Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Running Hot or Cold

I felt something pull in my lower back over the weekend while planting flowers.
I picked up the baby and twisted my knee.
I worked all day on the computer and now I can't turn my head.

These are all examples of how we can hurt ourselves doing ordinary things. Since we cannot avoid ordinary, how do we deal with life's aches and pains. Do I ice it? Do I put heat on it? What is a person to do?

Here is a quick rule of thumb. Use heat for chronic pain or an injury that is more than 2 days old. Overworked muscles are sore due to a build up of lactic acid. When an area of the body has been stressed or damaged, lactic acid does not get flushed out of the system and is soothed by heat therapy, which restores blood flow around the sore area. If you have a chronic injury, apply heat before exercise.

Use cold for acute pain or a new or swollen/inflamed injury. When you have an injury, the damaged tissue can become inflamed, which manifests itself in pain, swelling or redness. Ice and cold numbs the injury. The raise in temperature narrows blood vessels and slows down the blood flow that builds up in the injured area. Cold controls inflammation and swelling, but does not treat pain. Oftentimes the pain is a result of swelling, so you will feel better. Since the cold numbs the area, be sure to remove the ice once the area is numb.

I seem to be a bit swollen!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stuck on a Number

When I am seriously trying to drop a few pounds, it is easy to get stuck on a number on the scale. I mean this a couple of ways. First, it is easy to fixate on a number that I want to see on the scale, and easy to forget that the number does not necessarily correlate to health. If body fat is low and energy level is high, and that number doesn't magically appear when I step on the scale, it is time to re-evaluate the validity of that number.
Secondly, if an unwanted number continues to show its ugly face on the scale, then perhaps you need to do something drastic to get the number moving in the right direction. So here is a plan. If you have reached a plateau in losing weight, for one day dramatically reduce your caloric intake to 500 calories for women and 700 calories for men. The next day, get right back onto your diet, keeping your calories at a healthy level. This just might be the kick that you need to get your metabolism jumping once again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Low Down on Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be found in the following dietary sources:
  • green leafy vegetables
  • broccoli
  • parsley
  • potatoes
  • peas
  • citrus fruits
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • bell peppers
  • strawberries
  • papaya
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • limes
  • lemons
Deficiency symptoms of vitamin C:
  • bruising
  • gum infections
  • lethargy
  • dental cavities
  • tissue swelling
  • dry hair and skin
  • bleeding gums
  • dry eyes
  • hair loss
  • pitting edema
  • anemia
  • delayed wound healing
  • bone fragility
Functions of Vitamin C:
  • Protects cells from free radicals
  • Improves iron absorption
  • Regenerates vitamin E supplies
  • Develops collagen
  • Synthesizes the neurotransmitter norepinephrine
  • Synthesizes carnitine
  • Assists in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sugar Busting

Sweets are not good for us. We all know this. Donuts, cookies, cupcakes and ice cream are filled to the brim with flavor and fat and sugar. If you eat sweets regularly, you most likely have some degree of sugar addiction. Sugar is stimulating and your brain and body will crave it. Most diets have you eliminate ALL processed sugary foods for the first two week "induction" period. This is designed break the habit of eating sugar, which if you have a habit, you need to break. While sugar does give a body a boost, the boost is rapidly followed by a plummet.  It starts a roller coaster ride with your energy, metabolism and health.
I suggest to clients that instead of cutting out sweets cold turkey, that to wean yourself off of them and replace them with a healthier choice is an easier and healthier way to go.  How do you do this? Easy, peasy! Eat nature's candy - fruit. With fruit you still get sugar, only this time it is in it's natural form AND you get fiber, vitamins and nutrients. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, you still have to be careful, but generally speaking if fruit is the only sugar you are ingesting, your choices are great. Put down the cookie and pick up an apple. You still might have cravings for awhile, but soon you will be craving pineapple or watermelon instead of ice cream. Do it for your health.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Protein and Muscle Building

You don't hear it as often as you used to, but occasionally I still hear women say that they don't want to lift weights because they don't want to bulk up. The fallacy here is that, yes you will work your muscles when you are lifting weights, but the getting big muscles part? In order to do that, you have to alter your diet by greatly reducing complex carbohydrates and increasing your proteins. If your goal is a combination of weight loss and muscle gain, the best approach is an alternating system of low calories for two weeks, followed by doubling up on the protein for two weeks. Then repeat for 3-4 cycles. Take an assessment and see if this is working. Have you lost body fat? Have you gained muscle?
Animal proteins are great for us because they contain amino acids, however if you are really ramping up your protein intake, your digestive system might get a little overloaded. Constipation, gas, gout, kidney and liver fatigue are side effects of too much animal protein. An easy and digestive friendly way of adding protein is to add a supplement in the form of a bar or a shake. Watch the fat and calories on the products that you buy. Check in with a professional to make sure that the product you buy is the product you need. If you want more information about protein, contact me through my webpage:  www.fitnessgroupofturtlecreek.com.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Where To?

Most people have a basic goal when they work out. It might be to lose weight. It might be to have a smaller waistline. It might be to have bigger biceps or tighter glutes. It might be something less visual, such as being able to reduce certain medications.
Whatever your work out goals might be, it is important to have a goal because if you don't know where you want to go, how will you ever get there. People don't just show up at the airport and take whatever plane is available at that moment. They already know where they are going when they leave for the airport. Likewise, you should have an end result in mind when you are working out. If your primary goal is to lose weight, you should be doing everything you can to burn calories while at the gym. It would also be helpful to set a goal, such as staying on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes or until you have burned 300 calories. If you are serious about losing weight, know that you should exercise 5-6 times per week. If you are trying to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. A pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, so if you want to lose a pound a week, that is the deficit you must have. For best results, reduce your caloric intake and increase your caloric output. It is hard to do, but it is not impossible. Find a trainer who can guide you or a friend who will be your support group.
Bathing suit season is quickly approaching and no one wants to scare their fellow beachcombers, so start now. Step one - set a goal; know where  you want to go.