Friday, June 18, 2010

Nutrition Frustration

I have really been thinking a lot about the importance of nutrition lately. Whenever I got to the gym, I am amazed at the number of machines, weights, and exercise equipment available for people to work out on, yet there is really no nutritional help there. As a result, many people put in a lot of time and effort exercising but still don't get results when it comes to weight loss and changing their body composition. It's obvious that unless someone gets the nutritional part of the equation figured out, then there is no way they will reach their goals. There are 24 hours in a day and motivating yourself to work out for one of those hours is not nearly as hard as trying to eat clean the remaining 23 hours!

Those who only focus on exercise remind me of a person riding a bike with just one pedal. They are missing out on a key component to their success. As a personal trainer, I am able to observe on a daily basis how nutrition can either assist or ambush client's efforts. I am not a dietitian or nutritionist, but would love to get a degree in that field. In the mean time I keep my nutritional insights very general and refer people to the professionals who are licensed to do so for specific counsel. This is one are where I think there is a great need.

The reason I'm frustrated with nutrition is because I too am still trying to develop the discipline and motivation that is needed to consistently eat healthy. Why do people always bring junk food when they bring you an edible gift? Why does the unhealthy stuff have to be so cheap and be so readily available? Many of us have developed unhealthy relationships with food over the years and struggle in this area. Every day we are required to make choices between highly processed foods which are usually calorie dense and high in fat and sugar or whole foods which are much more beneficial to our body.

I'm in pretty good shape right now but over the course of the next month I am going to fine tune my diet (eliminate the junk and eat more whole foods.) I will let you know what happens when I raise the bar in this area. I have also been doing some informal research about nutrition that I'm looking forward to sharing. I have been talking to some of the most fit people in the gym about nutrition and I will be sharing what they have in common with you soon in a future post.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Killer at Large Review

I recently watched the documentary Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America's Greatest Threat. It got off to a slow start and was a low budget production. I was irritated by the poor audio quality and background music towards the beginning of the documentary. Despite a slow start, half way through the pace picked up and it got more interesting.

This film addresses the increased incidence of obesity in the US and discusses many of the causes of obesity. Some of these causes included genetics, inactive lifestyles, the elimination of PE in many schools, fast food, portion sizes, over processing foods, marketing to children, the food pyramid, poverty, etc.

A good part of the program is critical of the USDA and their role in the obesity epidemic. The movie also points a finger at the Bush administration as been responsible for the problem. This is done in classic conspiracy theory fashion. I understand the government can influence how we eat, and there may be some truth to the information, but I would have enjoyed it more if they didn't throw politics into the documentary as much as they did. They also addressed the role of government vs. individual responsibility and I found that debate to be very interesting.

Overall, I liked this movie and would recommend it to anyone concerned about their health or the rising rate of obesity that effects so many people. Even if you are not obese, it is insightful to see how much junk food we eat. I would have liked to see more solutions presented in the video, but it was still informative despite its shortcomings. I give it 6.9 stars.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Genetics: A Blessing or a Curse?

The topic of genetics can be frustrating. Some people are naturally thin, tall, muscular, or have a fast metabolism. I know it's not fair when some people can eat all they want and easily maintain their weight while others have their parent's hereditary "curse" passed onto them of gaining weight from just looking at food. By the way, if you are one of the lucky ones, I hate to break it to you, but everyone hates you.

Years ago while playing basketball pickup games, I met a guy named Pete. He was about 5' 10" and had a chiseled physique and could jump out of the gym, but he claimed he never lifted weights and seldom worked out. Despite a lazy attitude, he was still an amazing athlete. We were all so happy for him. NOT. When we are jealous of others it's easy to develop a "sour grapes"attitude about genetics.

There are a host of things affected by genetics including eye and hair color, strength, skin complexion, weight, bust size, vision, baldness, etc. (not to mention a variety of diseases and illnesses that one may be predisposed to.) Some occupations like an NBA Center or an NFL lineman obviously require certain genetics regardless of how much hard work or discipline one has. Even so, there is a lot to be said about one's will and effort to get results and accomplish what they want despite genetic predispositions.

Even if you feel that you lost out on the lottery at birth, you can still improve your health and get in better shape. When you blame your health on your genetics, you surrender your ability to change. The same thing happens if you blame your circumstances on any external force. Once you attribute your situation or problems to external circumstances you are powerless and become a victim. Don't let that happen to you. Just make the most of what you have to work with and you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish!