“Failure to exercise a minimum of 3 times per week for at least 60 minutes in duration each time is the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes each day.  What that means is that exercise is no longer just good for you, it is bad for you if you don’t exercise”

Source: Released 1996

U.S. Health Facts:


59,000,000 Americans are considered clinically obese

  • 61% of the population is overweight
  • 15% of the children and adolescents are overweight
  • 15% of children and adolescents are in danger of becoming overweight

120,000,000 Americans suffer from chronic stress

  • 30 million Americans are under so much stress they are damaging their hearts
  • 50 million Americans have high blood pressure . . . . 30% don’t know it
  • 19 million Americans suffer from depressive illness
  • 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders

80% of disease is lifestyle related (poor nutrition, stress, smoking, etc.):

  • 70 million Americans have arthritis and/or chronic joint symptoms
  • 23 million Americans have heart problems
  • 20 million Americans have lower back problems
  • 37 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol
  • 10 million Americans are at risk for Type-2 Diabetes
  • 14 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year

 

GENERAL FACTS:

  • Not exercising makes a person 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
  • More than 60% of the population does not exercise regularly
  • 60% of Americans now say that regular exercise is more important than regular doctors visits
  • 89% of Americans say that “becoming more physically fit” is either essential or important to them.

Sources:  Surgeon General’s Report, CDC, NIH, IHRSA

This is part 2 of my 2 part series on Stress & Weight Loss.  In part one you learned:


  1. how stress can sabotage your weight loss efforts
  2. what is Cortisol
  3. how Cortisol effects your food cravings
  4. how Cortisol can effect where fat is stored on your body
  5. why products claiming to fix the Cortisol issue are questionable

In the 2nd installment on Stress & Weight Loss you will learn:


  1. the different types of stress that effect us all
  2. ways to manage your stress level
  3. other interesting techniques you can use to stay on track to successful weight loss!

As I discussed in part 1, we can all admit that when we are under a great deal of stress it is difficult for us to commit to our healthy eating plan.  Many of us begin our day in a whirl-wind just to get on the road and on our way to work, not to mention all the stress of dealing with traffic.  And once you are at work having to deal with the stresses of deadlines, annoying co-workers, demanding bosses, in addition to the responsibilities you have at home.  It’s enough to make you just want to indulge.


I went on to discuss the hormones Cortisol (the stress hormone) and Serotonin (the feel good hormone) and how they each play an important role in food cravings, and fat storage.  In part 2, let’s take a closer look at stress and ways to manage it so that it doesn’t sabotage your weight loss goals.



I think we can all agree that in this day and age, stress is a part of life.  Whether it’s the baby crying, the irritability of a loved one, the endless deadlines at work, or the constant flow of bills, stress is a part of all of our daily lives.  But not all stress is bad.  In some cases stress actually assists us in being our best selves by increasing our awareness and attentiveness to a situation.  For our discussion however, we are referring to the stress that sabotages your ability to be your best, specifically in sticking to your weight loss goals.  I realize that in some circles, being stressed is considered “in-vogue” or “chic”, but there is nothing chic about the effects long term stress can have on your body, mind and life.



WHAT IS STRESS?


First off let me define stress. Stress is defined as a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.


So basically, stress occurs when we are significantly thrown off balance mentally or emotionally, in response to external circumstances.  This seems simple enough, but there is another important component that really makes this all come together.


Let me distinguish the difference between stress and stressor.  A “stressor” is the precipitating event or situation which can cause a response of “stress”, mentally, emotionally or physically.  That is to say that a stressor is only stressful if you deem it to be so.  Usually we respond to a situation with stress when we feel that the situation, event or request is more than we are capable of dealing with physically, mentally, or emotionally.  How you handle, or fail to handle the stressors in your life is what determines your stress level and your ability to maintain your commitments to your weight loss goals. 


What’s even more important is to understand that everyone handles stress differently.  We are not all stressed by the same situations to the same degree, or react to stress the same way, because it is based on our unique perceptions of the stressor. What is extremely stressful to one person, may only be mildly stressful to another person. 


TYPES OF STRESSORS


There are typically two types of stressors that occur in our lives: 1.) Acute stressors which are similar to the flight or fight response, where you have an immediate physical response to the event, situation, or request and 2.) Chronic stressors which are directly related to long term exposure to situations in which you respond to in a stressful manner.   What we need to understand and remember is that stress is as individual as styles and tastes of clothes.  What one person finds intolerable, another person may not be bothered by at all. 


Chronic stressors can result in numerous responses on several different levels such as:


  • behavior – isolating oneself from others
  • physical – having tension headaches, backaches or other aches and pains
  • emotional – general irritability, depression
  • mental – having trouble concentrating or remembering things

As a practicing psychotherapist for 7 years I also believe there are two other important stressor categories for us to consider:


1.) External Stressors – such as

  • a new house,
  • a promotion
  • death of a loved
  • getting a divorce
  • car alarms

2.) Internal Stressors – such as

  • Fear of public speaking
  • Perfectionist or rigid demanding outlook on life (unrealistic expectations)
  • Time management issues (over-scheduling your day)

           

It has been my experience over the past 11 years that the main culprit when it comes to stress sabotaging weight loss goals is chronic stress.  I don’t deny that at different times and to varying degrees we all experience acute stressors, but more often than not it’s those chronic stressors, that day-in-and-day-out wear on you.


So let us recap for just a moment.  First, we know that stress is a physical and emotional response to a circumstance, internal or external, that we believe is more than we can handle physically, emotionally or mentally.  Second, we know that there are many types of stressors (acute, chronic, internal and external). However we are focusing on chronic stress because that appears to be the main culprit in sticking to your weight loss goals. 



MANAGING YOUR STRESS


As we discussed above, stress is as unique as styles and tastes of clothes.  The REAL issue is how each of us responds to a stressor.  The first thing to do to learn to manage your stress level better is to start taking notice of situations that cause you stress.  What type of unique response do you have and to what types of situations?  Begin to notice your internal dialogue.  What is it saying?  Is it encouraging you to move forward or is it negative and self-defeating?  This first step is important because once you effectively identify your stressors you are now empowered to change your reaction to them.


This second step is HUGELY important.  Why?  Because believing that you are capable of making the changes necessary to enjoy a better, less stressful life begins the process of healing.  For instance, can you avoid the stressor altogether or at least minimize your contact and/or length of time with the person or situation that creates the stress?  Or perhaps using positive self-talk and/or envisioning a more positive outcome to the situation prior to having the experience, is a way of decreasing the intensity of your stress.


Once you begin to believe that you can in fact change the way you respond to a stressor you can then begin to make the small adjustments towards experiencing less stress in the face of your stressors.  You can look at whether you are viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms. Are you trying to please everyone?  Are you being too rigid in your expectations?  Are you dealing with an all too familiar situation and expecting a different outcome? Then take some deep breaths to slow your heart rate and help clear your thoughts.  Look at these stressful situations as something you can cope with successfully. Now notice that you have a less intense reaction both physically and emotionally to a situation that at one time created great stress for you.


When you are able to notice a decrease in your reactions to situations that at one time caused a great deal of stress, you are on your way to managing your stress level.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting an expert in the field of stress management, Dr. Cindy Brown.  Feel free to visit her website (http://www.drcindybrownintl.com) to get her free report and even more EXCLUSIVE tips on how you can manage your stress.


Now that I have discussed the nature of stressors and what stress is, let me give you some real world examples of techniques you can utilize to manage your stress when it comes to sticking to your weight loss goals.  As I discussed, stress creates many different reactions on a hormonal level, mental level and emotional level.  Below are some tips that will assist you in making healthier choices in dealing with your stress rather than just indulging.  I believe you are capable of sticking to and achieving your weight loss goals.  Here are a few tips to keep you on track in the face of stress and cravings:


  1. Write in your journal the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing
  2. Do some type of exercise (go for a walk, or do some stretching)
  3. Treat yourself to a bubble bath or long shower
  4. Try on some old clothes to remind you of your goal and commitment
  5. Meditate or pray
  6. Work on a project like gardening, or painting that requires you to use your hands
  7. Do some chores household or outside
  8. Make a vision board or scrapbook to help you envision the body and life you want (cut out pictures of body types that appeal to you, as well as other items that remind you of your goals)
  9. Call a friend and share with them how your are feeling
  10. Remind yourself that you are in control of you!  Don’t let someone else decide if you will succeed in your weight loss journey!

By taking the time to read this valuable information, you have already demonstrated that you are ready to achieve your weight loss goals.  You have the information, now it’s time for action!  To change, one has to move.  You are now ready to handle stress, rather than it handling you.  Move to a place of power in your life. I know you can do it!  If you have any questions or have a unique situation let me you would like help with, please contact me.


About the author:

Kurt Elder MSW, CPT is a Fitness Consultant and Results Coach. Kurt has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years.  He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete, and world record holder. He holds a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Kurt is currently the owner and operator of Energy F/X Fitness Consultants. He is a highly sought after authority in rehab and sports conditioning as well as weight loss.  His approach, aided by his unique background, allows an experience of total transformation for his clients. Kurt may be contacted at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or call me at (310) 397-0089.


RING! RING! RING! The alarm clock sounds and jolts us out of our peaceful sleep. The day has begun.  In this day and age, most of us whiz through the day stressed out from the moment we wake up.  It’s no wonder over 60% of the population is considered overweight.  But what do you do in a world full of growing commitments, bills, challenging relationships, and constant temptations of processed food? 


And why do you crave that processed food anyway?


Below I will help you understand:


Part 1

  • how stress can sabotage your weight loss efforts 
  • what is Cortisol
  • how Cortisol effects your food cravings
  • how Cortisol can effect where fat is stored on your body
  • why products claiming to fix the Cortisol issue are questionable

Part 2

  • the different types of stress that effect us all ways to manage your stress level I think we all would admit that when we are under stress it is difficult for us to commit to our healthy eating plan.  Many of us begin our day in a whirl-wind just to get on the road and on our way to work, not to mention all the stress of dealing with traffic.  Once you are at work having to deal with the stresses of deadlines, annoying co-workers and demanding bosses; this is on top of the responsibilities you already have at home.  It’s enough to make anyone just want to indulge.

What is Cortisol?


First off, let me help you understand what happens when you feel stressed: When you are stressed your body releases a chemical called “Cortisol” into the bloodstream.  Hence, Cortisol is most often called the “stress-hormone”.  As Cortisol rises in response to a perceived stress, a “flight or fight” response is created in the body.  Thus making fuel (stimulating fat and carbohydrate release) available to tense muscles preparing to either fight or flee.  The response to this increase in Cortisol is a decrease in Serotonin.  Serotonin is the hormone responsible for relaxed and content feelings and, no surprise, is one of the significant hormones that assist in helping us fall asleep at night. 


Cortisol and Food Cravings


From a psychological perspective, we often eat as a way to momentarily avoid dealing with a stressful situation.  Whether it’s an argument with a loved one, a looming deadline, or feeling alone, food can serve as an escape of sorts. After all, if you’re focused on food, for however long that lasts, you’re not dwelling on the problem that is causing you stress. 

From a physiological perspective, the process of digesting food creates a feeling of calm.  What is even more interesting is fact that when you choose foods high in sugar, whether you know it or not, you are actually attempting to increase your Serotonin levels (the feel good hormone); because stress actually decreases Serotonin levels.  In fact, when you stuff yourself or binge on large amounts of carbohydrates you may notice a “sugar high”.  A feeling which “numbs” you to the stress you were originally feeling; so eating foods rich in carbohydrates could be seen as a way to escape the stressful situations and accompanying emotions. Even studies on animals have suggested that decreased levels of serotonin actually cause an increased craving for carbohydrate-rich foods, which when consumed; create feelings of relaxation and contentedness.


A stressed out lifestyle is NOT a HEALTHY ONE!  Whether it’s to fill an emotional need such as loneliness, or to avoid stress, or grabbing highly processed fast food because it’s convenient, poor choices won’t keep you healthy or on track to meet your weight loss goals.


So let’s recap just a little.  You wake up under less than pleasant circumstances and begin a stressful schedule of household responsibilities, the commute to work, the stress of the work environment, and under this level of daily stress your “feel good” hormone is being constantly depleted.  In fact, this stressful lifestyle is encouraging you to eat high sugar foods to regain that pleasant feeling of calm.  Sound familiar? 


Here’s the physiologically tricky part of it all.  You perceive a stress, whether it’s feeling lonely, being irritated by traffic, a coworker, an argument with a loved one, or a looming deadline.  Your body, based on years of evolution, perceives this as a “threat” and hence releases Cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream (adrenaline aids the body in the “fight or flight” response to keep you alert and focused to address the perceived “threat”).    Now you have two things occur: 1.) the body assumes you have done something active in response to the perceived stress and hence a hormone sends a signal to refuel the body as soon as possible and 2.), this Cortisol release, as we learned above, decreases the hormone Serotonin (the feel good hormone). The problem is that in most cases you haven’t done anything physical to burn off the calories your body is saying it needs; so reaching for foods rich in carbohydrates to 1.) refuel a body that is being told it should be hungry, and 2.) to raise the decreased Serotonin (as a response to stress and elevated Cortisol), sets you up for consuming excess calories that lead to weight gain!


How does Cortisol effect fat storage?


Now let’s turn our attention to how Cortisol affects where fat is stored.  Research shows that excess Cortisol release, often in response to excessive stress, causes the body to store fat around the waistline (abdominal) area rather than in the hips.  Fat distribution in this area has been referred to as “toxic fat” because it is strongly correlated with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and strokes. 


What’s even more interesting is that a recent study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center states that cutting calories alone is not sufficient to reduce the size of abdominal fat.  They suggest that exercise as a crucial link to decreasing the size of abdominal fat cells and hence decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and other associated illnesses.

This point is far too important to let us pass it by.  It has been my experience over the past 11 years of working with various types of clientele, that people who only change their nutrition schedule and do not exercise, have a far more difficult time achieving their weight loss goals than people who include exercise. It amazes me how resistant these individuals are to add exercise (physical activity).  They tell me how they don’t have time in their busy schedules, they don’t have the money to join a gym or they just don’t like to sweat. 

I want to make it VERY clear here that including exercise as a part of changing your physique doesn’t mean you have to join a gym! 


What it does mean is that you need to include physical activity into your daily or at worst weekly schedule.  Unfortunately everyone seems to be looking for the quick fix.  In this age of almost immediate gratification, few seem willing to take on the challenge of giving their body what it needs. . . . .  EXERCISE!  A good weight loss plan is built around the client.  That’s why when I create programs for my clients I am sure to ask them what types of physical activities they enjoy doing and then include those types in their weight loss program to assure success – and that doesn’t always mean going to a gym.  Please contact me so I can help you find out what works for you to be successful in your weight loss goals.

Do Cortisol Products Work?


Some turn to the dietary supplements claiming to lower Cortisol and enhance weight loss just by taking a pill.  The problem with this is that 1.), there have been NO independent studies published in respected, peer-reviewed medical journals that support these claims, 2.) the FTC has actually filed legal complaints against these marketers to stop making such claims, and most importantly 3.), taking a quick fix pill WILL NOT address the habits and emotions that lead to poor eating habits and little to no physical activity.


“SO WHAT DO I DO?” YOU ASK.


Great question.  In Part 2, I discuss the different types of stress that affects us all, ways to manage that stress so it doesn’t get the best of you or your waistline, and other techniques and strategies to help you stay on track to reach your weight loss goals.  Look for Stress & Weight Loss Part 2 in the articles section to get even more EXCLUSIVE information on how you give stress the boot and stay on your weight loss plan.

About the author:


Kurt Elder MSW, CPT is a Fitness Consultant and Results Coach. Kurt has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years.  He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete, and world record holder. He holds a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Kurt is currently the owner and operator of Energy F/X Fitness Consultants.  Kurt is a highly sought after authority in rehab and sports conditioning as well as weight loss.  His approach, aided by his unique background, allows an experience of total transformation for his clients. Kurt may be contacted at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or call me at (310) 397-0089.


Dec
02
2009
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Do you know what the term glycemic index means?  Though not as popular presently as a few years ago, this term is extremely important to anyone interested in quickly and effectively losing weight and keeping it off.


Glycemic index refers to the speed at which a certain carbohydrate enters the blood stream as sugar.  While all carbohydrates must be broken down into simple carbohydrates to be absorbed, it is the speed at which this happens that is known as the glycemic index.


There are 3 factors that determine the how fast this process will happen: (1) The structure of the simple sugar (i.e. processed foods like rice cakes are the highest), (2) the soluble fiber content (hence vegetables typically have a low glycemic index), and finally (3) the fat content.


Yes, I know, now you are asking yourself, “So why is this important to me in achieving my weight loss goals.”


Well, for over 20 years I have been assisting people achieve their weight loss goals and keep the weight off.  I have helped people understand what foods work for their busy daily schedule so that they continue to make progress when convenience is key.  I understand the rigors of having a busy schedule, late meetings, and frequent travel and I assist my clients in keeping to their nutrition schedule, while living a fast paced lifestyle.  Drawing on my experiences from High School wrestling to National Level Powerlifting, to presently practicing Mixed Martial Arts, I understand the importance of not only eating for improved performance, but also for quality of life. 


First off, let us understand that the body is an efficient machine.  It is constantly monitoring the levels of all the hormones, and nutrients in the body.  Hence, when an imbalance is perceived it responds by trying to bring the body back into balance. We out-survived the dinosaurs for a reason.  We are efficient machines, cable of withstanding harsh elements, and adapting to our environment.


The reason the glycemic index of a carbohydrate is important in achieving weight loss goals is that the higher the glycemic index of a food the more likely it will raise blood sugar levels, and in fact encourage your body to store fat.  When blood sugar levels are increased quickly and significantly by high glycemic carbohydrates, the body (the pancreas) responds by releasing insulin (a storage hormone).  The excessive blood sugar, that which cannot be used or stored in the muscles and the liver, is then stored in fat cells as energy for future use. Thus the body secretes insulin, which acts like Pac-man by removing the glucose in your blood stream to bring it down to acceptable levels.  Unfortunately the body is sometimes overly efficient in its quest to maintain balance and in fact the excessive insulin secreted in many cases facilitates a drop in blood sugar – resulting in you craving carbs (typically high glycemic) a few hours later.  As mentioned earlier, insulin is largely a storage hormone, from evolution created to save excessive carbohydrate calories for energy in the form of fat for future use.  Remember, we are survival machines.  We survived Ice Ages, droughts, and predators.


Think for a moment does this sound familiar: Up early grab a quick snack, usually a high processed cereal, a donut or some other high glycemic carb, off to work.  Around 10:00am you feel like you can barely keep your eyes open.  Reach for a cup of coffee and/or a muffin or donut or some other high glycemic carb. Around 12:00pm you feel the same sluggish feeling, etc.  This yo-yo effect that you are experiencing is the result of consuming meals with high glycemic index carbohydrates.  The high you experience after consuming the carbohydrate with a high glycemic index is probably the effects of an increase in blood sugar.  The low you feel a few hours later is the probably the result of the excessive insulin released to combat the high blood sugar. 


Many of my clients come to me not understanding the above example.  They figure out why they were experiencing this yo-yo effect.  As we look over their 5 day food journal it becomes evident that the food choices they are making are not only stopping them from losing weight, they are affecting their moods, ability to concentrate, and their energy levels. Their food choices were affecting their quality of life!  I help them develop a food plan that works with their lifestyle and food preferences.  I teach you how to be successful towards your fitness goals.


At this point I hope it is clear that the best carbohydrate choices are those that are low on the glycemic index.  Low refers to those foods which show a glycemic index of 60 or lower.  As a rule of thumb most vegetables are great choices except for corn and carrots which have a high glycemic index.  Most fruits are also acceptable, except for bananas and raisins, again, high glycemic index.  Selected grains like oatmeal and barley are acceptable because they have soluble fiber which assists them in being low on the glycemic index.


If you have any additional questions or questions regarding a certain food?  There is a rather extensive glycemic index on the website.  Just click glycemic index.


If you need help creating a nutrition strategy that works for you please contact me at kurt@energyfxfitness.com.  Or call me now at (310) 397-0089 and I can help you plan a strategy that works.

Do you remember the show called the “American Gladiator”?  In 1996 I went to the open try-outs to become a contestant on what was then a popular show.  I thought after watching several episodes, “Heck, I could do that”.  Upon arriving at Universal Studios I was in awe of all the different body types, ranging from the larger than life bodybuilder types to the distance runner types.  We were asked to complete several test events to evaluate whether we would be appropriate candidates for the show. 

As I remember, the events included, 15 pull-ups with bodyweight, a 40-yard dash, an obstacle course of sorts, and a head to head competition where two contestants would face off; One would try to place a volleyball in a cylinder while the other contestant did everything they could to prevent it.  What fascinated me most was how poorly the larger than life types performed on the test events.   Many, if not most, had trouble completing the pull-ups, more than a few, pulled hamstrings in the 40- yard dash, and those that made it past the first two events had significant trouble with the obstacle course.  Though at the time I didn’t realize it, this was the most effective example I could have witnessed to the importance of having functional strength.  We now seem to be in the age of “functional” training, our next evolution in the Health and Fitness process.

I have been in the health, fitness, and wellness industry for over 20 years.  Drawing from my experiences in high school wrestling to National level Powerlifting to presently practicing Mixed Martial Arts, I have seen and experienced the benefits of functional training.  And unless you are specifically a strength athlete, there is NO ONE who cannot benefit from this type of training, regardless of the goal.  In fact even strength athletes are beginning to utilize functional movements more frequently in their training. I have taken my level of functioning as well of that of my clients to new heights by including functional movements in all training regimes.  I have been through the mill so to speak and had acquired strength at the expense of function.  So I know first hand the importance of a balanced body that not only looks good, but functions well.

Functional refers to the ability of an apparatus/ tool, or process that, when used, improves the efficiency and effectiveness, and perhaps the joy of the task at hand.  Sequentially, functional training refers to exposing the body to a process, through the use of all forms of training (bands, pulleys, free weights, stretches, balance exercises, cardiovascular regimens, etc.) that improve a client’s ability to do what they enjoy effectively and efficiently.  Whether you are an amateur athlete looking to improve your performance, a weekend warrior looking to breakthrough a plateau, or if you just want to improve the quality of your life so that you can better enjoy your hobbies such as gardening or playing with the children, functional training is your best bet.

Functional training, in many respects, is a philosophy that has grown out of the dysfunctional view that just lifting weights and getting bigger muscles was in fact improving the quality of one’s life.  Real world events, physical therapy, and traditional weightlifting movements are combined in functional training; for the purpose of increasing a person’s ability to function more effectively and efficiently in whatever capacity they choose.

Functional training has come about from observing that which makes all of us more similar than different.  Every knee joint is a hinge joint (no rotation), virtually every lower back originally had the ability to rotate without discomfort, and each hip socket typically has the ability to perform as a ball and socket.  These consistencies across people have allowed for certain commonalities in movement to be seen as foundational, and hence functional, as they apply to all human movement regardless of lifestyle or profession.


Lunge (similar to the fencing motion)

Squat or Deadlifts (bending to pick something up)

Rotation (rotating in either direction with feet planted)

Pushing (something away from the self)

Pulling (something towards the self)

It is the combination of these basic movements that make up all movement in daily life.

Now let’s consider the application of this philosophy of training.  First off, functional training encourages that you focus on training movements not body parts.  The idea being that if you first train parts of a total movement and then progressively work towards mimicking that entire movement in the confines of training, it will carry over to an increase in effectiveness and efficiency in the target activity.  Remember, this can be practically applied to everything from picking up the laundry basket and placing it on top of a counter, to improving one’s golf swing.  It is the movements one picks, with the target activity in mind, that determines the functional(ness) of the program.


Traditionally, it has been thought that machines increased effectiveness and efficiency.  But research shows that because the machine takes away the individual’s need to balance their bodyweight while performing a movement, machines in fact only increase strength as it relates to a specific body part and in fact do not, by themselves, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of movement.  And real life requires balance to effectively and efficiently perform movement (balance/stability + movement = integrated movement).  You can have all the strength in the world, but if you can’t direct it and control it, it is useless.  The unique aspect of functional training is that it encourages that you use your total body in an integrated fashion in a variety of planes of motion. 


What I have found with my clients is that whether its weekend hikes, playing tennis, or playing in a local basketball league, functional training allows my clients to do what they enjoy doing. . . . . only better.  The twisted ankles, sore lower backs, shoulder stiffness or lack of cardiovascular strength have all been improved by including functional movements as a part of each of their training regimes. 


Functional training then, asks the client to perform many of the same movements that traditional weight machines allow, yet with the added component of the 3-dimensional stability and balance.  For example let’s look at how functional training would look to improve two different types of clients’ quality of life. 


First let’s consider a person whose is looking to improve their performance in their hobby, the popular sport of tennis.  Obviously tennis is a technical sport requiring a person to be aware of many different things going on all at the same time; from the stance, to the swing, to the follow-through; a sport where multiple things are happening at once.  One of my previous clients was in fact a tennis player that presented with several aches and pains.  One of the major complaints was that of lower back pain.  After a thorough Lifestyle Assessment, range of motion evaluation, and injury history, I created a program to address this client’s aches and pains.  A program would be developed that kept in mind the goal, improving this client’s ability in his hobby, tennis.  Tennis requires a great deal of rotation to play it effectively.  So any program design should consider movements that strengthen the individual’s ability to effectively and efficiently rotate.  Perhaps one would first begin by strengthening the core, utilizing stable surfaces like a bench with which to perform certain abdominal work and then move to a less stable environment like a Swiss Ball. While working first on strengthening the core, I then would address the next component, rotation.  Once assured of the client’s growing core stabilization I would begin mimicking the movement of a tennis swing by using a medicine ball, and having the client rotate back and forth while keeping the feet planted.  Then, progressively, as the client demonstrates the ability to effectively and efficiently rotate for a certain number of repetitions and sets, a heavier medicine ball would be used and increased movement in the feet and hips would be allowed.  Eventually, the speed of the movement (so that it closely approximates the tennis swing) and the weight of the ball would be adjusted, to improve the ease with which the client was able to perform the movement of rotation.  Next, let’s consider another previous client. She didn’t necessarily have an athletic hobby, but on a weekly basis does many of the normal activities we all do.  Let’s consider taking groceries out of the trunk of a car and handing them to another person.  Isn’t this the same type of basic movement, rotation, that we considered for our tennis player looking to improve their game?  With the same goal in mind, improving the person’s ability to rotate, a thorough Lifestyle Assessment, range of motion evaluation, and injury history would be taken and a program would be developed and that would address this client’s need of improved daily functioning.  Many of the movements chosen would be the same.  The difference would be in the progressions chosen.  Since there is no need for this person to have the same level of strength or explosive ability, the speed of the movement chosen for their program would be much slower and a lighter medicine ball would be chosen to practice rotation.  It would be possible to state that the programs of these two individuals, with regards to improving rotation, would look almost identical.  The only difference being largely in the repetitions, sets, and load (weight) chosen.


Using these two examples as evidence of the importance of using functional training should make it clear that EVERYONE can benefit from this type of training philosophy.  Be it sport or day to day activities, life happens in 3-planes of motion, at various speeds, requires balance, and is integrated.  Take a moment and watch yourself day to day and see how many of these movements you do in any given day.  Would a functional training perspective help you?


These are real-life examples that I encounter daily.  If one these people sound like you, or you’re just interested in improving the way your body functions in life, contact me at kurt@energyfxfitness.com.


I can create a program for you to not only feel better, look better, but function better.



I can’t take it anymore!  If I see one more commercial advertising some magic cream, potion, or procedure to reduce cellulite “magically” I am going to go off the deep end!  I can no longer sit by and watch women being lied to about cellulite or tricked into buying the next “scientific” finding– NOT,  that is supposed to rid them of that unsightly area they have been frustrated with for so long.


So, after having a personal conversation with my television I sat down and did the research.  Below I share with you what is being said, and what I have witnessed for years as a Fitness Consultant and Results Coach, providing guidance to my clientele to rid them or at least greatly decrease the cellulite areas they struggle with.


LET’S START FROM THE BEGININNING SHALL WE.


Cellulite is a term that is said to have originated in France more than 150 years ago.  It began appearing in English publications in the late 1960’s.  Widespread promotion of the term in the United States followed the 1973 publication of Cellulite: Those Lumps, Bumps and Bulges, You Couldn’t Lose Before, by Nicole Ronsard, owner of a New York City beauty salon that specialized in skin and body care. 


Cellulite is described as the dimpling of the skin, caused by the bulging or protrusion of subcutaneous fat into the dermis (upper layer of skin), thus creating a rippling (waffling, orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese) affect of the skin.  The culprit affects 85% - 98% of postpubescent females, though primarily targeting females over the age of 35.  In some rare instances it is seen in men but is, as stated above, largely a female issue.  The reason for this is that if you took a cross section of a women’s thigh you would see tight vertical fiber bands connecting muscle through the fat to skin (septa).  Where the bands aren’t attached or have hardened, the fat bulges up, thus creating the classic rippling effect of cellulite.  Men on the other are not as susceptible to the phenomenon because their fibers criss-cross (diagonal) and the fat cannot bulge up as easily.

Let the marketers and charlatans say what they want, but research shows that there is no significant difference between ordinary fat and cellulite.  It has yet to be proven otherwise.  In fact researchers at the Rockefeller Institute  used ultrasonongraphy, microscopic examinations, and fat-metabolism studies to see “affected” and unaffected skin areas of seven healthy adult subjects (five women, two men; four affected, three unaffected).  They found/concluded that (1) certain characteristics of skin make women more prone than men to develop cellulite; (2) the process is diffused rather than localized (meaning you can’t spot attack the problem); and (3) there were no significant differences in the appearances or function of the fatty tissue or the regional blood flow between affected and unaffected sites within individuals.


ARE THEY SELLING HOPE??


There are literally thousands of products on the market today, from shoes, to creams, to body wraps, to pills and injections that make mild to exaggerated claims about how their products rid the body of cellulite.  They use all sorts of “interesting” scientific research to back up their claims.  Now admittedly we are learning more about how the body works literally every week.  So as I write this there may in fact be some group somewhere that is on the verge of a yet to be reviewed and approved magic “solution”.  But in the meantime the truth is that many of these products and their associated research have yet to be published and reviewed in authentic peer reviewed journals that would legitimize their claims.  Many more than I care to list are under investigation or in legal proceedings with the FDA and FTC for making false claims, and/or not producing the results they claimed.  Yet you the public are left to make sense of all of this mish-mosh.

I REVEAL THE TRUTH


From the above we now know that there is no difference, supported by research, between ordinary fat and cellulite.  We know that women are more susceptible to this phenomenon than men because of their structural issues regarding the fibers of the skin. Further we know much of what is being sold on the market today is suspicious at best. While there may be a few items that initially are appearing “promising”, most are a waste of money.

And though I hate to be the bearer of bad news, research has recently shown that one’s genetics are a large indicator as to who will have a more likely chance of getting cellulite.  Since connective tissue genetics are passed down from our parents DNA, so is cellulite predisposition.  In addition the more damage one does to their circulatory system (by eating poorly and not exercising  for example), which feeds the skin cells and lymph vessels, the sooner cellulite may become apparent.

WHAT TO DO?


One thing that all the research I’ve done does conclude:  Eating a balanced diet, containing: lean sources of protein, drinking plenty of water, fiber and whole-grain foods, and fresh fruits and vegetables as well as polyunsaturated fats is a good start.  In addition they all suggest the importance of exercise, both as a way to maintain good blood flow, healthy muscle tone, and to de-stress.  It is also suggested that one avoid unnecessary medications and smoking.

HOW I HELP?


When working with my clients, one of the first things I do is obtain an accurate body composition (body fat to lean muscle) reading.  This allows us to set a baseline of where the client is at presently.  It also allows you to set realistic short term and long term goals to attain.  Next, I ask them to keep a food journal.  Awareness of what you are eating is half the battle; so often most of us are just gobbling down meals, racing off to the next deadline or errand.  Next, I begin to add some structure to their meal schedule so that we can get a handle on the amount of calories they are consuming. While that is in process we begin my unique exercise program called BILANEX, a system I have developed through years of research that utilizes functional exercises in a way that actually accelerates the metabolism by burning more fat, yet maintaining more lean muscle than any other program on the market today.  My unique BILANEX SYSTEM allows my clients to burn those unwanted calories as well as strengthen and maintain the lean muscle that keeps their body looking and feeling young.

 

It has been my experience that there is no such thing as spot reduction. 

Those frustrating areas of your hips, thighs and buttocks are best transformed through regular exercise and proper nutrition.  Now this doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym.  What it does mean is committing to making lifestyle changes that decrease your chances of getting cellulite or if you have it, decreasing it quickly. 

No exercise is going to change your genetics.  That die was caste long before you became unhappy with certain areas of your body.  However while science is still figuring out its next potion to sell you, you have proven methods already available to you that get results. 


The question becomes, is change what you really want? How will you spend you money, time, and energy.

 

About the author:


Kurt Elder MSW, CPT is a Fitness Consultant and Result Coach. Kurt has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years.  He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete, and world record holder. He holds a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Kurt is currently the owner and operator of Energy F/X Fitness Consultants.  Kurt is a highly sought after authority in rehab and sports conditioning as well as weight loss.  His approach, aided by his unique background, allows an experience of total transformation of his clients. Kurt may be contacted at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or call me at (310) 397-0089.


Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when the article, “Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Weight Gain” came across my desk, I was curious.  Immediately I wanted to run to my computer and let all of you know what the article said.  But I thought, one article doesn’t mean that much, let’s look a bit deeper.  And let me tell you, what I found in my research on this subject scared the heck out of me!


Let’s start from the beginning.  I could bore you with the research and endless amounts of studies citing each of the artificial sweeteners I researched, instead let me first give you a list of the most common.


  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  2. Saccharin
  3. Splenda
  4. Aspartame
  5. Sucralose
  6. Stevia

I guess the best way to start this all off is to give you a quick and dirty understanding of how the body responds to sugar, how the body responds to artificial sweeteners, and then give you the down and dirty FACTS on what the dangers are of each artificial sweetener listed above.

Let me first say I am not some organic, grow your own food extremist.  Equally, I am concerned about the short and long term effects of the food and drink I put in my body.  I haven’t spent all these years working out to keep myself healthy, only to destroy myself from the inside out.


Sugar Evolution


During prehistoric times sugar came solely from complex natural sources that had other nutritional qualities, such as fruit, honey, bark, and leaves.  And as we all know naturally sweet food is seasonal, ripening with the help of the sun only during certain times of year.

As time and technology progressed, shipping and trade routes also grew. As did new refining technology, along with advanced food-processing techniques; thus we found ourselves with readily available sugar.  We have now created an environment where sugar is everywhere and in everything.  Unfortunately sugar is an empty calorie, devoid of protein, fat or fiber, often taking the place of real nutrients.


Sugar and the Body


Remember we are still very primitive, from a cellular level, such that we are all biologically predisposed to desire sugar. Sugar has not only a biochemical effect on the body, but also a psychological one.  I dare say most of us desire to have a sweet treat at least once in a while.  In fact, with the help of the media and some home/childhood experiences, most of us unconsciously associate sugar with love, pleasure, and reward.

From a biological perspective we seek out sugar to fuel our muscles and brains. After all, sugar (sucrose) is a carbohydrate that metabolizes directly into glucose (blood sugar), stimulating the release of the feel good neurotransmitter serotonin.  In fact scientists report that eating chocolate initiates a brain response similar to falling in love.

When you eat sugar, your blood sugar levels shoot up causing the release of insulin from the pancreas, which facilitates the absorption of sugar and other nutrients into the cells of your body.  If there are no other nutrients to help you sustain your blood sugar – you crash – your blood sugar level drops as quickly as it rose and you’re looking for another “rush”.  This is why it is so important to have a protein, carbohydrate, and fat source at each meal; it helps moderate your blood sugar levels and allows for sustained energy.  Eating in this fashion also allows the body to feel genuinely satisfied and release the satiety hormone leptin (which tells the body to stop eating).  Be clear, craving sugar is just the body calling for energy and a serotonin surge.  It’s the food choices we make that make the difference.


Artificial Sweeteners and the Body


First let me give you the response the body has to artificial sweeteners in general and then give the DIRTY FACTS on how artificial sweeteners affect the body.

Recent research has found that obesity has consistently paralleled the increased use of artificial sweeteners.  The more manufacturers use and we consume, the higher our country’s obesity rates seem to go.

As you just learned, typically when the body receives what it perceives as sugar, there is a release of insulin to assist cells in absorbing the nutrients in the blood stream. When artificial sweeteners are consumed, they have been shown to blunt the affect of the body’s ability to recognize sugar in the blood stream.  What that basically means is that when you consume artificial sweeteners it blunts or lowers your body’s ability to recognize sugar, thus leading to an increase in the amount of calories consumed.  In fact researchers found “that consuming food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar”.  Further they noted that based on the lab’s hypothesis, other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame K, could have similar effects.  In another study, people who used artificial sweeteners ate up to 3 times the amount of calories as the control group.  Plain and simple, artificial sweeteners confuse the body’s natural ability to know when it’s had enough calories (food or drink).


With High Fructose Corn Syrup, the effects are even more pronounced.  It seems that fructose is actually “shunted” (pushed) towards the liver, unlike sucrose (regular sugar) which is broken down in the body, prior to reaching the liver.  And once reaching the liver fructose mimics the effects of insulin in getting the liver to release fatty acids into the blood stream. Thus it appears that fructose causes the liver to release triglycerides. Triglycerides are a common fat in your blood that is often used for energy.  In normal amounts, triglycerides are important to good health.  But high triglyceride levels are part of a group of conditions called Metabolic Syndrome.


Metabolic Syndrome is the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, too much fat around the waist, low LDL (good) cholesterol, and high triglycerides.  This syndrome will increase your risk of heart disease as well as for diabetes and stroke.


Hence, fructose itself may lead to the increased rates of obesity, not merely through increased calorie intake, but through a variety of complex chemical reactions it stimulates in the human body.


Now here’s the interesting thing.  If the liver is bombarded with insulin too often, and this is based on each person’s tolerance level, it begins to become less responsive to insulin being present in the blood stream.  When the liver is less responsive to insulin in the blood stream you can become insulin resistant – which can be a precursor to you getting diabetes, and you don’t want that!


So there you have it.  Artificial sweeteners, sometimes called body toxins, confuse the body into potentially eating a significant amount of excess calories than it actually needs.  While HFCS through a host of complex chemical reactions actually can create an environment for obesity and possible diabetes.


Now here are the most significant findings on the list I promised from above.


Saccharin


  • Presently studies show limited or sufficient evidence of carcinogencity in humans
  • Possibly blunts the ability to recognize sugar in blood stream
  • Possible allergic reactions headaches, breathing difficulty, skin eruptions, diarrhea
  • Does seem to cause fewer problems than Aspartame

Splenda (Sucralose)


  • Pre-approval research showed sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) and enlarged liver and kidneys.
  • Discovered 1976 while seeking to make new pesticide formulation
  • Possible allergic reactions skin rashes, panic-like agitation, dizziness and numbness, intestinal cramping, headaches, muscle aches.
  • Not a “natural” product (see the Splenda website)
  • Contains chlorine which is considered a carcinogen.

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin)


  • Has received the most complaints of any artificial sweetener
  • Use can result in accumulation of formaldehyde in the brain, which can damage your central nervous system and immune system.
  • Linked to neuropsychiatric disorders, including panic attacks, mood changes, manic episodes, visual hallucinations
  • Mild link to depression and male infertility
  • FDA approved though dangerous side effects found in rodents. Same side effects now being found in humans 15 years later.

Stevia


  • Known as sweet herb
  • Has been used for over 400 years without ill effects
  • Reports from other countries show little or no side effects

I could not close this article without sharing with you the dangers of artificial sweeteners and acknowledging that there still needs to be long term studies on humans to be able to say without a doubt -- artificial sweeteners are a danger to humans.  What I will ask you to consider the Tobacco Industry and its stand on cigarettes – supposedly no link between smoking and cancer, and the new knowledge on the dangers of heating your food in plastic – which we originally thought was safe.


I encourage you to build your meals and snacks from whole foods whenever possible and avoid highly processed foods.  If you have to sweeten food, do so sparingly with natural sugars such as honey, rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup.


And if you would like my help on how to avoid artificial sweeteners and highly processed foods or to get your nutrition on track please visit my website now at http://www.energyfxfitness.com. I look forward to assisting you in being your healthiest and best.

“How much weight did you lose?” I overheard one female member ask another.  “How much weight did you gain man?” one male lifter asks another as he exits the scale.  I believe that these two phrases are the most over-used phrases in the world of health and fitness.

Yes, stepping on the scale will tell you how much you weigh on planet earth, but it does nothing to tell you about your present state of health, wellness or fitness.

It appears most of the population is concerned about decreasing their weight;  records show that people in United States spend, on average, $40 billion a year to “reduce their weight”.  My experience with my clients as well as the general public is that people are confused as to what it is that they are trying to reduce or get rid of – body weight or body fat.  Unfortunately these terms are HUGELY misunderstood, and sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. 


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?


To get us started on the right foot, let me first clarify the difference between all of the important terms.  Body weight is nothing more than the measure of the gravitational pull of planet earth on your body.  Whereas body fat, refers to how much of your total body weight is made up of fat.  Then there is lean mass which refers to your muscles, bones, connective tissue, and organs.  The remainder falls into the fat category. 


There are two types of fat:

(1) Essential fat which is required for normal physiological functioning and is stored in the bone marrow, the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and other major tissues and organs; and (2) Storage fat which lies beneath the skin (subcutaneous) and serves as insulation, as a nutritional reserve, and protects internal organs from trauma.  It is the sum of these two fat categories that dictates your overall body fat percentage (%).

WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?


Unfortunately it appears that most of us are only concerned with height versus weight scales and charts used by Life Insurance Companies since 1959, largely because these were the only initial indicators developed to assess health.   However a wealth of information about body composition (lean mass to fat ratio) and its relationship to overall health and wellness have come along since that time that are better indicators of health fitness, and wellness.

Just to put this in perspective, I was told by my insurance company that I was overweight according to my last doctors’ visit.  They informed me that I would have to pay a higher monthly rate in order to stay insured by them.  Mind you I am 5’8”, 207lbs. with 9% bodyfat.  I circuit train with free weights and enjoy boxing regularly.  My blood pressure is low, my cholesterol both good and bad are very low.  But the only thing the insurance company was concerned about was my weight to height number on their scale.  Never mind that all other indicators suggest that I am very healthy.

Now at first glance it may not seem all that important to distinguish between the two – body weight versus body fat.  Especially in a world that seems to be obsessed with being thin.  But being thinner is not an indicator of being healthier.  You can have two people that weigh 135 lbs.  One person has 15% body fat (20lbs. fat), while the other person has 30% body fat (40lbs. fat). What that means is that the person with 15% body fat is having an easier time carrying their body weight around in their daily activities because they have more muscle to do the job.  This obviously suggests that, all things being equal, they have a better chance at a longer life expectancy than someone who is carrying extra body fat.  If for no other reason than the person at 15% is, over time, experiencing less wear and tear on their joints, will have a better overall energy level, and mobility.

But let’s take it one step further.  As I discuss in my article on Stress and Weight Loss, excessive body fat has been correlated to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis and certain forms of cancer.  So let’s be clear, while body fat is not a full- proof indicator of health, it is definitely putting you in the right direction to focus on, rather than body weight.  So the question now becomes, are you overweight or overfat?  Remember overweight is based on your height only, while overfat refers to your body fat percent in relationship to your overall body weight.

BODY COMPOSITION


Body composition refers to the ratio between your lean mass and body fat.  Below I have included a chart that provides general ranges for both men and women.

Women

Men

Essential Fat

10 – 12%

2 – 4%

Athletes

14 – 20%

6 -13%

Fitness

21 -24%

14 –17%

Acceptable

25 -31%

18 -25%

Obese

32% and up

26% and up

This chart gives you a general idea of the ranges you should consider when considering what level of health, wellness, and fitness you are striving towards.

There are several ways to calculate your body fat percentage.

1.)   Hydrostatic Weighing Test:  Considered the Gold Standard by many, this test requires you to sit on a scale inside a tank of water and blow out as much air as you can from your lungs. 

2.)   Skinfold or Pinch Test:  Calipers are used to measure skin fold thickness in various parts of the body.  Body fat is then determined by computing the results using a formula. This is one of the testing measurements I use for my clients.

3.)   Bioelectrical Impedance Test:  A special scale is used to pass a harmless signal/ current from hand to foot.  The signal will travel faster if there is less fat in the body.  This is the other measurement tool I use for my clients.

4.)   BMI:  The most popular, because it is the most accessible.  Beware however as this does not take into account gender and age, which are very important.  This is the weight to height scale I discussed above.  Click here to figure your own BMI.

Ultimately when using any of these measurement devices to determine body fat to body weight a note of caution must be used.  These are not full – proof devices; each comes with its own amount of error built in.  The goal is to get a number that you track over time to provide you with insight as to whether your health, wellness, and fitness program is helping you get healthier or not.

EXERCISE & NUTRITION


As some of you read this you are saying, “fine, I’ll just cut my calories back, or do such and such diet and I’ll lose weight”.  And to a minor degree you would be correct.  However, after being in the health, wellness, and fitness industry for over 20 years I can tell you just cutting calories is the slowest way to achieve lasting weight loss towards improved health.

For one, just cutting calories, if you not working with a certified nutritionist or dietician, in many cases leads to your body consuming its lean mass (muscle) for energy.  This results in your body’s metabolism slowing down; which in turn slows down how quickly you will shed those unwanted pounds.  Your muscles are the horses that power your body into movement.  If you decrease that horsepower you will burn fewer calories as the body tries to protect itself from starvation. 


This is a typical response to the calories in versus calories out idea.  While it is true that if you eat less calories than you burn you will lose weight.  But it is also true that if you are not eating the right types of calories you will get rid of weight that will actually slow your progress towards weight loss.

Let me quickly try to explain why this is so, as it seems so many people are in fact confused about this issue of drastically reducing their calories and not getting results. Depending on where your ancestors came from, they dealt with periods of caloric deprivation.  What I mean is that if your ancestors lived close to North or South Pole they had to deal with growing ice sheets that made food less available.  If your ancestors lived close to the equator then they had to deal with issues of drought and again, that made food less available.  So during those periods of less available calories (caloric deprivation) on which to survive, the body had to adapt.  It did this by learning to slow it’s metabolism down in order to make sure that we survived.  This was a survival mechanism that kept our species alive. So when you skip meals or drastically reduce your calories, you are in a sense telling your body to slow down your metabolism because calories are scarce. 


The unfortunate part of this is that when you do this the body goes for the most nutrient dense tissues in order to make up for that caloric deprivation.  When the body is choosing between lean mass (muscle) and fat, lean mass contains more nutrients.  So typically your body will go here to get the calories it needs to survive.  This means, as I mentioned above, as the body consumes its own muscle to survive it also slows the metabolism you are trying to rev up to lose weight.  Thus skipping meals is counter productive to losing weight and in fact works against your goal in the long run.


When working with my clients I explain this issue to them and then make clear the importance of consuming 5 -6 meals each day.  This allows you to maintain your muscle, keep your metabolism revved up as well as not feel hungry through out the day. 


Along with consuming regular meals through out the day I am a big believer in the use of exercise (cardio as well as resistance exercise) in order to speed up the weight loss process.  Research continues to show that utilizing exercise in addition to a well rounded nutrition schedule actually assists in losing weight faster.  And what’s more important is that it is the weight you want to get rid of – body fat!

Specifically utilizing resistance exercises stimulates the muscles in order to maintain your lean mass, while utilizing cardio assists in burning extra calories.  The two done together ensure that you, while using a well rounded nutrition program, will watch your body fat % drop steadily.

For more information on this topic please order my 20 of the Most Frequently Asked Fitness Questions CD, where I go into more detail.

Now when I say exercise I don’t only mean joining a gym.  Perhaps you can start with: taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator, or when safe, park further away from the entrance and walk utilize hobbies that include physical activity (gardening, dancing, hiking) Think of it this way. If you burned 100 more calories per day, which is equivalent to walking approximately 1 mile each day (15 minutes), and kept this up without changing your nutrition.  You could stand to lose 10 lbs in one year.

When working with my clients I strive to create custom meal programs that they can stick to, as well as exercise programs that are personalized to their unique level of fitness.  Doing this drastically increases how fast they lose weight and keep it off. If you have any questions or would like some help in creating a customized nutrition and exercise program visit my website at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or contact me at (310) 397-0089.  It’s time you had the success you deserve!

About the author:


Kurt Elder MSW, CPT is a Fitness Consultant and Results Coach. Kurt has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years.  He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete, and world record holder. He holds a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Kurt is currently the owner and operator of Energy F/X Fitness Consultants.  Kurt is a highly sought after authority in rehab and sports conditioning as well as weight loss.  His approach, aided by his unique background, allows an experience of total transformation for his clients. Kurt may be contacted at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or call me at (310) 397-0089.
When I was a kid I would insist that my parents purchase these specific shoes that I believed would make me run faster and jump higher. In my adolescence I wanted to wear certain clothes that would make me part of the in crowd. Presently, some adults believe that driving a certain car will in fact make them more popular and increase their chances of dating the right person. As an adult I realize that many of us are using these same types of media driven magical/wishful thinking when choosing how to go about losing weight. We somehow believe that there is a quick fix to years of inactivity and careless eating habits.

I have been in the Health and Fitness industry for over 20 years, and I continue to be amazed at how easily many of us are led into the profit driven hype the media feeds us. Telling us how using philosophy ‘X’ or product ‘Y’ will lead to quick and satisfying weight loss. Drawing from my experiences in high school wrestling; to National level Powerlifting; presently practicing Mixed Martial Arts, as well as having been a practicing psychotherapist, I know what works and what doesn’t, as well as the struggles it takes to get there. I have witnessed the frustration of 100’s, if not 1,000’s of clients who came to me after trying the latest diet trend and having little to no results. I know what works in the real world. I know how to help you get there because I’ve assisted 100’s if not 1,000’s of clients achieve their weight loss goals. And there is no magic involved.

The process is rather simple, eat more calories than you burn and you will gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. The trick of course is not to deprive yourself so much that you feel hungry while having fewer calories. There have been numerous approaches to weight loss ranging from philosophies that encourage certain foods be eaten together, to cabbage soup diets, to eating foods specific to your blood type, to eating all the fat and protein you want. Yet through all of these trends, the same fact remains. Take in fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. There are no quick fixes and at the same time there is no need for undue suffering while modifying your nutritional intake.

So what does work, you must be asking yourself by now? What can I eat and how can I lose these unwanted pounds that are not only unattractive to me, but are inhibiting the quality of my life? The answer is rather simple. Let me tell you why. The unfortunate truth is that most of us don’t really know what we eat day to day. We get hungry and put something in our mouths. Part of any successful weight loss program is to first keep track of what you eat. I have my clients keep a 5 day food journal to start the process off. This gives us each an idea of what modifications need to be made to get them from point A to point B. I rely on real-life, scientifically based, age old truths about how the body works and what gets results for my clients.

In June 2002 Consumer Reports published an article, called the “The Truth About Dieting”. In it, they effectively and accurately lay out the guides/strategy that I have been espousing to my clientele for years for successful weight loss. Consumer Reports conducted the largest survey ever on long-term maintenance of weight loss, 32,213 respondents. From this group they found 5 key points necessary to successful long-term weight loss. And in August 2002, L.A. Health News published a piece that utilized information reviewed by the website iVillage.com, where several of the leading diets plans were reviewed for their hunger (if they left the user feeling hungry), health (do you get the nutrients you need), ease (is it easy to follow), and expense (will this diet break your bank).

I could go on listing volumes of references of all the information that is out there to guide you to your success, but the key elements are rather simple. And probably not so different from the ideas your mother used to tell you. Simply put, unless informed differently by a physician, you should have a protein, a carbohydrate, and a fat at each meal. Meals should be spaced approximately every two and a half to three and a half hours apart. This could be three typical meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, with two snacks (one mid-morning snack and one late afternoon snack), or five small meals throughout the day. Why? Because your body needs consistent nutrition throughout the day in order to remain alert, maintain energy levels, and keep your body burning fat rather than storing it.

1) Carbohydrates: Consistent with Consumer Reports article, The Zone by Barry Sears, and numerous other diet plans. One of the biggest keys to a successful weight loss program is taming your blood sugar. The body’s use of carbohydrates is the key to success and is a regular part of diets. There are essentially two types of carbohydrates: Low Glycemic such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes and food rich in fiber, and High Glycemic, which include foods such as white rice, pasta, refined flour, bread, potatoes, and sugar. During digestion carbohydrates are broken down into sugar (glucose) molecules. When they reach your blood stream the pancreas releases insulin, which is the only way cells can uptake the glucose and hence use the glucose for energy. However, fasting-acting, high-glycemic carbohydrates create an upsurge of blood sugar that is uncomfortable to the body (not to mention being stored as triglycerides (an indicator of heart disease risk)). In response the body unleashes a surge of insulin that often drives blood sugar levels below normal and thereby increases the craving for more (often high glycemic) carbohydrates. It is of importance to note that your brain is the second largest consumer of carbohydrates in the body, so drastically reducing or worse yet, skipping carbs altogether is an easy way to impair your clear thinking, not to mention your energy levels.

The key is to minimize the amount of high glycemic carbohydrates you take in at each meal. If you have a high glycemic carb in your meal make sure to include approximately double that amount of low glycemic carb. In that way you are able to control your insulin levels and hence your energy levels.

2) Protein: Other than the Atkins Diet, many traditional reducing diets restrict protein intake. However, recent research has shown that protein actually aids in the slowing of food absorption. For instance if you have a serving of fish with some white rice, though I suggest brown, your blood sugar will rise more slowly than if you consume the same number of calories of white rice alone. So protein can aid in a low-glycemic diet, as well as helping you control your insulin. Protein also serves the purpose of feeding your muscles. Without the amino acids present in protein, your muscles would starve. Maintaining your muscle (often referred to as lean mass) is what allows you to keep your metabolism up and hence burn more calories.
The key is to choose lean protein such as lean cuts of beef, pork, egg whites, fish, chicken, turkey, and reduced fat dairy.

3) Fat: Though for some time we have been lead to believe that fat is bad, recent research encourages the use of fats towards weight loss and maintaining good health. Fats such as mono- and poly-unsaturated vegetable oils, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and fish oil seem to protect people against heart disease. In addition adding fat to your meal slows the absorption rate of food allowing you to feel fuller longer. Further, this slowed absorption rate decreases the blood sugar surge that would occur if fat were not included in the meals containing high glycemic carbohydrates.
The key is to utilize healthy fats to maintain well-rounded nutrition and health.

4) Consistency: It appears that it is not so much what you do in your weight loss strategy as much as it is how often. Those that have the most success in weight loss and keeping the weight off, do so by making consistently better choices in food and adding exercise regularly.

Again, the idea is to meet your nutritional requirements while decreasing your overall calories and not feeling starved. One of the best ways to do this is to choose foods rich in fiber and water. The idea is to get your body to feel full before you’ve consumed too many calories. The easiest way to do this is to choose foods that are rich in fiber and water such as vegetables, grains, and lean meats. Merely drinking water after a meal, while helpful, does not create the same feeling of fullness as when water is a part of the food. An example used by Consumer Reports is of having chicken noodle soup versus having chicken and noodles side by side on a plate.

To summarize, eat every three and a half to four hours, include a protein, high glycemic and approximately double the low glycemic carbohydrate, and make sure to include fat in every meal. Exercise regularly and POW watch the unwanted pounds leave and stay gone!

Now if this all still sounds too complicated to get you results AND If you’re ready to have the body you always wanted contact me at kurt@energyfxfitness.com and I can help create a nutrition schedule that won’t break your bank and will get you results fast! Call me now at (310) 397-0089.

NOTE:

In the Spring of 2000, the U.S. Public Health Services’ Centers for Disease Control declared obesity an epidemic among all segments of the population, in all regions of the country. By 2001 the CDC officially recognized obesity as the No. 1 epidemic in America. According to the CDC, one in five American adults is obese, which is defined as being 30 percent above the ideal weight for one’s height. Obesity has increased among American adults by nearly 60 percent in the last decade and approximately half of Americans are overweight.
These extra pounds have been known to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure as well as being associated with several types of cancer, including breast, colon, kidney, liver, pancreatic, and rectal.

BMI Formula BMI Formula (14 KB)



About the author:

Kurt Elder MSW, CPT is a Fitness Consultant and Result Coach. Kurt has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years. He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete, and world record holder. He holds a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Kurt is currently the owner and operator of Energy F/X Fitness Consultants. Kurt is a highly sought after authority in rehab and sports conditioning as well as weight loss. His approach, aided by his unique background, allows an experience of total transformation of his clients. Kurt may be contacted at http://www.energyfxfitness.com or call me at (310) 397-0089.