Fitness & Wellness

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.

Is A New Year Detox In Order?

Is A New Year Detox In Order?

Getting a clean start for the year isn’t a bad idea, but a fad detox that’s radical and unhealthy doesn’t fit into anyone’s idea of a healthy way to treat your body. Luckily, there are many different types of detoxing and a mild one can be quite beneficial. It can be anything from intermittent fasting to ultra clean eating to give your immune system a boost and start the year right. Here are some techniques I suggest to clients in Stamford, CT that will boost your energy and give you a head start.

Consider an intermittent fast.

An intermittent fast is a short fast. It can be as simple as eating your meals within an eight hour window and not eating for sixteen hours. Other types of intermittent fasting may be fasting for one day a week or eating light two days a week and then healthy normal meals other days. When you combine fasting with drinking 12 to 18-ounces of warm water each morning, you’ll have a detox that flushes you system, while providing other health benefits. That warm water should be pure and free from chemicals, so you may need to get a good source of bottled water that’s chemical free. Intermittent fasting has shown to have many health benefits, besides aiding weight loss.

No matter what type of mild detox you do, make sure you cut out processed foods.

No matter whether you’re fasting or not, processed foods have no place in your diet. I’ve actually seen people fasting for health only to grab a few chips when it was time for them to eat. The idea of a detox is to eliminate the toxins in your body, so adding more is counterproductive. Eat more fresh vegetables and less meat. Go for grassfed beef or wild fish when you do. Eliminate dairy, gluten, sugar, corn and soy from your diet on those fasting days.

A detox that involved purging of any kind isn’t healthy.

I don’t care what you read, taking substances to get diarrhea and purge your colon really aren’t healthy. Any type of cleanse or detox that involves pills, laxative teas and those types of things isn’t a healthy route to take. Switching to a primarily vegetarian diet or focusing on eating light some days, drinking more water and cutting out processed foods is both healthy and smart. One particularly good detox that I endorse is the sugar or simple carb detox, which eliminates most simple carbs, including drinks and foods that contain refined sugar, fruit juice and milk products.

  • After light eating or a modified short fast, where you also cut out sugar, you’ll be amazed at how sweet fruit really tastes. Rather than a “detox” diet, consider it a tastebud reset.
  • Check the hygiene products you use. Many toxins are absorbed through the skin. Look for natural soaps, shampoos and beauty products whose ingredients don’t read like a list of lab ingredients.
  • When you’re detoxing, make it complete. Get plenty of exercise and sweat! You’ll feel better and burn off the hormones of stress. Exercise is important and one reason you shouldn’t do a radical detox. They leave you weak.
  • Get adequate fiber during a detox and plenty of sleep. Both are important to keeping you healthy. It’s also great advice even when you’re not detoxing.

Do Muscles Need To Rest

Do Muscles Need To Rest

There’s a reason that your personal trainer doesn’t push you hard every day to lift to your maximum or workout to exhaustion. It’s because it’s counterproductive to your ultimate goal. Muscles need to rest after a workout. Those long hours at the gym won’t help you achieve your goals any faster and can cause problems that can put you out of commission for a while.

A hard workout has consequences.

A tough workout creates a lot of stress on your body. When you build muscles, it causes microscopic tears that have to heal. Like any type of sore or cut, it takes time to heal and if you go right back into the gym and stress it again, that won’t happen. Speaking of stress! The workout also stresses your body, but in a good way. It causes the body to create more antioxidants that boost the immune system. If you workout too frequently, the immune system is remains stressed and suppressed. That can drop your immunity for up to 72 hours.

Check out your productivity.

One of the biggest tells that you need some rest is a poor performance. Too much gym time can make your accomplishments disappear and you start regressing rather than progressing. Pushing past it and “sucking it up” to get through the workout won’t help. In fact, that makes it worse. Your enjoyment of the workout diminishes and it affects your desire to continue.

Your mood, energy level and health suffer from overworking your body and not getting a rest.

Your mood may be the first sign that you’ve been working out to much. While your body is fighting to get back to normal, you might be fighting with others. Not giving your body a rest can cause anxiety, irritability, anger, confusion and depression. It may take longer to recover from a workout and you may find you’re not only fatigued, you’re more susceptible to illness.

  • Loss of appetite is one sign that you’re working out too much and need a rest. It’s one of the later stages.
  • Your resting heart rate can give you information. If it significantly goes up, it’s a sign that you may be stressing your body.
  • Not only does insomnia signify that you might be overdoing it at the gym, it also adds to the problem. Your body needs a rest for adequate healing and it can’t get it.
  • When you overwork your muscles, you actually can lose muscle mass and put on fat. That isn’t normally what the people working out too much are hoping to achieve.

Don't Stand In Your Own Way

Don’t Stand In Your Own Way

Don’t stand in your own way if you want a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had clients come up to me in the Stamford gym and tell me their friend, mother, cousin or husband wants to start, they’re just waiting to get finished with a big project or any other excuse you can fill in the blank. While some of the excuses are valid, like recovering from a serious injury, others aren’t. They’re just people standing in their own way on the road to fitness. I actually respect people more who say they simply don’t want to workout and own up to it, even though I don’t understand it.

I know you care about your family, but they need you.

I hear people say they don’t the time. They’re too busy taking care of their family, who simply couldn’t function without them for an hour. To that, I ask, “What are they going to do when you’re seriously ill or injure yourself due to poor flexibility or strength?” Working out helps you stay healthier and reduces the potential for serious conditions. It also gets your body in shape and can prevent accidents and injury.

Check your calendar.

Are you actually creating time for fitness? It takes scheduling ahead and treating your workout like an appointment. If you had a doctor’s appointment or a dental appointment, you’d definitely make it, even if it was just for a check-up. You need to make your exercise time an appointment with fitness. If you don’t, you’ll find that the day gets in the way and you never make it.

The excuse that you can’t afford to pay for a gym or a personal trainer is just that, an excuse.

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that working with a trainer is far more advantageous than working out on your own. Working out in a gym can be an easier way to have access to all the fitness tools. However, to get fit, you don’t need to go to a trainer or go to a gym. I believe fitness is so important you should never let money stop you. It costs nothing to workout at home and if that is what fits your budget, you need to do it. I’m in the business because I love helping people get fit. If you do it on your own that’s good too. Just start working out!

  • Some people worry about how they’ll look when they start working out. They worry others will make fun of them. Don’t let that worry you. Everyone feels awkward at first.
  • Don’t worry that you can’t keep up with others. That’s an excuse that doesn’t work when you workout with a personal trainer. You’ll always be working within your capabilities.
  • Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Just focus on eating fewer processed foods and more whole foods at first. Make sure you have healthy snacks available.
  • It doesn’t have to take long hours or a lot of money to eat healthier. Planning ahead and making meals ahead can save both money and time.

Get Tangible Results With Your Workout

Get Tangible Results With Your Workout

People who workout, do so to get results. While there may be some people who go to the gym as a pastime or for social reasons, most people want to look and feel better. Just sitting on an exercise bike pedaling lightly as though you’re making a short ride through the park won’t get you where you want to be if results are what you’re hoping to achieve. It takes work and consistency to get results. One hard workout a month is definitely not enough to give you the endurance or strength that most people want from their exercise program.

A good workout pushes your heart rate and tests your cardiovascular system.

Yes, any exercise is far better than no exercise at all, but not all workouts are equal. When you push your muscles to do things you haven’t achieved, you’ll get far more results than doing an easy workout you’re comfortable doing. If your heartrate isn’t increased when you’re working out, you won’t get the cardiovascular benefits that provide you with more endurance. Go for the gusto to see results. Challenge yourself with weightlifting and cardio that pushes your heartrate.

There’s a reason that sayings and clichés are so popular. They’re true.

Use it or lose it. If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. Train insane or remain the same. In order to change you have to do something different. These are all things you may hear in the gym and they’re all true. Exercise and working out hard has been known to be important throughout history. Plato wrote, “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” In order to achieve what you want physically, you have to push yourself. If you’re looking for more modern philosophy about exercise, try a quote from Cher, ” Fitness — if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.”

Be honest about your effort and true to your goals for results.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, you need to ask yourself whether you’re working as hard as you should be. You need to take a look at your diet, since you can’t out-exercise a poor diet and it’s necessary for the building blocks to a healthy body. Can you honestly say you’ve stuck with your workout schedule and are doing all the things right, including getting adequate sleep.

  • It takes more than just working out and eating healthy to be fit. You have to watch what you drink. Get lots of hydration from water and cut out the alcohol and soft drinks.
  • If you’re trying to shed pounds, start building discipline muscle and push yourself away from the table, unless the table is packed with whole foods that are healthy for you.
  • Every week try to do a little more than you could do the week earlier. If you’re lifting weights, lift to failure. If you’re jumping rope, push yourself to go a little faster.
  • There are no pills or supplements that substitute for consistent effort, a healthy diet and hard work.

Defend Yourself AND Burn Calories

Defend Yourself AND Burn Calories

Boxing is a great way to learn how to defend yourself, while you burn calories. People come to our gym in Stamford, CT with one goal in mind. It’s either to learn how to box and the art of self-defense, or to shed those extra pounds. After they’ve worked out a while, they realize they get a bonus. Those who want to learn self-defense, get ripped and lose weight. Those who wanted to lose weight, find they love their new found skill and want to get better.

Boxing burns more calories than many other sports.

Those who decided to turn to boxing as their preferred weight loss technique do so because it’s an effective calorie burner. While running will help you burn calories, boxing can help you burn even more. Not only is it tough when you’re sparring, you have to prepare you body to box with warm up exercises like jumping rope, calisthenics and sparring putting a torch to calories in the process.

Unlike running, boxing builds muscle tissue.

One of the pitfalls of running, compared to boxing, is that it doesn’t discriminate from where the energy calories come. Running great distances actually burns muscle tissue and fat to produce the necessary energy. When you’re boxing, you’re building muscle tissue at the same time you’re expending energy. Since muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn even at rest.

Boxing can provide the tools that can help you win, even when the fight isn’t on a level playing field.

In real life, there’s seldom a level playing field when it comes to self-defense. The attacker may be bigger, there may be more than one or he or she may have the element of surprise. Boxing can anyone defend themselves by providing the ability to hit a moving target by improving hand-eye coordination. It offers training in footwork that aids in avoiding an attacker or hitting them with a well-directed, well-timed blow. You develop the power to knock out with both hands using various techniques delivered at different angles and ranges. Boxing teaches you to fight with passion and aggression, being able to take a hit and use defensive moves to avoid them.

  • When you practice boxing, you boost both your anaerobic and aerobic capacity. That’s important for both burning calories and self-defense.
  • Unlike other forms of exercise to burn calories, you learn a skill and the knowledge that the skill can help you overcome an attacker, even if he or she is stronger than you.
  • Boxing gives you the confidence to face someone bigger than you and the courage to walk away from a less skilled harasser that you could wipe out in seconds.
  • That new confidence from achieving a fit body makes you look victorious and not like a victim at all. You’ll be far less likely to be attacked, since people who do that, at heart are cowards.