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BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TIP TUESDAY:: Pre & Post Workout Nutrition Tips

If you thought this is an easy end all be all type of answer, then you are wrong. Variables that can dramatically change what you eat depend on when you have your workout and when you have the time to fuel up. Also, your body type, personal fitness goal and type of workout you are doing can again change your food options.

We’re going to take a little in-depth look into each macronutrient first to understand their purposes so that you can make better decisions for yourself.

Carbohydrates: Fuel of Choice

If you have educated yourself at all about the misunderstood carb, you will know that it is quite literally the high-octane fuel for exercise and this should take up the highest portion of nutrients out of your daily food intake. How much? How about at least 55% of your total calories? For my more technical subscribers, you should consume approx. 3.0 – 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. If your sport is low key-not a lot of non-stop running around-stick to the lower range. If your part of the higher endurance category, you’d choose the higher range. Obviously these are the 2 extremes; most athletes (yes, we are all athletes!) would fall in the middle ranges. In fact, play around with the ranges and see where your body feels most vigorous.

Lets take a short trip back to basic math class. I’ll even make it easy for you, go grab a calculator! You are going to multiply your weight in pounds by 3.0 grams (for moderate sports) and 4.5 grams (strenuous endurance sports). Because 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, you will need to multiply the first two answers you have by 4 to find your ranges.
Here’s an example for a 150 lb elite runner training for several hours each day:
150 lbs x 4.5 grams = 675 grams of carbs
675 grams of carbs x 4 calories = 2700 carb calories
Now for a typical 150 lb health club member working out moderately for 45 mins, 4-5x/week:
150 lbs x 3.0 grams = 450 grams of carbs
450 grams of carbs x 4 calories = 1800 carb calories

Carb-rich foods are the food of choice for athletes. Carbs provide the muscles ongoing energy in the form of glucose and help maintain prolonged endurance and optimal performance.

Common High-Carb Foods:
Medium bagel (45 grms) 2 slices whole wheat bread (23 grms) 1 cup of oatmeal (25 grms) 1 cup cereal-ready to eat (16 grms) 10 crackers (21 grms) 1 cup pasta-cooked (40 grms) 1 cup rice (35 grms) granola bar (16 grms) 1 oz. Pretzels (21 grms) 2 fig bars (23 grms) power bars (42 grms) banana (27 grms) 8 oz O.J. (26 grms) med. baked potato (51 grms) ½ cup peas (11 grms) ½ cup corn (17 grms) 1 cup skim milk (12 grms) 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (18 grms) 1 cup low-fat yogurt (43 grms) 1 cup beans (41 grms)

And Introducing: Muscle Glycogen
Muscle glycogen is the stored carbs in your muscles. Imagine this: After you eat and have digested, the amount of carbs you need immediately will be used up as fuel, but the rest (up to a point) will hangout in your muscles as “energy stores” for future fuel during prolonged exercises (athletes in ultra-endurance sports such as soccer, basketball, hockey and marathon runners rely on high-octane muscle fuel for energy).

So what happens if you don’t replenish your muscle glycogen stores? Simple: You run out of glycogen, you run out of energy. Always tired or run down? A vigorous training program alone can obviously cause you to feel that way but you may also want to look into your carb consumption. Keeping a food log and do the math; you may find an easy solution to your problem.

CAUTION* Active people might continuously burn loads of carb calories, but your muscles can only store a certain amount of carbs. If you’re not using what is already there, you’ll just end up putting on weight!

Heard Of Carbo-Loading?
It is exactly what it sounds like-loading your body with ginormous amounts of carbs before an event. Marathoners and triathletes can actually manipulate their exercise and eating schedule to help heighten their amount of stored muscle glycogen. Picture your car running on the last drop of gas…putt putt…putt…psssssshhh..dead. That’s basically what happens to your muscle glycogen stores during intense prolonged aerobic activity. By super saturating muscles with carbs beforehand, an athlete can ensure that their stores are maximally loaded.

Start this program 6 days before your event:

Exercise Schedule Time
Day 1 90 minutes => 50% of carbs in daily diet
Day 2 40 minutes => 50% of carbs in daily diet
Day 3 40 minutes => 50% of carbs in daily diet
Day 4 20 minutes => 70% of carbs in daily diet
Day 5 20 minutes => 70% of carbs in daily diet
Day 6 REST => 70% of carbs in daily diet

Personal Protein Requirements
Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle tissue as well as repairing the muscle damage from the workout it has endured. You must remember, eating protein enriched foods does not automatically build bigger muscles…YOU build bigger muscles through your training workouts. The dietary protein simply allows all your hard work to pay off. So go ahead and take the credit! It had nothing to do with all the protein powder you shovelled in each day.

Athletes have a much higher recommendation than for the general population. Just keep in mind that your total proportion should still be high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat.
Find your exercise category in the list below, and then multiply your weight (pounds) by the number of recommended daily protein (grams per pound) to the right. That would be your personal daily requirement.

Exercise Category

Sedentary folks => 0.36 grms
Moderate exercisers => 0.36 – 0.5 grms
Endurance athletes => 0.5 – 0.8 grms
Strength athletes => 0.6 – 0.8 grms
Growing teenage athletes => 0.6 – 0.9 grms

Pre-Exercise Meals
-Large meals (approx 600-800 cals) should be consumed at least 3-4 hours prior
-Stick with carb-rich foods and moderate amounts of lean protein. The carbs are both loaded with energy and easy to digest. Avoid eating a lot of high-fat stuff; it takes longer to leave your stomach, and you don’t want food bouncing along for the ride.
-Avoid super high-fiber foods that can cause annoying stomach gurgles, or send you running to the bathroom right before kickoff!
-Limit gaseous foods such as beans, Brussels sprouts, grapes, broccoli, and anything else you think might give you a gassy tummy.
-Liquid meals are also fine. Some prefer liquid supplements because they don’t leave you feeling as full as a large meal of equal calories does. In fact, they leave your tummy quicker than solid food.
-Lay off salt. Some people tend to retain a lot of fluid, which can lead to puffiness and discomfort.
-Reduce the size of your food intake as you approach the time of your workout. For example: 3-4 hours before, have a large meal (approx. 600-800 cals); 2-3 hours before, have a smaller meal (approx. 400-500 cals); less than 2 hours before, grab some lighter snacks (cereal bars, fruit, flavoured rice cakes, fruit juice, yogurts, and so on).

What time is your training session? Check out the sample menus and get an idea of the foods you should choose.
Ready-Made Menu:
Breakfast (for late morning or early afternoon workout)
Bowl of cereal with skim milk
Sliced bananas
Bagel with jam
Glass of orange juice

Lunch (for late afternoon or evening workout)
Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
Salad with light dressing
Frozen yogurt with sliced strawberries
Glass of low-fat milk or juice

Dinner (for an early next morning workout or “anytime the next day” workout)
Grilled chicken
Pasta with marinara sauce
Broccoli and carrots
Fruit salad
2 fig bars
glass of skim milk

Recovery Foods
Finally, we made it here! It is very important to know that carb and fluid repletion should begin immediately, within an hour after exercise, to promote a quick recovery. (Just grab a quick fruit juice or sports drink if you don’t have any snacks on hand) When you can focus on a real meal, enjoy whatever you fancy; just make sure to include the following essentials:
-Plenty of fluids: water, real fruit juice, sports drinks, soups, and watery fruits and veggies (watermelon, grapes, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers).
-A lot of carb-rich foods: whole wheat pasta, potatoes, brown rice, whole grain breads, fruits, yogurts, and so on.
-Moderate amounts of lean protein (turkey, chicken breast, wild salmon, tofu..so on)
-Potassium-rich foods such as potatoes, bananas, oranges, orange juice, and raisins.
-Do not attempt to replenish lost sodium by smothering your food in salt or by popping dangerous salt tablets. A typical meal, moderately salted, supplies more than enough sodium to replace the amount lost through sweat.

As you can see, food can make all the different between a good workout to a great workout. You’d want to reach your full potential, so pay attention to what you put into your body!

Until next time Team, focusing on the right mix of carbs, proteins and fats will leave you feeling great, and you’ll have more energy and strength for a winning performance!

Health respect & happiness,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mommy MONDAYS: Postural Exercises

Getting postural exercises down perfectly can take some practice but if you want to have a pregnancy term as comfortable as possible, don’t give up until they are mastered. The benefits you reap from proper body alignment will make you never want to slouch again – during OR after pregnancy!

Stand with your back pressed against a wall and your feet about a foot from the wall. Slowly and carefully do a posterior pelvic tilt. à Tuck the buttocks or tail bone in and under, and press your lower back into the wall by pulling in the belly (think bellybutton to spine). Your head, shoulders, and entire backside of the torso should touch the wall at the same time. As easy as it may sound, this can be very difficult-especially when you’re pregnant.
Return to the beginning posture with the same carefulness as your started and make sure you are breathing normally.
The image below shows the beginner version, the advanced will look the same with the arms straight over the head.


Once you mastered the above version, you should begin this one. Everything starts off the same way as the beginner version. Once you are in the beginner posture, hold the pelvic tilt and slowly lift your arms in front of you-using your upper back muscles as opposed to your shoulders-until they are straight over your head, as close to the wall as possible. This is a much harder exercise to master because your lower back wants to move from the wall as your arms rise. You must maintain the integrity of your back and shoulders away from the ears. Lift your arms only as high as they can go without arching your back from the wall! Once this is mastered, the entire back of your torso and arms will touch the wall.

So, you’re not pregnant? Or you know some people who could use some help with their posture? These exercises can (and should) be done by anyone, any fitness level.

Until next time team, keep practicing good posture-its just good manners! ;)

Health respect & happiness,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WARNING WEDnesday: Are you an imbalanced mess?

Do you fall in any of these categories?
-Your biceps can lift a substantially heavier weight than your triceps? (or vice versa)
-You can pound the weights for your squats but when it comes to lunges, you can’t seem to match even half of that weight?
-Doing a row is easy peasy but you can’t do a proper push up to save your life?

If so, you have been infected with the case of imbalanced mucles!


Don’t worry…its very easily remedied.

Firstly, please understand why its important to be balanced.

When one side is always stronger than the other, when you start to challenge the weaker side, what may happen is the stronger opposite muscles will compensate because the weaker muscles don’t want to work harder… that can lead to a whole another topic about improper contraction, alignment and technique- which I can cover another time.
How about posture? The stronger side will cause the body to stay more ‘contracted’ on that side while the opposite gets ‘overstretched’… (think protracted shoulder blades from a weak back)
Health problems!! You could be faced with such as tendonitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, neuritis, scoliosis, hammer toe, and other distortions of the human body in your future!

I think that is more than enough reasons, don’t you?

How do you know if you are imbalanced?

Well, how much weight can your biceps handle? Does your triceps match it? And your chest/back muscles? (you can go down your whole body…) Of course, one muscle group may be a bit stronger than the other and that is normal. I’m talking about a substantial weight difference. (I know someone who can squat a hefty amount of weights but can’t seem to handle any weights for her lunges! That’s a prime example)

Once you figure out which muscle groups are lacking the equality of strength, you will need to start to focus on getting that one stronger. Maybe do more reps on that side…add a few extra exercises that target that area in a session…push through a heavier weight…in some cases, you might even have to cut back training the stronger side so the weaker one can catch up.
You should always be training out of your comfort zone – so when it starts to get too easy, change it up or increase the weights!!

When balance is restored, you will notice an immense improvement in your overall workouts. And not just the resistant training, I’m talking about cardio as well as flexibility! Listen to your body, read it…you should notice it! Looking in the mirror can help too, because you should be able to see a difference.

Until next time Team, a healthy life is all about balance….mind, body and breath. =)

Health respect & happiness,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TIP TUESday: If all else fails, can energy healing help? MY personal experience...

I must advise you, my loyal reader, that what you will be reading may send you on a whirlwind of emotions. This subject should be taken with a grain of salt since every individual may have different view points on it. I am not asking that you believe it nor am I hoping that I can change your mind. But this is my personal experience and it is too amazing to not share with you. If you choose to take this tip to heart and try it out yourself, I would love to hear about your experience and how it has helped.

And the story begins…

While in Mexico, I was befriended by a kind hearted older man and woman. Even with the language barrier between us, we were able to build a great friendship very quickly. From the beginning, the man, named Roberto, would often refer to my positive and good vibe that attracted his attention. Then he would also mention a bad energy he felt too. At first, I thought maybe he noticed I was vacationing alone and thought I was lonely and sad. But I eventually found out Roberto is in fact, a doctor- an energy healer.

I was so impressed and kept asking him questions about what kind of energy he felt from me and where the negative energy was coming from and what he could do about it. He became very frustrated because he could barely explain anything to me (he spoke very little English, he is from Mexico City).

After a lot of failed attempts, I finally just asked him if he could perform whatever he does to heal his patients on me so I can just see it for myself instead of deciphering wild arm motions. To my surprise, he said yes!

I first asked him where he felt the bad energy is coming from my body. He said two places, he pointed at my head and then my torso.
~ I couldn’t believe it because its true, I have my weak liver that I am treating and as for my head, I’m not a stress case but I know I think a lot. Too much in fact…
I confirmed with him my ailments. He then asked me about children. And again I was floored, because I have menstrual complications and have been deeply concerned I would not be able to have any children. So I confirmed that with him as well.

He tried to explain to me the process which left him tongue tied since he didn’t know the English terms. Then he tried to explain to me how the negative energy gets released and I just got more confused. So we just scrapped that and proceeded with the ‘healing process’.

I was laying prone (on my belly) and he tells me to repeat everything he says. He then starts to speak in Spanish – I stop him because I have no idea what he is saying. He says to repeat it as close as I think it is. So he continues and I repeat. With every chant, he would move his hands over my head, not quite touching it but close enough that I could feel it. I don’t know how long he did this for because the next thing I knew, he was telling me to flip over to lay supine (on my back).
By now, I’m feeling groggy and tired and out of sorts. I also stopped repeating his chants so I had to restart again on round 2. He continues the healing and again, before I know it, he is telling me to flip back to prone. This time I try to focus better. I listened attentively and tried to feel his motions (they were kind of like a sweeping motion). Eventually, he nudges me awake and I get up in a haze. He jokingly asked me if I fell asleep and I wasn’t even sure how to answer that because it didn’t feel like I fell asleep.

Roberto told me that I will feel a bit tired for a few days but in 5-7 days, the negative energy will all release from my body and I will feel great. He even said that in 7 months time, if I want to have a baby, I will be able to. He didn’t want to bother me anymore after that and insisted that I take a nap for a couple hours and that he’ll see me later on that night.

Now, this is where the nitty gritty stuff happens!!

Within a few minutes, I had to make a bowel movement…maybe that’s not much of a big deal to you-but it is for me! (yes, I have problems with it…) While I sat there in the bathroom considering if this is just a mere coincidence, the lights in there start to flicker on and off (lightly at first, then much more prominently)…you know the “tink tink” sound the bulbs make when they do that? That’s all I could hear! I shut the lights off for a few seconds and switched them back on to see if maybe they needed ‘energizing’ but they continued to flicker. I was too tired to worry about it so I turned them off and settled into my bed. The ceiling light above the bed and the side lamp beside me were on. Within seconds, they started to go “tink tink” and flicker on and off. My first thought? Maybe all the lighting in the room were connected so if one is about to die, they all die? I’ll call front desk later to get someone to switch the bulbs for me…and then I passed out.

I woke up 2 hours later, famished! I got to the buffet and picked my foods and picked a table and sat to eat. Within seconds of my meal, I hear the “tink tink” sound again…I look above me and theres a chandelier type lighting set flickering on and off right above the table I was sitting at. By now, I clued in and just knew that all these instances were linked. Then I thought- it must be from the energy healing. Could this be some of the bad energy leaving my body? Or good energy coming into my body? I was super giddy at this revelation but kept it to myself.

After my meal, I saw Roberto and Trini (the woman that was with him) and he asked me how I felt. That was when I noticed I was extremely tired and kinda dopey feeling. Trini had wanted to go dancing again that night but she tripped and rolled her ankle and was limping badly. Roberto went ahead and did some energy healing on her foot while we sat outside and listened to the live band play. We called it an early night and I saw them the next day- which happened to be the day they were leaving.

When I saw Trini, she was walking fine and wasn’t limping at all! I wasn’t as tired so I managed to get in some gym time but that dopey feeling still lingered. It actually lingered until after I got back home to Vancouver. He did the treatment on a Tuesday, and I felt tired and dopey up until Sunday. Monday morning I woke up clear eyed and ready to take on the world! I also happened to see my Liver Specialist that day to go over blood results.
When he saw me, he couldn’t believe the great improvement he saw again from the last bad flare up. (it was so bad he was really pushing the drugs that time!) His actual words: “When I saw your results, they made me smile.” He can’t even bring up the drugs again because now I don’t qualify to take them! Yes-that’s a good thing!!

Its now been a month since then and I feel absolutely fantastic. I still need treatments and doing my regular blood tests, but I know that the ‘scary’ numbers aren’t as scary anymore.

Until next time team, keeping an open mind doesn’t mean having to believe in all the alternative methods of treatments out there… but it sure is nice to know we have a choice in that matter- its your body & health, you decide how you want to take care of it.

Health respect & happiness,

Monday, August 9, 2010

MOMMY MONday: Does your posture stand up to the test?

Greetings Team!
Before I continue w/ the subject at hand..I want to apologize for not being around for so long. After that wonderful trip to mexico, I really fell off the horse, but I’m back! Better than ever!
Okay, shall we continue?

During pregnancy, one of the biggest issues (besides weight gain?) would be posture. With your weight being thrown off balance, your joints will start to bend and form in ways to compensate for the new weight – which usually doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Think the ‘duck walk’..or ‘waddle’… or the forward belly lean (oh! The stress on your poor lumbar vertebrae and erector spinae! ß that’s your lower back)

A few tips to off set this:

Think TALL.
Lift your head and chin up, hold in your stomach, tuck your buttocks in and under, shoulder back, and chest up. Even more important for injury prevention, be careful to keep good posture, alignment and balance when exercising.

DON’T WEAR HEELS!! Wear flat or low-heeled shoes with good arch support. However, avoid shoes that are too flat, such as cheap tennis shoes, especially when exercising. Your feet will thank you for investing in a pair of good, supportive runners!

Wear a good supportive bra daily
– and nightly when necessary. It’ll help prevent upper back strain and keep your bust from sagging as it becomes heavier. During exercise you may need not just one, but two good sport bras for adequate support!

The best way to check your own posture is from the side. Look at your profile in a full length mirror and answer these questions:
1.Is your chest up – or flat/concave?
2.Are your shoulders up and back – or rounded forward or leaning too far back?
3.Is your back curved naturally – or arched too much, or is it flat?
4.Are your knees soft – or hyperextended backward or bent forward?
5.Do you have regular foot arches – or are they high or flat?

The first segment of each question demonstrates proper posture. If any of your answers were in the latter part, you need to work on improving your posture.

Next week I’ll cover some postural exercises for you to practice!

Until next time team, I always say: be proud of who you are, where you are and what you are doing..you’re a mommy- the most proudest pple out there, so stand proud!

Health respect & happiness,