How To Get A Good Night's Rest

How To Get A Good Night’s Rest

No matter where you live it’s getting harder and harder to get quality sleep. Stamford, CT is no different. While it’s hard to get a good night’s rest, it’s certainly worth it. It helps boost your energy the following day, makes your work easier and helps prevent health issues. Studies show that lack of sleep not only can affect your heart, it also may make losing weight more difficult and gaining weight easier.

How does lack of sleep make you fat?

Your body has two hormones that dictate when you feel full or when you’re hungry. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. It’s the reason to eat slowly, to ensure it has time to signal the brain. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. When you lack sleep the body shuts down the leptin hormone and boosts the production of the hunger hormone. It even happens when you get poor sleep quality. To make matters worse, when you’re tired, you tend to crave sugary treats to boost your energy level, adding more pounds as you do.

Create a sleep schedule and stick with it.

Getting in touch with your body’s natural sleep-cycle and working with it is important. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and get up at the same time, even on the weekend. You might think you’ll catch up on sleep by sleeping in Saturdays, but you’ll just confuse your body. If you have insomnia, don’t take a nap the next day. Try to tough it out until bedtime. If you can’t function without a nap, keep it short—10 to 20 minutes. If you feel drowsy after dinner, get up and take a walk to stick with the sleep schedule.

Shut off all electronic devises and make the room dark.

Your body’s sleep-wake cycle is regulated by melatonin that comes from light exposure. When it’s dark, the brain makes it. Then you feel tired and sleepy. When you’re exposed to light, the body makes less of it to keep you active and alert. Use that information to your advantage and keep your bedroom dark. Even bright screens on phones, TVs and computers can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. If you must watch TV before bed, don’t watch ones that are stimulating. Choose ones that relax you. Shut the curtains to block light and don’t read books on devices that have their own light source like e-readers. If nature calls in the middle of the night, try to avoid using bright lights. Have a nightlight in the bathroom and/or the hallway leading to the bathroom.

  • Get plenty of exercise. Exercise not only helps relieve stress, it helps you sleep sounder. That deep sleep is important for good health. Make sure your exercise ends at least three hours before bedtime.
  • It takes time for exercise to give the full benefit of good sleep, so stick with the program. You might find that sore muscles keep you awake at first, but that goes away quickly.
  • When you get up in the morning, pull back the shades and expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible immediately. Even drinking coffee by a sunny window area helps.
  • Spend more time in the sun and get as much natural sunlight as possible. Take a walk outside on your break or go for a walk at lunch time to increase the time you spend in the sun.

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

When you’re trying to lose weight or get healthier, it’s not about how much you eat, but what you eat, that makes a difference. I work with many clients in Stamford, CT to help them learn how to make smarter choices when it comes to food. Every time you eat, you’re making a decision whether you’re going to eat something healthy or just fill your body with empty calories that don’t provide any of the nutrients you need to look and feel your best.

When you eat food that was living, you extend your life, too.

Living food, such as garden fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs or whole food from animal sources will help you live longer, too. You’ll note that the term whole food was used when talking about animal sourced foods. That’s because there are so many processed foods out there that are filled with ingredients that never existed in nature and came from a lab. Eating healthy is all about eating food as close to its natural state as possible with no added ingredients.

Frozen and even canned food can be healthy, too.

Buying fresh produce, especially organic, isn’t always in everyone’s budget. Don’t worry. There are many canned and frozen options that are just as good. Studies show that both contain as many nutrients as fresh fruits and vegetables, but you have to look on the label to ensure there’s no added ingredients or chemicals. If it’s not green bean season, canned or frozen green beans can be just as nutritious. Canned tomatoes make a great sauce and in the case of cooked tomatoes, the amount of lycopene in the tomatoes increases with cooking.

You should avoid processed foods and start cooking differently.

What exactly is processed food if it’s not canned or frozen fruits or vegetables? Think Spam or other processed meats, those microwave delights like pizza rolls or hot pockets, crackers, cookies or anything that has chemical or mechanical changes to make it something different from the original, increase shelf life or add flavoring—such as added sugar. It’s especially important to avoid additives like high fructose corn syrup, which seems to be in everything on the shelf. The body cannot process it correctly and it interferes with the production of the hormone that makes you feel full, so you eat more.

  • Eating food heavily laden with sugar may give you a boost initially, but it won’t take long that the super high peak in energy drops to a deep valley. That blood sugar fluctuation can create severe health problems.
  • Making your plate a rainbow of colors from whole foods helps ensure that you have all the nutrients you need. Plants contain phytonutrients that improve health in a variety of ways. Many come from the substances that give the plant their color, so getting variety is important.
  • What you drink makes a difference, too. Soft drinks contain high amounts of calories and even diet drinks have been shown to increase fat around the middle. Water is the best choice.
  • There is a new medical area of study considering food as medicine for many illnesses. Why not start by eating and staying healthy before illness strikes.

The Importance Of Cooling Down

The Importance Of Cooling Down

When you have a tough workout, cooling down is extremely important. Your heart is pumping rapidly and your muscles are warm and flexible. When you abruptly stop the workout, the blood isn’t being pushed strongly by the heart and tends to pool in the extremities. That means it doesn’t circulate as much to your head, which causes your blood pressure to drop. A sudden drop in blood pressure can create dizziness and fainting.

You’ll avoid pain later with a few minutes of cool down.

One of the problems with stopping abruptly, besides the potential for fainting, is that when blood pools in your limbs, it doesn’t provide an opportunity to remove lactic acid build up that’s most efficiently removed with gentle exercise. A gentle cool down not only helps eliminate the lactic acid build-up that can cause aches and pains, it also helps protect the muscles. When you workout, your muscles become flexible and loose, which is why your legs often feel like jelly afterward. A cool down returns them to normal length and tension, to help avoid injury.

There are two different types of stretching exercises for warm ups and cool downs.

While you may think that all stretching is alike, and use the same one for both warm up and cool down, there’s a better way. There are several types of stretching exercises, but the two that effect warm up and cool down are static and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is best for warming up. It often mimics some of the movements you’ll be doing during your workout or sport. It might be lunges, high kicks or any exercise that stretches the muscles while moving in various directions. The best cool down are static stretches. It’s a stretch and hold strategy. Think touching your toes or a standing quadricep stretch.

Cool down exercises are the best opportunity to increase your range of motion.

You already know that doing cool down exercises can help your muscle tension return from loose to normal tension. That means it’s the ideal time to improve your range of motion, when the muscles are the most flexible. The static stretches not only help you cool down, you’ll find that doing your cool down boosts your flexibility.

  • After a workout, your body needs to return to homeostasis—a balanced state. A cool down allows it to do that slowly, while allowing you to enjoy the endorphins created during the workout—hormones that make you feel good.
  • Even though static stretching is a good cool down that can also increase your range of motion, simply walking will work.
  • Make sure you block the last five to ten minutes of your workout for cool down exercises. It can even be similar to your workout, but done with less intensity. For instance, walking after a run is an example.
  • Don’t forget a warm up session, which is as important as a cool down one. The warm up prepares your body for the workout and helps prevent injury.

Give Yourself A Spring Fitness Challenge

Give Yourself A Spring Fitness Challenge

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel better, which is why so many people are starting to eat healthier and working out regularly. For those that are considering it, but don’t want to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise, consider taking our spring fitness challenge. It’s simple and has a finish line in front of you. Just workout and eat healthy for two months and see what a difference it makes in how you look and feel.

Make it fun and vary the workout.

If you think the whole challenge will include doing push-ups and jumping jacks, think again. You can have fun and vary what you do throughout the week. I have women and men who absolutely love boxing. It makes them feel more empowered and stronger. I have clients that enjoy the relaxing stretches of yoga. Some clients with back problems say that it eases the pain, so they can sleep and function better. Just think of how much fun it can be.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot either.

We have a special that can provide a lot more than you’d expect to get you on the road to fitness. Just think, for less than $50, you can get five sessions at our bootcamp, a session with a personal trainer, help with your diet and help to create a workable goal. That’s a lot! That’s a great start to any challenge to get into shape and can supply a program that you can use on your own for the rest of spring.

You’ll be surprised how addictive exercise and healthy eating can be!

You are probably like many of the people that I meet in my work, even some of those that now workout at Revolution Training. You probably cringe at the thought of getting into a workout program for a number of reasons. One is that you’re so out of shape and you don’t want to be embarrassed. Don’t be embarrassed by being out of shape. Everyone here is friendly, supportive and they’ve all been beginners at one time or another.

  • If you’re considering the time it takes for the challenge, consider this. If your workout takes an hour every other day, including changing clothes, that’s like giving up a half hour TV program each night. Is it really that important to watch reruns? You can even record it and watch it later.
  • You’ll boost your energy level so you’ll get more done quicker when you workout regularly. That can be a serious time saver.
  • Once you start the challenge of healthy eating and exercise, you’ll find you feel better and sleep better. There’s nothing more refreshing than a good night’s sleep.
  • We help you track your progress. That makes it even more fun. While you might not see the physical results in a week or two, like a size smaller clothing, you’ll see improvement in your endurance, strength and flexibility.

Are You Ready For Swimsuit Weather?

Are You Ready For Swimsuit Weather?

The winter weather brings clothing that can hide almost any flaw from being out of shape to being overweight or even both. Soon, it will be swimsuit weather in Stamford, CT and those layers of clothes will be replaced with far more revealing clothing that shows every indiscretion from sitting through hours of binge watching to those donuts you eat every morning. Whether it’s the jelly roll that has grown around your waistline or the bat wings under your arms that wobbles in the wind, you can still salvage the summer and look fabulous. Challenge yourself to just six weeks of good health and you’ll see results.

It’s never too late.

You won’t go from being completely out of shape and 80-pounds overweight to an Adonis or super model body, but you can start looking like the best you that you can be. That’s really good! Best of all, if you start today, you’ll have more energy for summer fun and excitement. It could change both your body and your attitude. After all, exercise can burn off those hormones of stress and trigger the creation of ones that make you feel good.

There’s no better time than now to start a program of healthy eating.

It’s spring and not only are flowers starting to bloom, asparagus and strawberries are in season, making them far lower in price than some junk food. Eating healthy can be more affordable than eating junk during the spring, summer and fall. Not only can clean eating help you lose weight, it also helps provide nutrients and benefits that can lower your blood pressure, reduce your blood sugar level and get you on the road to good health. You don’t have to start all at once either. Start substituting one for for another right now. Today, switch out those mid afternoon candy bars with trailmix or fruit, replace your sugary soft drink for water. Make one change every day and before you know it, you’ll be losing weight and feeling great.

Working out is tough at first.

To parody Isaac Newton, if your body is at rest, it’s just a lot easier to stay at rest. If your body is in motion you’ll have the energy and drive to stay in motion. Working out does so much more than just burn calories and build muscles. It actually can make you younger on a cellular level. Each cell has telomeres that protect the DNA by being the “disposable” material when the cell replicates. It boosts circulation, sending oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all parts of the body. Exercise also helps you boost healthy microbiome, which are those bacteria, fungi and yeast that help keep the body healthy, while aiding in digestion. You’ll tone your body with exercise and put bounce in your step.

  • Getting into the habit of working out and eating healthy is the hardest part. Make exercise part of your schedule, like any doctor or dentist appointment. Plan menus, list ingredients you need and prepare a week’s meals on the weekend so you don’t have to worry about what to eat or even consider carryout.
  • When you eat healthy, it’s not dieting. Dieting restricts what you can eat and often leaves you feeling hungry. Healthy eating allows you to eat anywhere and never leaves you feeling deprived.
  • Starting a program of exercise and healthy eating doesn’t have to mean losing weight. Whatever your goal, a personal trainer will help you reach it, whether it’s boosting your energy or simply toning.
  • Track your progress. Winners keep score.

The Real Problem With Consuming Grains

The Real Problem With Consuming Grains

I have a lot of clients in Stamford, CT that require special planning when creating a healthy eating plan because they have a problem with consuming grains. It’s getting more and more common and whether that’s because the problem is increasing or we’re just identifying it properly isn’t known. One thing is certain, there are good reasons that grains are hard to digest. First, they’re seeds and seeds have an outer shell. That was nature’s plan to ensure that if animals ate them, they’d pass through in their excrement and be scattered to grow elsewhere, conveniently in fertilizer ready to help them grow.

Some of the substances that help the plant grow are actually bad for people and animals that eat the seeds.

Seeds have a substance that stops the growing process until conditions are right. It’s called an enzyme inhibitor. Enzymes are catalysts for sprouting and many other things. In fact, no digestion can take place without enzymes. If you’re eating seeds and consuming the enzyme inhibitor, it slows or blocks the digestive process. That’s a recipe for stomach and digestive problems.

Parts of the grains are really hard on the digestive system.

Complex proteins are hard on the digestive system. One of those complex proteins is called gluten. Wheat and several other grains contain gluten. In fact, wheat today contains more gluten than it did in the past. That’s because in the 1960s, there was a hybrid of wheat created that produced a crop with more usable wheat. Larger amounts of wheat on the same land meant more money, so every farmer started growing it. Today, it’s the primary type of wheat grown. One thing that also sets it apart from the rest is that it’s extremely high in gluten, which may account for the sudden increase in gluten intolerance.

Eating grains and some legumes may actually block nutrients.

Grains and legumes, like beans, contain phytic acid. Phytic acid can affect the absorption of nutrients in the small intestines. That blocking can lead to health issues, including bone loss. In fact, there’s a newly named syndrome called leaky gut that may be coming from the ingestion of grains. Leaky gut has many symptoms and some of them seem totally unrelated to others. One way to find if grains are the problem is with an elimination diet.

  • Grains, like wheat, contain disaccharides that are hard on digestion. It can be even more troublesome to people who already have problems with digestion.
  • One reason more people are being troubled with digesting grains is that the preparation to use the grain has changed to make it more commercial. Soaking it, sprouting it or fermenting it, as in sour dough or sprouted bread, helps your digestion.
  • Switching from traditional wheat products to those made with ancient grains, such as amaranth, sorghum and kamut might be a healthier way to consume grains.
  • The ancient methods of processing grain, soaking, fermenting and sprouting, also helps reduce enzyme inhibitors, removes phytic acid and makes the disaccharides far easier on your digestive system.

How To Work In 30 Min Of Cardio During Your Busy Day

How To Work In 30 Min Of Cardio During Your Busy Day

Sure, everyone says you need to exercise regularly, but how do you work in 30 min of cardio when you barely have time for lunch? There are solutions, but they aren’t always simple. In fact, some take quite a bit of planning. The first thing to realize is that the thirty minutes of cardio doesn’t have to be thirty minutes straight. It can be broken down to shorter sessions, as long as they’re at least ten minutes. That may change how you look at the workout and even change your mind about whether it can fit in.

Carve out ten minute time bundles throughout the day.

Maybe you could leave for work early enough to park a distance from your office and walk there or take the stairs instead of the elevator. That could be your first bundle of ten minutes. Take a brisk walk to lunch and back again. This can get tricky. Since walking five minutes away to eat lunch, eating and walking back five minutes doesn’t count as a ten minute bundle. Instead, walk ten minutes then eat lunch. Do your ten minute routine at the end of the day that you did in the morning.

Get up earlier.

It never usually gets a “Wow, I’ve-got-to-do-that” response, because seriously, mornings are tough enough for most people. If you’re a morning person, it might be perfect, but for those who aren’t, it’s tough. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Getting up a half hour early and walking, running, bike riding or other cardio can get you going faster and may even save a little time.

Ride your bike to work when you can.

There are more and more options to ride a bike to work. You can even do it if you ride the train. There are opportunities with bike share and other programs to rent one of the bikes at the station and ride to work. You’ll save taxi money and may even get there just as fast when you consider how slow traffic can be some days. Not only will you get exercise in the morning, you’ll get exercise when you go back home. It only takes 15 minutes of riding each way to fill in that 30 minute gap.

  • Play with the kids. Getting exercise doesn’t mean you have to be bored or in pain. It can be fun. Schedule a half hour every day to play basketball, ride bikes, run, play tag or do other active things with the kids. It makes memories and is good for both of you.
  • Plan that call to your long-winded friend. Everyone has one of those friends or family members who talks on the phone continuously, barely taking a breath. Make your workout time your phone time too. Put them on speaker and have a workout you can do in a limited area.
  • Make your housework your exercise. Rather than walking with a basket of laundry to the laundry room, run with it. Do everything faster! Take long strides. You’ll get your work done quicker and get some cardio, too.
  • Evaluate your daily schedule. Sometimes, it gets right down to priorities. Is there anything you do that isn’t that important. Maybe it’s watching television. Rather than give it up, exercise while you’re watching.

How To Lose Weight On A Low Carb Diet

How To Lose Weight On A Low Carb Diet

There’s a lot of different names for low carb diets and a lot of difference in how strict they are. A keto diet, for instance, is low carb, but extremely low carb. The type of low carb diet I always recommend are those less severe and more like natural eating habits. They’re more of a healthy way of eating, rather than a diet. You can lose weight on a low carb diet and the first step is to cut out highly processed food and ones containing high amounts of sugar. Those types of food are empty calories that pack on the pounds.

One special type of low carb diet is the keto diet.

It seems everywhere you go there are keto foods that include everything from coffee, which contains fat to raise blood ketones, to keto snack bars and pancakes. I believe that any time you have to eat special food, it’s not a diet that you should follow. Just eating healthier is the key. All types of sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners should be cut from your diet for a low carb diet. Processed foods, soft drinks and vegetable oils are also on the list to be eliminated. The keto diet, which is super low in carbs, has side effects, but a traditional low carb diet doesn’t.

A low carb diet that I recommend still has carbs for energy.

The average American diet gets 50 percent of its calories from carbohydrates, 35 percent of the calories from fat and just 15 percent of the calories from protein. A healthy low carb diet changes the portion of carbohydrates from 50 percent to 40 percent. It lowers the amount of fat to 30 percent and increases protein intake to 30 percent. The carbs in this type of diet come from fruits and vegetables with a small amount from grain products. The fat is healthy fat, unlike the typical type of fat found in the average diet.

The less severe low carb diet has health benefits, besides aiding in weight loss.

The low carb diet I recommend can help you balance your cholesterol, lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing the HDL or good cholesterol–while also improving triglyceride levels. It helps keep blood sugar stable, which aids in preventing insulin resistance that leads to type 2 diabetes. The increase in protein and inclusion of healthy fat helps you feel fuller longer. More protein also means an increase in your metabolism.

  • If you’re going on a keto diet, you’ll find it’s pretty hard to maintain compared to a healthier version that’s not stripped of as many carbs. For instance, on the milder version, pasta and bread are included in the diet.
  • Increasing protein in your diet can help build muscle tissue. For extra benefits, use organic, free-range or grassfed meat or animal products. It has more heart healthy Omega-3 and CLA—conjugated linoleic acid that also helps reduce body fat.
  • Make sure you include plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables. Even though they’re carbohydrates, they’re complex carbs that don’t spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Include a wide variety of colors on your plate when choosing fruits and vegetables. Limit starchy vegetables like potatoes and eat fewer legumes.

How To Beat A Fat Loss Plateau

How To Beat A Fat Loss Plateau

A few new clients come in with complaints that they were working out on their own before they came to the gym in Stamford, but hit a wall when they reached a certain weight and couldn’t lose any more. My clients don’t have a problem with plateauing. That’s because our program has built in ways to beat a fat loss plateau. Even with a great program, it can sometimes occur, which is why we diligently track your progress, so we know when changes must be made. Plateauing can occur when your body burns fewer calories in a workout or requires fewer calories to maintain the weight. It happens for several reasons, you can correct both of them and start getting great weight loss results again.

Plateauing can occur when your body becomes too efficient at doing the workout.

Efficiency is a good thing, unless you’re talking about how your muscle groups work together. When the body becomes too efficient at a specific movement, it burns fewer calories. That can occur if you never vary your workout. It’s one reason I like to change things up frequently. Of course, the other reason is to avoid boredom and keep people more focused on each movement. If you find you’re plateauing, switch your routine about every four to six weeks.

The first few months are always the easiest to lose weight.

This fact is often forgotten when people start to get into shape. You’re heavier the first few months, so you’re carrying more weight around continuously. Imagine carrying a 10-25 pound weight all day. That would certainly burn more calories than not carrying it. When you lose weight, you don’t require as many calories for maintenance. You either have to build more muscles to boost your metabolism, eat less or be more active. The fitter you become, the harder you have to work.

Sometimes, the problem is not with the program, but how you measure success.

If you’re literally working your butt off and wearing a smaller size of pants, but the scales aren’t registering weight loss, it might be because you have more muscle tissue. Muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. It takes a far smaller container to hold ten pounds of muscle than it does to hold ten pounds of fat, so the more muscle you have, the smaller your size of clothing and the fewer inches you’ll have around the middle. When your goal is to be thinner, you’re really accomplishing the goal by losing inches. You’re successful, but you are measuring the success wrong.

  • Maybe your problem isn’t what you’re eating, but what you’re drinking. If you down several soft drinks in a day, you’re consuming loads of calories. A large cola from a fast food restaurant has three hundred calories. One or two a day can destroy your weight loss program.
  • Don’t weigh yourself several times a day. Sometimes, water weight varies and that can make you feel like a failure. Fluctuations in weight are temporary. Weighing once a week will give a truer picture.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can increase the hunger hormone and suppress the satiety hormone, making you hungry all the time and not for necessary foods, but sugary treats.
  • No matter what weight you are, love yourself. You’re a unique individual and should be your own best friend. Hating yourself can make you feel less worthy. Remember, you aren’t your weight. Losing it is just a way to be healthier and take care of yourself.

Improve Your Body Image

Improve Your Body Image

It’s hard to find anyone that loves everything about how they look, but it’s extremely easy to find people who hate everything. That poor body image is a deterrent to getting fit. While you might think it drives you to do better, it’s really counterproductive. Feeling bad about how you look affects your elf-confidence and often detours progress in all areas, including fitness. Having a good attitude toward your body will drive you harder to treat it right, eating healthy and exercise. Finding ways to improve your body image is important to successfully improving your body.

Start with loving what you see.

Nobody and no body is perfect. Those pictures of models in magazines and online are often airbrushed and photoshopped to appear that way, but they aren’t. You are beautiful or handsome, whether you’re 120 pounds or 300 pounds and you have been given a body that’s meant to be healthy for decades. Treat it with care. Treat it the way you would anything, human, animal or inanimate object you appreciate or love.

Eating healthy is one way to show love to your body.

Seriously, people often treat their cars better than they do their body. They make sure it gets the right fuel, check the fluids and clean it with love. You should at least make sure you’re getting the right fuel. That can happen when you care about yourself. The amazing thing is that when you treat your body better, it starts to look healthier. Regular exercise is important to a healthy body, so adding that should be part of your focus.

Avoid comparing yourself to others.

Avoiding not only comparing yourself to others, but also negative talk about yourself or another person’s body is one way to improve your body image. That’s right! Whether you compare yourself to someone you feel looks worse than you or someone that you feel looks better, it’s all defeating. There’s always someone that looks better than you and someone that looks worse. It’s not important. Body negativity, whether it’s about you or someone else, sets the focus on appearance. The brain often doesn’t differentiate whose body you’re talking about, either. Keep your talk always positive and avoid negativity about how people, including yourself, look.

  • Send yourself a daily love note. Put sticky notes on the mirror that tell you how great you are or just tell yourself that face to face when you’re looking at yourself.
  • Take steps to change your body image, by taking steps to treat yourself in a better manner. Change your eating habits to include healthier foods. Add regular exercise. One study shows that people who start a workout program improve their body image even before they see results.
  • Remember it’s not all about you. That may sound harsh, but it isn’t. It helped many self-conscious clients. Focus others and become interested in what they say and who they are. Remember, many they may be self-conscious, too. It takes your focus off your body image.
  • Be aware of your negative thoughts and change them. The minute you notice a negative body image thought, replace it with a positive statement.