March 3, 2016

Learning to run, running to learn

A recent meta-study entitled, “Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise: A Review” revealed interesting findings on how aerobic exercise such as running can affect the brain. First, running and aerobic exercise can help to regulate cortisol, a stress hormone. Engaging in running or another aerobic style of exercise can also trigger the release of endorphins. This is often seen when runners are able to achieve the “runner’s high” and experience a relaxation effect. When this is coupled with cortisol regulation, it creates a great opportunity to reduce the individual’s stress.

The study also revealed that aerobic exercise increased brain-derived neurotrophic factors. When the brain is in a beta state, it is highly alert and poised to deal with high-stress situations. However, you don’t want your brain to be in such a situation for long. In the alpha state, the brain is still alert, yet this is more of a flow state. The mind and body know what to do and are able to relax as they complete their functions. This is the state that is achieved.

It was also found that aerobic exercise prompted production of serotonin, which affects emotion and memory. The serotonin is actually converted to melatonin, which aids in sleep. This may help the brain in its ability to recall memories or information. Additionally, dopamine was also increased, which has benefits with short-term memory, motor control, and cognition.

The benefits of aerobic exercise are clear, but how can you find the right level of intensity for you? Find the happy medium of where you can say a few words while running or exercising, but yet you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. The key is to monitor how you are feeling. Of course, you will want progression, but it is important not to overdo it. An enriched environment is also beneficial to your results, as it can lead to greater longevity, according to one study. In the end, adopting running or other aerobic exercise has great health benefits and is certainly worth consideration for inclusion in your fitness routine.

The tao of running | Gary Dudney


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 2, 2016

Plant-based diet | the plant trainers

In this episode, we talk with Shoshana and Adam Chaim who are “Plant Trainers” on a mission to improve the quality of life through nutrition and fitness.   They will walk us through their personal journey of transitioning to a plant-based diet.

Their journey to a plant-based diet began after a health scare.   In the process of researching his health issue, Adam became intrigued and eventually inspired by the plant based lifestyles he was reading about.   He decided to make an immediate transition.

Shoshana’s transition to a plant-based diet was not as immediate.   And while her path was different, eventually she and Adam began expanding their knowledge base on how plant-based nutrition would be the appropriate route for them and their family.   The end result was soaring energy levels, weight loss, glowing skin and other benefits.

Today, Shoshana and Adam Chaim host “The Plant Trainers Podcast.”   They are actively involved in providing personalized plans focusing on nutrition, motivation, fitness no matter what lifestyle you choose.   Learn more about The Plant Trainers and plant-based diets via their website: planttrainers.com

The end of heart disease | Dr. Joel Fuhrman


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

Stepping it up

In this episode, we are stepping it up with John and Tammy.

John discusses his exercise program, which includes walking about 15,000 steps per day.   He has been working on his squats and is making improvements to his form.

We introduce the concept of Tabata to his workouts. The premise of a Tabata is a series of rounds where you move as hard as you can with an exercise for 20 seconds, in this case squats, jump squats or even push-ups.  Then you take 10 seconds of rest.   The cycle is repeated for a total of 4 minutes.    If you really want to step it up, you can walk a lap or two when the first cycle is finished, then repeat another cycle with a different exercise.

There are apps that you can find that are Tabata timers or interval timers which work well with this concept and guide you through the on and off cycles.   It provides a fantastic workout in a short period of time, while increasing your cardiovascular endurance.

Stepping up your exercise routine with Tabata or interval training will give you a good metabolic kick. We will continue to follow John and Tammy as they continue their health and fitness journey.


Do you have patience, persistence, and progression

Tammy success and lessons learned


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 29, 2016

Fat 101

I received a request on Facebook to discuss body fat in more detail. Consider this Body Fat 101. Body fat can be complex, as there are different types of fat and various reasons for it to be stored. Specifically, there are two types of body fat. The first is white adipose tissue, where energy is stored as fat. The second type of fat is brown adipose tissue, which generates heat. Brown adipose tissue is something you will want to have.

It’s also important to consider where the body fat is stored. Visceral or abdominal fat is packed between the organs. This is a bad fat. Abdominal fat is linked to insulin resistance, heart disease, and inflammatory disease. It is more common in men, but as women get older, their bodies may shift toward a tendency to store more body fat in the abdomen. Subcutaneous fat is located under the skin and muscles. This type is not as dangerous as the abdominal fat. If you are in good shape, simply try to keep your body fat in a reasonable, healthy range.

It’s important to note that eating dietary fat does not give you body fat. In fact, it is the insulin response to blood sugar that causes fat storage. When you eat simple carbohydrates and processed foods loaded with sugar, your blood sugar and insulin will spike and lead to a gain in body fat. This is why it is important to eat sensible, real food and avoid processed foods.

Contrary to popular belief, the scale is not an accurate way to measure body fat. Great ways to get an accurate body fat measurement include being evaluated by a professional or using a DEXA scan. The DEXA scan will not only measure body fat, but also indicate your bone density.

To better understand your personal Body Fat 101, be sure to take measurements of your body and use tools at your disposal to estimate your body fat. For more information on health and fitness measures, visit http://older.fitness/measures to obtain a helpful guide.

How to of strength and mass


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 26, 2016

Deanna gets momentum

Deanna Gets MomentumDeanna is a homeschooling mom of six who lives a very busy lifestyle. However, she’s also a runner who has gained momentum and improved her health and fitness. She wasn’t always this way though. In fact, she used to feel as though she was in a rut. She didn’t get out of the house a lot and wasn’t involved in anything. She felt frumpy and lacked motivation.

Over the years, she would work out on and off. She would walk every day or do fitness videos, but nothing really stuck. At the beginning of 2013, Deanna didn’t want to be a “frumpy hermit” anymore. She logged into My Fitness Pal and the rest is history. Since then, she has logged into My Fitness Pal each and every day. She had always known what she needed to do, but never really set her mind to it until 2013.

She started running and doing strength training. Deanna also did the Couch to 5k program. She remembers it as being difficult to run for one minute. If one week of training was too difficult, she repeated it. She felt it was important to listen to her body. She didn’t want to overtax herself and risk injury, so she took it slow. Though she continued to wonder—what else can I do? Her positive momentum and drive to succeed was still pushing her forward.

For Deanna, it all started with a decision and commitment. She pushed through and continued to challenge herself with a progressive program. She has seen fundamental changes in her body composition and health as a result. Though she never imagined this level of fitness, she knows it is a lifelong pursuit. She advises others to find something they’re passionate about. Try different fitness routines until you find what you like. Have patience and persistence, and soon you will create a momentum that will lead to progression. To connect with Deanna, send her a message on My Fitness Pal as RunningForeverMama.

Mel goes from couch to infinity


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music


February 25, 2016

How is sleep affecting my weight loss?

It’s true that sleep has a significant impact on your health, and more specifically, your weight loss. This was shown in a study from November 2015 called “Interactions Between Sleep, Stress, and Metabolism.”

The study pulled together information to explain how a lack of sleep can adversely affect one’s health. It found that sleep is a major component to keeping the body healthy and the metabolism working well. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body continues to stay in a stress mode. The body is not fully recovering, adrenals are being overstimulated, and cortisol is being produced. Excess cortisol can lead to weight gain.

Another interesting study showed the connection between sleep deprived individuals and exposure to unnatural light in the evenings, such as from a television or computer. This stimulation from the unnatural light was throwing off the individuals’ hormone cycles. As a result, they were gaining more weight than those who were only sleep deprived and not exposed to the unnatural light. This is a cautionary tale to those who stay up late to watch TV or work on the computer, as these activities could be adversely affecting fat loss.

The key is to maintain good sleep hygiene and adopt a pattern of behavior that will allow you to enter and stay in a rested state for the night. Be sure to select a noise-neutral location. Don’t eat or drink things that could be disruptive to sleep, such as caffeine or alcohol. There are also apps that can monitor your sleep and provide information as to how long you maintain a deep sleep or if you have issues with snoring or sleep apnea. Sleep studies can also be an option. Simply find tools that will help you to manage your sleep better.

If you’re not sleeping well, you will struggle in getting healthy. Sleep is so very important to your overall health, including your weight loss. Getting adequate, solid sleep will allow you to have more energy, feel better, and experience fat loss.


Sleep smarter | Shawn Stevenson

The magic of sleep


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

Note: Link to episode 107

February 24, 2016

How to not die of diabetes | Dr. Michael Greger

This episode contains Part 2 of a two-part series with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die. Dr. Greger’s book includes information and real stories of individuals who were able to reverse the signs of diabetes simply by adopting a plant-based diet.

The health benefits of a plant-based diet are incredible. In fact, the plant-based diet is the only diet that has ever been proved to reverse heart disease. In the 1930s, the first studies that showed the reversal of Type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet were released. Individuals who went on this diet were essentially cured. Their blood sugar levels became normal and they were able to go off all of their medication.

The truth is, there is no excuse to not eat healthier, especially for those who have diabetes. Dr. Greger discussed his “Daily Dozen” – a checklist of all the things one should fit into their daily routine. This includes the best greens, berries, nuts and seeds, and beverages to consume, as well as how much exercise to get.

After all, diet is the key driver to the reversal of diseases including hypertension, heart disease, and chronic diseases in general including diabetes. Premature deaths are preventable with simple changes in diet. The key is to recognize that we are all on the path to gradually improve our diets. Any steps we take will accrue significant health benefits.

In the last few decades, much awareness has been brought forward, but there is still work to be done. One issue is that people have a tendency to underestimate the power of diet and its effect on our bodies. Switching to a plant-based diet is a proven method of reversing Type 2 diabetes and has many other health benefits. Be sure to make any changes with the supervision of a physician, who can keep a close eye on your levels and remove any medications at the proper time. To connect with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die, go to www.nutritionfacts.org to find his contact information.

How to not die of heart disease | Dr. Michael Greger

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

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