Saturday, December 28, 2019

12 Week Fitness Program

Check out the tab above to get details about the 12 Week Fitness Program. It's a great way to improve your fitness in 2020! We are starting in less than a week but you can join the group and start your program anytime this year. Come join us!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Do You Drink Enough Water?

When I was younger I was never been a big water drinker. I usually only drank when I got thirsty or if a beverage was provided with a meal. When I'd go out to eat with friends I'd notice their glasses were usually refilled multiple times during the meal but I seldom finished mine. Keeping myself properly hydrated is an area where I've made improvements over the years.

I've seen a variety of sources which indicate that our bodies are composed of 55-75% water on a cellular level, so hydration is an important component of good health. The benefits of adequate water consumption include: better skin tone, improved body function, decreased urges to eat, decreased headaches, improved ability to excrete wastes and toxins, etc. I've seen conflicting data as to some of these claims, but I still think it is better to err on the side of more water than not enough. We obviously can't survive without water, but too much water can also be fatal in the rare case of water intoxication.

Many people are curious to know exactly how much water they should drink. For years experts were telling us to drink 8 large glasses of water every day, but a 9 year old girl doesn't have the same water needs as a 200 pound man living in a warmer climate who is involved in manual labor. Climate, health conditions, body size, and activity level need to be taken into consideration when determining water needs, therefore, I'm reluctant to recommend a magic number for the entire population since every one's needs are different.

Some of the signs of dehydration include: being thirsty, having dark colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart beat, confusion, or irritability. It's especially important to drink water if you are exercising or in a hot climate. Severe dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramping, disorientation, nausea, weakness, or even death. If you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. When you know you will be exercising or working hard it is always wise to drink before during and after your physical activity.

One thing that really helped me improve my hydration levels was investing in a nice water bottle. Last ear I bought a large stainless steel, insulated water bottle that keeps water cold all day long and I found it is much easier to drink more water when it's not from a lukewarm plastic bottle. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

You Can't Exercise Your Way out of Bad Nutrition

Over the years I've seen many clients and friends who exercise regularly yet have never taken what they eat too seriously. While they may be receiving many benefits from consistently exercising, they are not getting nearly the results they would if they were also addressing their nutrition. This is especially true of weight loss and physique improvements.

When the USDA food pyramid was revised many years ago, they added stairs on the side of it to remind people how important physical activity is. I believe exercise is crucial for optimal health, but exercise can't compensate for poor nutrition. This time of year I frequently hear people comment on how they are going to have to exercise more in order to burn off all the extra food they just ate.

Some people say "I can afford to eat dessert since I took the stairs". Have you ever run on a treadmill and seen how long it takes to burn calories? A Costco blueberry muffin has 610 calories. A 170 pound person would have to walk at a brisk pace for 2 hours to burn those calories off. You just can't rely on exercise to negate the effects of overeating.

It's wise to plan for the occasional eating splurge or accommodate for times when we know we will be eating more food than usual. I think the best way to do this is to decrease our overall calorie consumption before and after those occasions as opposed to just trying to burn off the calories afterwards by exercising more.

Most people think of calorie consumption on a daily 24 hour basis, but energy balance also works on a weekly level. You may have a day or two during the week where you eat more calories at parties or other social activities, but if you decrease your calorie intake on other days of the week, then you can create the same net result as eating the same number of calories through the entire week.

Both exercise and nutrition are vital components of good health but many of us make the mistake of assuming we can exercise our way out of eating excess calories. It might work for an ultra marathoner, but most people don't exercise at a high enough intensity or for a sufficient duration to be able to offset the extra calories they consume. The solution? Be a more disciplined eater and plan in advance in order to accommodate for the times you eat more. You can always stick with the "I'll just exercise it off" mentality, but there are probably not enough hours in the day for most people to make that work.