Category Archives: Health

The Journey of Loving yourself

This blog is extremely personal. I want to bare my soul in regards to my body and mind transformation process with all of you.

Before I start, I’d like to ask you: What drives your food decisions? Why do you eat certain foods? I

Is it out of fear of something? Fear of gaining weight? It is emotionally driven?

or Is it because you’ve learned about specific nutrients that your body needs and enjoy the process of fueling yourself with healthy choices?

 

My personal development and weight loss journey has not been easy. I’ve been learning about my body, fitness and nutrition since I was 16  years old. I had always struggled with body image acceptance and loving myself for how I am. I grew up overweight, with braces, headgear, and acne. Middle and high school were very rough years for me.

 

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Before photos: Bottom photo age about 15, my deepest darkest year. Top right age 14.

Top left I am about 16 or 17 years old & this is within my first few months of beginning to workout. I developed an eating disorder termed “non-purging bulimia” where I purged in the form of over exercising at least twice a day. I was taking ephedrine pills, forging notes to get out of school early to work out. I wrote down everything I ate and only allowed certain foods at certain times, if I missed the window, I wasn’t allowed the food.

Here are two short sections from my essay written freshman year of college 2003

“My eighth grade year was my all time worst. This was when I was the biggest of my fat stage. I had grown to the size of 14/15, and felt like I was the biggest girl in my grade. Boys in my Earth Science class would call me names, make me put my head down in tears and not want to show my face until the end of class. One boy told me that if I died he would throw a party and everybody would come. This struck me so hard and it later led me into making one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. The emptiness and hatred I felt inside was unforgettable.  I got braces the spring of eighth grade and those made me feel uglier than ever.  I would look at myself in the mirror, smile, and then cringe at the site of the metal junk that covered my teeth.  My self-esteem had reached rock bottom.”

“I started playing soccer for my school and working out regularly. I lost my weight over the years, and by senior year I was the size I had always pictured and dreamed of being. One thing was still missing: satisfaction. I would still look at myself and still see that “fat girl” that everyone used to call me. I would workout harder and harder and eat less and less trying to conquer my weight situation and still I would never feel satisfied. I would go to stores, find a pair of jeans, try them on and look into the mirror. In disbelief, I would still look extremely fat. The pain inside was still there. The disappointment every time I looked into the mirror was still there. My distorted body image of myself will probably never change. The torture of the students throughout my middle school and beginning of my high school career will always stick with me.

As a person, I am still affected by my early years. My self esteem still suffers. I still find myself comparing my body to other girls’ at the gym. I continue to look into the mirror and criticize myself. I truly believe I will never be fully satisfied with my body image. Whether or not it was the ridicule from my fellow classmates, or my own self not accepting my body structure, it is a personal situation I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”

 

I carried these obsessive eating, exercise and negative self talk habits to college with me. Not until end of freshman year, when I began an intro to Nutrition class-did I realize how fear driven all my actions where. This revelation also inspired me to become a certified personal trainer- my thought: if I wasn’t eating correctly I probably wasn’t exercising the right way either.

I had turned a new leaf. Motivated through the desire for knowledge I applied it to my current dedication and this is where things began to blossom.

 

The three biggest influences in my development would be learning the art of hoop dance, receiving an educating in biochemistry of human metabolism and finding the Isagenix nutritional super food system.

When I was 20 years old, my mother gifted me the hula hoop. That was a huge blessing and awakening for my confidence and believe in oneself. Once I mastered the motion of keeping it going around my waist, I begin to watch YouTube videos and the obsession was clear. Learning new trick after new trick and connecting with the community allowed for me to fall in love with what my body was capable of doing for me. Now at age 32, I’m on stage in little britches and tops, feeling confident and rocking audiences. It’s incredible to witness honestly. I feel a since of a pride- and coupled with pride seems a bit of shame. Where does that come from? What story has me telling myself that its embarrassing to be proud? I’m grateful for The Healthy Mind and Body mindset coaching program I went through that helped me find this self limiting belief around sense of Pride.

Now, I feel confident to declare: I am SO proud of myself for my accomplishments with the hula hoop and as a performer! and with this statement I hope to give you permission to be proud of your accomplishments as well.

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Second largest influence was receiving the education in Foods and Nutrition. Through understanding food and how the body processes specific macro-nutrients for specific activities, I learned how to eat foods that work for my body type and activity level. Now food is not the enemy but one of my favorite things to do several times a day. Mindful eating practices such as slowing down and chewing each bit 20-30 times and practicing gratitude for all the effort that went into creating the meal.

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The most recent influence on my journey to loving oneself is the introduction of Isagenix super foods and the Healthy Mind and Body Coaching program.  I’ve been on the products for over a year and 3 months and I am so grateful to Laura and Scott St John for sharing them with me.  The no compromise quality nutrition provided in their shakes and bars have help me maintain my daily protein requirements and reduce the amount of meat I am consuming. Also the nutritional cleansing aspect has help me reduce my BF % and have body confidence like never before! The Healthy Mind and Body program helps empower the mind and achieve your visions by:

  • Habit-forming process designed for long term healthy success
  • Identify patterns holding you back from your ideal health
  • Intelligent, simple, and important daily activities that, if done everyday for 15 minutes, are guaranteed to change your life forever

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It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of time, patience, self-compassion, guidance from my mentors, and lots of education. It is possible to re-frame how you view yourself, life and your body. It is possible. You are capable. The beginning might be the hardest part, but if you reach out for support and make sure you remain compassionate with yourself I believe you can achieve whatever your heart desires.

 

 

Importance of Hydration in Sports Performance and Health

How much water do you consume a day? Water is the most vital nutrient to human existence. We can survive far longer without food than without water.
Sedentary women should be consuming at least 74 oz of water a day and men should be consuming 101 oz.
The body’s requirement for water varies in accordance with several factors: environment, activity level, functional losses, metabolic needs, age and other dietary factors.

Paul Chek provides a reliable calculation for meeting our body’s needs. For your minimum daily intake, one should base the calculation on one’s body weight in in kilograms, (lbs divided by 2.2) and then divide that by 0.024. This level of water intake works out at 1 liter plus 1 cup (1250ml) for each 30 kg of body weight.

Example

  • An 80 kg person would require 3 1/3 liters per day = 80 kg divided by 0.024 = 3.3 liters per day.

Drink your way to better health- Hydration changes everything!

  • Protects organs and tissues
  • Lubricates joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Helps dissolve vitamins and increases bio-availability
  • Reduces the burden on kidneys and liver
  • Moistens tissues of mouth, eyes and nose
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Increases muscle tone
  • Reduces risk of disease-Studies have shown that an increase in daily water decreases the risk of colon cancer  up to 45%, reduces the risk of bladder cancer by 50%, and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is also believed that water may prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infection

Stay hydrated with fruits and veggies!

Cucumber, Iceberg lettuce, spinach, celery(96%), raw radish, zucchini (95%) , Watermelon, strawberries, sweet peppers, green tomato (92%) , Cauliflower, orange, raspberries, peach(87%)

Signs of Dehydration

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Decreased urine output
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal
  • Headache
  • Dry skin-skin will “tent” when pinched
  • Dizziness

If you are thirsty, then your levels are already low. Consume small sips during physical activity to not overload the body systems. Ideally you should sip every 15 minutes.

Dehydration’s effect on Athletic Performance

  • Reduction in blood volume
  • Decreased skin blood flow
  • Decreased sweat rate
  • Decreased heat dissipation
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased rate of muscle glycogen use

Hydration Before, During and After Exercise

Before Exercise

  • It is recommended that individuals drink about 17-22 oz. of fluid ~2 hours before exercise to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water

During Exercise

  • Athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating (i.e. body weight loss), or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated
  • During exercise lasting less than 1 hour, there is little evidence of physiological or physical performance differences between consuming a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and plain water

After Exercise

  • Drink 600 ml of water for every pound of body weight lost through sweat during exercise with a natural recovery aid or suitable protein shake
  • If training for a prolonged period of time (+60 min), it is essential to have a carbohydrate intake to prevent blood glucose drops and increase glycogen stores in muscles.

Hydration in Sports Performance

Sweat losses of as little as 2% of body weight (less than 3 pounds in a 150-pound athlete) can impair performance by accelerating the onset of fatigue. This is important because some athletes can lose 5 to 8 pounds of sweat or more during practice or competition. So it’s easy for athletes to become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough to replace what is lost in sweat.

There is clear research to show that working at different intensity levels and duration will decrease blood plasma volume, but as long as you have been maintaining hydration throughout the day you will be fine to train. If you have not been drinking during the day to maintain your hydration, your body will be fighting for the use of water.

  • 15-20% decrease in 1 min bouts of exhaustive exercise
  • 7.7% decrease when training at 40% of 1 rep max
  • 13.9% decrease when training at 70% of 1 rep max
  • Sweating causes additional plasma loss
  • Reduced plasma volume will increase blood viscosity which has been linked to impeded blood flow thus limiting oxygen transport

What is Blood Plasma? Plasma is made up of water, plasma proteins, and cellular nutrients (such as electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, antibodies and waste products). Its primary role is to aid transport of the red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes) in and around the body at rest or during exercise.

Electrolytes are minerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium ions) in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes  affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. The body loses electrolytes as it sweats.

SODIUM: Maintains water balance, activates thirst response, prevents water intoxication & hyponatremia, prevents cramps by enabling normal muscle contraction.  Influences performance of other minerals; enables nerve impulse transmission and maintains normal blood pressure

Potassium: Maintains water balance, stimulates metabolism of proteins & carbohydrates; helps muscles use glycogen and prevents muscle fatigue; enables normal muscle contraction.

Chloride: Maintains water balance; prevents dehydration, helps the body break down protein, absorb minerals & vitamin B12, enables normal muscle contraction, relaxation and nerve impulse transmission.

Magnesium: Participates in the conversion of ATP (adenosine triphosphate),  stimulates the metabolism of carbohydrates & fats; helps the body build proteins, decreases pain from sports-related injuries & excessive physical activity; enables normal muscle relaxation; prevents muscle cramps & spasms. Also, influences performance of other minerals; enables nerve impulse transmission; decreases vulnerability to disease; alleviates symptoms of numerous medical and psychiatric conditions

Sports Drinks are to be avoided

Do not count on sports drinks to provide you with the adequate amount of electrolytes, as most only include sodium and potassium.  Gatorade’s latest product introduction, Endurance, which claims to have five electrolytes and yet contains only a whopping 400 mg of sodium and 180 mg of potassium. What about the other electrolytes? Calcium and magnesium are mentioned; however, Endurance provides less than two percent of the Daily Value for these two critical electrolytes. A 2005 study published in General Dentistry reported that some popular sports and energy drinks destroyed tooth enamel more effectively than cola due to their high sugar content.

A balance of all electrolytes is necessary to maintain optimal hydration and endurance. Not only do you lose sodium in sweat, but you also lose other critical electrolytes like magnesium, and since most people don’t get enough magnesium, serious deficits can be occurring. The bottom line is to not count on plain water and sports drinks to meet your body’s hydration and electrolyte needs. Plain water (including bottled “mineral waters”) doesn’t contain a substantial quantity or balance of the essential electrolytes you require to stay adequately hydrated, replace electrolytes lost in sweat, and maintain optimum performance. As for sports drinks, the high-sugar content of most of these beverages often causes bloating, stomach cramps, and can impair your hard-fought training and performance at the moment when it may matter most.

  Adding electrolytes to water is a simple idea.  It provides pure electrolytes and nothing else. It powers rapid hydration and quickly replaces all lost electrolytes—not just sodium. It supports performance, stamina, and recovery, and delivers electrolytes evenly to ensure optimal hydration. And unlike sugar-loaded sports drinks, this metohd doesn’t involve calories, flavorings, sweeteners, colors or sugar, all of which hold the potential to hinder performance.  I use ConcenTrance Mineral drops in my water daily.  

Water is the most vital nutrient to human existence. Hydration is vital to any successful athlete. I hope this inspired you to tune into your daily water consumption and electrolyte balance. Cheers to H20!

References:

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance

http://www.acsm.org/

http://eletewater.com/uploads/elpdf/electrolytes_and_dehydration.pdf

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/behar12.htm

http://khsaa.org/sportsmedicine/gatorade/hydrationcriticaltoathleticperformance.pdf

http://www.kellygarsia.com/the-importance-of-hydration/

Self-efficacy-Belief in one’s self

Self-Efficacy

There are many reasons clients hire personal trainers. Individualized program design, accountability, to gain knowledge about specific equipment, effective workouts, injury rehabilitation or prevention are all superb reasons. But to learn how to believe in themselves is a skill that flies under the radar.

The concept of self-efficacy is central to psychologist Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality. According to Bandura, a person’s attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills comprise what is known as the self-system. This system plays a major role in how we perceive situations and how we behave in response to different situations. Self-efficacy is an essential part of this self-system.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities

Self-efficacy is a concept I’ve been working on personally and with my clients for the last year. It seems to be a common theme amongst clients to want to avoid discussing nutrition or regular workout routines because it’s viewed as challenging and difficult.  The level of self efficacy reflects the confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment.

As fitness professionals, imagine the possibilities for our clients when we focus on increasing their self confidence and improving mental attitudes! It could impact every aspect of their lives, not just fitness related goals.

So, where does self-efficacy come from?  According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy.

1. Mastery Experiences

“The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken it.

As personal trainers, effective goal setting is a great way to

-build self-efficacy; effective meaning measurable and realistic

-carefully select short and long term goals to help establish a set path to achieve even the smallest accomplishments.

2. Social Modeling

Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed.”

As a personal trainer, you may help your clients select role models. Professional athletes, support groups, introducing them to past or current clients, friends and/or family that have had success in similar goals. Creative ideas like making a collage of activities and role models to put on the fridge or in their home gym. Keep in mind what works for others may not work for your client. The concept behind this is “If he/she can do it, I can do it!”

3. Social Persuasion

Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.

As personal trainers, I believe this is the most important aspect of our interactions with our clients. Together you have set realistic and measurable goals and it’s part of our job to keep them motivated.  Increasing the awareness to their “self-talk” is key. While in session you can reinforce these beliefs by using their name and their goals while performing difficult exercises or tasks. You could try introducing the tools of positive affirmations and positive self-talk.

Examples:

“You’re doing great, Sandra! This exercise is strengthening your core and getting you in shape for bikini season! I know it’s challenging and you’re doing it!”

I really appreciate your honesty in your food journal, Sandra. It’s important that I’m fully aware of what you’re doing on your own time so we can accomplish your goal of decreasing body fat percentage by 2% in the next 6 weeks. You are doing great!”

4. Psychological Responses

Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations. However, Bandura also notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted.” By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy.

This aspect may be the most difficult to monitor. Personal trainers face the challenge of meeting with their clients only several hours a week. This might not allow us to be aware of the situations causing our clients stress, as well as their reaction to it.

What we can do is listen carefully when we are with them. Taking notes, remembering annoying co-workers and specific situations causing stress all go a long way with clients. By offering any self-care advice that you believe to be appropriate, your client can build upon physical fitness by improving his or her mental attitude.

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Sources:

References: Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm

https://www.acefitness.org/updateable/update_display.aspx?pageID=575

http://www.learning-theories.com/

The Importance of Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

“We build muscles in the kitchen, we tear muscles in the gym.”

“Changing your body composition comes down to 80% nutrition and 20% exercise”

“You eat far more often than you’ll ever exercise.”

All great quotes to live by. If you’re one of my clients-you’ve heard these quite a few times.

Nutrient timing is a concept focusing on the importance of what you eat before and after your exercise routine. This is a great opportunity to exercise your will power. Fine tuning these choices can drastically decrease the time frame in which you see results from your hard work. Within the last year I’ve been incorporating the AMPED Line into my lifestyle. This amazing system makes sports nutrition easy and has been a significant game charger in my performance and body composition.

PRE-WORKOUT NUTRITION:

Ideal pre-work meal is mostly carbohydrate based.

Carbohydrate Sources and Timing: 1 hour (or more) before exercise:

Complex, low glycemic carbs (high in fiber) help ensure blood sugar balance.  Serving size should be about 30 g  Examples: 1/2 c oatmeal or quinoa, 1 rice cake, vegetables like sweet potato and squash can be good options.

20 minutes to 1 hour before exercise:

Simple carbohydrates such as those from fruit like dates, raisins or half of a banana, or a coconut water can give you quick energy. Easily digested sources of fat, such as coconut oil (a source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)) or chia seeds can be consumed less than an hour pre-workout, or even during a workout. These fats are easily converted into useable energy, fueling your workout rather than being stored as fat.

 Meal Ideas

  • Stir fry 1 c spinach for 1 min in avocado oil, add 1/2 c cooked quinoa; crack egg & cover for 1 minute. Scramble and enjoy.
  • 1/2 c oatmeal, 1/4 c dried fruit, 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 c sweet potato, 1/2 c sautéed spinach, 1 egg

 

POST WORKOUT NUTRITION

HYDRATION: The first nutritional priority after exercise is to replace any fluid lost during exercise. Consume 16-24 oz. of water post workout.

Benefit of protein shakes/post workout liquid meals:
Liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g., maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose, etc) and proteins can accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells, can result in rapid digestion and absorption. Also, these products are often better tolerated during and after workouts. Whole food meals aren’t always practical for a few reasons. Some find they aren’t hungry immediately after exercise, and the process of digestion may take 1-3 hours before its absorbed into blood stream and your body needs replenishing within the hour.

Protein and Carbohydrates:

Research shows that combining protein with carbohydrate within thirty minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen.   This is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued endurance training.  Endurance exercise is defined as repetitive prolonged exercise of submaximal intensity greater than 45 minutes.

Protein Data indicates a minimum of 18-20 g of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This number will vary depending on lean body mass and your goals. Eating more protein than that, however, has a negative impact because it slows re-hydration and glycogen replenishment.

I highly recommend mixing the AMPED line Hydrate.  with 1 scoop IsaPro.Dairy Free option ) These two products cover all your nutritional needs and tastes incredible! Proper sports nutrition is the key to success in reaching your goals.  You’ll feel better during and after your workouts.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12235033?dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1601794?dopt=Abstract

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.HTML