Categorized as: Health Tips

Get up, Stand up, Move!

By: Coach Kirk
 
Everyone knows that sitting isn’t the best for you. In fact, it’s one of the worst things for you since we do it so much in our modern life. So what makes sitting so awful?!
 
Here are a few reasons:
  1. Weak glutes, hamstrings, and adductors. When you sit in a chair, the only muscles that really work are your quads, and of course, that’s just when you are descending and ascending from the chair.
  2. Increased weight gain. Your metabolism grinds to a halt when you sit meaning you are hardly burning any calories
  3. Tight hips, hamstrings, back, and neck muscles. Let’s be real, the majority of us when we sit have terrible posture. That’s enough to destroy our mobility throughout our spine. The immobility of our legs in an awful 90-degree position at both the hip and the knee is about as unnatural as it gets for our bodies.
  4. There are many more detriments of sitting such as: anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis.
So what can you do if your job requires you to sit all the time???
 
I have a few ideas:
  1. Stand up and walk as often as possible. Try not to go more than 30 minutes of sitting at any time. 
  2. Adjust your position. You can kneel or stand at your desk. Sit on your knees on top of your chair like here. You might have to rotate the chair so your feet can rest off the edge of the chair. 
  3. Mobilize when you have off-time. Grab a foam roller and roll out when you can between appointments or every 30 minutes. 
  4. SQUAT! Squats will help activate the muscles that have been shut off due to sitting in a chair. Do lots of squats and rest at the bottom of your squat when you can!
There are more options out there like standing desks and chairs that allow you to kneel. Those are great but they don’t come cheap. Nothing can ever make up for getting up, standing up, and actually moving.

Sodium…the hidden enemy!

By Coach Miles

Are you over-consuming salt? Did you know that 90% of Americans eat more salt than the recommended 2,300 mg per day? That is the equivalent to about one teaspoon per day. In fact, the average American consumes an average of 3,400 mg per day, a full 1,100 mg more than the U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend. 

Don’t get me wrong, salt makes food taste great, and a small amount is important in a healthy diet. But in excess, salt is linked to high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Here are 5 things you can do to reduce your daily consumption:

  1. Read the Label – Most of the salt we eat comes from processed foods and restaurants. If you eat something that comes out of a bag, box, or can, read the nutrition information for sodium content. Chain restaurants are now required to provide the nutritional information about their menu items.
  2. Pay Attention to Serving Size – Serving sizes can be deceiving, and very small! For example, a can of soup often contains two servings. If each serving has 650 mg of sodium and you eat the whole can, you’d have consumed more than half of your daily sodium in one meal!
  3. Know Where Salt Lurks – Sodium goes by many different names. Read an ingredients list, and you may see it called salt, sea salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium alginate, sodium citrate, sodium hydroxide, and sodium phosphate. Salt usually hides within other ingredients as well like yeast extract, natural flavor, malt extract, malt flavoring, natural beef or chicken flavoring, seasoning, spices and anything called “extract,” especially in savory foods. MSG is an ingredient in many additives including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, and calcium caseinate.
  4. Choose “Low-Sodium” Foods – Look for the words “unsalted” or “low-sodium” on labels. These mean that the product has no salt or very little added salt. Avoid packaging that says “reduced-sodium.” That label only says that there is 25% less sodium than the original version, which is usually still too much. Just because something is low in salt doesn’t mean the product is good for you. Manufacturers often make up for the loss of flavor by adding sugar, fat, or additives.
  5. Salt is Not Just an Ingredient in Junk Food! – Even pantry staples can be high in sodium. Check the sodium content of jarred pasta sauces, lunch meats, cheese, condiments, canned beans and vegetables, broths and soups.

We have all been using MyFitnessPal to track our nutrient and macro intake. Sodium is one of those tracked nutrients. Take a look at your sodium intake over the past several days. Were you over your daily limit? If so, take some of these tips I’ve listed above to help you reduce your sodium levels. 

The Scoop on Gluten

By Coach Miles

Everywhere you go, and everywhere you look someone is talking about GLUTEN. It has become a favorite nutrition topic as of late. Your family, friends, and co-workers are talking about it. You’ve seen it on restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. Flip open a page of your favorite magazine, and you’ll find a story about a celebrity going GLUTEN-FREE.

So, what’s going on here? Are all these people ditching gluten because its trendy? Or is there more to this new trend?

Let’s start by discussing what gluten exactly is. Gluten is a protein composite found in grains. Wheat is the most well-known gluten source, but you can also find it in rye, barley, spell, and all kinds of other grains too. Gluten is made up of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is the one that gives people problems after they eat it. When you mix flour made from gluten-grains you get a sticky mixture. This is what helps the dough stretch and allows it to rise when you bake it.

 

Now, that doesn’t sound so terrible, so why is gluten getting so much attention?

Did you know that a scientific review published in the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten? It’s true. There’s an incredible range of conditions; ranging from fatigue and canker sores to osteoporosis and inflammatory bowel disease. All of these conditions are associated with eating this seemingly innocent protein. Gluten causes trouble by making the body inflamed, resulting in effects all throughout the body. This means gluten can affect your brain just as well as it can affect your joints or digestive tract.

Most people struggling with inflammation-related conditions focus on treating them at the surface level. They take medications to minimize the symptoms of the condition, but they have to keep taking these medications because they never get to the root of the problem.

If you’re struggling with a chronic health issue, or even if you feel okay, eliminating gluten can have an incredible impact on your health. The Greek physician Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine.” And more and more scientific research is proving he was right. It might be time to change your “prescription.”

All you need to do to help your body is to look at your food you’re consuming. Labels are there for a reason. If it is gluten free, it will say so.

Its Prepping Time!

By Coach Miles

Picture this, it’s Sunday evening, and you have no plans, what can you do with your free time? Game of Thrones is over, and Walking Dead hasn’t started yet. So, what could you do? Oh, I got it! You can meal prep for the upcoming week. If you’ve never meal prepped before then, you’re in luck s today is the day where you’ll receive a crash course on meal prepping and its advantages.

Meal prepping is quite simple. All you do is prepare your meals 3-7 days out in advance. You can either cook them, package them, freeze them or do whatever you want to do to make your life easier when it comes time to eat a meal. Spending those 10-15 minutes each day before each meal trying to figure out your calories, or macros and what foods you can and can’t eat can stack up to a lot of wasted time and energy.

Here are some benefits of meal prepping:

  1. Saves Time – You can save time by creating, cooking, or even packaging your foods for the upcoming week all at once. Or you can just do it every single time over and over again multiple times a day for every day and waste your time.
  2. Saves Money – By buying in bulk and either planning or selecting a particular type of food to consume during the week can save you a lot of money. You could easily buy a six pack of chicken breast that you can put on the grill and have one for each day. Or you can spend more money by buying six different types of meat. To avoid any boredom of the chicken, you can just place different seasoning and serve it with mixed vegetables or sides for each day. 
  3. Helps Avoid Cravings – It’s in the middle of the afternoon, and you are hungry. But, you woke up late and didn’t have time to make your lunch. Now you’re staring at the McDonald’s across the street salivating. You could have avoided this scenario if you simply meal prepped earlier in the week. If you did meal prep, you would be enjoying a healthy and delicious meal instead of hating your self after that Big Mac.
  4. Helps you stay on Track – Meal prepping will allow you the time to sit down and figure out all of your macros and calories all at once for each meal. Once you’ve cooked and packaged everything you know have that sense of comfort knowing when you wake up the next morning you have your pre planned meals awaiting you. And even better those meals all contain the right amount of macros and calories for you to achieve your weight loss. 

Meal Prepping has been practiced and is still being practiced by most if not all serious athletes, bodybuilders, CrossFiters, and gym goers alike. It’s about time you jumped aboard and saved some money and made your life much easier. 

To Supplement or Not to Supplement…That is the Question

By Coach Miles

Don’t you wish there was a magic pill or potion that could fix all your nutritional problems? A wave of a wand and all of a sudden your ripped! Unfortunately, this is not a fairy tale, and there is no such thing as a quick fix.

Time and consistency are your tools to achieving that amazing body you’ve always wanted. No great athlete got to where he or she is at today by taking a “get shredded” pill from GNC, an online retailer, or your local vitamin shop. Taking those pills or drinks will not and can not give you the results you want. Those are not supplements but rather placebos.

A supplement is something that you take in addition to your daily and regular diet and fitness program, not instead of it. Supplements should be your last thought when it comes to creating and attacking a new fitness or diet program. I’m not saying that they don’t help because they can. But their contribution is so small that you need to primarily focus on your daily consumption of your calories and macros.

As your Coach, it is my job to guide you through the murky waters of supplementation. It can be very overwhelming, and you can spend years and hundreds of dollars on something that does nothing for you. Below, I have listed several supplements that have been tested and proven to do something for you and help with your fitness and dieting goals.

    1. Multi Vitamin – This is so important as most Americans are not receiving all of their vitamins and minerals through their diet. Supplementing with a multi vitamin will help round out your daily intake.
    2. Protein Powder – You need to be careful on the type and brand of protein you’re consuming and what your goals are. A protein with the high amount of carbs and calories is for mass gaining or gaining weight. Ones with little to no carbs or fat but high protein are for weight loss and or someone interested in leaning out and getting ripped. As a rule of thumb if the label on your protein makes a bunch of promises then it probably isn’t legit. Read the fine print! (link)
    3. Fish Oil – Fish oil is an excellent way to receive your omega 3’s and fats. This fact is particularly the case if you do not eat a lot of fish or seafood. If you do, then you may not need this supplement. (link)
    4. Creatine – Creatine has been around for years and has been proven in countless studies to help increase muscle mass and size. Be aware though that what it is doing is swelling the muscle with water. There is nothing wrong with this as it provides hydration to your muscles. Just make sure that if you take creatine that you drink plenty of water and use only creatine monohydrate.
    5. BCAAs – Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are essential building blocks that help bind the protein to you to create your muscles. BCAAs are essentially the building blocks for your body. You typically receive them through your meats and eggs and other protein sources like beans. But it has been shown that consumption of a BCAA drink during a workout will help with performance and keep you in that pumped state a but linger for your workout.

Outside of those five supplements, nothing else will make a difference. I did not include pre-workout as you may have noticed. Although most people consume a pre-workout drink, including me, it is no better than a cup of coffee.

Will Eating More Protein Help with Weight Loss?

By Coach Miles

Protein is so important. Without it, your body would simply shut down and fade away. So many of your systems and biological processes need protein in order to operate properly. Consuming the right amount is the key! Especially while on a diet that is meant to promote weight loss.

In one study, researchers gave a group of volunteers a breakfast consisting of either eggs, cereal, or croissants…and all had the same calories. They then recorded how much these volunteers ate at lunch and dinner. The difference they found was astounding:

When beginning a weight loss challenge some people tend to just think that, “Oh, let me just eat nothing and I will lose the weight”. Besides being very unhealthy this mentality can actually lead to negative side effects physiologically and psychologically. Without the proper amount of Protein consumption, you begin to face something called Catabolism. Catabolism is a breakdown of muscle tissue within the body. This occurrence is contradictory to our weight loss goal. We are looking to change our body composition by reducing excess fat NOT muscle. In order to do that we need to eat ample amounts of  Protein, plain and simple. 

Here are 5 key Reasons why Protein helps during weight loss:

  1. PROTEIN SATISFIES & SAVES CALORIES  In the beginning of your weight loss journey, protein is important because it helps you feel fuller longer. Consuming protein slows down digestion making us more satisfied and less likely to go back for seconds. Over the course of multiple days, your calorie savings can help with weight loss.
  2. IT CURBS CARB HIGHS AND LOWS  I don’t know about you, but when I come off a sugar high I tend to make food decisions I’ll later regret. Pairing proteins with carbohydrate-rich foods slow down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream, which may help keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing which eventually leads to cravings.
  3. PROTEIN REQUIRES MORE OF YOUR ENERGY  The “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. This happens automatically. Protein has a higher TEF compared to carbs and fat, meaning you’re actually burning more calories to process protein than to process the other two.
  4. IT FUELS FAT BURNING  It may be surprising, but it’s a scientific fact that your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy if it doesn’t have help from either carbohydrate or protein. As you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat. During this process, it is especially important that you continue to eat enough protein in your diet. Having adequate protein coming from your food fuels fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle.
  5. PROTEIN PROMOTES MUSCLE REPAIR & GROWTH  Your protein needs increase especially after bouts of intense exercise so increasing your protein intake on days that you exercise is beneficial. Additionally, if you are strength training consider having a high protein snack right after a training session when the muscle is sensitive to nutrients that it can use to repair and grow.

Reference
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22948783