Why are you not losing weight?

With Spring Break approaching, many students and staff are working their hardest to lose weight and get into better shape.  Unfortunately, even with dieting and exercise, some people just can’t seem to shed those dreaded last few pounds.  Here are some possible reasons why:

  1. You think you are eating healthy, but in reality you are not: People often think of eating healthy as simply eating low carb diets, fat free food, or limiting calories.  In reality, your body needs both carbs and fats to give you energy and to function properly.  A way to make sure you are eating healthy is to keep track of the food you intake and make sure you eat the proper macronutrients.
  2. You are not getting enough sleep: Most people do not get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.  Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain.  Getting to bed at an earlier time could help resolve this. 
  3. You are under too much stress: When your body is under stress, both emotional and physical, it responds by producing cortisol.  Cortisol is a hormone that catabolizes muscle, worsens insulin, and promotes the storage of fat.  No matter how tough things get, always remember to relax!
  4. You are adding muscle: It is important to remember that weight is just a number.  When you exercise, you are not only burning fat, but also building muscle.  Because muscle weighs more than fat, you may see an increase in weight, even though your body fat percent decreases. 
  5. You may have reached a healthy homeostasis: Your body has an “ideal” weight which is the genetic set point at which it is most effective.  Often times this healthy homeostasis is achieved at a higher body fat percentage in women.  When you reach this point, you may want to ask yourself if losing more weight is really necessary.

Tips for a Healthy Heart

Exercise alone isn’t the only way to keep your heart strong and making sure it does is crucial- the heart is the fuel source for the entire body! A few lifestyle tweaks can lead to a healthier heart and, by extension, clearer skin, a sharper brain, and higher energy levels. Here are a few tips to incorporate healthy heart decisions into your life.
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Say yes to:
Magnesium– The mineral plays a crucial role in helping your heart beat, and an extra 200 milligrams daily could slash your cardiac disease risk by 22 percent. Good sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens.
Tea– Both green and black varieties may help reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and having regular cups can also improve artery function. Skip bottled versions and brew it yourself for the biggest benefits.
Optimism– A cheery disposition has been linked to a lower risk for heart disease, especially among people with a family history of the disorder.

Say no to:
Constant Noise– Living near a busy airport or always being around loud traffic could raise your heart disease risk. Experts believe noise pollution can cause an uptick in stress, which increases blood pressure. Use earplugs!
Anger– Your chances of a heart attack increase 2.4-fold in the two hours after a rage-fueled outburst, thanks to sky-high levels of adrenaline and cortisol that squeeze arteries.

Click here for more information!

Should You Try Going Gluten-Free?

There has been a recent interest in becoming gluten-free, but is it the healthiest or best option for you? Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten itself offers little nutritious value, but the foods which contain gluten offer a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for a healthy diet.

                The main cause of going gluten-free is Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an abnormal immune response to gluten that causes inflammation of the small intestine and affects approximately 1% of the American population. People suffering from Celiac Disease have trouble absorbing important nutrients due to the intestinal inflammation. The only way to discover if you have Celiac Disease is to be tested. If you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a gluten-free diet can help reduce the inflammation so that your body may benefit from the vital nutrients in your diet.

                There are many people without Celiac Disease, who are trying to go gluten-free. When you adopt a gluten-free diet, you must make a lifestyle change that is, at many times, hard to adhere to. Although many think that a gluten-free diet is healthier, that is not always the case. It is recommended that 50% of your carbohydrates come from sources, such as whole grains, that contain gluten. In turn, there are many risks associated with a gluten-free diet if you do not need to be. For instance, many gluten-free products are low in B-vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and fiber compared to their gluten-containing counterparts. Furthermore, gluten-free products are more expensive.

                Gluten-free or not, any diet should be high in lean meats, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products. To learn more about gluten-free diets and celiac disease, try reading…

–          Grain Brain by David Perlmutter

–          Gluten-Free Diet: What’s allowed, what’s not http://www.mayoclinic.org/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530

Mixing Exercise and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There was an article that was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that studied the effects Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can have on exercise-induced intestinal injuries in people. NSAIDs are a very popular choice for people to take before an event as to reduce pain from a previous injury or prevent anticipated exercise-induced injury. It was stated in this study that it was previously discovered one hour of exhaustive physical activity can lead to small intestine injury. This article was testing whether or not ingestion of NSAIDs made these intestinal injuries worst.

 To test this theory, nine healthy, trained men were studied in four different situations. These situations were taking 400 mg of Ibuprofen before cycling, cycling without Ibuprofen, taking 400 mg Ibuprofen at rest, and resting without any intake of Ibuprofen. To measure whether or not increased intestinal injury was occurring, plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) levels were determined, as well as urinary excretion of orally ingested multi-sugar test probes being measured to assess GI permeability.

 What was discovered from this study was that I-FABP levels increased after cycling and after taking Ibuprofen, showing that the most small intestine injury was occurring at this level. Although I-FABP levels increased from both of these activities, the levels were the highest after taking Ibuprofen and then cycling, showing that the most small intestine damage was caused by this situation.  Also, from testing the GI permeability through the multi-sugar test probes, it was discovered that small intestinal permeability increased the most after taking Ibuprofen and cycling, showing that there was a loss of gut barrier integrity.

From this study, we can take away that small intestine damage certainly occurs after engaging in a strenuous physical activity. We can also take away that the use of Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs aggravate these intestinal injuries caused by physical activity and induces gut-barrier dysfunction. It can be concluded that although many people and athletes think it is safe to take NSAIDs before engaging in a physical activity as to reduce pain from a previous injury or to prevent anticipated pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug consumption is indeed dangerous to an athlete and should be discouraged.

Progressive Overload

There are countless articles out there that give you free training programs to do over a period of a week to even months.  They give youa prescribed list of exercises that include the reps and sets of each.  This is great if you’re a beginner (1 year of weight training).  However, if you’re advanced, do you really think this is optimal?  Where does progression fit into all of this?  Not to mention these programs aren’t individualized.

 

Again, this is great if you’re a beginner because you are given exactly what exercises to perform, and how many sets and reps you should do. Also, as a beginner, it is much easier to continually get stronger as opposed to someone who has been lifting for several years.  If you can’t add weight on to the bar in that program, the progressive overload is coming from where exactly? It isn’t. Your progress will not be as optimal.

 

There are many ways that we can go about adding overload to a program, all of which call for a more involved training template. Here are a few ideas to help you add progressive overload.

 

  • Add a set or two onto primary exercises in weeks 2 and 4 of a program.
  • Increase the percentages of your one rep max every couple weeks and take a deload* every 6th week.

*back off to about 50% of your 1RM for a week to give your CNS a break and focus on form.

  • Adjust reps with each week based on your goals. For example, 1-6 reps for strength, 6-12 for hypertrophy etc.

 

Here are a few tips to help you customize your own training program and a simple way to apply progressive overall to your training program.

 

For more information talk to one of our Living Well staff for help with program design and visit http://www.nsca.com

http://bretcontreras.com/progressive-overload/

How much protein should I consume after a workout?

Protein is the key building block in the building and maintaining of muscle. However, many people consume a large portion of their daily allowance of protein directly after their workout because they assume that it is most beneficial at that time. Research shows that only 20 to 40 grams of protein after a workout is necessary. The best protein source is whey, a fast digesting protein found in milk and often sold in powder form. Other sources include low-fat yogurt, chicken or salmon. Keep in mind, that muscles remain responsive to protein up to 24 hours after a workout so there is no need to rush and eat chicken directly after a workout. Just make sure to space out the ingestion of protein otherwise it simply gets expelled as waste.

Best and Worst Health Trends of 2013

Best and Worst Health Trends of 2013
By: Tatiana Mamola

Each year we see new trends in the fitness industry. Some of them stick around, while others last only a few months. The following are the best and worst health trends of this year.

Best

1. Water Workouts
Whatever the workout may be, from yoga to cycling, it can now probably be done in the water. By performing these exercises in the water you can eliminate joint pain and impact of many exercises while adding all-over resistance for greater strength and weight-loss gains.

2. Fun Runs
Whether you are running through mud, obstacles or foam colored powder the main objective is to have fun. There has been an increase in interest and participation in these types of events this year.

3. Going Vegan
According to a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegans tend to be thinner and have lower cholesterol and blood pressure than omnivores and vegetarians. There has been an overall increase in people turning towards this lifestyle this year.

4. Hybrid Yoga
A combination of yoga with ropes, hula-hoops, kickboxing and even trampolines has made its way into the yoga studios this year. By integrating these other movements, you can train a wider variety of muscles for a better total body workout.

5. Bike Sharing Programs
Now in numerous cities, there are bike stations that you can borrow bikes from. Not only can this save you time traveling from place to place, but it also gives you a great workout.

Worst

1. Open Bar Gyms
There have been an increasing number of gyms that are serving alcohol as their post workout beverage. After completing the workout, the members get an all-you-can-drink pass. This is not healthy or beneficial to your body in the least because your muscles are drained of glycogen; which is needed to repair your muscles after a workout.

2. The Whole30 Diet
This is an even stricter version of the Paleo Diet. The Whole30 Diets is a month long program that prohibits the consumption of legumes, whole grains, calcium, dairy, coffee, alcohol and honey. Basically it is a strict diet of only plants and meats. While it does promote weight loss, after the month ends people end up gaining more weight and it is typically 100% fat.

3. Going Gluten Free for No Reason
About 1 in 3 Americans are cutting down or eliminating gluten completely from their diets. Gluten free foods aren’t automatically better for you and a lot of them can actually make you gain weight. When food manufacturers remove gluten, they add in fat and sugar to help the food maintain its shape. If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then a gluten-free diet has no benefit for you and can actually be harming gut health.

4. Vibration machines
This year the introduction of a pulsating platform to help tone muscles, boost metabolism and reduce cellulite was introduced. However, in one International Journal of Sports Medicine study, women who completed 24 weeks of whole-body vibration training did not lose fat.

5. The Bulletproof Diet
This is a great example of why you should research into who’s behind your eating plan. This diet plan wasn’t created by a doctor or nutritionist, but a Silicon Valley investor and computer security professional who lost more than 100 pounds, according to the diet’s website. While the story is inspiring, it does not provide solid scientific evidence to support eating 4,000+ calories a day, not exercise and scoop butter into your morning coffee. If something sounds too good, chances are it probably is.