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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Weight Loss in Pleasanton

Well, it’s that time of year again. That’s right, it’s that wonderful time when family and friends in Pleasanton California unite to celebrate the holidays. It’s a time for us to reflect on the years events, make plans and commit to new resolutions for the year to come. It is also a time when many of us celebrate by going out to eat with family and friends, cooking hearty holiday meals and indulging in our favorite libations. It’s no wonder with so many office parties, shopping trips, and social events, we find ourselves standing on the scale and finding that we have added more than just the odd pound or two. Adding to the challenge of keeping your weight, diet and exercise plan intact, bad weather conspires to keep us less active and prone to putting off that cold, and often wet, trek to the gym. That said, all is not lost. There are a number of measures we can take to prevent Holiday Weight Gain. First, try not to over indulge while sitting at the dinner table. It’s fun to sample everything, just keep your portions small. Remember alcohol adds a lot of empty calories. Stay focused on your exercise and diet regiment. If you do not have one, contact a local Pleasanton Personal Trainer, like Mark Rogers, who can put one together for you. Pleasanton Personal Trainers like Mark Rogers can design a results producing, affordable workout program for you that is specifically designed to help prevent holiday weight gain. Pleasanton personal training can also provide you with the support and added will power often needed during the holidays. The holidays, a time when the temptation to over indulge is ever present. So, let’s go forth and enjoy all the fun that comes with the season’s celebrations and do it while avoiding the dreaded holiday fat gain. Remember to create a plan, keep food portions small, and work with a knowledgeable personal trainer in Pleasanton Californai to develop a simple and effective diet and exercise program specifically designed to keep you on track and feeling great,
Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Top 15 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Eat before you go

2. Bring healthy food you will eat

3. Have a designated denier with you

4. Plan ahead what you will splurge on and stick to it

5. Don't go to every party you're invited to

6. Only stay a brief time, they push food on those who stay late

7. Go to more than one party in a day then you have an excuse not to eat much at each

8. Don't stuff yourself, ie stop before you think your full

9. Use a plate, otherwise you'll keep grabbing more

10. No more than one glass of anything other than water

11. Exercise before you go, I guarantee you wont feel like eating as much junk

12. 3/4 of your plate veggies

13. Wear clothes that fit well, you won't eat as much as you would if you wear lose expando

14. Never take food home

15. Offer to help if you're not hosting since it keeps you focused on serving others not

16. Mingle and talk to a lot of people, you can't chew food and talk

Friday, November 12, 2010

What should I eat for a snack?

Figure out the snacking dilemma, should you or not? What's the best snack food to eat?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stretch in the Car

Never have time to stretch? You can do it in the car. Learn how.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Restaurant Food

Learn what to eat when you are trying to lose fat but still eat at restaurants.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fat isn't making you fat....

Fat isn't what's really making you fat. Listen to find out why.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eating enough quality protein?

Learn about how to choose protein sources and why it matters.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How much should I eat?

How much should you really eat to be healthy and fit while maximizing fat loss in a safe and effective way?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When should I eat to lose fat?

Do you know when to eat to boost your fat loss efforts? Find out when and what foods to eat together and what will sabotage weight loss.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Coffee addiction and fat?

Are you a caffeine junky? Bankrolling your local coffee shops?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sleep, is it keeping you fat?

Why sleep is such a key factor in losing fat and getting fit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What do you eat for breakfast?

Learn what you should be having for breakfast if you want to lose fat and tone up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hormone Hell to Hormone Well

Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter what you do? Particularly if you are in your 40s or 50s you may want to keep reading. I recently finished reading an excellent, easy to read and understand book about how hormone imbalance affects your body. This is especially true regarding weight gain, typically women see this problem more often, but men can also have issues in this area that are hormone related. The book is "From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well" by CW Randolph. It offers an insightful look at the many issues that befall women and men as they age and how hormones play a major role in these concerns. The dangers of synthetic hormone replacement are pointed out while the efficacy of bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT) are highlighted. You will also gain an understanding of how hormones work in your body and why there proper balance is so crucial, particularly as you age. All of this is done in a very understandable way, using language that is technical enough but not so technical that you feel you are reading a textbook. If you are looking for what may be the key to understanding your weight gain, mood issues, pms symptoms and overall feelings of well being you would do well to give this one a read. It's also full of very practical action oriented recommendations of which organizations, doctors, pharmacies etc. to talk to as well as a list of references and resources. Here is a link to the author's website

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Does your lifestyle promote health or not?

Many people will answer yes to this, however if you look around you it's quite obvious they are at best unaware of how they live or at worst in denial.

Go to any average restaurant and notice the menu and then look at what people are eating. Foods that are processed and slathered with sauces, gravies etc. that no doubt have all kinds of unhealthy things in them. Here in CA when you go to a chain restaurant they have to list the calories in the food....a glance or two will quickly make you aware of how much you are actually eating.

Take a glance around in your office, how many people are constantly exhausted and sucking down stimulant laden beverages to make it through the day. Or just take a walk down the street and see how people you can find without a belly. Not too many, even young people who should be thin and in shape have a lot of extra weight!

The fact of the matter is, with obesity rates climbing (see sidebar blurb), people are not taking responsibility for their health and thus they continue to get bigger. How about cutting back on food and moving more, there's a novel health care reform plan. As I've always said, you can pay to eat good quality food and take care of your body (health clubs, spas etc.) or you can pay doctors, hospitals and drug companies to feel like garbage. Your choice.

Get up from the internet and computer, video games, tv, dvr, movies blah blah and engage your mind and body in useful productive activities that help you feel good and enjoy life. In short, stop consuming and start doing and giving and your life will start changing for the better. If you do this you'll feel better, be happier and live a longer healthy life. No more excuses, take responsibility now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moms have a Large Impact

Typically mothers are called on to be the one in charge of a families health, particularly when it comes to eating. But given the fact that over 1/3 of women are obese it's difficult for them to transfer healthy habits and behaviors to their kids and families. Many buy the groceries and prepare the meals and thus if they don't know what healthy habits are then it's likely the family will be lead down the wrong path. This is largely due to ignorance along with convenience. Lets face it, women are busy and time is scarce....when you're tired and people are hungry the last thing you want to do is plan and prepare something healthy. It's much easier to make pasta, order take out, or pop a pizza in the oven. So what's the solution....there are no tricks...only educating oneself, planning and preparation. Yes it may be inconvenient now but in the long run the benefits are innumerable. Most importantly you will be an example to others, especially your children. You can't feed kids mac and cheese, pizza and hot dogs and think they are going to grow up to be intelligent and productive members of society. Here's the article.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Up Those Lost Years

While you can make significant physical changes to your body regardless of your age, one thing is for sure, exercising and participating in sports when you are young gives you the most benefit. Your hormone profile, ability to recover and so forth are at their best when you are young. If you are young or you have kids or know those who do encourage them to be involved in sports and exercise. Below is a brief quote from an article on the Science Daily website....

"The bones respond best when you're young, and if you train and load them with your own bodyweight during these years, it has a stimulating effect on their development," says Nilsson. "This may be important for bone strength much later in life too, so reducing the risk of brittle bones."

The message is, get started, no matter what your's sort of like starting your savings, the more years you have the better the results will be. The difference here is you can never get those years back and thus if you wait until you are in your 30's, 40's etc. to start exercising it's going to take a lot longer to get the benefits and it will be much harder to achieve the same things. Never lose hope, however just realize that if you start later you're making it much harder on yourself as your body has memory and if you didn't do much when you were young you may cut short your potential for maximum health and vitality

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In-Activity Not the Cause of Obesity

Take a look at the article link I have in the sidebar regarding children, activity levels and obesity. All this proves is what many people already know, or at least suspect....eating is much more important than activity when it comes to being at a healthy weight.

Like I have mentioned before, exercise can't compensate for bad eating. If you think it can well, try it for awhile, not only will you find yourself not progressing but you will also find yourself working out for hours on end completely exhausted, sore, sick and injury prone. It's like putting the wrong type of fuel in a can push the accelerator as much as you want but it's only going to respond for a short time and then it will fall apart. Sugar, fast food and other processed junk that looks convenient, appealing and flashy in a store or restaurant will get you nowhere when it comes to fitness. You may look "ok" on the outside but after a short time you will feel terrible on the inside and looks will follow.

Face reality, you can't have your cake and eat it too....hasn't ever worked, won't work now and for sure won't work in the future. Yes you may be able to site some anecdotal example of so and so eats terrible but they look great, but that doesn't mean it applies to anyone else. Likely you don't know what they do all the time every day as you can't be with anyone all day every day....these types of responses are just excuses that get you nowhere.

Ok, off the soap box....just remember you can't cancel out bad eating with exercise....end of story. Clean up your diet and watch your results soar!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's in your shake?

Many people consume protein shakes, weight gain shakes and every other type of meal replacement, quick and easy blend it or shake it up supposed health food.  I will admit I used to consume many of these myself.  Just a basic glance at them should make you at least question their level of benefit.  Fluorescent colors, ingredient lists that are either paragraphs long and/or contain words you've never seen with a minimum of 5 syllables.....hmm could these possibly be filled with substances that aren't meant to be put in our bodies?

Looks like we may have some bona fide answers coming from a review in the July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports.  Turns out several of the very popular shakes contain levels of cadmium and arsenic that are above the USP limits when consuming the recommended number of servings.  Combine this with the fact that most of these shakes contain colorings, "natural flavors" (typically a code for substances that are unhealthy), artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose etc. and you have what amounts to a cocktail that in the long run will do nothing good for your health.

Here is the problem, most people who use these do so because they are lazy and want a quick way to get what they think are adequate nutrients to supplement their workouts instead of taking the time to prepare and eat real food.  The body is not meant to consume nutrients from artificially concocted products that can never be engineered the way real food that comes from the ground or other animals.  Couple that with the fact that a lot of the ingredients are irritants to people's already overloaded digestive system and half of the stuff is never even digested.  A lot of waste going down the toilet.

I'm not against supplements, but you have to get your eating right first and then add in supplements if you think you must.  If you are going to buy protein shakes, it's very difficult to find truly good products in any store.  One rule of thumb is the more advertising, commercial marketing and fancy packaging the worse it is for you.  It's just like a high end car, how many ads do you see for Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferrari...basically none because they sell themselves to those who want them.

If you want high quality, organic protein supplements here are a couple, and no you won't be able to buy them in the store and you won't be consuming them like crazy either because they are not cheap.

The products are made by Well Wisdom, the Vital Whey is the consumer oriented product while the ImmunPro and others are more potent, please read their website before using them.  Iherb is the best place I know of to buy these products....taking a look at these products will make you realize what it takes to produce high quality protein supplements and will also make you realize it's cheaper to buy high quality meat than to drink shakes.  These products don't have artificial sweeteners and aren't going to be like drinking a milkshake....they specifically advise to combine with fruit or something to add flavor.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Think Before You Drink - If You Want to Lose Fat and Be Lean

We are at the beginning of July 4th weekend, filled with BBQs, friends, fun, family and perhaps for some the consumption of choice alcoholic beverages.  Beyond the whole be careful and don't do stupid selfish things like drinking and driving and other associated debaucherous acts, add the negative effect that alcohol has on your fitness efforts.

For one alcohol raises your estrogen levels and lowers testosterone levels in your body....definitely not good for building muscle and losing fat.

Secondly it inhibits protein synthesis which is necessary for muscle development and depletes your body of minerals and vitamins along with dehydrating you.  All fantastic happenings if you're wanting to get in shape--yeah right!

Not to mention the insane amount of sugar calories you will be consuming, 7 calories per gram that the way alcohol is the purest form of sugar and it will irritate your digestive system causing it to be inflamed and thus reducing your ability to digest and absorb the other food you are putting in your body.  Typically, as you may well know, food choices while consuming alcohol are typically not of the healthy variety (can we say grease, Dennys, IHOP and other assorted non-food garbage).

Oh, and do forget the fact that you're killing brain cells also.  And don't even try to use the moderation excuse....what the heck is moderation?  Basically what that means is whatever you want to drink you will justify....perhaps have one drink, if you absolutely must and then switch to WATER....novel concept ehh....

Ok, I'm stepping off my soap box now.....enjoy the holiday weekend!....I'm sure you'll be thinking about this when and if you reach for that choice beverage, and remember, bad eating always outweighs exercise.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Want to be toned? Avoid lengthy aerobics.

What does all this mean?  

For those of you who don't get my fit notes newsletter this is in regards to losing fat, gaining muscle and what type of exercise routine you should focus on to make that happen.  You can sign up for the free monthly email on the right of the page.

You need to have balance in your exercise program and extreme endurance training (while it may be addictive and make you feel good temporarily) is not good for your long term health.  

If you want to maintain or build muscle and reduce fat while potentially increasing your longevity you should strike a balance between intense weight training or interval cardio (if you are comfortable and can talk it is not intense enough) and slow leisurely walking (which actually reduces stress hormones).  Slow walking is very different than jogging or other moderate "I'm kinda getting a workout" cardio or light weight training exercise.  

For those of you endurance training the long term you are doing more to harm your health than to help it.  Most of the people I know who do a lot of endurance training are constantly fighting injuries, getting sick etc....that should be a clue that rest is needed....easier said than done when you're an addict.

For those of you who are doubting any of this, here are the research citations so you can look this information up yourself.

Hormones (Jan. 2009) - showed that a relative excess of stress hormones compared to building hormones plays a key role in damage of the part of dna that is indicative of life and health

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Vol 35, 2003) - study on overtraining syndrome (excessive duration exercise) showed that in endurance athletes there is a correlation to shortened telomeres (part of dna indicating how long we may live)

European Journal of Applied Physiology (Jan. 2010) - comparing endurance runners to healthy sedentary people showed that the more mileage they ran the shorter their telomeres and that their telomeres were not significantly longer than the sedentary group

Sports Medicine in Science & Exercise (Jan. 2008) - study of weight lifters vs runners showed weight lifters had longer telomeres than the running group

You may also want to take a look at the May/June issue of OnFitness Magazine which discusses much of this in their Science of Aging article.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What carbs should I eat?

Generally speaking you should focus on carbohydrates that digest slowly and thus provide a sustained and slower release of sugar into the bloodstream.  Thus the focus should be primarily on vegetables, particularly those with a variety of colors so you can maximize the nutrients you are getting.  Foods such as mixed lettuce greens, squash, beans, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli etc.  Carbohydrate foods you should eat in small quantities are most fruits, grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams and so forth.  The reason being is that these foods turn quite quickly to sugar in the body and cause unstable levels of blood sugar and thus energy.  Additionally, because most of us are relatively sedentary we very easily overeat these items which causes the excess calories to be turned into fat.

A good rule of thumb is if you are going to eat fruits or starchy carbs (i.e. potatoes) to do so in small amounts and eat them early in the day.  Along with this you should make sure to always eat some type of protein/fat with these foods to slow down there affect on your blood sugar and thus energy levels.  You want stable levels of blood sugar, not abrupt ups and downs that lead to afternoon fatigue followed by binging on more sugar.....once you get on that roller coaster it's hard to get off of it.

Yes, it may take awhile to get used to not eating these higher sugar foods but after your body adapts (which should only take a couple weeks) you will find you feel much better and have higher energy levels, not to mention the fact that you will probably notice yourself losing body fat.

One last point, the real danger zone for many people when it comes to carbohydrates is with beverages (juice, soda, smoothies, etc.)  You can consume a large number of calories very quickly when you start drinking things that taste good and are easy to consume fast.  Just do a little investigating by reading labels on juice, soda or other beverages and you'll see that all you are doing is drinking liquid sugar which equals body fat.  If you drink diet don't think you are off the hook, plenty of studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are very damaging to your body and cause you to eat more because your body tastes the sweetness but isn't getting calories, so your brain says keep eating.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why is Sugar a Problem?

I will try to make this as simple as possible and not get into too many technical details.......The primary reason sugar is a problem is because your body, like most people in today's world, doesn't need as many calories due to the relatively inactive lives most people lead.  Combine that with the fact that sugar supplies a large number of calories per gram and many people eat a lot of sugar.  Particularly problematic is refined sugar, the sugar found in any product that is refined or processed, has little or no nutritional's just straight calories.  For the most part the only unrefined sugar is going to be in fruits, veggies and other foods that you can find growing in fields or on trees.  When's the last time you saw a piece of bread growing in a field or on a tree?

Because refined sugar is so concentrated and void of nutrients your body has to pull nutrients from and water from your tissues in order to process it....thus potentially leading to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.  It also causes your body to constantly release insulin (a storage hormone) into your blood so that the sugar can be shuttled into cells.  This leads to accumulation of fat tissue as the body needs more places to store the excess energy you are consuming.  As cells become full of sugars they become less sensitive to insulin (causing insulin resistance) which can lead to diabetes and a whole host of other problems.  Since there is a relatively high level of insulin in your blood due to the excess sugar consumption your blood vessels also start to become damaged due to the excess levels of insulin.  All of this puts more stress on your body which leads to the elevation of stress hormones such as cortisol which puts your body in an alarmed state where it wants to store calories to deal with what it assumes is coming stress.  Along with this your body will be triggered into releasing more sugar because it thinks you will need the energy to deal with the impending stress and the cycle continues.

Many people are in this cycle and as long as you continue feeding it with sugar and stress which leads to eating more sugar your body will not lose body fat regardless of how much you workout.  Just remember the goal of your body is survival.....and when your body is in survival mode you will not lose body fat.

Read the following article for some recent news on this

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sugar Destroying Your Results

Today I want to focus more specifically on sugar and how it will destroy your chances of achieving your fat loss and fitness goals.  Most of you probably think you don't really eat that much sugar when in fact you probably eat much more than you think.  Part of this is probably due to the addictive nature of sugar and part due to the vilifying of fat and most meats by the mainstream nutrition mantra.  Let me just go through a "typical" day of American eating and point out the large amount of sugar consumed. 

Start with a cereal based breakfast with a yogurt and perhaps some juice or maybe just a Starbucks latte with a bagel or pastry of some sort.  Most of this is sugar (cereal = processed grains which turn to sugar, nonfat milk = mostly sugar, juice = all sugar, pastry/bagel = sugar, latte = potential high sugar along with another stimulant caffeine)  There is minimal to no protein or healthy fat in any of these items.  These type of foods only promote fat gain  particularly when coupled with a lifestyle of sitting with no significant activity all day long.

Then mid-morning you may go for some fruit perhaps...again all sugar and then your lunch if you're good will be a salad and a sandwich or soup.  Salad gives you some slower digesting sugars but little protein and then the bread on the sandwich and who knows what type spread or dressing.  The point is the majority of your calories are coming from carbohydrates (primarily sugars) and you are sitting around all day (not doing anything physically strenuous).  This doesn't include any beverages that aren't of lemonade perhaps....full of sugar....what about a diet beverage....the artificial sweeteners just trick your brain into eating more because it thinks you're getting sugar but you're not.  Then comes that afternoon you go for some kind of stimulant to get you through (candy, coffee, other non-food foods).

You get home, are exhausted, nothing is ready or prepared for the evening so you go for take out or some other quick meal.  Even if you are good and have things planned for dinner this may be the only meal where you get significant protein...chicken perhaps...maybe careful though, you may have a big pile of mashed potatoes and don't forget a couple of calorie laden cocktails or several glasses of wine to drown your stress and sorrows.

As harsh as this may sound, this pattern of eating is very common whether people want to admit it or's a recipe for obesity, disease and lethargy.  The main culprit is sugar and more sugar and more sugar that the body turns right into fat because if you're lucky you are working out 30-60 minutes and that's not even most days.  You are burning few calories because those workouts are light to moderate at best.  If this all sounds familiar than don't be surprised if you see few changes in how you look other than getting bigger and more out of shape.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lose the Sugar and Lose Fat

Lately I've been focusing on fat loss in the daily fitness minute, so now that the new website is up and going I will give you a quick overview.  Far and away the best thing you can do to lose fat is to change your eating habits.  Regardless of your exercise regimen, if you continue eating the same way, you will look the same.  Thirty or even sixty minutes of exercise a few times a week will not make up for the alcohol, desserts and excess calories you eat every day.  There are 3500 calories in a pound and it takes a lot of exercising to burn that many calories, not to mention the fact that you must have a 3500 calorie deficit in order to lose a pound.  Don't think that just because your treadmill says you burned 500 calories in an hour that you actually did because they typically overestimate the number of calories you burn.  Here is a reference from the mayo clinic, that details the estimated number of calories burned during various types of exercise.  The reality is you must make significant changes in your eating habits in order to get any significant fat loss results.  One of the most important things you can do if you want to see results is to cut out sugars.  This means juices, sodas, pasta, bread and most fruits.  Instead of these sugar filled foods you should significantly increase the amount of non-starchy vegetables you eat including leafy greens and those of varying colors.  Unless you are training for a marathon, triathlon or are performing multiple strenuous workouts each day then you don't need the large amounts of starchy vegetables, pastas, breads and fruits that many mistakenly believe are healthy.  By cutting these hidden sugar filled foods and increasing quality proteins, fats and vegetables you should see the weight begin to fall off....even with a moderate exercise program.  Remember it's easier to avoid the calories than to burn than off later.
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