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Aug
8

7 Ways Members Benefit From Circuit Training

ELEVATE Circuit

ELEVATE Circuit Training – Get Results That Retain Members

Weight loss is one of the primary reasons why most consumers look to join a health club and start an exercise program. Yes, traditional aerobic conditioning like running on a treadmill, sweating buckets in an indoor cycling class, or the popular high intensity strength training workouts, can help burn calories for weight loss, but the simple fact is, that many people don’t enjoy them.  They can be intimidated by the loud music and fast-pace of indoor cycling or could get injured by doing exercises too challenging for their skill level.

If you’re looking for ways to boost member engagement and retention, here’s a little secret.  It doesn’t matter how good the exercise is for helping an individual reach his or her fitness goals, if a member or client doesn’t enjoy it, then they’re not going to do it.  So now what do you do?

Make Exercising Enjoyable

One of the best ways to improve retention is by creating happy customers, which means featuring exercise options they WANT to do because they’re both fun and relevant to their goals.

Fortunately, there is a mode of exercise that can be both fun AND effective for weight loss: bodyweight circuit training; specifically circuit training featuring bodyweight exercises.

In general, circuit training involves a series of resistance-training exercises for different movements or body parts with little-to-no rest between each exercise. The traditional selectorized resistance-training machines, normally used for circuit training are effective but also expensive, not easy to move around or reconfigure and can be intimidating for some members.

A good strength training circuit should not only be time-efficient and easy to follow, but should be easy to adjust and re-organize to create different workouts from week-to-week or month-to-month.

Make It Easy To Follow

Lack of time and not knowing what type of exercise they should be doing are two of the most frequently cited reasons for why club members or personal training clients have a hard time following a workout program. As health and fitness professionals, it’s our job to help our clients overcome these roadblocks.

Strength training circuits should transition between exercises for upper and lower-body muscles or alternating movement patterns like from push-ups to pull-ups to help members do workouts that are both time efficient and effective.

Circuit training on the ELEVATE Circuit can provide the following 7 benefits:

Burn More Calories

The body burns 5 calories of energy to use 1 liter of oxygen. Circuit training can use most of the muscles in the body, which significantly increases oxygen consumption when compared to a mode of cardio exercise relying primarily on the lower body. Any mode of exercise that increases oxygen demand also increases energy expenditure, making it an effective strategy for weight loss.

Alternating between upper body, lower body and core muscles, while circuit training on ELEVATE can help increase oxygen consumption in the body, resulting in the ability to burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time.

Total Gym Elevate CircuitWork Smarter Not Harder

Bodyweight circuit training can be considered both moderate intensity cardio-respiratory AND strength training exercise both of which are important for fat loss. Too much high intensity exercise (where breathing is much faster than normal, and saying more than a couple of words at a time can be difficult) for more than 50 to 60 minutes at a time could actually lead to burning muscle instead of fat.

At a higher intensity of exercise, the body will use primarily carbohydrate for fuel. Once this carbohydrate is depleted, the body uses the hormone cortisol to convert protein to fuel in a process called gluconeogenesis. When this happens, less protein is available to repair muscle tissue damaged during the exercise.

Fast Track Strength Training

Bodyweight strength-training circuits can actually increase lean muscle mass throughout the entire body while most modes of cardio training involve primarily leg muscles. Doing bodyweight exercises to a point of momentary fatigue can stimulate the type II, fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for improving strength and size. Increasing activation of the type II fibers can result in larger, more defined muscles throughout the entire body.

Increase Metabolism

Higher levels of lean muscle mass equate to a higher resting metabolism, which means the body will burn more calories while at rest. At rest, 1 pound of muscle can burn up to 7 calories of energy during a 24-hour period. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of lean muscle mass can increase resting metabolism up to 50 calories a day or 350 calories over the course of a week. Given that the body uses approximately 100 calories to walk a mile, this can be considered the equivalent of taking a 3.5-mile walk.

Using ELEVATE can help add lean muscle mass to your body. As you increase the amount of muscle tissue your metabolism will become much more efficient at burning calories meaning that you can increase caloric expenditure even when you are NOT exercising.

Combine Strength Training With Cardio

Row Trainer small group class

Row small group class

To increase energy expenditure for weight loss, combining circuit training with cardio exercise can be extremely effective. For example, after completing a circuit of resistance-training exercises, hop on an ELEVATE Row for 3 to 7 minutes of steady-state, moderate-intensity exercise. The cardio exercise should focus on the aerobic energy system, so your breathing should be quicker than normal, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.

Non-Intimidating

Weight rooms can be intimidating, which can keep members from doing beneficial strength training exercises. A bodyweight circuit that is set up away from the free-weight area can provide a non-intimidating environment for club members to obtain the many benefits of strength training, while also establishing the base level of strength required to progress to more challenging forms of resistance training.

Trainer-Led Sessions Create Rapport and Encourage Members

Scheduling a trainer to assist members during busy times can provide a higher level of service to members who are attempting to use the circuit. A trainer can push members to work a little harder on the circuit, which can be an important component for achieving results. In addition, coaching club members through an established machine circuit provides a way for trainers to meet a number of members during each shift. As the trainers help the members, they can learn names and establish rapport, both of which are essential for long-term success.

In this era of demanding, high-intensity group fitness classes and technically complex free-weight training programs, the idea of returning to circuit training, which was popular in the early ‘80s, may seem like a return to the dark ages. The accompanying video can help you understand how the Elevate Line can be organized to create an effective strength training circuit that can help your members reach their goals from weight-loss to enhanced muscle definition. One of the best features of the Elevate Line is that all pieces are easy to move around meaning you can create different circuits to meet the needs of different populations of members or clients you serve.

For more information on the ELEVATE Circuit – call 858 764 0078 or visit totalgym.com

About the Author

Pete McCallPete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com

May
2

Dr. Ben’s 15 Minutes to Fitness – SMaRT Plan

Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan: 5-Week Metabolic Makeover

Dr. Ben Bocchicchio

Dr. Ben Bocchicchio

In his new book, Fifteen Minutes to Fitness: Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan for Diet and Total Health, Dr. Vincent “Ben” Bocchicchio has developed a sensible and rational approach to diet and exercise.  It works in concert with our physiology to produce dramatic results and is something that every personal trainer and fitness professional should read.

It sounds like a new fad and just another new exercise plan in the long stream of the thousands, if not millions available to us. The foundation of this program, however, is based on years of study, observation and practice. It has delivered real and measurable results in the overwhelming majority of those who have tried it.

Dr. Ben has worked professionally in the fields of fitness and health for nearly 40 years.  An acknowledged leader in the field, he has built his success by combining science with effective body conditioning and technology to product optimum health, fitness, rehabilitation and weight loss.  In the 1970s, Dr. Ben developed slow resistance training, a fitness technique that changed the way people exercise.  Although, not a “body builder”, he maintained his physique by doing his 15-Minute SMaRT Workouts.

pec fly

Pectoral Fly

The SMaRT™ Program is a five-week metabolic makeover which covers exercises for everyone, whether you are a gym goer or a home exerciser.  It includes step-by-step photographs and instructions for each routine.  The Commercial Gym SMart Workout, the At-Home Resistance Band SMaRT Workout and the Total Gym SMaRT Workout takes you through the difference between exercise and activity. It talks about why cardio alone doesn’t work and the science behind why a high intensity resistance training program paired with a controlled carbohydrate diet, results in the most optimal fat burning program.

You will learn how to properly exercise all of the major muscle groups to failure, so that you engage all of the muscle fiber types, including the Type II b-fibers, the holy grail of fat and sugar burning.  Most folks are surprised to discover how quickly they can sense a feeling of increased strength and energy and how they can see body changes after even two or three workouts.

In 1974 when Dr. Ben created his slow resistance training program, now called  SMaRT-Ex, it was originally designed for elite athletes whose time and energy were at a premium, especially during their competitive seasons.  It has now been used by half a million people.  So what exactly is SMaRT-Ex?  It’s an acronym for Slow MAximum, Response Training Exercise, and it’s a system Dr. Ben invented and developed that is now a mainstream fitness technique used by trainers worldwide.  One of the most effective, efficient forms of exercise ever invented, SMaRT-Ex includes the following features:

Slow – Usually 15 degrees per second or slower (a much slower speed of movement than normal).  This controlled speed allows for isolation and focused muscle loading (significantly slower than the common speed of resistance training).

MAximum – Unless a subjectively high level of demand is met, optimal exercise stimulation is impossible.

Response – Constantly loading a muscle through its range of motion, using appropriate resistance to induce fatigue (“muscle failure”) for a physiologically determined length of time consistently produces the desired metabolic responses.

Training – Consistency and organization are mandatory in order to separate random physical activity from formal exercise.

Chest Press

Chest Press on GTS

Dr. Ben incorporates exercise with a SMarRT eating plan that does not force one to give up multiple foods, but concentrates on carbohydrate decrease.  He goes into gender specific weight loss problems, hormones, insulin sensitivity, liver taxation, systemic inflammation and many other important factors that contribute to the modern American diet.  The key, cut sugar and fuel with protein/fat.  With 5 weeks of meal plans and countless additional food options and suggestions, the SMarRT plan is a program to be strongly considered in this age of obesity and health issues.

This blog was posted with full permission from Dr. Ben Bocchicchio.  Click here to purchase your copy on Amazon.

Dec
1

Power Breakfasts for your Members & Clients

Recommend These 3 Recipes for a Healthier Breakfast

As trainers we must make sure that our members and clients understand the importance of good nutrition:  what constitutes a balanced diet and how to encourage them to make each day count.

If they do not fuel their bodies properly, you can bet they will not benefit from their training as well we would like. As the saying goes, we are what we eat!

It is important however that if we are not skilled in the area of nutrition that we refer our clients to a qualified holistic nutritionist or naturopath. There is nothing worse than handing out information that is based on just the latest social media trend!1858553

We often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and one that we should never go without.  I do not feel it is necessary to eat first thing in the morning, if time is of the essence. Most of my clients struggle with getting kids off to school and there is never enough time for a sit down quality breakfast. I recommend either waiting until they get to the office, or when time allows. This can either be later in the morning, after a workout, or simply when things are calm.

A bowl of fresh fruit should be the first thing that you eat to start your day.  Fresh fruit gives adequate fiber, vitamins and enzymes so badly needed for proper digestion and absorption. It is ironic that most clients are concerned about getting adequate protein in their diets, yet to break down protein into amino acids (cells can only absorb amino acids) requires a strong digestive system and sadly most people struggle with their digestion. Following the fruit, a good source of protein could be a nut butter on some sprouted bread. I like the Ezekiel brand or Manna, which is found in the freezer section of most health food stores. Any bread made with sprouted ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet) are good options.   Raw, organic almond butter is a good source of protein and potassium.  For clients that do not like to eat very much after a workout or before lunch, this combination of the fruit and butters are perfect. Sun butter is a good choice as well.

For those clients that prefer a little more food , especially more protein, lightly cooked, organic poached eggs, or eggs cooked in olive or coconut oil, eaten with raw veggies or mixed greens are perfect. Having the eggs with some vegetables will offer some digestive help coming from the fiber, minerals and enzymes in the greens and other vegetables.

Sweet lovers and those that stick to a plant based diet, might prefer the following two recipes:

1914342Chia Seed Pudding

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 4 large almond milk ice cubes
  • 2-3 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2-3.5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  • Fill an ice cube tray with almond milk. Freeze until solid. You can use leftovers in smoothies in the future.
  • To make the pudding: add 3/4 cup almond milk into a high speed blender. Now add the rest of the ingredients, including the almond milk ice cubes.
  • Blend on the highest speed until super smooth. Enjoy! You can chill it in the fridge, but will thicken even more.

AvocadoAvocado Pudding

  • 2 large avocados-peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-4 pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender, blend and enjoy!

For those clients that really love their hearty and filling breakfasts, I would offer this Buckwheat Pancake recipe taken from Brenden Brazier’s, The Thrive Cookbook

Buckwheat, despite its name is not even in the wheat family. It contains eight essential amino acids and is very high in Manganese, Vitamins B and E and some Calcium. It has a nice mild flavor, but be sure to buy the unroasted form.

Buckwheat Pancake

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup hemp flour
  • 2 tsp. baking flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup barley flakes

Directions:

  • In a bowl mix buckwheat flour, flax seed, hemp flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • In a food processor, process the banana and water while slowly adding the dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.
  • Lightly oil a pan with coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Pour in pancake batter to desired pancake size and cook for about 5 minutes or until bubbles begin to appear. Flip and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Frances Michaelson

About the Author

Frances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.

Oct
19

5 Reasons to Encourage Your Members to Row

Indoor RowingTotal Gym Row Trainer - On the Cardio Deck is a Great Cardio Workout 

A major benefit of joining a health club is having access to a wide variety of cardio machines that can help improve health and exercise variety. How many times do members show up at their health club for a workout, only to see that all their favorite cardio machines are busy? And let’s be perfectly honest, while they can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time, many cardio machines, like the treadmill, elliptical runner or stationary bike, are simply boring to use for more than a few minutes at a time.

Encouraging your members on how to use different cardio machines can give them more options for their workout. For people who don’t necessarily enjoy running in place for extended periods of time, my advice is to pick 3 or 4 machines and have them do 10 minutes on each one. This can keep their workout more interesting and reduce the risk of burnout.

Row Trainer - part of the Total Gym Elevate CircuitThe rowing machine is sometimes one piece of cardio equipment that is often sitting all alone just waiting for some attention, which is unfortunate because it can really be one of the most beneficial and effective pieces of equipment in a health club.

Teaching members how to use the rowing machine can provide some important benefits. Unless they grew up on a body of water they probably don’t have much experience rowing, but rowing is a great form of exercise that can give them a really good cardio workout in a relatively short period of time.

Here are 5 reasons why your members should row:

Rowing burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. The body burns 5 calories of energy to consume one liter of oxygen. Any exercise that uses a large amount of muscle mass will increase the amount of oxygen consumed in the body. Because the muscles of the upper and lower body are working together, rowing is one of the most efficient ways to burn the most calories.

Rowing improves coordination between the upper and lower body.  The rowing motion begins with the legs and finishes with the arms and back which means that most of the muscles in the body are being used with one relatively simply movement. Pushing with the legs and pulling with the upper body helps coordinate the actions of the muscles which can improve overall movement efficiency.

Rowing can help lower blood pressure and improve cardio respiratory efficiency – the ability to move oxygen around the body. While it is often associated with weight loss, it is easy to forget that the purpose of cardio exercise is to improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system responsible for moving oxygenated blood to the working muscles of the body. Because so many muscles are involved, rowing is an excellent way to increase the strength of the cardiac muscle responsible for keeping the blood circulating efficiently.

Rowing is more joint friendly than most other pieces of equipment and this can be particularly beneficial for some if not all members.   Rowing is done in a seated position which reduces stress on the knees, hips and back. Gravity accelerates you into the ground so when you jog, you can feel a lot of pressure radiate through your body. But sitting in a rowing machine means that you’re not placing downward pressure on the body, allowing the muscles to work without the effects gravity-caused impact.

Total Gym Row Trainer Group ClassesRowing allows you to measure each individual workout and overall progress with specific metrics. Rowing machines have an ergometer which measures distance, time, calories and power. Any one of these can be used to monitor your member’s training intensity and measure their progress. Encourage members to change it up: see how far they can row in five or ten minutes or time how long it takes them to burn a certain amount of calories. Challenge them to sustain a certain work-rate (wattage) for a specific amount of time. Setting quantifiable goals (and achieving them) is a sure-fire method to help establish long-term adherence to an exercise program.

If you want to add rowing to your members’ workout routine, or if you want to consider starting rowing group classes, check out the budget-friendly Total Gym Row Trainer – a new spin on rowing because you are rowing on an incline.   Adding rowing to your members’ workout program can help them reach their fitness goals without placing too much stress on the body. Call 858-764-0078 for more information on the Row Trainer.

About the Author

Pete McCallPete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com 

Jul
12

Best Smoothies to Recommend to your Clients

Personal Training: Post-Workout Smoothie Tips for Your Clients

As personal trainers, one of our biggest challenges is to make sure our clients replenish with good wholesome nutrients after a workout. It is important that we take the time to explain to them how important it is for growth and repair at the cellular level in order that they are better prepared for their next training session.

Green.I think smoothies are the easiest meal to promote as they take very little time to prepare, are very portable, and can be packed full of nutrients, given the right recipe. If the blender is a good quality, we can even benefit from retaining the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes over a 24-48 hour period. If I know I have a busy schedule right after I train, I make my smoothie the night before, freeze it, and then I am all set. Recommend this to your clients if they say they are pressed for time after a workout.

Make Your Clients Aware

Making our clients aware that they need to replenish their glycogen stores, proteins and electrolytes that were used up during training is paramount and a smoothie is an easy way to give back to their body. With the right ingredients smoothies help to load up on the right carbs, protein, essential fatty acids, electrolytes and anti-oxidants. It is not always necessary to include a protein in a smoothie. If a workout is mainly cardiovascular exercise and does not include weights or any other resistance, it is more important to replenish the energy and electrolytes with fruits, leafy greens, and coconut water as opposed to one with protein powder.

Explain to your clients that smoothies are also easier to digest than a cooked meal. Digestion is one of the hardest things our body has to do. It takes time and consumes us. When we are giving our body only liquid, our vitality is at its maximum. When the body does not have to spend this time digesting, it has more energy to regenerate. This energy can often last throughout the day.

What is best for a smoothie?

Do some of your clients get fooled by the powers of marketing, gravitating to those large jugs of whey protein promoting huge muscles? Some of these isolated whey proteins can lead to digestive issues including stomach cramps and acid reflux. This is because fruit should never be combined with a protein (unless plant based). You can explain to your clients that fruit, being a simple sugar, will ferment if it has to wait around for a whey protein to be broken down. Simple sugars are instant energy. There is nothing to break down. They digest well with the energy coming from dark green left vegetables but NOT protein.

1649754The best greens are kale, spinach, chard, and arugula. They have a high fiber content, are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals. As for frozen fruits, I ask my clients to choose berries as they are high in anti-oxidants and could be a substitute for ice cubes. I always recommend, however, that they must include fresh fruits as well for added nutrients. I like bananas and pears for added texture, or anything in season in their area. Coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and does add a nice flavor to the smoothie.

Add Super Foods

Some super foods that make super additions to smoothies as they are tough to get in your diet are:

  • Maca powder – is a root providing a powerful source of nutrition including over 20 amino acids. It is a testosterone booster for both men and women, has many anti-inflammatory properties, and has a pleasant nutty flavor.
  • Wheat grass – is a powerful cleansing food that helps the body get rid of toxins and heavy metals. It is rich in chlorophyll which is similar to the chemical structure of the hemoglobin of the human blood. You can buy it frozen at health food stores or grow it yourself.
  • Ginger – is a wonderful root that aids in the digestion of protein.

Spice.

A word about blenders.

Not all are created equal. I think it is important to advise our clients that spending a little more money on a more powerful machine will go a long way. Now only will they benefit by retaining more nutrients with a faster motor, but they will also be able to crush seeds of some fruits that are full of enzymes. Being both catabolic and anabolic, enzymes help with digestion and cellular regeneration and a powerful machine like Vitamix will keep the smoothie longer so that they can be stored anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in the fridge. I have had mine for over 12 years and it has never given me a problem!

Other useful tips to pass on

Here are some other tips that you might want to make your clients aware of:

  • Almond butter is a better choice than peanut butter. It is easier to digest and contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Seeds, especially chia seeds can also cause a problem when combined with fruit. They are a good source of fiber, but actually slow down digestion. This is the opposite of the power of the simple sugar of fruit. Therefore, the combination can add friction and result in bloating. Explain this and suggest that they keep these wonderful seeds to sprinkle on their salad.
  • Mason jars are prefect for storage. You can fill them up to the rim, letting in as little air as possible. To avoid oxidation, have your clients add a little lemon -a great way to get some extra Vitamin C.
  • Tell your clients that drinking slowly is key: we need to treat our smoothies as a though they were a meal. This will ensure better digestion.

Smoothie.Banana-Berry-Blend

  • One scoop of frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries or raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 scoop IRON VEGAN plant based sprouted protein, or the Vega brand is also very good
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut water

Green-Berry-Blend

  • One scoop frozen berries
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 shot wheat grass -( they are usually sold frozen in small shot containers in health food stores)
  • 1/4 cup water

Your clients will really thank you for these extra healthy, time saving tips, so share my findings with them, try them yourself.

Cheers to healthy and happy!

About the Author

Frances MichaelsonFrances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.

Sep
4

HELPING TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Over the past four decades obesity rates in the United States have soared. And it’s not just adults.

kids fitnessWe have witnessed childhood obesity grow to epidemic proportions. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight—that’s roughly one child in every three.

These youngsters are at early risk  for developing serious health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, cancer, asthma and even stroke – conditions usually associated with adulthood. In addition, overweight children often suffer from depression, low self-esteem and are frequently the victims of bullying. These psychosocial consequences can hinder kids academically and socially.

But childhood obesity is something we can fight.

The effort begins at home. Parents have enormous influence over their children’s lifestyles by the example they set and the decisions they make. By modeling healthy eating and physically active lifestyles, we can help children develop a lifetime of good habits.

Here’s what you can do:

Get Moving!

The American Heart Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend that teens (middle and high school students) get 225 minutes (almost four hours) of physical education every week.

Although physical education is offered in schools, it may not be enough. So parents should consider supplementing physical activities at home.youth_SeatedCurl_web

Aim for 60 minutes of sweat-generating exercise a day.  Encourage your children to work out with you at the gym or on your Total Gym, go for family walks or jogs, sign-them up for after school activities like swimming, baseball, dance, nartial arts, etc…

You can even incorporate fitness into your child’s weekly chores – raking leaves burns almost 175 calories, sweeping floors – 156, vacuuming – 170,  washing dishes-88, carrying groceries or laundry upstairs can burn up to 442, even making the bed burns up to 68 calories.

The key is to get them moving.

Turn the TV off!

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids and teens spend about six hours a day in front of a screen, whether it’s watching TV, playing video games or using the computer for non-homework activities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting the amount of time kids and teens spend in front of a screen to two hours or less a day (not counting the time they spend doing homework).

Encourage kids to play.  Traditional children’s games and activities like hide-and-go-seek, riding bikes, rollerblading, running through a sprinkler and playing tag with friends are not only FUN but burn calories.

Careful Consumption

Every serving of soda increases a kid’s risk of becoming obese by about 60 percent.  Sweetened drinks and fruit-flavored drinks offer nothing except sugar.  And even 100% fruit juice, despite the valuable vitamins and nutrients provided, is loaded with calories.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids ages 7 and older drink no more than 12 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice a day (one serving of fruit is equal to four ounces of 100 percent fruit juice).

Instead, keep water and milk on hand to quench kid’s thirst.

Bedtime Burn

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a correlation between childhood obesity and the number of hours a child sleeps each night– the fewer hours of sleep each night increases the risk of being overweight or obese.

It’s suggested that kids 10 years old or older and teens need nine or more hours of sleep every day, but more than 90 percent of teens don’t get that much. In fact, 10 percent of teens sleep less than six hours a day. For every additional hour of sleep a child gets, the risk of obesity decreases by 9 percent.

And in addition to the extra hours of quiet you’ll reap from putting the kids down to sleep, your body actually burns calories while sleeping. On average, you could loose about 350 calories during eight solid hours of sleep.

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

bowl of oatmealSkipping breakfast may actually make you gain weight. Kids who don’t eat in the  morning are not only more tired, irritable and hungry during the day, and they tend to reach for high-calorie foods to compensate.

So make sure to make time for breakfast – whether it’s a sit-down or a grab-and-go meal, a cup of yogurt and trail mix or peanut butter on whole grain toast goes a long way.

Family Dinners

Eating dinner together increases the chances of eating healthy. Sitting down for a home-cooked meal each night typically means less fried foods (obviously no fast foods) and more veggies.

A study found that when families ate dinner together more than five times a week, there was a 23 to 25 percent reduction in the number of kids with weight problems.

Snack Healthy

Snacking is actually a good thing – it just comes down to what kids are snacking on.

Snacks should be no more than 100 calories and preferably low in fat, sugar and sodium.healthy-food

Although a bag of potato chips, pretzels or candy aren’t out of the question, it takes a larger quantity to satisfy the craving in between meals.  So kids can eat these sugary or salty treats, but just not as much.

For example, kids can snack on two Oreo cookies or a whole cup of blueberries; twenty potato chips, or a cup of carrots and hummus.

Combining food groups also contributes to making a healthier snack. Protein and carbohydrates pair well (think cheese and crackers or fruit and yogurt). Combining food groups will fill kids up just enough and provide an extra burst of energy until the next meal.

Knowledge is Power

It’s simple – teach your kids how to take care of their bodies.

Bring your kids food shopping with you (Bonus: an hour of shopping can burn anywhere from 100 to 240 calories) or let them help out in the kitchen when you’re preparing dinner – this gives you a chance to explain what nutrients the body needs. Teach them about the food pyramid – it may not be what you learned as a kid, so educate yourself as well by visiting www.MyPyramid.gov.

Show your kids how to read a food label.  For example, the food label on a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola reads100 calories. What kids might miss, though, is that it’s actually 100 calories per serving, and there are 2.5 servings in that bottle. Drink the whole thing, and you’ve consumed 250 calories—that’s almost the same amount of calories in one 7-layer burrito from Taco Bell.

Get Involved

Raising a healthier generation of kids means becoming aware of and involved in what’s going on in our community at large. There are a number of child obesity healthcare initiative’s already in place that you can take part of including First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program, Food Corps, The Foundation for Improving Patient Outcomes “Childhood Obesity Initiative” and even local programs created by caring teachers who want to help their students.

And during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, look for local businesses who are supporting the cause. Jamba Juice is running a pledge promotion now through September 27th to help fight childhood obesity.  Go to www.myhealthpledge.com and make a weekly pledge to do something healthy.  Your pledge will donate $1 toward athletic and fitness equipment for a local school in need.

 

 

Jun
7

TARA’S FRIDAY BITE – ON GOING ORGANIC

It’s hard to turn your head at the grocery store without seeing the word Organic.  Many see it as a synonym for health; others see it as simply a way to spend more money, however very few understand what it really means.  This month I wanted to break down the word organic so you can decide if it’s right for you!

Organic Fruit & Vegetablesgrocery shopping decisions

When you buy an organic fruit and vegetable it means that both the soil and produce are maintained and replenished without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen to see which of the produce you eat contain the most pesticides.

Organic Meat & Poultry

The term organic when applied to animal protein starts at birth.  The animal must be born and raised on land that is free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  All the feed that it receives must also be 100% organic and can never contain any animal by-products.  Finally, they can never receive any antibiotics and must have ready access to open pastureland.

Organic Grains & Packaged Food

When it comes to packaged foods you shouldn’t assume that the product is actually healthy, but rather it has come from healthier ingredients.  For instance if you buy an organic cookie – your flour won’t come from wheat crops that have been sprayed with pesticides or any other unpleasant chemicals. The same applies to all the other ingredients you put in those tasty cookies. None of them will have been treated or grown or developed with anything bad, like growth hormones or artificial pesticides or anything similar. However, it is still a cookie – unfortunately the word organic doesn’t turn it into broccoli!

Basically, organic means getting back to basics. It means you know you’re getting something that’s been safely and responsibly produced. However, as we’ve seen with the cookie example, organic doesn’t always translate into healthy food. It all depends on the ingredients and whether you eat them in moderation.

Finally, organic is not always just a health issue, but rather a financial issue.  If you are wondering where to spend your money check out my article on what to buy organic.  Also, remember the most important thing is that you get fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains into you.  So you can’t afford organic or it’s not available in your area don’t use this as a reason to skip out on your fruits and vegetables!

 

TaraColemanHeadShot

 

 

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.

 

 

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