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5 Nutritional Ideas We Unknowingly Get Wrong

by Jarueba Taylor

There is an age old saying that goes “Proper nutrition is all the medicine you need.” With that being said, there are a few ideas of nutrition that people constantly get wrong. Today we are going to look at five nutritional beliefs and how they are just slightly off from what the actual better nutritional choices are.

Oranges are not the highest form of Vitamin C.

When it comes to Vitamin C, you may have to go red instead of orange.

“Oh, my friend you are low on Vitamin C, grab an orange or have some OJ.” How many times have you heard someone say that? Vitamin C is one of the most important micronutrients to our health. Vitamin C is important for the formation of proteins used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps wounds, repair cartilage, bones, scar tissue and teeth. What if I was to tell you even though oranges are very high in Vitamin C, they are not the end all be all of Vitamin C. Somewhere along the line oranges has gotten a rep for being the king of Vitamin C but one large orange only provides 98 mg of Vitamin C. Here is a surprise for some of you, a cup of chopped red peppers will provide you with almost two times the amount of Vitamin C. As a matter of fact, oranges only rank number five best when it comes to overall Vitamin C content. The number one fruit for Vitamin C content would actually be guavas and the number one vegetable would be red bell peppers. So, the next time you want a shot of Vitamin C in your diet reach for a Guava or a Bell Pepper.

If you need Potassium in your diet do not grab for a banana right away.

This is another case of misplaced fruit. For years we were made to believe that if you needed extra potassium, you should grab a banana right away. Potassium is important to your body because it helps regulate proper fluid and electrolyte levels. Without proper electrolyte levels you can exhibit side effects ranging from fatigue and cramping up to serious cardiac issues. When it comes to potassium rich foods, would you believe bananas only rank ninth. Foods such as Beet Greens, Salmon, White Kidney Beans, Avocado, White Potatoes, Acorn Squash, 16 oz of milk, and White Mushrooms all rank higher than a banana for potassium count. While bananas are a good choice for potassium rich foods, there are a whole host of other foods that you could chose from and get even more potassium per serving.

Photo by Oscar Mikols on Pexels.com

Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants but not the best.

Antioxidants are what we need in our bodies to savage free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Antioxidants help us live longer and at a higher quality of life due to the repair they aid in with our bodies. While blueberries have been touted as the poster child for antioxidant foods, there are two food that ranks even higher. The two foods that have more antioxidants than blueberries are two different variety of beans. A half cup of small red beans has more antioxidants than a full cup of wild blueberries. A half cup of Red Kidney beans has almost as many antioxidants as a full cup of wild blueberries. Even though these two types of beans do score higher on an antioxidant profile than blueberries, make no mistake blueberries (especially the wild kind) are probably the number two/ three best antioxidant food out there. Remember we are simply looking from a best food possible standpoint.

Vegan eating is healthier than eating a diet with meat

Let me start by saying I’m not talking social conscious or religious behavior. I am talking about eating from a strictly nutritional perspective. Within the past few years, veganism and vegan eating has become all of the vogue. The true question however, is vegan eating healthier for you from a nutritional standpoint only?

First let’s look at protein and its importance in a diet. Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient in a diet. Protein is the basic building block of life. Protein helps build, repair, and structure so many things in the human body the list would be way too long to write. Because this nutrient is so important, it is important that we get adequate amounts of it in our diets. Often in vegan diets protein is deemphasized. Not only do non meat eaters not get enough protein in their diets but they do not get enough quality protein in their diets. Everyone should have a good amount of complete protein sources in their diets. Vegans often get a lot of incomplete protein sources in their diet. The main difference between complete and incomplete proteins is that complete proteins contain all essential amino acids your body requires daily, and incomplete proteins only contain some essential amino acids. Non meat eaters will get their protein from non- meat sources such as protein powders or plant sources. While some plant sources offer protein, often these are incomplete proteins while animal proteins are complete proteins. Often non meat eaters will have to use a combination of foods to make complete protein sources. Whether you are a meat eater or non-meat eater make sure to get between .75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This will be much harder to do from non-meat sources without taking in too many carbohydrates or fats.

The second thing we want to look at is carb intake. In vegan diets carbohydrate intake tends to be much higher. While a higher intake of fruits and veggies will provide more vitamins and minerals, a higher intake of pastas and simple carbs will do more harm than good. Too many excess carbs in the diet can easily be converted to fat in the body. Because Vegan diets are mostly carb based, vegans tend to get an excessive amount of carbs in their diets. If you are eating a vegan diet, focus more on a higher intake of vegetables and some fruits. The last bit of your carbs should come from not vegetable and fruit sources.

The last thing to look at is dietary balance and caloric intake. Vegan diets often tend to be much higher in carbohydrate and fat intake. This will lead to unknowingly taking in excess calories and unbalanced nutrition. Animal proteins tend to satiate the body more resulting in a smaller intake of non-protein macronutrients resulting in less unintentional caloric surplus. This one isn’t so much which one is better but more about making smart choices no matter what style of eating you choose. Make sure that you are balancing your nutritional intake and getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet.

Drinking juice will give you the same benefit as drinking water.

Here is a fact. The human body can actually last the span of a couple of weeks without food but can only survive a matter of days without water. Your body is comprised of 73% water so not drinking sufficient amounts of water is only harming your body more than helping. Water is vital for the health of the brain, skin, muscles, and removal of toxins from your body. Water’s most important role in the body is hydration. Without proper hydration the body is prone to weight gain, premature aging, an inability to regulate temperature, and many other health issues.

People often think they can get adequate water intake by drinking juice but that simply is not true. Juice contains less water and more sugar than in the equivalent amount of water. People also often tend to drink less juice than they would the same amount in water. Another downside to drinking a lot of juice is the amount of sugar that comes with drinking a lot of juice, fruit juice being far worse than vegetable juice. Because juices have little to no fiber the absorption of sugar is not slowed in the blood stream causing huge insulin spikes. The liver has a difficult time breaking down fructose in liquid form and often treats it like other forms of sugar in the body, over time this can lead to weight gain and other sugar related health issues. In the long run water will give you more actual health benefits than consuming juice.

Balancing Things Out

Often when trying to get our nutrition right we may make nutritional choices that may not be optimal. Some of our nutritional choices may even be pretty good but are they the absolute best choices? Certain foods that we were led to believe to be the best in their categories are not as good as some of their lesser known counterparts. If your goal is to get certain nutrients in make sure you are making the best nutritional choices for your goals.

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Row To Grow

by Jarueba Taylor

Nothing says strength and power like a well defined thick back. A strong back will not only make you look more aesthetic, but will also make you more mobile and powerful. One of the best ways to develop a thick strong back is through rowing motions.

Rowing exercises work the lower traps, rhomboids, lats, and spinal erectors. While rowing is one of the best exercises for the back, how you row and what type of rowing you do makes a significant difference of which back muscles are emphasized. To truly hit a bunch of different back areas you should use a variety of row types.

Let’s look at five different types of rows and how they affect the development of the back.

Pendlay Row

The Pendlay Row is one of the best rows for adding slabs of muscle to the back. The reason for this is because the Pendlay Row is performed in such a strict manner. A Pendlay row starts with the barbell on the floor, and the move is completed with a flat back as you pull the barbell to your chest. There is little to no momentum so there is virtually no cheating and the back muscles have to do virtually all of the work. With other types of rows, people can swing or jerk to get momentum to perform the row, not so much with the Pendlay Row. With virtually no momentum the back muscles are forced to pull to the max creating an environment to pack on slabs of muscle rather quickly. Although the Pendlay row is a stricter form of rowing, do to it’s strict execution it places less strain on the lower back as with a traditional bent over row.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

The next row we look at is the one arm dumbbell row. The one arm dumbbell row is another exercise that is great for adding slabs of muscle to the back. The one arm dumbbell row is a movement where you can really isolate your lats individually because its a unilateral movement. This exercise is also beneficial if a person has one side that is a little stronger than the other. Because each side of the back has to row individually it can help with strength imbalances from side to side. One arm dumbbell rows also help build stability. Because one arm dumbbell rowing is a unilateral movement it will help build stabilizer muscles in the back and core. You can also load the dumbbells pretty heavy because the grip on a dumbbell is one of the most advantageous ways to hold and pull for maximum power.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row

Chest supported rows offer all the benefits of various types of rows with minimal risk. Think of the chest supported row as the little brother to the Pendlay row. Think of it as a smaller dumbbell version of a type of barbell row. Chest supported rows while stricter, also tend to be better at building muscle because there is no momentum from other body parts to help get the weight up. It is a more stable movement rowing wise, because your rowing motion is braced and supported. The supported chest can help you pull more weight because your back is does not have to stabilize nearly as much as a unsupported row variation.

T Bar Row

If your goal is a thick dense back, then T Bar Rows are a must in your back training protocol. Most of the time T-bar rows are done with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) this is the strongest pulling position. This gives T-bars an advantage over most forms of bent over rowing. Using both hands to grip gives you a leverage advantage. This advantage can be used to load more weight. This also gives T-bar rows an advantage over forms of dumbbell rowing. The only major drawback is, because people can load more weight with a T Bar row, once the weight becomes heavy it is very easy to break form. At our gym we are very fortunate because we have a custom made “Trident Bar”. With this bar we can do multiple variations of T Bar rowing. The unfortunate part of T bar rowing for most gyms is they simply do not have one. If you are lucky enough to have access to a T Bar, make it a staple in your back training.

Pulley Row

Pulley Rows are probably the best cable version of rowing. Don’t think just because you are not rowing a barbell or dumbbell that pulley rows are not as good as most form of rows. A properly performed pulley row will give your back an insane pump due to the pulley row being able to isolate the back more. Because the pulley row is more of an isolation movement and on a pulley system, it is easier to perform higher rep sets. Your muscles will not fatigue quite as quickly as with barbell and or dumbbell rowing. Because you can often get more reps with a pulley row, you can also get some really good muscle pumps in the back.

Pulling it all together

If you really want to add some serious muscle to your back, then you need to row. Rowing will work multiple areas of your back depending on what type of row and what your goal is. Your best best for building up different areas of the back is to use a variety of different row movements. You should include the use of barbells, dumbbells, cable apparatuses and multiple angles when trying to build the muscles of the back.

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Carbs, Low Carbs, and No Carbs Understand The Difference

by Jarueba Taylor

Most of us have heard of protein, carbs, and fats. While most people do not fully understand how to balance them in a diet, they do know somewhat what they are. Out of all the micronutrients carbohydrates are the most misunderstood and villainized. Over the years with the idea of low carb or no carb eating, most people view carbs as a bad thing diet wise. The problem with this mindset is there are different types of carbs that tend to all get lumped in one group. What people need to understand is there are many types of carbs, some good and some not so good.

What type of carb are you talking about?

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that are made up of fiber, starches, and sugars. When you talk about carbohydrates, most people classify them as all the same but in actuality there are a few different types of carbohydrates.

There are two main types of carbs:

  • Complex Carbs
  • Simple Carbs

What’s so simple?

Simple Carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are mostly sugar. Simple carbs are usually added to foods. Some simple carbs are sugars, brown sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit sugars, fruit juices, and milk sugars. Simple sugars are digested very easily and quickly. While simple sugars are digested quickly and easily they also cause a pretty rapid rise in blood sugar levels. This rise in blood sugar levels causes the body to release insulin. When the body starts to release too much insulin too quickly this can lead to health complications. This is one reason why simple sugars are sugars you want to avoid in abundances. The ingestion of too many simple sugars will have negative health impacts on the body. Some negative impacts of too many simple sugars are possible weight gain, body fat gain, increased risk of diabetes, lower energy, increase in inflammation, and possible higher risk of some cancers.

Let’s get complex with things.

Complex Carbohydrates although carbohydrates, are very different than simple carbohydrates. Complex Carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are either fibrous, starchy, or a combination of the two. Complex carbs can and should be a staple in any type of nutritional plan. Complex carbs offer such health benefits as improving daily fiber intake, helps manage weight gain, helps manage body fat levels, and help maintain steady blood sugar levels. When the body has more sustained blood sugar levels, the body has longer lasting energy provided from carbs.

Carb Sources

What’s the fuss about “low carb” or “no carb”?

Now that we have distinguished the difference between carb types, let’s talk about carb intake and nutritional plans. Two of the things we constantly hear about when it comes to carbs is “Low Cab” or “No Carb” diets. Low carb or no carb diets are very very misunderstood. For the most part when someone is doing a low or no carb diet, they think of reducing or eliminating almost all of their carbs. This is a often incorrect and too simplistic look at “Low Carb” or “No Carb” eating.

Is there really such a thing as eating zero carbs?

There are carbs in peanut butter, even though it’s considered a fat source.

One of the first things people need to understand is there is virtually no such thing as “No Carb” eating. Unless you are eating pretty much all meat and fat sources that have zero carbs in them, you cannot eat zero carb. Believe it or not some protein and fat sources have carbs in them. Foods like protein powders, protein bars, beef jerky, peanut butters, nuts, and avocados all have small or trace amounts of carbs in them. These are all foods you would typically find on a “zero carb” diet. People also do not realize if they ingest too much protein, the body will convert some of that extra protein into glucose (sugar) for energy through a process called gluconeogenesis. This is the body’s way of creating an quick energy source when one may not be readily available, like in the form of carbohydrates.

Is “Low Carb” truly the way to better nutrition?

One important thing people need to understand is low carb eating is not and should not be for everyone. Carbohydrates provide a good energy source of fuel for the body, granted you are using the right type of carbs. I do not believe any type of highly active person should be on a low carb diet. I also believe in this mindset for most of the general public. It is not a matter of eliminating carbs but rather managing the type of carbs your body is using for fuel. Have you ever heard anyone say “My body can’t manage carbs.”? The actual truth is nine times out of ten, its not the carbs but the sugars from the types of carbs they are eating.

The typical diet has way too many “bad” carbs.

Most people have a diet that is way too high in simple sugars and too low in complex carbohydrates. No one is going to be able to process a diet high in white pastas, white flours, sugary drinks, sweets, and alcohols without negative repercussions over a period of time. Unfortunately this is a typical diet for most people.

People should instead focus more on having complex carbs in their diets. Athletes and active people should have a diet with vegetables and more complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, oatmeal, various types of rices, and if they can tolerate it various types of beans. This will provide them with lots of vitamins and minerals and a steady supply of sustainable energy carbohydrates for their activities. People who are less active should focus more on having more vegetables in their diets with some non vegetable complex carbs.

Eat more veggies.

When it comes to carbohydrates, people often forget that vegetables are a form of carbohydrates. Vegetables actually full under the class of complex carbohydrates. Not only are vegetables a very powerful form of carbs but are essential for optimal health. Vegetables are packed with life essential vitamins and minerals, loaded with fiber, and calorically dense (meaning you can eat a lot of them without worrying about packing in too many calories). People should try to eat a good variety of leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and bright colored veggies daily. Here is another example on not eliminating carbs from your diet but utilizing the right types of carbs in your diet. Show me someone who got fat from eating a lot of plain vegetables and I will show you a flying elephant.

Carbs are not bad.

When it comes to nutrition carbohydrates are often vilified and misunderstood. Truth be told not all carbs are the same and not all carbs are bad. Learn to balance your diet by consuming the right type of carbs.

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The Five Most Important Lower Body Movement Patterns You Can Do

by Jarueba Taylor

When it comes to physical wellness, one of the most important things you can have is a strong functional lower body. If you want to feel better, look better, be stronger, and have more mobility then there is something to be said for having a strong functional lower body. Most of your biggest and strongest muscles are cased below the waist. The glutes, hamstrings, quads and hips are the muscles I am referring to. When the glutes, hamstrings, quads and hips are well developed, they are not just “game changers” but “life changers’. While developing these muscles to their full potential is of the utmost importance, knowing what to do to develop these muscles is even more important. The building of these muscles can be helped thru certain movement patterns. These movement patterns help build and strengthen theses muscles. The movement patterns also teach these muscles how to fire properly for maximum effectiveness. This in turn will make you stronger, faster, more mobile and even reduce chance of injury and some pains. We are now going to look at some of the best ways to develop these muscles and the best movement patterns to do so.

Glutes- (Bridging Patterns)

Barbell Hip Thrust

One of the best ways to develop strong functional glutes is thru bridging patterns. The glutes are arguably the most important of the lower body muscles. The glutes have a connection to all things lower body. The glutes however are often one of the most underdeveloped and underutilized muscles of the lower body. When the glutes do not fire properly it can lead to a whole host of debilitating issues. Tight hips, tight hamstrings, back problems, knee problems, and even feet problem may all have some direct relation to glutes that do not fire correctly. If you ever see someone with underdeveloped glutes or a “pancake” ass, they generally tend to have a lot of lower body issues. This is because the glutes are not strong enough and lots of times other muscle have to take over the job that the glutes should be doing.

Exercises like glute bridges, hip thrust, leg band bridging, and elevated bridging are all excellent choices. These exercises create a bridging pattern that forces the glutes to learn to fire through contraction and release. This in turn will make the glutes firmer, bigger, stronger, and more functional.

Hamstrings- (Hip Hinging)

Kettlebell Swings

If you want to develop strong powerful hamstrings, then you are going to need to hip hinge. Hip hinging is one of the most important movements for the posterior chain (muscles of the backside). The hamstrings are some of the most important muscles of the posterior chain. When you hip hinge it is one of the best ways to target the hamstrings. When someone hip hinges, their hips go thru a large range of motion but the knees do not. This movement of hinging cause the hamstrings to work really hard. Exercises like Romanian deadlifts, kettlebell swings, cable pull thrus and good mornings are excellent choices for hip hinging and targeting the hamstrings.

Quads- (Extensor Movements)

The quads are the muscles that have a lot of control when it comes to the front of the legs. The quads are the main extensors of the lower legs, that means they are the main muscles used for straightening the legs. The best exercise for this would be some form of squatting. Squatting works a lot of the hamstrings and glute but also a lot of the quads. If you really want to make sure you are targeting mostly quads, then you would use a variation of the front squat. When squatting with the load placed in front more emphasis ends up being placed on the muscles of the quads due to a more vertical positioning of the body. Because holding the bar in a front squat position can be an issue for some people there are a few variations a person can use. They can do a regular clean grip (if wrist flexibility is not an issue), a cross arm grip, use a safety squat bar turned backwards (pictured below),

use a dumbbell variation, or even do a variation in a smith machine if the machine mechanics allow such. This movement pattern really hammers the quads and teaches the body how to move in a more vertical pattern.

Cross Arm Front Squats

Inner Thighs- (Adduction)

Have you ever seen someone try to do a squatting movement or leg pressing movement and as soon as it gets hard, their legs begin to buckle in? This happens because of a lack of inner thigh strength, namely a lack of strength in the adductor muscles. When the muscles of the inner thighs are weak it causes buckling under pressure. The buckling of the inner thighs under pressure can lead to aches, strains, or even serious injury. The key to injury prevention is to strengthen the adductor muscles. For this you want to use movement patterns that requires you to use a wider base. Exercises like the sum squat, sumo front squat, kettlebell sumo squat, wide stance goblet squat, or chest upright sumo deadlift are all great choices.

Overall Leg Balance and Development (Unilateral Movements)

One movement pattern that should be in all lower body regiments is some form of unilateral movements. Unilateral movements will do wonders for improving lower body balance, strength and athleticism. Unilateral movements may also significantly cut down injury risk. More often than not people tend to have one side that may be just a little stronger than the other side. By doing unilateral movements the balance between sides could possibly be improved. The weaker side becomes stronger because it’s forced to work on its own unlike in bilateral movements. Unilateral movements also improves overall strength. When a person uses a lot of unilateral patterning over time, they become much stronger when they go back to using bilateral movements. Part of this benefit is because unilateral movements improve core stability. When only one side of the body is used for a movement, the core has to work much harder to stabilize the body while the movement is going on. This will eventually lead to improved stability in the entire body. Overall improved stability will massively improve balance and helps protect the spine from injury. Unilateral movements also cuts down on spinal loading. This means you can get the benefit of heavy training without placing heavy loads on the spine from exercises like heavy squatting. Exercises like Bulgarian Split Squats, Single Leg Presses, Dumbbell Lunges, Dumbbell Reverse Lunges, and Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts are all good unilateral exercise choices.

Developing the muscles of the lower body is very important. The best way to build these muscle would be thru proper movement patterns and the right exercises. Knowing how to build and strengthen the muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hips will go a long way in building a person’s fitness and long term health.

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Breaking Down Your Body Fat And Why It Is Important

by Jarueba Taylor

Here is a simple question. What’s your body fat? Now I’m not talking to you bodybuilders, Figure Competitors, or Athletes because you probably know the answer. The people I am talking to is “Mr. and Mrs. Average Everyday Person”. Here is a second question for you folks. How much do you weigh? I’m sure most of you knew the answer or at least had a pretty good estimation of it. If you knew the answer to question two but not question one you may have a problem. If you are an obese person you may have a very serious problem. Knowing what your body fat is may in fact save your life.

What is body fat and what does it mean to know it?

While our bodies are made up of things like hair, skin, bones, and various other cells and parts, it’s also made mostly up of muscles and fat. Body fat is the measure of the amount of lean mass vs the amount of fat a person has on their body. Here is an example of body fat percentage.

If a person weighs 200 pounds and has a body fat percentage of 40 percent, that means that out of that 200 pounds 40 of those pounds would be fat. The higher someone’s body fat is the overall unhealthier they will be. The more body fat a person has, also means the more health risk they may have. Health risk like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and some forms of Cancers all have direct links to obesity and high amounts of body fat. Fat also takes up more surface area, so this will place more stress on joints, organs, and vital parts of the body.

This extra body fat will place unnecessary stress on vital body parts causing a bunch of health issues and even physical appearance issues. What is an acceptable amount of body fat to have? Here is a chart showing different levels of body fat.

*As of Sept. 2018, 25 percent of the population of The United States in 48 states were considered obese. Obesity for men would be considered having a body fat level of 25% or more and for women would be 30% or more.

What are the benefits of lower body fat levels?

Lower body fat level may be one of the main things that determines your quality of life as you get older. there are many health and psychological benefits that come having lowered body fat. Some of the health benefits of lowered body fat are:

  • stronger heart
  • less inflammation and joint pains
  • lowered risk of diabetes
  • lowered risk of some forms of Cancer due to some cancers being attracted to fat cells
  • more mobility
  • more energy
  • more physical strength
  • more hormonal balance
  • better sex
  • improved agility, speed, and overall performance

Some of the psychological benefits of lowered body fat are:

  • people tend to look younger
  • people look leaner with more defined muscles
  • clothes fit better or people fit into smaller sizes
  • perceived attractiveness goes up
  • self esteem and self confidence both increase
  • people become more focused
  • people receive more positive attention
  • general overall feeling of well being

Why don’t doctors talk more about body fat?

Understanding body fat is where most people get very very confused because they do not understand that having a low amount of body fat and more muscle is way more important for long term health. Even our healthcare system and health providers are misguided on this subject. If an obese person goes to a doctor, generally the doctor will tell the person to lose weight. The problem is losing weight is not really the solution. It always amazes me how when people go for check ups, no one knows what their body fat levels are. People do not get tested for body fat levels and the measure of someone’s health is usually based on the idea of how much they weigh. If countless medical studies and literature have shown links between high levels of fat in the body and chronic illnesses, shouldn’t testing for someone’s body fat percentage be a standard practice? Yet when people go to the doctors, their body fat levels are never tested. I am willing to bet most people couldn’t even tell you what their body fat levels were.

What is the difference between knowing weight vs. body fat?

Weight on a scale is only a measure of total mass. If a person steps on a scale and it says 150 pounds it does not say what the break down of those pounds are. The scale has no way of determining how much of that weight is lean muscle vs. body fat. Without having a way to determine how much muscle vs fat a person has, there really is no way to determine what their actual health levels are. Two people can weigh exactly the same weight but look extremely different based on their body fat levels. Not only will they look different but their overall performance and health will be very different too. Over time, this difference will have a profound affect on their overall quality of life. Here are two example of how practically the same weight can look vastly different on a person based on body fat levels.

In the first picture here you can see she weighs the same but look how different she looks. The reason for this is because she had a dramatic change in not weight but body fat levels.

In the second picture here there is actually a very slight variance in weight. She actually weighs more in the second picture but is leaner and healthier because her body fat is lower.

Here is a third example, using one of our own clients. As you can see by the picture there is only a quarter of a pound difference in weight but again a drastic reduction in body fat. While her weight was practically unchanged, she had a half inch reduction in her waist, a one and a quarter inch reduction in her hips, and a quarter inch reduction in her thighs. Typically in women, these are all areas known to hold higher levels of body fat in the body.

How do we measure body fat?

Body fat can be measured thru two pretty effective ways. The first way is thru the use of a body fat caliper. A body fat caliper is a device used to pinch the skin in certain areas to test the level of body fat in those areas. While calipers are highly effective, not everyone knows how to use a caliper and actual results can vary based on this. If you are going to get your fat tested using a caliper, then I recommend you do it thru a professional who has experience using body fat calipers.

The second way is thru the use of a tape measure. Using a tape measure, a person would measure the circumference of certain body parts and plug them into a formula to determine body fat levels. The tape measure is a great method for practically everyone because of simplicity of use. Practically anyone can wrap a measuring tape around themselves and get a pretty accurate measurement. The tape also has a psychological benefit of seeing and feeling the changes of the tape as body fat and composition changes.

How often should you measure your body fat?

Here at BodipHat Gym we do body fat assessments for clients weekly or biweekly. The reason we do that though is because their body fat assessments are tied in with the customized fitness and nutritional programs that we do for clients. As a person looking to simply track their body fat, I probably would recommend having your body fat measured once a month or even once every couple of months. If you are a person with some health concerns then I probably would have it measured and tracked more often. At the very least I would have it done quarterly in a year. It is very important to have some knowledge of where your body fat is. This could be the key to saving your life one day.

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Liver Rite

The liver is one of the body’s most essential organs, filtering blood and metabolizing nutrients in order to keep you healthy and alive. The liver is our natural filtration center. Everyday our bodies are faced with numerous different toxins. We are faced with air pollutants like

smoke, paint fumes, micro organisms, pet dander, and mold on an almost daily basis. We are also faced with toxins and pollutants that we sometimes ingest. Things like BPA’s from plastics, trans fats, pesticides, Mercury, and even types of additives placed in foods are all examples of things we unknowingly consume. As modern life becomes more and more toxic, what we demand of our liver becomes more and more intense.
Exposure to too many toxins can slow down the liver’s functioning, leading to an increase of toxins within the body. When the body becomes stressed, a lot of these toxins get released in the blood causing negative side effects. like headaches, memory loss, fatigue, and nausea.

The brain, breast and adrenal glands are organs with higher levels of fatty tissue, making these favorite places for toxin stores. Unfortunately, this can lead to brain toxicity and hormonal imbalances, creating a negative environment in the body and leading to damaging side effects like cognitive issues such as impaired thoughts, memory loss, and headaches. Other symptoms may include nausea, a general “out of sorts” feeling, sluggishness, cold like symptoms, fatigue,as well as contributing to infertility and even the development of some forms of cancer. All of these symptoms will lead to a diminishment in overall quality of life.

The liver filters the blood coming from the digestive tract, and detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs in the system. Think of an oil filter or air filter in a car. The human liver works on a similar concept. As it does so, the liver also secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other bodily functions.

What happens when your liver can’t keep up with the demands you’re placing on your body?
If your liver doesn’t receive the proper nutrients to process toxins effectively, it could lead to symptoms and problems mentioned earlier. When your liver function improves you can see benefits like:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Clearer skin
  • More regular menstrual cycle with reduced PMS
  • Freedom from sinus pain
  • Fewer infections and stronger immunity
  • Less digestive complaints and more regularity
  • Fresher breath and oral health
  • A positive mood and sharper mind

There are a few things that you can take that will improve the health and functionality of your liver. Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, Artichoke Leaves, Turmeric, Vitamin C are all herbs and vitamins that have very positive effect on liver detoxification. Milk Thistle as a matter of fact, could arguably be considered the heavyweight champ of detoxification herbs. If you are serious about detoxifying your body then Milk Thistle should be a regular part of your regiment. Another simple thing you can do to improve liver function is simply drink more water. make sure you try and get at least an extra 32 oz of water daily. Water helps hydrate the liver and helps flush toxins out, so by getting more water in its only going to help the liver more.

Keeping your liver healthy is one of the most important things you could do to improve your overall health. Cleansing and detoxing the liver helps to clear pesticides, medications, heavy metals and radiation out of your system, resulting in a healthier more productive liver. The best way to keep your liver working optimally is to watch your intake of alcohol, processed foods, heavy metals and environmental pollutants. You can further boost the function of your liver by using certain herbs and minerals that help detoxify the liver.


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Go Go Glutamine!!!

by Jarueba Taylor

When it comes to overall health, one of the most beneficial supplements you can take is L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine has been taken for years by people wanting fitness benefits. What most people don’t know however is that L-Glutamine brings the body a list of benefits that extend way beyond advancing someone’s athletic ability. If you are not currently using L-Glutamine, you should be and here is why.

What is Glutamine?

L-Glutamine also simply known as Glutamine is an non essential amino acid. A non essential amino acid is an amino acid that can be produced by the body. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Glutamine makes up 60 percent of your skeletal muscle and 35 percent of the nitrogen in your blood. That skeletal muscle is also responsible for making up 70 percent of the Glutamine production in the body. The skeletal muscle, kidneys, liver, and small intestine use the most glutamine in the body. Glutamine however can be considered a “conditionally” essential amino acid. What this means is under times of stress the body uses glutamine in abundance. When the body has any type of stress, trauma, illness, or injury the body will use up a lot of Glutamine.

What foods might contain glutamine and how much do you need?
Some dietary sources of glutamine are:

  • Lean Beef (preferably grass fed)
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Whey protein powders (and most all other protein powders)

While the body does make glutamine form the food we ingest, most people do not get enough glutamine through their diets. This is why supplementation of glutamine is important.

What are some of the benefits of Glutamine?

We now know that glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and when the body is under stress it becomes very important but what are some of the benefits of Glutamine supplementation?

Glutamine helps boost the immune system. The cells of the immune system require a lot of glutamine to function properly. When they function properly white blood cells can grow and ward off threats to the immune system. This will be beneficial in fighting anything that affects the immune system, like the common cold.

Glutamine helps wound healing and recovery from injury. much like the cells that boost immune functions, the cells that aide in wound healing and injury use lots of Glutamine. In severe injuries Glutamine levels can drop almost 45 percent in a matter of days due to so much Glutamine being needed to help with repair. People with the most severe injuries or diseases that suppress the autoimmune system, had the lowest concentration of Glutamine in their bodies.

Glutamine improves intestinal health. Glutamine is the main source of fuel for the cells of the small intestines. Glutamine is needed for cellular growth, production, and nutrient transport. With almost any type of gut issue Glutamine has shown some sort of benefit. Glutamine has been shown to have positive effects on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis,  improve the natural flow of the guts, repair leaky gut, and improve and repair stomach ulcers. With the aid of Vitamin A, Glutamine has been shown to regenerate the cells that line the digestive tract. Over the course of a month or so this has been shown to improve and repair stomach ulcers.

Glutamine has been shown in human and animal based studies to ward of cravings and anxiety from alcohol. A mere one gram of Glutamine in divided doses showed beneficial results in combating alcohol withdrawal.

Glutamine also has a positive effect on growth hormone release, protein synthesis, reducing cortisol levels (the bad stress hormone), and slowing muscle tissue breakdown. These are all extremely important benefits for the the athlete or fitness minded individual.

How much Glutamine do you need?

How much Glutamine a person takes is really going to be based on the reasons they want to take it. Probably the best way to get extra Glutamine would be through supplementation. Glutamine is a very safe supplement so even in high dosages side effects may be minimal to none. For general maintenance 1-5 grams a day would probably suffice. For athletic or fitness purposes 5-10 grams a day would most likely be a good dosage. For medical reasons 10-15 grams daily may work well, but always consult with a physician first before starting any supplementation.

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Simple Ways To Power Up A Salad

by Jarueba Taylor

Salad is simple, cost effective, and great for people trying to regiment themselves on a nutritional plan. The ironic thing is people often try and use salads to improve their nutritional intake, without quite knowing what they are doing.  The ironic thing is, salad usually does not have a lot of nutritional value. The problem is a lot of people assume because they are choosing a salad, they are automatically meeting their nutritional needs. While there is no doubt about the benefits of green foods, salad mixes usually consist of mostly lettuce and only miniscule amounts of the other vegetables and green foods. Take your average variety of house salad mix, generally it will have in it one or a few varieties of lettuce, a few diced up carrots, baby greens, and occasionally some cucumbers and or chopped up tomatoes.. The nutritional value of a cup of lettuce works out to be about 8 calories, less than a gram of protein, less than 2 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of fat. Lettuce by itself does not provide a lot of nutritional bang for it’s buck. The thing lettuce provides the most is water.

The key to any nutritional plan is to eat enough nutrients that the body can make changes. If a person is trying to gain weight but not eating enough calories, then in turn they will not gain weight. The same holds true for trying to lose weight. Even if a person is restricting their caloric amount in an effort to lose weight they still need a certain amount of calories for the metabolic process to happen. Eat too few calories and instead of losing weight the body hoards the small amount of nutrients it receives. In some cases the body will even start to cannibalize it’s own muscle tissue instead of body fat.  While some people will say avoid salad all together, I say with a little understanding and creativity salad can be a great addition to any nutritional plan.

While the idea of adding salads to a person’s diet is great, it goes beyond just getting a bag of salad mix and eating it down. A general rule of thumb when it comes to eating salads is “be selective about what you put on”. The more creative you can be with your salads the better a salad can be for you nutritionally. While a plain salad offers little adding a few accoutrements can not only jazz up a salads taste but also it’s nutritional value. Here are a few tips when creating a salad:

Protein gives a salad power.

Protein is an important nutrient no matter what your nutritional goals may be. By adding some to your salad, you are only making achieving your goal a little easier. The number one thing someone can do to boost the power of their salad is to add protein. Protein is the one nutrient that the majority of salads significantly lack. Adding things like eggs, chicken, steak, tofu, or fish will boost the protein power of any salad. Try to add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of some sort of protein to your salad for a good protein upgrade.

The more colors a salad has the better.

When it comes to salads, think of a crayon box “The more colors you have the better it’s gonna be”. The more variety of different colored vegetables that you can put in a salad the better nutritionally it will be for you. Carrots, tomatoes, onions, all types of peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and beans not only add color to your salad but really increase the vitamin and mineral count of a salad. While adding fruits will add a lot of color, because of the sugars adding colorful veggies would be a better opion. A range of colors will always be more nutritious than just greens.

Don’t be a fat head.

While most of the time salads do not have enough protein, the opposite can be said for a salad’s amount of fat. Too much fat in a salad can turn a healthy meal into a high calorie binge out without a person even realizing it. Some of the biggest culprits for a salad’s high fat are nuts, cheese and dressings. While dressings and can be great tasting and add lots of flavor to a salad, they can also add a lot of calories. Strive to achieve most of your calories from what you actually put in your salad and not on it. Be sure to also use foods like nuts, avocadoes, and oils sparingly. Things like these flavor adders also tend to run high in the fat department. This may not be as big of an issue if your goal is to put on weight but definitely something to watch if your restricting calories.

Try and keep your salads lean and colorful.

Sure adding accoutrements can do wonders for a salad’s taste but too much of a good thing can be just as detrimental.  Things like fried chicken, melted cheese or bacon can improve a salad’s taste but they are also adding a lot of extra unhealthy calories. If you’re going to load your salad up with extras make sure to stick with mostly lean proteins and vegetables. I spoke earlier about the benefits of added protein to a salad, but extra veggies also can be quite beneficial. A lot of veggies are calorie dense so you can eat a good amount without adding tons of calories to your diet. Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are also fiber rich so you stay fuller longer. Vegetables also supply a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals so extra veggies can always be beneficial. Dressings can be an option just make sure to use them sparingly.

Drink water with your salads.

A good hearty salad will contain a lot of vitamins and minerals due to all the vegetables in it. Another thing a good hearty salad will contain is a good amount of fiber. If you are dieting you definitely want fiber in your diet.        By consuming a meal high in fiber with water you stay fuller longer. Since fiber is also not digested by the body, drinking water helps it pass thru the system more easily.

Bonus recipe:

This salad packs a protein punch. Most salads are not known for their protein packing ability but this one will give you 18 grams per serving. This salad will also give you a good supply of healthy fats also with its high content of nuts and omega 3 oil.

Protein Packer Salad

(makes 10 servings)

6 cups of spinach

6 cups of romaine lettuce chopped

8 oz grilled chicken breast

4 hard boiled eggs

¾ cup sliced extra lean 5% ham

½ cup of almonds

½ cup of cashews

½ cup cut up carrots

½ cup tomato sliced up

½ cup shredded cheese

½ cup raw broccoli

4 tbsp of omega 3 oil

  1. In a pan lightly grill the 8 oz of chicken breast. Remove from fire and cut into strips
  2. Take hard boiled eggs and cut them into slices
  3. In a large bowl mix spinach and romaine
  4. Add broccoli, cashews, almonds, ham, garlic oil and carrots to spinach and lettuce mix
  5. Add in grilled chicken and mix again
  6. add half of the cheese evenly over the mix
  7. Add egg slices over the top
  8. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and give one final mix to the entire thing and serve

 Nutritional Info:

Serving size: 8 oz

Calories: 265 grams

Protein: 18.5 grams

Carbohydrates: 7 grams

Fats: 19 grams

Fiber: 2.3 grams

Here is a fruit salad that not only is a yummy treat but also packed with immune boosting antioxidant fruits. This salad will also give you a nice little bit of protein.

Dressing Things Up-

Salads can be a great additive to your diet when you are trying to make nutritional changes. They can be beneficial for trying to gain or take off pounds. If you want salad to fit in your nutritional plans, you must learn to balance your nutrition. Use a variety of foods to change and improve the taste of your salads but be sensible about what and how much you’re putting in your salads. Make sure your salad has a good amount of protein, does not have an overabundance of fat, and has plenty of veggies offering vitamins and minerals.

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Six Possible Reasons You May Have Knee Pain

by Jarueba Taylor

“Oh my aching knees.” Have you said this before or am saying it now and you don’t know why. The all mighty knee joint is arguably the one of most important joint in the body as far as mobility is concerned. The knee aids in everything from standing, bending, walking, sprinting, twisting and cutting movements.  Not only is the knee joint the largest joint in the body but also one of the more complex of all joints. It supports almost all of the weight of the body while still aiding in mobility. Because of its multiple uses, the knee joint can be very vulnerable to acute injury as well as injury over time due to prolonged or overuse creating wear and tear. Anyone who has had a serious knee injury can tell you how deliberating it can be. What if you fall in the category of not having a serious knee injury but constantly complain about knee pain or lack of knee flexibility? No pun intended but this can be a real pain. Not only can it limit your ability to do things like exercise and play but also your ability to get around on a daily basis.

The pain may not originate in the knee.

Most people will be surprised to find out most knee pain does not even originate in the knees. Some forms of knee pain are merely signs of other existing problems. Let’s look at six possible reasons some people may have knee pains.

1.  Bearing too much weight on the joints.

One of the main reasons people have knee problems is they have too much weight bearing down on the knee joints. This is mostly common in people who are overweight or have a high level of body fat The knee joint holds most of the weight of the body so the more a person weights the more stress they place on their knee joints. if a person has a lot of body fat, that’s going to take up more surface area increasing the size of the load on the knee joints. For every pound a person is overweight, they add an extra 5-10 pounds of pressure on their joints. The smaller framed a person is the more added stress is placed on their joints. If you are carrying a lot of extra weight on your frame and your knees constantly hurt. Try shedding a few pounds for relief.

2.  It doesn’t pay to be a weak ass (literally).

Who doesn’t like a nice perky butt that sits up? You are probably saying right now….” I thought we were talking about knees?” Don’t worry. I’m getting to that subject. What most people don’t know is the glutes play a major role in knee stability. Certain types of knee pains like tendonitis have a direct relationship with the Gluteus Medius. The Gluteus Medius originates in the same spot as the other glute muscles but attaches to the side of the leg. The Gluteus Medius helps with abduction (moving away from the body) of the leg. The Gluteus Medius also plays another important role, it helps control leg stability. When the Gluteus Medius does not fire properly or is weak, it can cause leg instability. When this happens the supports of the knee are forced to do the stability work instead of the glutes. This can result in pain in or under the kneecaps. The key here is to focus on some exercises or movements that specifically target the glutes. Exercises like glute bridges, step ups, glute kickbacks and band abductions should be a regular part of your exercise regiment.  

3.  Can’t move the hips.

This is similar to number two but this time it is related to the hips. When the hips are not stabilized properly the hips cannot rotate properly. Weak hip stability forces the thighs inward. This forces more direct pressure on the knees resulting in pain. The goal in this instance is to develop stronger and more flexible hips. Strengthening and flexibility exercises like Sumo squats, sumo deadlifts, abduction movements, single leg vertical leg presses, and hip flexor stretching should be regularly used to strengthen the hips.

aclanatomycompare.jpg

To help with this problem a person should focus on strengthening and stretching the hamstring muscles thru closed chain exercises. Closed chain exercises are exercises where the hands or feet are in constant contact with a surface. Closed chain exercises also do a better job at opening up the hips and stretching the glutes and hamstrings. Exercise like Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Glute Ham Raises, and Romanian Deadlifts are all great choices. In contrast, exercise like leg curls will not work because they don’t require the glutes and hamstrings to contract and stretch at the same time.

4.  Hamstrings are too tight and weak.

Tight hamstrings can wreak havoc of the back, hips, and yes you guessed it…the knees. One of the most serious risk factors for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries and other various knee problems is weak or tight hamstrings. A majority of ACL pains and injuries are due to an imbalance between quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength. When hamstrings are tight this balance gets thrown off even more. The result is more stress being placed on the anterior knee structures.

5. Big calves will pay big dividends.

Another reason for knee pain may be the need for calf strengthening. Yes I did say strengthening the calf muscles. The calves are made up of two major muscles. Those two muscles are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is the particular muscle to focus in on because it is the calf muscle that crosses the knee. When calves are tight or weak, stressed is placed on the posterior part of the knee where the calf muscle crosses. To focus on the gastrocnemius you should incorporate exercises like standing calf raises, donkey calf raises, standing calf stretching, or any type of calf raiser where the entire leg is in a straight position as opposed to the legs being bent at the knee like a sitting calf raises

6. You are doing too much of a good thing.

Ever hear the saying “Too much of a good thing!”? One of the biggest problems with knee health may simply be overuse. If any type of tendonitis in the knees is present, take a good objectionable look at the type and frequency of training program being used.

Let’s take a second and look at knee anatomy. One misconception is that the patella only moves in a vertical manner. In actuality though, it also tilts and rotates. This means there are a lot more points of contact between the undersurface of the patella and femur. This possible repetitive rubbing and contact can be a big factor in tendonitis. The key here is evaluating what training methods are being used and how they are affecting knee mobility and stability.

Let’s wrap up your knee health.

Having constant knee pain can have a real negative effect on everyday life. Constantly dealing with pain and not knowing why can be even worst. Everyday, people suffer from knee pain and some do not understand why. While all knee pain can’t be simply diagnosed, understanding some reasons for knee pain may be simpler than thought. While the actual pain may be in the knees, it may be signs of other issues going on. Knee pains can be signs of being overweight, weak muscle, tight muscles, muscle imbalances, or just doing too much. By taking a closer look at other areas that affect the knees, this may lead to a closer insight of a person’s knee aches.

*Disclaimer- This information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always consult a physician before you begin any new exercise program, start, stop, or change anything that has been previously prescribed…

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Four Things To Know About Leaning Out

by Jarueba Taylor

Now that winter is starting to appear in the rear view mirror, Spring is fast approaching. With Spring the weather starts to get warmer and the clothes start to get skimpier. That means everyone wants to be in shape and have a warm weather body. Having that warm weather body means “leaning out” for those spring/summer months. While there is a lot of good information out there, there is a lot of misinformation out there to. With that being said, there is still a lot out there that people do not understand or misinterpret about leaning out. Today we are going to look at a few concepts that people do not understand about leaning out and getting a summer body.

Nothing Beats Diet For Leaning Out

This statement is telling within itself. The most important thing a person can do to lean out for the summer is pay strict adherence to their diet. Most of getting in shape for anyone will be a result of how much they are focusing on their nutrition. The calories and type of calories you take in will make or break any nutritional goal. Eat clean to be lean.

One of the worst things some people try to do is put way too much emphasis on cardio training to get into shape. There is a simple saying that relates to this: “You can’t outrun a bad diet.”

Exercising a ton with bad food choices will never give a person the defined muscular look they want. Poor food choices will usually lead to an overabundance in calories. When the body receives an overabundance of calories, a lot of exercising will not burn off enough calories to be effective. A second problem that might occur is if a person is doing a lot of cardio a person usually just ends up putting more of those bad calories back in their diet due to an increase in appetite. Another excess cardio issue to watch out for is a lot of cardio without muscle building or strengthening exercises, will often result in muscle tissue loss. Cardio type activities tend to burn a lot of calories but unfortunately a lot of that can come from actual muscle tissue. Cardio is not muscle sparing and does a much better job at cannibalizing muscle tissue. That is one of the reasons why it is important to focus on muscle building or sparing, and use cardio as a small supplemental way to burn off some extra calories.

Muscle Definition Means Having Muscle

Here is one I feel a lot of people do not understand. Some people want to have that well defined shredded look, but in the same token they do not want to have too much muscles. This often times tends to be more true of women. A lot of women are under the impression that having muscles is going to turn them into some sort of She-Hulk. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having muscle does not make you bulky but lean and dense. Look at the comparison between five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat.

Fat vs Muscle

The five pounds of muscle is significantly denser and takes up less surface area. Muscle is also important for giving a body structure and shape. Once you strip off the fat you will be a lot smaller and shapelier having muscle. Ultimately though without having muscle you cannot obtain a strong shapely physique. To truly have muscle definition and cuts you must have muscle.

If You Want to Look and Be Lean, Focus On Losing Body Fat Over Losing Weight

This is one thought process that people constantly get wrong. The true key to leaning out and looking lean is losing  body fat and not focusing on losing weight. The age old idea is to get lean is you need to lose weight. The reality is when someone leans out they are losing a significant amount of body fat.IMG_5620 The fact that someone loses weight has little to do with leaning out. Think about how many times someone’s weight can change from day to day or even hour to hour but they still look virtually the same. The reason for this is because their body fat levels are not changing. A person’s weight is simply a measure of the amount of mass they have. If a person has more mass they will weight more. If a person has less mass they will weight less. These mass changes can be as simple as a person being dehydrated or a person eating a big meal before they stepped on the scale. When the focus becomes on body fat,not only will a person lose weight but most importantly they retain muscle. Muscle is what will give them shape and structural changes.

To Get Lean You Have To Go All In

focus-goalsIf you want to be lean you have to be dedicated to the task. Getting lean for anyone is going to take a bit of work. It is going to be one of those things where “you will get out what you put in”. You must be dedicated, consistent, and structured when it comes to your goal. You must also take a realistic view as to what you are doing or not doing to reach your goal. From a coaching standpoint, there is nothing worse than someone who doesn’t take accountability for what they are not doing to achieve what they want.  There have been countless times in my career that I have done measurements or assessments on people for them to say “The plan is not working”. In actuality they are not mentioning the fact that they were not on plan or they didn’t do such and such… till after I start asking questions about their status. No plan will work if you don’t stick to it. It’s not going to be easy but until you reach your goal you have to be “All In!!!”

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The Power Positive

By Jarueba Taylor

There is a lot to be said for the power of positivity. The way you think directly affects your entire outlook on life and how you handle your state of being.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” ~ Gandhi

Negative energy and its effects.

People generally either fall into the positive or negative mindset category. Your positive or negative mindset is how you view your everyday life and how you handle things based on that. Far too often people allow themselves to be trapped into a negative mindset. What that means is no matter the situation a person will see the negative side to it.

Are you a negative thinker?

The way you think even goes further in how it affects, because it also impacts heavily on your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that negative thinking can have a severe impact on impairing cognitive thinking. When the brain is faced with difficult tasks, negative thinking has been shown to hurts your ability to process information and think clearly. People with higher incidences of negative thinking have also been shown to have higher levels of anxiety and depression.

Kill the negativity

One of the best ways to be happier and more successful is to “kill the negativity”. You need to start thinking and doing things in a more positive manner. Like attracts like so the more positive energy you put out, the more that will come back towards you. Conversely if you think negatively and surround yourself with negative energy you will find more and more negative things happening to and around you. Killing negativity will not only raise positivity but will also raise happiness.

Make sure you eat healthier.

Healthier eating has been shown to have a direct link to more positive and cognitive thinking. If you start eating healthier more than likely you will be taking in better nutrients for the body. Make sure you are taking in more vitamins and minerals through your foods. Vitamins like B have been shown to have a positive impact on mood health. Minerals like Zinc and Magnesium have been shown to boost hormone levels and aid in more restful sleep and recovery. Adding good fats into your diet has been shown to lower cholesterol level, improve heart health, balance hormone levels, and reduce some of the effects of a diet high in bad fats.

Set aside time during the day to exercise.

Exercising is great for your heart and muscles. The stronger these are the easier it is to perform daily task or live a mobile functional life. An inactive body is a body that performs in a negative way. Exercise not only has a positive effect on the body but also releases endorphins in the brain that elevate mood. All you need is a good 20-30 minutes a day.

Get more sleep.

Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to mood and being positive. A body that is overtired from lack of sleep functions at 45-50 percent of its normal capabilities. When a body is sleep deprived it can’t recover, it can’t handle stress, and its thought process in certain situations is much slower. Lack of sleep over extended periods of time have not only been shown to increase negative thoughts and lack of productivity but also takes years off your life.                                                                                                     

Limit your exposure to negative people from your life

You Are The Company You Keep Quote Quotes About Company You Keep (70 Quotes)Most people have someone in their life that is the “rain cloud” to their sunshiny day. The one person or people whom always will see the negative side to EVERYTHING.  If you do not have someone like this in your life, consider yourself very lucky. Having negative people in your life is probably one of the most psychologically damaging things that can happen to a person. The effects of having negative people in your life can be felt years and years later. The effects can even be felt in outside relationships and even relationships you have yet to have. It is very common for people to bring childhood negativity into their adult lives and even influence the lives of their children with it. Changing the negativity or breaking this pattern is probably one of the toughest ones for most people.  No one is saying to completely get rid of friends and family that are negative, but what is being said is you are going to have to learn to deal with them in a different way if you want to be a different person. If these people in your life are bringing more negative to your life than positive you may want to start limiting your exposure to these types of people.  “You are the company that you keep.” If you want to be more positive then you will need to limit your access to negative people in your life.                            

Do something helpful or nice everyday

A great way to get into a positive mindset is to do something positive every day. Give a random person a compliment every day. A few kind words can make someone’s day without you even realizing it. Lend your skills or knowledge to help someone. It doesn’t even have to be something big, but the slightest bit of help may be monuments to someone who may not have your knowledge on something.

Start the day with positive reinforcement

One of the best ways to develop a positive mindset is to make sure you start the day with one. First thing when you wake up reinforce your positive mindset by saying something positive to yourself to start the day.

“Today is going to be a good day.”

“I will be successful today.”

“Today I will be more positive and more focused.”

I can do it

While these are a few examples, you can say anything to yourself that is going to get you in that positive frame of mind. As soon as you get up, and before you do anything say your positive words to yourself. 

By doing this you are subconsciously reinforcing a behavior that will put you on a path to act and look at things from a positive view.  By starting your day from a position of positive reinforcement, you are more likely to have a more positive outlook on the day. This little psychological change has been shown to improve people’s productivity, success rate, and ability to handle stresses better.

Life Is Good

People’s behaviors are dictated by their thought processes. How you think will directly affect your outlook on life. You can look at life from a positive point of view or a negative point of view. You want to avoid trapping yourself in a negative frame of mind.  A negative frame of mind can be counterproductive to your psyche as well as your physical health.  If you want to put yourself in a more positive frame of mind there are a few simple things you can do that may help.  With a little practice and consistency using some of these tips you can have more of a “Life Is Good” outlook in no time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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From Simple To Elite, Setting Your Mind For More Success

Recently I was having a discussion with a friend about upping his level of fitness. While he felt he was doing well, he wanted to improve himself more. He was trying to figure out what it would take for him to take his overall health and fitness to an even higher level.

To give you a little background about my friend, he is pretty consistent with going to the gym, eats pretty healthy, and would be viewed as ‘in pretty good shape” by the average person. Since the whole conversation was about upping his level of fitness, I asked him how he saw himself fitness wise and what he thought he needed improvement with. One of the biggest keys to self improvement is being able to take an unbiased look at oneself and determine what needs to be improved.

He pondered the question for a bit and said “Maybe I need to improve my overall outlook on how I think about my health and fitness.”

I looked at him and asked: “Would you consider yourself fit or elite in fitness terms?”

He paused for a moment, thought to himself and then said “Pretty elite I guess!”

I then looked at him and said. “You had a slight pause are you sure?”

“Well yeah. I am more consistent than most people, I eat better than most people, and not to toot my own horn but I think I look better than most people my age also.” He stated.

“What do you think?” He asked me.

“Well…. I think you’re very healthy but being fit and being elite are two totally different things.” I said.

“Why? Is it because I am not a professional athlete or compete like you and some of your clients?” He asked.

“Not at all my friend, being elite with your training and diet has nothing to do with what you do but how you think.” I said.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

We chatted for about an hour more or so about what makes an elite training mindset. By the end we both agreed while my friend was quite fit he wasn’t near where he wanted to be to be elite.

By now you’re probably asking “What’s wrong with being fit?” The truth is absolutely nothing if that is where you want to be but if you want to be “elite” or have that mindset, you have to do more than a bit above average. While I do not think everyone needs to be “elite” when it comes to their health and fitness I do think everyone can benefit from the thought process and mindset that goes into that “elite” fitness mentality. I think the mindset will not only help you in your fitness en devours but will also have a carry over effect into other aspects of your life. Here are a few thought processes that may help you if you’re trying to have an elite fitness mindset:

“It is better to be a small fish in a big ocean rather than a big fish in a small pond.”

When I spoke to my friend and he said

“Well yeah. I am more consistent than most people. I eat better than most people. Not to toot my own horn but I think I look better than most people my age also.”

big-fish-in-a-small-pond He was using a big fish in a small pond mentality.  He was simply thinking about those who he was doing better than. By putting yourself mentally in a position where you are the forerunner you won’t always push yourself to the next level.  Elite trainers use the small fish big ocean approach. If you use the approach that you work to catch or be better than the bigger fish even on a subconscious level you work harder. People who want something generally work harder than people who already have it. Hence when the champ becomes complacent he usually gets beat by the hungry challenger. When you’re the big fish in a small pond there isn’t a lot of room for growth mentally or physically.

“Your training is part of your life not something you occasionally add to it.”

This is probably the one that divides the fitness groups the most. The “Lazys” never have time for fitness, The “Fits” most of the time get their fitness together but on occasions find reasons to miss training, meals, or rest. The “Elites” get it done no questions asked. They don’t make time for their fitness because fitness is a part of their lives….period. I have trained single mothers with two and three kids that work full time and still get their training in. If being a full time working mom with kids is not an excuse to find reasons to skimp on training I don’t know what is. If someone with a schedule that full can get it done, what is your excuse?

“Train for what you need and not always what you like.”

Elite mindset trainers train for one thing. They train for all around improvement. Elite mindset trainers train to improve to be the best they can. That sometimes means doing things they do not always consider “fun” or want to do. The difference is they know this is what is going to help them improve in the long run. Learn to work at what you’re not so good at over what you are already good at.

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The man who has a 62 inch chest and 16 inch legs but keeps working to build his chest up is not and elite mindset trainer. The guy who is great at building muscle but terrible at cardio, who makes an effort to work on his cardio because it will improve his weak area is an elite mindset trainer. You may see this type of thinking at your local gym where a girl goes to the gym and works on her butt almost everyday, because she likes it. She however is skipping working on areas like her upper body that may need more attention.Elite mindset trainers don’t avoid weaknesses they try to improve them.

“Take responsibility for your own actions.”

Elite mindset trainers will take responsibility for their own actions.

“I couldn’t get to the gym because…….” or “this didnt get done because…..”

Elite mindset trainers don’t make excuses they own their victories and defeats. They don’t play the blame game they will be the first to tell you You will not hear things like ” if you did this for me…..I could have done that….” Elite mindset means you manage things around you and manage yourself. If given a task or assignment, they wont blame coaches or bosses if they are not doing what was instructed to them.

“I sucked because of me and what I did or did not do.” They will use statements like this or take accountability for things pertaining to them. They don’t use bad things or negativity as an excuse but as a tool to improve for the next time.

“Asking for help is a good thing.”

While people with elite mindsets tend to be more independent, they also understand that at times asking for help is a good thing. One of the least successful groups of people in life is those that have problems but don’t ask for help. Top athletes, trainees, and competitors all over use advisers and coaches, and higher level sources of information to help them improve. An elite mindset trainer knows how to leave their ego at home and can ask for help when they need it. Asking for help at times does not mean you’re weak but the exact opposite. It means you’re a strong enough person to realize that someone out there may know a little more about something and can help you improve with their knowledge. Elites also realize a second set of eyes or ideas can make a huge difference in trying to achieve their fitness goals.

I think I can!!!! I think I can!!! I know I will!!!BodipHat Sled Push

Having an elite training mindset is about positive mind frame. Elite trainers have the mindset that they can achieve a task no matter the odds. By believing in themselves and their ability to perform that task they push themselves to levels where most other individuals would stop.  I once worked with a client that said “ I am so used to working this hard now, if my body isn’t at least a little sore and tired all the time it feels odd.”Sometimes pushing means embracing the pain and not avoiding it. Elites embrace the fact that things they do are hard and the average person would fold trying to achieve them.

“It’s not a sprint but a marathon.”

Another distinguishing factor between the elite and other fitness enthusiast is the ability to endure. Check out any popular gym from January to mid March. Gyms all over the nation are usually packed. By mid march the gym population has usually shrunk by 45%, This is because the average gym patron has the ”sprint” mentality. The sprint mentality is-I’m going to make huge changes in a short amount of time.  Elite trainers realize improvement happens over periods of time and are in it for the long run. This is an ”marathon” mentality-accomplishment over a long stretch. It is not about being good for a short period of time but consistently being good over and over and over again.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog.”

big_dog_small_dog_reThis is another mantra of elite trainers.  Over the years I have seen plenty of guys with 24 inch biceps and the heart of mice and guys with 14 inch biceps with the hearts of lions. Guess over periods of who ends up achieving more.  The training word is much like the real world, when it comes down to it… life is about work ethic. Your work ethic is what pays your ultimate dividends.

“No talent with a good work ethic is a shame but talent with no work ethic is a tragedy!”-Robert Half

Well now that you have a few examples do you consider your Fitness style as fit or as elite? For some of you, if you want to have and elite fitness mentality you may need to make some improvements in your mindset to get there. Just remember to carry yourself in a top level mentality you have to think like a top level person. You do not have to be a top level athlete or competitor but you may want to look at some of their approaches to training and mindset to improve yourself. No matter what though, the difference between being “elite” or being “fit” lies in your hands.

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Fishing Out Your Nutrition

One of the most misunderstood macro nutrients when it comes to diet is fat. Fat gets a bad rap, but fat is essential for many functions in the body. Fats can be classified in two simple categories. The classifications are good fats and bad fats or unsaturated fats (good) and saturated fats (bad). Typically people don’t eat enough good fats as opposed to bad fats in their diets. The typical american diet is a ratio of 8 to 1 bad fats to good fats. The fat intake in a diet should be 3 to 1 good fats to bad fats.

Multi Purpose Fats

One of the best good fats you can have in your diet is omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are are considered essential because the body cant make them and you have to get them from your dietary intake. Omega 3 fatty acids are usually found in fatty fishes such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring. Omega 3’s can also be found in non fish sources such as leafy greens, walnuts, Flax seed and Chia seeds.

Omega 3 fats offer health benefits such as:

  • being anti-inflammation agents
  • help lower triglycerides
  • help with cognitive thinking
  • anti-depressants
  • help develop the fetal brain of babies
  • aids in dealing with A.D.H.D.
  • aids in dealing with Alzheimer’s disease
  • aids in dealing with asthma
  • helps with dry skin
  • aids in digestion
  • helps with body fat loss
  • helps with hormonal balance
  • helps with muscle building
  • helps with muscle activity
  • helps boost metabolism

As you can see by the list Omega 3’s offer many health benefits.

Where to get Omega 3’s

The best source of nutrients to get Omega 3’s from is going to be cold water fatty fish. Wild caught fish will have a much higher concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids in them.

close up cooking cuisine delicious

Generally the “fishier” a type the fish taste, the higher concentration of Omega 3’s it will have. If you are not a fish eater your next best option would be taking Omega 3 fish oil

fish oil liquid

 

pills or fish oil liquid. Through these methods your getting the omega 3 benefits without eating the fish. A good standard recommended dose would be 3 to 6 grams of fish oil pills for women and 6 to 9 grams of fish oil pills for men. If the thought of swallowing fish oil pills or taking fish oil by the spoonful is still too much for you, there are alternative non fish omega 3 sources. Flax seeds and Chia seeds are two very good plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

 

Fish vs. Plant Sources

If you have the option of getting omega 3’s from fish and plants, you’re probably asking which source is better. The main difference however is plant source omega 3’s do not convert in the body like  marine animal sources. You would have to take a lot more plant based sources to get somewhat of a benefit.

chia and flax seed

Plant based sources supply ALA while fish based sources supply DHA and EPA. ALA also known as Alpha Linoic Acid is a precursor to DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA are long chain fatty acids that make up the building blocks of cells while ALA is a short chain fatty acid and provides the body with energy but does not help build cells. While taking some form of Omega 3 will always be better than none, if given a choice opt for fish over plant to get your omegas.

Omega Supremesalmon-fish-grilled-fish-grill-730914.jpeg

Fats have recieved a bad rep as being a bad source of nutrition. In actuality the body needs a good amount of healthy fats to function optimally. The best good fat you can add to your diet it omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s provide the body with a ton of different health benefits. Omega 3’s can be found mainly in fatty fishes but also can be obtained thru green leafy veggies, walnuts, and flax seeds. The non fish sources of omega 3’s however are slightly different and do not process in the body nearly as well. For optimal health make sure you re regularly taking omega 3 fatty acids.

 

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Debunking Five Weight Loss Myths

by Jarueba Taylor
If there is one concept that has more misinformation when it comes to health, its the idea of weight loss. The whole concept of weight loss is very misguided and very misunderstood. People have a lot of ideas of what “weight loss” means but sometimes things are very different than what people think.  We are going to take a closer look at “weight loss” and some of the myths associated with weight loss.
Why the general concept of weight loss is wrong-
How many times have you heard someone say?
“I’m getting fat. I need to lose some weight!”
I am sure from time to time most people have used this terminology. The problem is that whole concept is wrong. Far too often people associate weight loss with better health, but does weight loss equal better health?
In actuality weight loss has a lot less to do with overall health than most people think.
Here is another typical everyday example of the weight loss concept:
A person is not feeling good about their state of health or their doctor recommends they lose some weight to get healthier. So they go off, lose a few pounds, and then see the doctor in a few months. The doctor says “You lost a few pounds.” “Congratulations on being healthier!”  The question to be asked though is the person really healthier? Was it the weight loss or was it something else?
This brings us to myth number one.
1. The scale is the best way to gauge weight loss.
In actuality the scale is probably the worst way to measure physical improvements. What most people do not understand is that the scale is merely a measure of total mass. This means the scale is only going to display the weight what is put on it. This means a scale will only tell you what an object weighs.  It gives no indication of muscle, body fat size or structure.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about:
Step on a scale and record your weight.
Now step off the scale so it goes back to zero.
Now find something that weighs five pounds and hold it in your hands.
Step on the scale with the five pound weight in your hand and record your weight.
According to the scale you are five pounds heavier but in actuality your body has not changed.
This same principle holds true if you eat something before you jump on a scale or if you sweat off a few pounds before you jump on a scale.  The weight may change but your size and structure may not have had a significant change. There are no measure of their health indicators.
The biggest problem with using the scale is there is no way to decipher if you are losing actual body fat or if you are burning up muscle tissue. To truly make sure you are losing body fat focus on measurements (loss of inches) and or body fat calculations over what number the scale is saying.
2. As long as you’re watching calories it doesn’t matter what foods you eat.
While watching calories is very important, it is even more important to watch the types of foods you are consuming. Eating wholesome quality foods will not only help you look and feel better, it will help you achieve your goals faster. The types of foods you eat will also play a role in how your body looks. Foods provides us with vitamin and minerals, so if we are not eating quality foods, we are also not getting a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals. This will affect our looks, moods, and energy levels. Always aim to use quality wholesome foods in your diet. Foods with less nutritional value leave the body feeling weak and lethargic because they don’t supply the body with vitamins and minerals needed to provide energy and survive.

Lower quality foods may also supply your body with too many bad fats and sugars leading to possible health risk. By eating healthier choices this will also allow you to eat larger amounts of food so you won’t feel hungry all of the time. We will talk more about that with example #4 coming up. Aim to consistently eat 3 to 4 servings of vegetables daily, along with lean quality sources of protein. This will supply your body with a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and quality proteins.
3. It doesn’t matter what your weight is long as your healthy
We touched on this slightly with myth number one, but weight has little correlation with health. This is one I find females have the biggest issue with. They tend to want to weigh a certain amount and could care less about other health factors. Here is an example of why that thinking is incorrect. You can have two people, one weighing 135 pounds and one weighing 115 pounds stand next to each other. The 135 pound person has a body fat level of 9 percent. The 115 pound person has a body fat level of 19 percent. The 115 pound person may be smaller but their body fat levels are double that of the 135 pound person. Because of the higher levels of body fat, the 115 pound person actually has much higher health risk than the 135 pound person.
A drop in weight has little meaning unless it is accompanied by a drop in body fat and improvement in muscle. To truly get benefits from “weight loss” make sure that weight loss is also accompanied by body fat loss and improved health factors.
4. “I need to starve to lose weight!”
This is one statement that always bothers me when it comes to nutrition. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE should starve to try and reach a fitness goal. The idea should be to not eat less but to eat smarter. By making smarter nutritional choices you can often eat more and still continually progress towards your health goals. Eating foods like leaner cuts of meats and vegetables are lower in calories so you can eat tons of them and not feel like you want to gnaw your arm off.  For example a cup of broccoli is only 25 calories so if you wanted to eat 100 calories of broccoli that would be 4 cups that you would get to eat as opposed to a higher calorie food like one slice of cheese. Even though they both equal 100 calories, you’re getting 4 cups vs. one slice.
5. “Eating protein won’t help my diet efforts. That’s all hype!”
Eating higher amounts of protein is often mystified like it is some ancient dieting secret. On the other hand though there are those that see no use in this beneficial nutrient. Sure there is a lot of hype behind increasing the amount of protein in your diet but there is also a lot of merit behind them.  Here are a few examples:
  • A higher amount of protein satiates the desire for most carbs and sugary foods.
  • The more protein you eat the less of other things you tend to eat.
  • Protein increases the body’s thermogenic process upping the metabolism and aiding in body fat loss.
  • Protein helps build and prevent muscle loss
  • Protein helps provide the body with natural fats that aid in hormonal balance
Protein is the hardest of the three macro nutrients to digest. Immediately after you ingest protein 30% of those calories are already used towards processing the protein. Protein also does a better job than other macro nutrients at suppressing appetite. Aim to put quality sources of protein in your diet like, lean cuts of chicken, turkey, fish, and beef. Eggs, protein powders, tofu, and beans also make great protein choices.
Too often people confuse losing weight with being healthy. When aiming to get healthier focus on improving your health over losing weight. The goal should be to get leaner over losing weight. Focus on the quality and amount of foods your eating for better overall health.
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A second major benefit is that protein is the building block of muscle.  This is beneficial for building muscle, sparing muscle while dieting, and helping with recovery. The more muscle you have the easier it is to burn body fat and contour the body. So while you may not want to go strictly protein only, you may want to think about upping your protein levels depending on your nutritional goals.
When it comes to trying to improve your nutritional practices, unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and ideologies out there.   One of the biggest misnomers out is the whole concept of weight loss. People should focus more on losing body fat instead of losing weight. When it comes to “weight loss” there are a lot of incorrect ideas. There are five major ideas that people tend to believe that simply are not true. People tend to focus too much on what the scale says versus a drop in body fat. Whatever your nutritional plans are always use smarter thought out choices that will benefit you in the long run.
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Vitamin Analysis –

“Don’t forget to take your vitamins!”

We are always told to take our vitamins but why? How important are vitamins and minerals to our lives? While most people know taking vitamins and minerals will be beneficial to their health, I don’t think most people realize how important. Vitamins and minerals play a key role in overall health maintenance. Vitamins and minerals help balance the body both physically and mentally. They factor in everything from hormonal balance, nutrient metabolism, disease prevention and even mood elevation. Everything from being overly stressed, simple aches and pains, anxiety, and restlessness may have a direct relation to your body’s vitamin and mineral levels.

In today’s hustle and bustle society most people do not eat a balanced diet and lack in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Even those of us who feel we eat pretty healthy, generally tend to lack in some vitamins or minerals without even realizing it.

Food BasketThe majority of your vitamins and minerals should come from the foods you consume. Eat a diet loaded with lots of vegetables, a small amount of fruit, whole grains, fish, and lean cuts of meat. Even with a diet like this though, you should still think about supplementing with a good multivitamin. Did you know sometimes people who take vitamins everyday tend to be deficient in some vitamins and minerals do to the quality of vitamins they may be consuming? Taking cheap synthetic vitamin and minerals is basically the same as taking your money and throwing it out the window. Make sure your multivitamin comes from a good whole food base and not made of synthetic materials.

If your diet is not the best, and you feel off in general, you may want to take a vitamin and mineral analysis. A vitamin and mineral analysis will give you an indication of why you are feeling the way you do and what vitamins and minerals in your body may have you feeling off.  If you are interested in possibly finding out more about possibly having a vitamin and mineral analysis done, you can contact us below.