Fitness myths.  OK, so we could write an entire BOOK on the topic.  Everything from eat fat, get fat to lifting as a kid will stunt your growth.  Silly things that somewhere along the line caught some traction and started becoming “accepted knowledge”.  So today, I’m looking for yours.  We can have some fun with this one because there is so much RIDICULOUS information out there that when you apply the logic test, you say “are you serious?!”  MY personal favorite is that women shouldn’t lift weights because they don’t want to “bulk up”.  This is a prevailing myth up to and including the publish of this article.  If I had a dollar for every time that I heard “I want to tone up, but I don’t want to get big”, I’d be writing this from my own private island, as opposed to this deep-freeze that I call home.  Lifting weights will NOT turn women into men.  You will NOT build huge bulging biceps or monstrous pecs or get a big ass.  It’s not in the cards.  The reason that guys are able to see so much more muscular growth is that they have exponentially higher levels of testosterone in their blood stream.  Testosterone is the hormone MOST responsible for muscular growth.  Now, do women have testosterone?  Yes.  Do some have more than others?  Also true.  However, no (I repeat NO) female is going to turn into Arnold no matter how much lifting you do.  What you will turn into is a stronger, more functional athlete and person overall, but who wants that?  So, what’s YOUR biggest fitness myth?  I look forward to hearing the silliness that prevails!

Fantasy vs. Reality Strong Girl

Advertisements

OK, part 2 of my “Pick One” series.  Today you must tell me what is your favorite HEALTHY snack food.  And why?  For me, this was a bit of a tough one.  I DO love trail mix (usually with Almonds and cashews and raisins).  Great fats, and some sweet, but ultimately, I cannot do trail mix without M&M’s (Mars bastards!), so it’s OUT as a healthy snack and just a snack.  However, that made the choice for my fave healthy snack pretty easy and obvious.  It’s homemade guacamole.  We have it in the house pretty regularly, in season or out.  If you look at guacamole, there is not a single BAD thing in it.  People will say that the avocados are high in fat, but that, as you know, is balderdash (Ha!  I got to use the word “balderdash” in a sentence).  Avocados provide us with the essential Omega-6 fatty acids that many people have out of balance.  We get so concerned about Omega-3’s that we forget about the balance that is required for the brain and body to properly function.  They are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Potassium just to name a few.  Not to mention a full 10g of dietary fiber.  Plus, if you make it like I do, it’s chock full of other stuff like fresh tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, lime and even a hint of hot pepper.  And the nice thing about it is that in season, I will grow everything except the limes and avocados myself.  Easy.  So grab a chip and dig in!  And tell me what is YOUR favorite healthy snack-time treat?

avocado

We’re going to start a small series here.  Just for fun.  I’m calling it Pick One.  What you will be presented with is a question.  Respond in comments.  I look forward to all the responses from you all.  So, we’ll start with an easy one.  The question for today is….

If you could pick ONE exercise that you could do, what would it be?

I would choose the Squat, and here’s why.  I find the squat to be one of the most functional and versatile exercises around.  First off, what else are you going to do more in your day than sit down and stand up?  It is about the most common functional movement in the history of man (next to walking).  Now, as for the exercise itself, the best part about it is the variety that you can employ with it.  Back squat, front squat, overhead, stability ball, single-leg.  The list goes on and on.  And with these different varieties, you can stress the body in so many different ways.  You can include HUGE contributions from the core muscles (front and overhead), you can work on proprioception and balance (single-leg and SB), you can even involve some upper body stuff (overhead).  So, to me, I LOVE the squat.  I like to include some form of them in my workouts each and every week.

So, if YOU could only pick ONE, what would it be?

squat-baby

Should I go vegan?  Or should I not go vegan?  Big question, right?  As you consider, the choice, consider this.  Those of you who know me, know that I am vehemently pro-meat.  If it had eyes and a mom, I’m in.  However, I’ll try to keep this less opinionated and more factual (right).

First off, consider this.  Many, not all, but many people who go vegan become deficient in both Vitamin B12 and Iron.  Both of which are found in their largest quantities in animal-based foods.  And, in the case of Iron, meat is FAR and AWAY the best and most bio-available source.  These things ARE available in plant foods, but in smaller quantities, which means that you need to eat more of them to get the same value out of them.

Second, consider this.  The biggest meat “replacement” in the vegan diet is soy-based product.  The problem is that high quantities of soy intake have been linked (not proven, but linked) to alterations in Estrogen/Testosterone balances in the body and an increased risk of certain cancers.  Also, by the time that the majority of soy products hit the consumer market, they don’t even resemble anything basic, nutritional or good.  The best sources of soy foods are Miso and Tempeh.  The rest?  Eh.

On the positive side, it does NOT have to be more expensive.  You can get good fresh foods for reasonable costs.  You WILL, however, have to become very accustomed to reading your labels and making sure that NO animal by-products or preservatives or anything like that have leaked into your food (good luck).  Overall, your food and nutrient choices become much more limited.  We lose our best sources of CERTAIN vitamins and minerals and our most complete sources of protein.  So, it’s not necessarily a WRONG choice, but a big choice.  Personally?  Never giving up bacon….I mean lets be serious.

Now, I may take some heat for this.  My clientele may come out and think that this is about them.  It’s not.  I promise.  But what we know and what we continuously find out all the time is that consistency is the key to success.  No excuses, no issues, no rationalizations.  So many new gym goers give up so quickly because they are not seeing the results that they want in the time span that they think they should.  So they quit and say that it wasn’t worth it or it wasn’t working.  But just like anything else, exercise is a SKILL.  And skills need to be practiced.  Now, that being said, practice does NOT make perfect, as the old adage goes.  Practice makes PERMANENT.  It’s good to be consistent, but you have to be consistently GOOD.   If you practice exercise poorly (a discussion that I have with person after person that I come in contact with), you will only emphasize and promote poor movement and long-term injury.  But so many people are not willing to put in the consistent practice to make sure that what they do, they do WELL.  It is just like your mother always told you when you were a kid….Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well.  So be good at it!  But you have to practice.  And in order to practice, you need to BE THERE.  Get consistent.  Get good!

Hard Before Easy

What is good to eat?  It’s a question that trainers and health experts have been getting……well, since there were trainers and health experts.  So, here are just a few simple dietary must haves (in my humble opinion) that you should get some of each and every day:

1.  Quality proteins – Fiber One bars and Clif Bars don’t count.  These are low quality sources of protein (and that’s being generous).  Quality proteins include things like eggs, lean grass-fed meats and dairy.  If you’re not of the animal eating club, then things like nuts and seeds (almonds, chia and quinoa work well, just to name a few).  Try to avoid the packaged and processed as much as possible, just like you would with anything.

2.  Quality Fat sources – Over the course of time, the media and limited research have turned fats into a dirty F-word.  The fact is that the body needs fats to survive and properly function.  Good sources include things like EVOO, Coconut milks and oils (great source of vital saturated fats and the oil is great to cook with).  Again, eggs are a great fat source and completely nutrient packed.  Avocados, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, cashews and the list goes on.

3.  Nutrient dense foods – Nutrient dense defines a food that packs a whole lot of nutrition into a small amount of food.  Colorful fruits and most vegetables.  The fresher the better.  Remember, the more that something is processed and rendered, the less nutritious is becomes.  So, the closer that you can get things to their natural state, the better.  If you can grow it yourself, then even BETTER!

4.  Balance – The biggest thing that one needs on a daily dietary basis is balance.  Diets that cut out entire food groups just don’t work.  Or fads that promise quick and huge results.  Your carb/fat/protein ratios should be a lot closer than you think.  I like to try to make about 1/3 of my calories FAT, and a quarter to a third protein.  Great nutrition (good sources, of course), and I’m less hungry all day long.  The sugars get limited, for the most part, to natural sugars (fruit, honey, etc.).  Try to limit the processed stuff whenever you can.  But remember, that there also has to be a note of desirability to what you eat every day.  If you hate everything you eat, you are less likely to stick to the plan long term.

Eat well!

Fat_Vs_Thin_diagram

So, everyone should call their mother and tell them that they were right.  Not about the clothes she put you in, but the fact that she made you eat breakfast and said it was the most important meal of the day!  New studies at the Tel Aviv University showed that people who ate a heartier breakfast (about 700 kcal) were able to better regulate their metabolism throughout the day, and ended up losing more weight than groups who ate smaller breakfasts and larger dinners.  The test groups all ate the same amount of calories through the course of the day, the only difference was how they were distributed.  One group ate less at breakfast and more at dinner, the other just the opposite.  Now, the foods weren’t Krispy Kreme’s and Cocoa Puffs, however.  They were filled with things like scrambled eggs, milk, whole wheat toast and even some tuna (not my choice of meat in eggs, but to each their own).  So, don’t skip breakfast.  Don’t skimp on it either.  Your body and your metabolism will thank you.

Heart-Disease_Img_2-1024x836