Apples, Pears, Plums… Can I Enjoy It?

Apple, pear, tape and glucometerI love it when my clients get excited. Not just about fitness, either! I love hearing about what my clients are up to outside of the immediate realm of fitness, whether it’s hobbies they enjoy, weekend plans they are looking forward to, or just daily updates.

One client of mine, Jon, has been telling me all about the fruit trees he has planted in his backyard. He is stoked that his micro orchard, if you can call five trees and orchard, are going gangbusters. Despite the heat, the trees have been producing a lot of fruit, and it looks like he has a lot of dishes that include apples, plums, and pears in his immediate future.

You can see where I’m going with this, right? I bet you can!

During the late summer, a lot of fruit starts to make its way to the market. I see a lot of independent entrepreneurs on street corners selling fresh apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries. As a chef, it’s a great time to take advantage of seasonal foods.

Now for the most part, fruits seem to get a bad rap at the surface. Fruits are seen as sugar packing desserts, inferior to vegetables. It’s true, in some cases: many fruits are used in dessert items, like cherry pie, apple strudel, plum pudding… and yes, these items are not on your diet plan! But that doesn’t mean fruits as a whole should be taken out of your diet.

Fruits are still a huge part of the food pyramid, and while they should be regulated like any other portion of food, you should still include healthy fruits into your diet. Take a look at some of the most important aspects of keeping fruit in your diet:

Fruits don’t contain cholesterol – That’s right! Cholesterol free! Fruits are also low in sodium, unhealthy fats, and calories.

Fruits are sources of nutrients – As a whole, most Americans lack a healthy source of potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Guess what many fruits have? All of these, especially bananas, prunes, peaches, apricots, and cantaloupe.

Fruits reduce heart disease – Because of these nutrients I just listed, fruits are amazing at preventing heart disease, which includes risk of heart attack and stroke.

Fiber! – Fiber is essential to any diet as you get older, as it helps protect against types of cancers, creates a sense of fullness, and helps proper bowel movement.

So don’t feel bad by grabbing an apple for the afternoon snack, or grabbing a few plums for lunch. Enjoy the treat! Be sure to talk to a personal trainer at Boomer Fitness to see how we can fully incorporate a healthy amount of fruit into your daily diet.

 

Water: Don’t Neglect It

water splash in a glassWhen it comes to working out, there really aren’t a lot of things you need to take with you. You get some gym clothes, you grab a towel, and you’re ready to build some muscles, right?

Gyms like Boomer Fitness are great for that reason. We carry the essentials you need when you’re here, so you don’t have to worry about taking things with you. We’ve got the equipment for the workout, the showers for cleaning up afterward, and the water faucet for when you need to re-hydrate.

But what happens when you’re outdoors this summer? You might go for a hike up Dog Mountain, go jogging around the block, or even cycle down to the local grocery store. When you head out, you still might not take much with you, other than some breathable clothes, a cellphone, and the keys. But there’s something missing. Can you guess it? If you guessed water, you know where I’m going with this.

Water is ESSENTIAL, especially when you’re outdoors. Think about it this way: your body is already around 65% water. Would you really want to deny yourself something that makes up 65% of your body?

No matter what you’re doing, you’re likely going to be outdoors this summer. And if this heat continues, it’s going to get very, very hot while we’re outdoors.

This means you’re going to need a lot more water than you might in a regular workout. Why is that? Well, when your in a hotter environment, you’re going to be sweating a lot more. Your going to be expending more water, which means you’re going to need to replace it with even more.

When you exercise, your muscles are going through a number of chemical reactions. Water is essential in many of these reactions, and if they don’t have the necessary ingredients, these reactions slow down. Think of water as lubrication for your muscles. Without it, you’re going to start getting less efficient.

Here’s an example – As you work out, your heart is going to be working harder than normal to get blood to your muscles. Water is the main ingredient in plasma found in your blood, which is responsible for moving chemical components around your body. Drinking more water means your body is going to be much better at getting things where they need to go.

So do yourself a favor the next time you hike up Dog Mountain: Bring a canteen of water with you! You will feel better, your body will be more efficient, and best of all, you’re exercising outdoors! You can’t lose when you’re enjoying the great weather this summer.

Empty Stomach Syndrome: Creating Havoc on your Diet

iStock_000018166519XSmallWe’ve all been there. You’re heading to the supermarket and suddenly everything looks delicious. You start walking down the aisles and you suddenly have an urge to try everything! Those chips look so good, those cookies are to die for, and I’ve never seen that beef jerky before. The next thing you know, your cart is full and you haven’t even started checking off the things on your list yet.

Stop! Drop those sugar-filled cookies and get out while you still can! You’re suffering from empty stomach syndrome, and it’s not going to help that specialty diet we set up for you.

Empty Stomach Syndrome, or ESS, is what happens when you are hungry and enter a store filled with foods. It’s a recipe for disaster if you’re on a specialty diet program, especially when you walk down those aisles that are absolutely filled with junk food.

It’s not entirely your fault, either. Supermarkets know what they’re doing with these aisles, and seek to take full advantage of your ESS. You might notice that snack foods are always at eye level, spaced throughout the store, and always seem to have some great “club prices” that scream a deal. After all, there’s no harm in trying those saturated fat crackers, especially when you’re saving two bucks when doing it!

Do yourself a favor: The next time you’re going to the market for foods, grab a quick healthy meal or snack beforehand. Planning your trip to the supermarket after a meal will do a number of things for you:

Save Money – You might notice that if you’re not shopping hungry, your cart won’t be quite as full. You’re going to be less inclined to buy foods you don’t need when you’re not daydreaming about how they taste. Less cravings mean less money at the checkout.

Less Snack Foods -If you’re not hungry, you’re going to be planning for the future,  not for the present. Keeping your attention on your diet instead of your snack cravings means you’re going to spend more time in healthier aisles, which means less temptations later down the road.

Better Planning – When you’re operating on a full tank, you’re a lot less likely to make mistakes than if you’re running on empty. After a meal, you’re going to be thinking straight, which means you can plan around your diet. You’re going to remember things that are on your good list, and remember to keep yourself from buying foods that are not.

Remember: You either go all the way or your don’t go at all. There’s no middle ground, which means you can’t cut corners on your diet. Stick to it, and you will make progress!

Keeping a Clean House: The Showers

20150519_104725I don’t know about you, but I know there have been times where I’ve been afraid to even step foot into a corporate gyms shower. They can be unhygienic, dirty, and some don’t even work. Sometimes its just a gamble to see if the shower has luke warm water or fridged cold. Don’t even hope for any hot water.

I can’t understand why this is considered excusable, either! A lot of people go to the gym in the middle of the day, and either have to go back to work afterward, or want to go home. Either way, you don’t want to get in your car with your gym clothes on. But risking yourself at a gym shower which looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in days, or even weeks? It feels like being stuck between an unhygienic rock and a smelly hard place.

Some gyms put the entire focus on gym equipment, but completely neglect other aspects of the gym. Sure, widescreen televisions are great, but is that really where the priority should be? Some private gyms I’ve seen don’t even offer showers to begin with.

It’s not just about keeping a clean house, either. When you join a gym, you want to to be comfortable in your environment. That’s why I’m so proud of our facility here at Boomer Fitness. We keep a clean set of showers, always stocked with clean towels, soaps, and shampoos. It has hot water (not lukewarm, but HOT!), and is available for all members. And you will never, ever have to worry about whether it was cleaned recently. We are very lucky to be working with The Cleaning Authority, who comes in and makes sure our showers are up to our standards.

To me, this shouldn’t have to be advertised as another service. It’s a basic necessity among gyms. It’s just one more reason why Boomer Fitness takes gym membership to a whole new level.

Fun: The forgotten aspect of Fitness

My folks staying young!
My folks staying young!

Once upon a time, the word “recess” used to inspire anticipation. We looked forward to playing tag, or being the first to the swing set, or grabbing the football and teaming up with your friends against the other dreaded 5th graders.

As a kid, spending time out on the playground wasn’t dreamed of as punishment – it was something to look forward to, something to be enjoyed! Those 30 minutes of freedom outside of the classroom were sometimes the best part of gradeschool.

Now when we think about running across a field or swinging on a jungle gym, many think  its a sport for a younger generation. It’s something your kids do, or even your grand kids, but certainly not you. I’ll watch from here, you go have fun. I’ll get my workout at the gym later.

What happened? When did fitness stop being fun?

Something that always gets pushed to the wayside of fitness it the importance of having a good time. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, you will break a sweat when doing it. But going to the gym shouldn’t be something that you dread. It should be something you look forward to. Otherwise, what is going to bring you back to the gym on those days that you can’t find any other motivation?

I have a mission for you this week. Spend one hour and do something that you enjoy, but haven’t made time to do recently. Maybe it’s riding your bike down at Fishermans Wharf. Maybe it’s shooting some hoops with your kids or some friends at the office. Maybe it’s as simple as getting on a swing, like my parents! The important thing is to get outside and enjoy doing something active that you don’t normally do. Riding your bike or jumping on the swings will still give you a workout, even if it might not feel like it at the time.

That’s one of the reasons I have put together these 21 day boot camps you might be participating in. Yes, it’s a workout, and yes, we are working toward results. It’s uncomfortable at times, and extremely difficult to get the results we want. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun as we do it!

Don’t make your fitness something to dread. Have fun with it. Enjoy it! Do that, and you may find your schedule has more time for fitness.

When you’re ready to make the change and have fun doing it, email me about getting started on your 21 day plan. We will get you signed up and ready to go!

Natural vs Unnatural Sugars

iStock_000012651702XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about sugar and the dangers of consuming too much. Many of us are eating sugar without even knowing it, with many condiments and processed foods smuggling sugar into our diets.

There is such a thing as too much sugar, but does that mean you can cut them from your diet altogether? Well, not exactly. Carbohydrates, necessary to keeping your body energized, is a sugar! Give up carbs altogether, and you won’t have any energy to get through the day.

Now, you might be thinking I’m contradicting myself. How can I tell you to cut sugar from you diet, but then tell you that sugars like carbs are a necessity of life? There is a distinction between necessary sugars and excessive sugars, and it’s as simple as looking at the source.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The biggest culprit in excessive sugar consumption is high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. HFCS is made primarily of corn, and is created when corn syrup undergoes a conversion process, changing some of its glucose to fructose. Because of the ease of processing, HFCS is used as a supplement in many processed foods for sweetness. You can find it in most sodas, processed desserts like Twinkies, and even in places you wouldn’t expect like energy bars or cereal.

There has recently been a lot of conflicting information regarding HFCS. Many sources will tell you that there are no dangers in HFCS, while others will tell you that its a poisonous bile you should avoid at all costs. As commonplace as it is, it’s hard to escape HFCS. But there are always alternatives to unnatural sources of sugar.

Natural Sugars 

Of course, sugar isn’t an unnatural product altogether. Many healthy foods, like fruits for example, naturally contain sugars. A single red delicious apple will naturally contain approximately 23 grams of sugar, and you will seldom hear a doctor telling you to stop eating fruits.

As I said before, carbohydrate sugars have a very important part in our lives, and it would be unhealthy to block out these energy sources completely. How can we get through our fitness regimen if our body doesn’t have the energy to do it?

I have a quick tip I tell some of my clients who are struggling with this: If you’re considering a food, look at the nutritional information on the back. If sugar comes up in the first few lines, put the box down and find something else to eat. If High Fructose Corn Syrup shows up, find something else to eat. If you see words that you have to sound out in your head, put the box down.

The ingredient sugar is not deadly, but sugar in high quantity is. As we make changes in our lives, especially in our diet, it is important to be aware of what we are fueling ourselves with. Trust me, I know that making the change from processed foods packed full of sugar will be difficult, but I also know it will be worth the change.

Be sure to ask any of the personal trainers at Boomer Fitness about how you can make a healthy change in your diet. And stay up to date on my blog for more details to come!

Sugar, the Unknown Danger Hiding in your Food

iStock_000016293067XSmallI don’t know about you, but during my childhood, one of my favorite memories was waking up exceedingly early on Saturday Mornings. I would head downstairs, turn on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and grab a huge bowl of Frosted Flakes, doused with extra sugar from the cabinet. It was a childhood tradition, and you could never have too much sugar.

Today, I shudder to think about how much sugar kids are putting through their bodies whether their parents know about it or not. With the amount of sugar that can be found in every day foods anymore, adding even more is beyond excessive.

I won’t beat around the bush on this one: whether you are a kid watching cartoons early in the morning or just adding some sugar to your morning coffee, high levels of sugar in anyone’s diet is deadly. (When I was proof reading this, a client of mine thought claiming excessive sugar consumption is deadly was going too far, but I disagree. I want to make sure you know the truth about what is in your food, and I have no intention of sugar coating the truth for you… pun intended) Excess consumption of sugar is known to be directly linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, all of which a big portion of our population is struggling with right now.

This problem isn’t just something we can ignore and hope will go away, either. Today, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, and it’s only estimated to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that the total deaths caused by diabetes will increase by 50% in the next 10 years. in 2012, the American Diabetes Association discovered that just under 10% of the US population had a form of diabetes.

You may be thinking “Ok Brian, I get it. Sugar is bad, but I cut soda out of my diet years ago. I don’t have ice cream in the house, and I treat myself to one candy bar when Halloween comes around. I’m doing enough to cut sugar out of my diet, right?

Unfortunately, you likely have more sugar in your diet than you think. Adding a little sugar from the packets on the restaurant table is one thing, but many processed foods include sugar as an additive already. You are likely consuming sugar without even knowing it’s in the food you’re eating. Take a look at some of the worst offenders of sugar smuggling that could be in your refrigerator right now:

Ketchup – Generic brands of ketchup are well known for smuggling sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. One tablespoon of ketchup can have as much a 3.7 grams of it packed inside, which can equate to about a sugar cubes worth of sweetness.

Peanut Butter – Another offender of the high fructose corn syrup smuggling is your typical name brand peanut butter. In two tablespoons, you will find 3 grams of sugar, or just under one sugar cube.

Beef Jerky – How much can you really jam into a piece of dried meat? Turns out quite a lot more than you might have thought. Once piece of jerky, averaged at just under 1 ounce, can have as much as 1.8 grams of sugar. More if it’s a flavored brand of jerky.

Name Brand Iced Tea – Various brands of Iced Tea try to frame themselves as a healthier alternative to soda or other sugary drinks. But one 24 ounce can of generic Iced Tea can hold as much as 72 grams of sugar! That’s 18 cubes of sugar packed into a single drink.

Name Brand Light Yogurt – Even yogurt, which is labelled as a healthy way to start the day and snack on, contains up to 14 grams of sugar. Non “light” versions of the same yogurt can have even more, up to 27 grams.

Unsweetened Diet Cereal – This one almost makes me laugh. After all, unsweetened diet cereal appears to be one of the blandest things you can include in your diet, right? It looks as simple as baked corn flakes! How can they possibly cram sugar into that? Before you grab the non-frosted corn flakes off the store shelves, be sure to take a look at the nutritional facts. A typical generic brand of dietary cereal will have anywhere between 3 to 4 grams of sugar per cup. Just because it’s not labelled as “frosted” doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Unfortunately, added sugar is found in almost all packaged foods. I have a difficult time going into a local grocery store and finding foods that haven’t had sugar added for flavor. But there are ways of checking if sugar has been added, and even foods that don’t have any additives. This Thursday, check back in and I’ll tell you what to look for and how to avoid the additive sugars you can live without.

Good Supplements – Filling in the Gaps

iStock_000004424358XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about the dangers of bad supplements, and how they can do a lot more damage than good. Things like carbohydrate blockers, unregulated testosterone boosters, and too many vitamins can cause harm to the way your body functions. Many don’t measure up to the outrageous claims made on late night tv commercials.

Many supplements can do damage, but that doesn’t mean all supplements deserve a bad rap. In fact, many supplements on the market can do a lot of good, depending on what your body needs and your diet might be lacking.

There are plenty of supplements in the market that are perfectly healthy, when taken in moderation and with the full knowledge of what you’re putting in your body. I could write a book about all the good supplements out there, but lets take a brief look at some of the well known supplements out there:

Whey Protein – When I bring up protein mixes, a lot of people initially think I’m trying to turn them into a muscle head or a body builder. Having extra protein in your diet isn’t going to automatically give you bulging muscles, but what it can do is help preserve your muscles after exercising.

Whey Protein is a great source of Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs. These proteins reduce the amount of protein breakdown in your muscles. This means your muscles are going to recover faster after a workout, and promote muscle growth.

There are many, many different types of whey protein out on the market. There are even many types of protein mixtures other than whey you can use. I typically do not pay attention to the label as much as I do the nutritional information. Since it’s a protein mixture, I tend to choose mixtures that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

Vitamin C – This particular vitamin has many uses throughout your body. From fighting colds to reducing pollutants, curing infections to promoting better blood flow, Vitamin C goes a long way to promoting healthy bodily function.

So how much is enough Vitamin C? As I wrote before, having too many vitamins can be a bad thing, but one to three grams of Vitamin C per day can go a long way toward promoting healthy body functions.

Green leafy vegetables and fruits like oranges and kiwis are very high in Vitamin C, and are a great natural source of the vitamin.

Fish Oil – This is a generalized supplement, but fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy body function when paired with omega-6 acids. Because the common diet of red meats and eggs contain many omega-6 acids but not as many omega-3s, having a healthy boost of omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Again, supplements should not be taken in excess, as fish oil can also raise levels of cholesterol. But when taken in moderation, the omega-3s found in this oil can be very beneficial.

Of course, the big question comes to mind: do I need to take these supplements? And the answer is of course not! Supplements do nothing but add nutrients to your body that you might not normally get in your everyday diet. There are no miracle cures that will automatically give you the body of Wonderwoman. But what supplements can do is fill in a few gaps you might have in your every day diet. They won’t do the hard work for you, but it might give you a little extra help.

No matter what though, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking supplements of any kind. And be sure to talk to me about any supplements you might be considering! I am happy to share my two cents on any and all supplements out there.

Aches and Pains – What do they mean?

10394567_822127597835919_2048834069246516979_nIf you managed to come to our Charity Boot Camp this last weekend, you might notice that you’re a little more sore than usual. Getting out of bed might seem like more of a chore, the stairs seem a little steeper than usual, or it might seem a little more difficult to raise your arm to brush your teeth. When you’re sore, you suddenly realize how many muscles you use in your daily life.

So why do we get sore? It’s happened our whole lives, but it might seem like the older we get, the less it takes for our muscles to ache after a workout. Especially after we do a completely new set of exercises at the gym. Our arms ache, our legs ache, our shoulders ache… What is our body trying to tell us?

Even though it might not seem like it, sore muscles are telling us that we are making progress in our personal fitness. Take a look at some of the science behind your Aches and Pains:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Those aches and pains you feel after a workout is referred to by physiologists as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and is completely normal for anyone who does strenuous activity. From those just starting their workout regimen to body builders who spend hours lifting weights, everybody feels sore at some point after a workout.

When you’re exercising, your putting your muscles through strenuous activity they haven’t had to endure before. Your muscles are going through some minor stress, which causes some microscopic tears to occur. Exercise physiologists believe these tears, paired with the minor inflammation that accompanies it, cause the minor aches you feel.

But despite how you feel when you wake up and struggle to get out of bed the next morning, these pains are actually a good thing! As your muscles endure your exercise regimen, they adjust to better accommodate your strenuous fitness activity. The next time you do deadlifts, squats, lunges, or bicep curls, you may notice you ache a little bit less… at least until you increase the resistance you’re using.

How do I ease these aches?

One thing I always recommend to my clients is stretch, stretch, stretch! Stretching your muscles better prepares them for strenuous activity, lessening the sudden shock of jumping off the couch and into your gym shoes. It also allows your muscles to limber up, providing less of a chance for injury.

Once you’re done working out, be sure to spend some extra time doing some easier, aerobic activity. This allows your muscles to cool down, again lessening the sudden shock of strenuous movement to less strenuous activity.

Another way to ease your sore muscles is to pace yourself while you work out. Spend one day doing a solid workout, pushing yourself to the limit. Maybe take part in on of our charity Boot Camps! But after pushing your limits, spend the next day or two working on something less strenuous, such as cardio. Your muscles need time to recover from the activity you just put them through.

Believe it or not, one of the best ways of easing muscle aches is to keep on exercising. In order to get the proper nutrients into your muscles, such as Vitamin C or those antioxidants in those blueberries you had for breakfast, your muscles have to move. Exercising allows your muscles to get the nutrients they need to prepare for the next bout of strenuous activity you throw at them.

So instead of waiting out sore muscles on the couch, give your muscles the attention they need! And remember that despite how they might feel at the time, the good kind of aches you feel after a good workout is the feeling of progress.

Sticking to Your Goals While Travelling

11084264_813465242035488_1911318864560426423_nSpring is here, and summer is just around the corner! It’s always exciting when it gets nice outside, and  I know a lot of people take the opportunity to start planning their vacation when this time of the year starts to roll around.

This last week, I had the chance to visit Las Vegas. It was a great chance to visit Vesta Hospitality, enjoy some time in the sun, and even meet the Seahawk Great Curt Warner! It was a great time, and I hope I can do it again sometime in the future.

It occurred to me, though, that when people are travelling abroad, it might be a little more difficult to fit in your fitness goals. After all, fitness usually demands a time table, and your vacation time pushes aside your everyday life for something a little more relaxing.

Now, you know me. And you know that even while on vacation, I always stress how important it is to stick to your goals, even if it requires a little extra dedication. You have earned a vacation, but don’t let your fitness suffer!

That’s why I like to suggest a few key points to clients who are planning on taking a trip for an extended period of time:

Talk to Boomer Fitness about sticking to your fitness – One of the best things about Boomer Fitness is we continue to work with you on your fitness outside of the gym. The personal trainers here have a wealth of knowledge, and it’s a resource we want you take advantage of while you’re here.

If you’re planning on travelling abroad, let us know, and we’ll talk you through some basic workout routines that you can do on the go. We’ll talk you through proper technique when doing stretches, some basic exercises you can do in a hotel room, and write up a dietary plan you can refer to.

Plan ahead so you can enjoy yourself – Let’s be completely honest for a minute: Whether its food or drink, you’re going to enjoy yourself on your vacation. You know it and I know it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So if you’re going to enjoy yourself while on vacation, lets make sure you’re working on your diet ahead of time so you can afford to enjoy yourself.

When you’re planning out your vacation, choose which meals you’re going to allow yourself to splurge on, so you can enjoy yourself when you finally get to that meal. Plus, the anticipation of such good food will just make it taste all the better!

Look for fitness avenues while travelling – One thing I always advocate when people are travelling is finding a hotel that has a decent workout center. But believe me, I know how hard it can be to find a “fitness center” that is more than just a closest sized room with a treadmill.

The trainers here at Boomer Fitness can help you with exercises that require little to no equipment, and can be done in your very own room. These exercises include Lunges, Wall Presses, and even the cult favorite, Burpees!

Dedication to fitness doesn’t stop when you’re on vacation! But it also doesn’t keep you from enjoying yourself while you’re away. Talk to us for more information about how you can include fitness in your time abroad.