.  Here are several reasons why you should exercise.

1. Contributes to fat loss

Several research studies have shown that physical exercise contributes to weight loss. If you burn more calories than you consume through exercise and nutrition, you’ll lose weight.

2. Prevent disease
The chances of developing several various diseases has been proven to decrease when exercising.  These diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.  Around 4 out of 5 deaths caused by heart disease and cancer, are linked to factors that include stress and lack of exercise.

3. Enhance your state of mind

Regular exercising will lead to an increased release of endorphins in the body.  These chemicals will fight depression and make you feel happy.  The body releases these endorphins as early as 12 minutes into the workout.

4. Enhance your wellness

When you are in great shape and well fit, you’ll have more energy and you’ll notice that your overall mood is improved.  You will have experienced that you can stretch beyond your own limits and you know that you can do more than you thought possible.

5. More energy

More energy can help you be more productive at home and at work.  Exercising can help give your new goals a sense of purpose and give you something to focus on and aim for.

Don’t hesitate to get out there and exercise.  If you don’t like exercise alone or get bored easily, try group training.  Scheduling time out of your day for exercise  will make you’ll feel better than ever before and your body will thank you!

Go Harder!


Post Baby Ab Routine

Congrats to our clients who have just had a baby!! Having a baby is a beautiful and exciting thing. What is less beautiful and exciting, however, is the extra weight that hangs around the midsection after the baby has been born. The best way to go about shedding your baby bump is proper diet and an exercise routine, which may not always be easy to do for a new stay-at-home mom or working mom. The good news is that working out and eliminating the extra belly fat will give you more energy, so you can spend more quality time playing with and caring for your new rugrat. Here are a few simple exercises to set your on your way toward baby belly freedom.

Progressive Crunch-less Crunch

It can take up to 8 weeks for your abdominals to fully recover.  This stomach exercise works your abdominals as well as a crunch does, but without the strain. Begin by sitting in a chair, placing one hand above and below your belly button in order to feel the contraction of your abdominals. Take one big deep breath, so your midsection expands completely. Then let the breath out as you pull your belly in, imagining your belly button being pulled inward toward your spine. Finally, briefly contract your abs five times. Do a full set of repetitions of all three parts. You can also try this exercise lying on your back. Try both to see which one helps you feel the contractions of your abdominal muscles better.


This exercise starts off very much the same way as the last one, but involves quicker steps and more repetitions. Begin by sitting in the same position as in the progressive crunchless crunch, and taking the same deep breath. This time, instead of bringing your belly all the way back, exhale and bring it just about halfway. Then pull your belly button back toward your spine. Contract and hold for a count of one. Repeat from the half-exhalation point. Do the whole thing one hundred times.

Crunch-less Crunch

This exercise is very similar to the first one, however, this exercise consists of just one move. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominals to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

If you start doing these stomach exercises at home or at work with the few spare minutes you have, you can lose your baby belly and be fit and trim and just a few months– just in time to start chasing after Junior once he learns to crawl!

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