Tag Archives: health

Importance of Strength Training

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I’m sure you have all heard this before, but I’m going to say it again. Strength training is so important! Working in the health industry I can’t tell you how many people I come across who are trying to lose weight and trying to be more fit but they refuse to pick up the weights. I see this with women especially. They are too worried about bulking up and looking too manly. I promise, if you are a woman and you start lifting weights you will not end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. First of all, our bodies have too much estrogen and not enough testosterone for that so, unless you are taking hormones that won’t happen. Secondly, you need to be doing some seriously crazy training to bulk up like that.

So pick up the weights! Strength training has some really great benefits for men and women; it’s not just for bodybuilding. Women in particular generally have less lean body mass than men, as we age we tend to lose even more of the lean body mass. Weight training is a great way to be proactive and help maintain that muscle mass to combat frailty as we age. Weight training also reduces bone loss and can help prevent osteoporosis (“Strength training for,” 2011). Not only will it help you in the long run as you age but it will just make you stronger and more confident, and will make everyday activities a little easier.

Contrary to what many people believe, weight training is also a great tool for weight loss for men and women. I remember when I was growing up, hearing that if you wanted to slim down you just had to do cardio at a low intensity for a long time (now we know that isn’t the best method but that’s for another post) and NEVER EVER lift weights if you want to lose weight.  Well, that’s wrong. Studies have shown that regular resistance training can increase your resting energy expenditure 7% or more. That means if you have a resting metabolic rate of 1500 calories per day, that’s an extra 100 calories every day! It is thought that the increase in energy expenditure from resistance training is largely due to the energy requirements necessary to repair the muscle tissues after a strength training session. Assuming you do weight training 2-3 days per week it is likely that the increased metabolic rate will remain elevated as long as the resistance training continues (“Resting energy expenditure ,” 2010). Therefore, in combination with cardiovascular training, regular weight training c.n help you lose body fat, increase strength and be more toned and fit and not leave you looking huge and bulky, unless you want to be huge and bulky then in that case well, your workout will be a little different.

For strength training American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) recommends 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions with a load that is 60-70% of your 1 rep max (RM), the max amount you can lift for a single repetition ( if you are trying to find your one rep max, please make sure you are being safe and have a spotter). For endurance training ACSM recommends 2-4 sets of 10-25 repetitions with a load lower than 70% your 1RM (“Strength training for,” 2011).

So, if burning more calories as rest, looking toned and fit, and being stronger and more confident doesn’t convince you that lifting weights is awesome. Well, then I say just give it a try for a few weeks. It doesn’t have to be an hour long session. If you aren’t comfotable lifting weights at the gym or are too intimidated by the big lifters, see if your gym has a resistance based group class, the instructors there will be able to teach you proper form and help you modify moves if necessary. Don’t have a gym? Try a resistance based, home workout video. Even just doing push-ups and squats while you are watching tv is a great place to start.

Sources:

Resting energy expenditure (2010, March 20). ACSM news , twenty (one ), 10-10. Retrieved from http://certification.acsm.org/files/file/ACSM_CNEWS_20-1.pdf

Strength training for women (2011, October 04). ACSM public articles, Retrieved from http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/articles/2011/10/04/strength-training-for-women

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The Bitter Truth about SUGAR

The Facts

The Recommended consumption of added sugar per day:

  • 6 tsp. (25 g) for women
  • 9 tsp. (37.5 g) for men
  • Average actual consumption: 22.2 tsp. (88.8 g)

The average American consumes about 3 to 4 times the recommended amount added sugar per day! Over the course of the year that comes out to be about 84 lbs. of sugar per person.

THAT’S A LOT OF SUGAR! But since we’re not just sitting around eating spoonfuls of sugar, where is it all coming from? You may be surprised to learn that sugar can be very sneaky and finds many ways to be added to the foods and beverages that we consume daily.

Naturally Occurring Sugar vs. Added Sugar

Appropriately, natural sugars are sugars that are found naturally in foods like fresh fruits, veggies and dairy products. While added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).

For natural sugars there are no specific guidelines or recommendations for amount to consume each day, but USDA does make recommendations for the amounts of fruits, vegetables, and dairy that we should consume each day. If you follow those guidelines you will not have to worry about consuming too much natural sugar.

The Not So Sweet News about Sugar

Most of us, if not all of us, love a little sugar now and then. A little sugar here and there is okay but when we get too much it starts to become a problem. Sugar is very high in calories but has little nutritional value. Eating to0 many foods that contain a lot of added sugars can set the stage for potential health problems, such as: 

  • Poor nutrition- filling up on nutrient lacking sweets can cause you to miss out on important vitamins and minerals.
  • Weight gain- Sugar sweetened foods are often calorie dense from sugars and fats, making them very appealing and easy to eat more of.
  • Increase triglycerides- Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream and fat tissue. Eating an excessive amount of added sugar can increase triglyceride levels, which may increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Tooth decay- All forms of sugar promote tooth decay by allowing bacteria to proliferate and grow

How to Identify Added Sugars

Unfortunately there is no easy way to tell how much of the sugar listed in the nutrition label of your food is added and how much is natural sugar found in certain ingredients, such as grain, fruit and dairy. The only reliable way to identify added sugar is to look at the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. If you see sugar listed among the first few ingredients, the product is likely to be high in added sugar. Here are some of the ways that added sugars will be listed in the ingredients:

  • Fructose
  • Evaporated cane sugar
  • Glucose
  • Malt syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Juice Concentrate  and nectars
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
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Are you staying hydrated?

We have all heard of that standard rule of thumb “drink at least eight 8-ozwater bottle glasses of water a day.” This standard rule originated in 1945 from a Food and Nutrition Board report that recommended we drink 1 millimeter of water for every calorie we consume. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, that comes out to be about eight  8-oz glasses of water a day.  The interesting thing about this, is that current research has found no evidence supporting this notion, not to mention that the amount of water you need depends on a number of other variables such as the weather, elevation, your activity level, etc. Though we may not need eight glasses a day, water is still essential for our bodies to function properly. So what counts as water and how do you know if you are getting enough?

Well, If are anything like me, the first beverage you go for in the morning is a cup of coffee or strong tea. Since it is winter, the rest of the day I tend to stick to hot tea or more coffee (sometimes caffeinated, sometimes not). I have found that this time of year, I only drink plain water during or right after a workout. I have always been told that caffeine is a diuretic so I started thinking, I am drinking all this liquid but am I really staying hydrated?

To answer these questions I did a little research. I found a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition that conducted an experiment to test the effects of black tea on hydration status. The study consisted of 21 males taken from the general population. In the study, the subjects were observed for a 12- hour intervention period where all food, drink and physical activity was controlled. Blood was sampled at 0,1,2,4,8, and 12 hours and 24 urine sample was taken (Ruxton, and Hart 1-8). The subjects were put through an experimental study (given black tea) and a controlled study (given identical amounts of boiled water). The results revealed no significant difference between the blood or urine measurements, concluding that the black tea, in the amounts studied offered similar hydrating properties to water (Ruxton, and Hart 1-8).

So the good news about this, is you can stay warm and hydrated drinking your hot tea or coffee this winter. If you are still concerned that you are not getting enough water in your diet don’t forget that foods such as soup, fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of water and count as part of your daily fluid intake. But if you’re still concerned you are not getting enough water, here are a few symptoms of dehydration and ways to check your hydration status.

Symptoms of dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Cravings for sugar or salt
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine
  • One of the best ways to monitor hydration is through urine. If you are staying adequately hydrated your urine will be “very pale yellow”, “pale yellow”, or “straw colored”.
  • Another good way to check is to pinch the back of your hand while it is resting on a flat surface. When you release the skin, it should snap back into place. If it is slow to go back then chances are you are dehydrated.

References:

  • Ruxton, Carrie , and Valerie Hart. “Black tea is not significantly different from water in the maintenance of normal hydration in human subjects: results from a randomized controlled trial .” British Journal of Nutrition. (2011): 1-8. Web. 5 Jan. 2013.
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