Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Certain components of food such as fiber and protein require the body to expend more energy during digestion. This process results in a higher net calorie expenditure (when compared to food of equal calories with less protein and fiber). A higher net calorie expenditure, in this case, means that your body burns more calories digesting food with protein and fiber when compared to food of equal calories that lack both protein and fiber. If you burn more calories digesting certain foods, you may end up with a larger calorie deficit. The greater the calorie deficit, the more weight you lose. If you eat at a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories for a week, the total loss will be 3500 calories, which is worth 1 pound of fat. Is it now possible to choose your food based on how many calories of energy it takes to digest?
Besides picking certain foods, another factor is chewing! The more you chew, the more energy you expend. Give your body a workout to digest food! Even though the calories required to chew are minimal, it still is a factor.
So, the debate of traditional calorie counting vs choosing high quality foods ends like this- “You can gain weight over eating healthy food. You can also hinder your metabolism and really hurt yourself if you only chose to eat foods based on the amount of calories they contain”. I just quoted myself....
If you eat with a “calorie conscious” attitude and pay attention to sensible portion sizes, you’re going to be A-OK.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The act of working harder when feeling pain draws the line between most people who see results and most who don’t. This “pain” also refers to emotional discomfort as well as the muscular toll of either a strict training or dieting regimen. It’s extremely difficult to be challenged yet still maintain enough discipline to overcome what’s in the way.
If you want to reach a goal or be in shape it helps to accept that it is going to be really hard! Allowing yourself to endure pain (whether it be mental or physical) will prevent that first instinct to give up when something becomes difficult. If you really think about goals, isn’t the whole point of it to challenge yourself? When someone loses 100lbs or runs their first marathon, are they going to say it was easy? I doubt it! And that’s ok. It separates the strong from the weak. It explains why the percentage of marathon runners and successful dieters in the world are the minority. But that doesn’t mean that who ever is in the “majority” is stuck there.
So, the next time you decide to embark on a new challenge, ask yourself- “Are you ready for this? Are you ready to do something that is going to be hard, yet still keep on pushing?”
Perhaps understanding what a challenge consist of is will help prepare you.
“Can you train yourself to run, cycle, swim or do another sport at the edge of your body’s limits, or is that something that a few are born with, part of what makes them elites?
Sports doctors who have looked into the question say that, at the very least, most people could do a lot better if they knew what it took to do their best.”
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The moral of the story is: if you are on a weight loss plan, you should consider if your priority is to lose a lot of weight very quickly, or to be patient like the tortoise and win the race in the end.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Priority Fitness blog is back! Thanks for making it through the rest of the Summer without us!
I wanted to make sure that our first blog of the season is posted before October is over for a few important reasons. The first reason is that the NYC Marathon is creeping up and there are very important tips that we plan on sharing in the near future. The second reason, which we shall dive into right now, is the significance of October and your long term training routines.
October is the silence before the big storm. You may be asking "what storm?", NY just had a horrendous storm two days ago! Well, that's a valid question... The storm I'm referring to is the "Holiday Storm"- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, New Years, etc. These are the holidays where so many of us (well, hopefully not us) eat and drink whatever we want, yet constantly rationalize our actions by saying "this is all going to stop at New Years!" and then gain 7-10 pounds... What a toll that puts on our bodies! To top it off, a lot of us follow this cycle but then do not even lose all of the weight later in the year. If you are trying to pack on pounds progressively through out the years, you have found the secret.
But why not avoid the unnecessary weight gain? Wouldn't it feel great to actually start the Spring season already in shape? It's very possible. For most of us, it just means to keep on doing what we are doing. If we are already working out, keep it up. The key to not getting sidetracked is to write out weekly plans for your workouts through out the holiday season. This will put so much in perspective. It will be the difference between skipping a workout to eat leftovers and going our for a long run. The key is to keep your workouts a priority and to not let the holiday meals and parties consume you (even though we are probably the ones who would be doing most of the consuming). If you want to, or are already working out 4-5 times a week, write down the days you want to do it during the holidays. Just because Thanksgiving weekend lasts 4 days, it doesn't mean that you need to skip 4 days of exercising. You can even plan to run a Turkey Trot the morning of Thanksgiving, which is a great way to fire up your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Practicing your Fall/Winter workout routine now will be a great experience for you to perfect it when the Holiday Storm hits.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Gonna Make You Sweat in Park Slope – A Priority
Friday, July 9, 2010
Both sports are incredibly inspiring to watch. One of the things that I first noticed is that none of these athletes ever stop moving! This is a true test of endurance. Preventing your body from standing still is a lot harder than it sounds. Unlike Sprinters (who run as fast as they can, stop, and then run again), endurance athletes engage specific muscle fibers that specialize in lasting longer, fatiguing slower, and constant movement. These fibers are slow twitch (type 1) muscle fibers which are a lot leaner and longer in comparison to the average fiber types of a body builder or wrestler (who mostly have fast twitch, type 2 muscle fibers).
Endurance athletes also have to eat the right ratio of nutrients (which keep them lean) to maximize performance. The typical endurance athlete follows a diet roughly comprised of 65% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 20% fat. This is much different than a body builder’s diet which can be 55% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% Fat. Endurance training requires more carbohydrates and less protein than many other sports. The extra carbohydrates supply endurance athletes with a good deal of energy to assist in their long distance/duration races. The smaller doses of protein allow the athletes to move more efficiently. The more excess muscle an endurance athlete has, the more they have to work to move around. Think of the difference between a car (endurance athlete) and a truck (sprinter). Which one uses more gas? The truck uses a whole lot more! Same concept applies for endurance sports. Who wants to travel across the country in an 18-wheeler when you have a hybrid car in your garage?!?
So, if you are interested in seeing some world class endurance athletes, check out the World Cup final game this Sunday and watch the Tour De France for the next 3 weeks! Notice how those athletes are built and move differently than those who play other typically American sports such as football. And keep in mind, although it takes training and resilience, perhaps endurance training is the new sport for you!
Friday, July 2, 2010
And now he has his own blog. For those of you who don't remember Rob, his weight loss is a true success. Besides being a great friend, he is truly an inspiration. Rob lost 60 lbs by eating right, working out, and never giving up. He took his time (2 years) and lost weight the right way, the healthy way. He did what all fitness professionals want their clients to do. Here is a link to his story and new blog. I also pasted a recent blog that he posted. Enjoy!!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
When the body sweats more, it requires more fluids to maintain hydration. Even if you don't work out, there's no stopping sweat. From a "calorically conscious" perspective (I think I just made up a new term!) it is easy to over-ingest in calories with high sugar drinks. Summer drinks such as lemonade, iced tea, pina coladas, and even juice are examples of unnecessary drinks that are not crucial for hydration. Although it may feel refreshing to drink a large glass of lemonade, there is a potential of adding 250 calories of refined sugar carbohydrates to your diet. Drink that a couple times a week and see how many extra calories add up in a month!
A healthy alternative to high sugar drinks is water! Water is the source of life and will hydrate the body when needed. Now, if your body has depleted itself of carbohydrates (usually when you haven't eaten or drank anything in over 3 hours) then grab a piece of fruit. Fruit is superior to any type of summer drink. Fruit has natural sugars, micro-nutrients, and contains healthy fiber. Most have no natural sugars, very little micro-nutrients, and they are stripped of all their fiber.
A great rule of thumb to live by. I heard this quote in person. "Whatever is man made, isn't meant for man!" - Jack Lalane
In this case, "man made" refers to refined "over-sugared" drinks.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Recently, ABC hosted a controversial program called Face Off; a news "debate" (and I use this word lightly) about the issue of weight in America. This, in addition to fervor created by famous directors (Kevin Smith) buying dual seats on flights, Jaimie Oliver's Food Revolution, The Biggest Loser, our constant obsession with fad dieting, and the now obvious health effects that over weight Americans are experiencing makes this an idea worth considering: is it okay to be fat?
The show, which I encourage you to see for yourself (ABC News), is not exactly the best forum in which to discuss such a serious matter. The panel consists of four oppositional participants with a moderator, and in typical TV fashion the discussion deteriorates rather quickly into "clucking". A strong debate would have had more point/counter-point opportunities, and panelists with better credentials than "plus-sized super model", but they all had personal experiences with weight related issues and in all seriousness that does count for a lot. There is an actual doctor in the audience that they call on occasionally to clear up some facts. He is Dr. Richard Besser (former acting director of the Center for Disease Control - so I figure he knows a thing or two) and it's sort of fun to watch him correct the ignorance of those on stage. That being said, this post is not necessarily a critique for ABC's producers, so on to the real matters. The show does manage to touch on some of the highlights of the controversy: health, insurance costs, and personal and societal value of the fit person vs. the overweight person.
I can say, from a less strict "fitness" perspective (we are trainers, but humans also after all) that it is not a question of "okay". When a client comes to us with a goal we help them understand what is necessary to reach that objective and point out to them that their notion of a goal may be limited by their current circumstance. We take all that information and formulate a plan always with the understanding that they are the one's steering the ship..."okay" is not a factor. Our clients are almost always adults. They can do what they please. If they feel fine, physically, carrying extra body weight in the form of fat, if they aren't troubled by the potential increase in risk factors related to weight, if their personal ambitions don't extend to fitting into a certain size jeans, who are any of us to say otherwise?
However, as trainers our ultimate goal for our clients physiologically speaking, ignoring all the other pieces to the puzzle (the client's own self worth, their relationship to food, their partner's opinion, and the worst...their mother's opinion) is to make them as lean and muscular as possible. A lean, Muscular body is one that performs well, isn't limited in what it can do, and is resistant to disease and deterioration compared, on average, to a fat body (every case is different, but the statistics bear this out).
So the question then is, what isn't okay? This is one that can't be addressed without heaps of personal opinion, but as this is a blog and not a UN doctrine, I suppose I will hazard a response: If you are hurting those around you because of your weight by, for example, dying early and depriving them of that time with you, by creating an environment where they are encouraged to also over eat and not exercise (parent/child, romantic partnership, etc.), or by taking advantage of an already out of control and stressed health care system because of your weight- I would say that these circumstances are not okay. If you are starving yourself to fit into a size 2 or comfort eating because you never will, neither of those things are okay. If you are participating in over consumption on any level (food, land, personal wealth, fossil fuels, or resources of any kind) that is not okay.
We all have different sized and shaped bodies. They all have the potential to be fit and strong and beautiful....and guaranteed they will all look different. Isn't that a good thing?
Thanks for reading the rant.
Oh, and one other thing that isn't okay....if you are a multinational food conglomerate hell bent on profit at any cost, even the lives of the American Public, to the point that you will over process and corn syrup infuse anything and everything, then that also is not okay.
And one more thing: even though I shouted him out in the beginning, I adore Kevin Smith and think he is one of the best film makers/ comic writers ever (especially to come out of Jersey...hey I'm from there too)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Fat is a very interesting nutrient. It's amazing how we have been taught to avoid it at all costs. Even when you turn on the TV, you are bombarded by commercials that equate fat to the plague.
Fat, like all other nutrients, has a very important role in a balanced diet. Unfortunately, a diet that is high in fat can lead to severe health complications which result in death. This is scary, and should not be touched upon lightly. The over consumption of fat in America is an epidemic, except that consuming fat is voluntary and easily moderated with the proper knowledge.
Fat is vital for a number of reasons, such as: our cell walls require fat , our organs use fat as a cushion from impact, fat is used to insulate ourselves from the cold, and much more. In reference to physical activity, fat is used for long term energy. A great comparison for the use of fat is like that between two runners. One runner is a sprinter and the other runs marathons. A sprinter engages in anaerobic activity, which does not require oxygen intake. Conversely, a marathon runner engages in aerobic activity, which requires oxygen intake. Since the utilization of fat requires oxygen, and the utilization of carbohydrates does not require oxygen, the marathon runner uses fat for energy. On the other hand, a sprinter uses a stored form of carbohydrates called glycogen, which does not require oxygen. If you think about it, a sprinter can literally sprint a 20-yard dash and hold his/her breath. Although I would not recommend it, it's true. A marathoner on the other hand can absolutely not run a marathon and hold his/her breath. Since carbohydrate stores only last about 45-50 min during physical activity, fat becomes the main source of energy.
Fat also slows down the metabolic absorption of nutrients. In other words, if you eat a lot of fat, your body will take a longer time to absorb nutrients when compared to not eating a lot of fat. This issue can complicate pre and especially post workout meals. A high fat meal before a typical gym workout is not recommended because your body will not have enough time to metabolize it all. Your body will benefit from a pre-workout meal that is high in complex carbohydrates and moderate in protein around 2 hours before exercise.
High fat meals as a form of post-workout nutrition are not beneficial because your body is starving for quick acting simple sugars to replenish glycogen stores and for protein to rebuild muscle that has just been broken down. Eating a lot of fat after a workout will compromise the absorption of vital carbohydrates and protein.
Fat (and I mean healthy unsaturated fat) is best to eat in the middle of the day or at least a meal before or after a pre/post workout meal. Use fat to your advantage! It's very filling and keeps us satiated. Having fat (such as peanut butter) during a mid-meal snack is awesome because you don't have to eat a lot of it and it will keep you full until your next meal. Just be aware that it is difficult to regulate fat intake and it is over twice as hard to burn than carbohydrates or protein!