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Sports Nutrition Energy Needs

The body needs regular energy in order to perform at the highest levels physically and mentally. Eating a balanced diet is the first step to unlocking your best performance but additional energy, timed right for exercise, is required to fuel your workout and recovery. Proper sports nutrition will help you feel your best before and after exercise while aiding in a quick, strong recovery. Do you account for your sports nutrition needs?

Use this chart to determine your sports nutrition energy needs.

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Age and Societal Norms Affect Physical Fitness

Healthy Aging, BikeHave you ever stopped to consider how age and societal norms affect you and your physical fitness? If you haven’t considered the normal rules of engagement it’s often easiest to conform. Society has its expectations on how we act, dress, think and behave in certain ways at certain stages of life. Through increased understanding of age and societal norms you will earn the power to comfortably choose your own path. Dare to be different!

Most of us pass through essentially the same patterns of experience as we get older, but this does not make such patterns desirable or inevitable. The table below summarizes various changes in recreational activity, and patterns of experience, by age. Reading through the age groups you have personally experienced so far, ask yourself; have you experienced any of these patterns? Continue reading Age and Societal Norms Affect Physical Fitness

Stop Worrying About Your Weight, Focus on Fitness

woman_scalesThin isn’t always in! One study found that thin people who didn’t exercise were actually at higher risk for health problems than those who were heavier but worked out regularly. Staying fit not only improves physical health, it also boosts self-image and reduces depression and anxiety. Rather than comparing yourself to supermodels and bodybuilders, concentrate on developing an active lifestyle.

Another reason to stop worrying about your weight can be seen in the images below; pictures are worth 1,000 words. These images show a decrease in percent body while weight remained the same.  Continue reading Stop Worrying About Your Weight, Focus on Fitness

Eating Early May Maximize Weight Loss

healthy-breakfastA new published in the International Journal of Obesity builds on previous studies that suggest it’s best not to eat too many calories late in the day.

The Spanish study finds that dieters who ate their main meal before 3 p.m. lost significantly more weight than those who ate later in the day. This held true even though the early eaters were eating roughly the same number of calories during the five-month weight-loss study as their night-owl counterparts.

On average, the early eaters in the Spanish study lost 22 pounds, compared with the late eaters who lost 17 pounds. Both the early eaters and late eaters had similar levels of physical activity and got similar amounts of sleep, so researchers ruled out these factors as possible explanations for the differences in weight loss.

In the study, the people who ate late and didn’t lose as much weight also tended to skip breakfast or eat just a little in the morning.

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Adjust your Pace for Indoor Running

Treadmill Pace Conversions Table

Because of lack of wind resistance while running on a treadmill, the effort of running on a treadmill at 0% incline is less than that of running on a level road at the same pace. Below is a chart that you can use to get approximate equivalent efforts between running on a treadmill at different paces and inclines and running outdoors on a level surface. Continue reading Adjust your Pace for Indoor Running

100 Years of Vitamins

This year marks an important anniversary for the world of food and nutrition. A century ago, a Polish-American scientist named Casimir Funk coined the term “vitamin” in his landmark paper “The Etiology of the Deficiency of Disease,” which sought to ascribe nutritional deficiencies as the cause of diseases we rarely hear of today. We are indebted to him for more than his choice of terminology. His research greatly contributed to our knowledge of how foods – and their nutrients – can reduce risk of serious health conditions. To date there are 13 known vitamins – A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, niacin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid – each having multiple functions throughout the body.

This year, we tip our hats to Funk for being a pioneer to scientists and researchers who have continued to explore the role of vitamins in human health.  Within 100 years, key breakthroughs and advances in technology and our knowledge of food science have led to the near eradication of many deficiency disorders through fortification of the food supply:

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Strengthen your willpower

The capacity for self-control is like a muscle: It varies in strength from person to person and moment to moment. Just as your biceps can feel like jelly after a workout, your willpower “muscle” gets tired when you overtax it.

To strengthen it, pick any activity that requires you to override an impulse (such as sitting up straight when your impulse is to slouch), and add that to your daily routine. And take baby steps. Instead of going junk-free overnight, begin by eliminating, say, those chips you eat by the bag, and substitute them with a fruit or vegetable.

Hang in there, and sticking to your diet will become easier because your capacity for self-control will grow.

Be a Realistic Optimist

Believing you will succeed is key, but believing you will succeed easily (what I call “unrealistic optimism”) is a recipe for failure. Take it from the women, all obese, who enrolled in a weight-loss program in one study. Those who thought they could lose weight easily lost 24 pounds less than those who knew it would be hard. The successful dieters put in more effort, planned in advance how to deal with problems, and persisted when it became difficult. Don’t try to tamp down your worries — they can help prepare you for shape-up challenges.

And train hard. The same is true for your performance goals as well.

Monitor your progress

Monitoring may be one of the most powerful health habits you could practice. To stay clear about that gap between where you want to go and where you are now. Keep getting on that scale; mark the days you exercise on a calendar. Track your success.

Another thing: When you think about the progress you’ve made, stay focused on how far you have to go, rather than how far you’ve come. If you want to drop 20 pounds, and you’ve lost 5 so far, keep your thoughts on the 15 that remain. When we dwell too much on how much progress we’ve made, it’s easy to feel a premature sense of accomplishment and start to slack off.

Create an OK-To-Eat Plan

Faced with unexpected temptations — the dessert menu, the catered work lunch — we end up eating things that sabotage our weight-loss goals. The best way to guarantee you make the right choices is to create an “if-then” plan:

  • “If the dessert menu arrives, I’ll order coffee.”
  • “If I am at a business lunch, I’ll have a salad.”

Studies suggest that coming up with safe-to-eat plans makes you two to three times more likely to reach your diet goals.