Archives for the month of: October, 2012

Hey All,

Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from heavy lifting and do something puke-inducing. Just an all out max effort workout. That’s what I’ll be doing today, so I thought I’d share in case anyone wanted to try something a little different! My fabulous Fitness Concierge, Jules thought of this one.. and I’m really dreading looking forward to it.

Were going for time:

Round 1: 1000m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/10 ball slams

Round 2: 800m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/8 ball slams

Round 3: 600m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/6 ball slams

Round 4: 400m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/4 ball slams

Round 5: 200m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/2 ball slams

Round 6: 100m on erg/.25mile treadmill sprint/1 ball slam

I’m aiming for about 30 minutes. I’ll come back and update with my times. Try it and let me know how you do!

-L

UPDATE: That was utter brutality. Sprints were definitely the hardest part but I managed to get it in just under 32 minutes. Thanks for the torture Jules!

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Hey folks!

I hope everyone enjoyed the fantastic fall weekend we had. I had my yearly weekend of simultaneous awesomeness/depression enducing activities a.k.a. UMass Homecoming. It was awesome to see a bunch of old friends and spend the day outside, but it makes me miss college immensely.

Ahh.. The Glory Days

But it’s back to the real world (hey… at least I have a kick-ass job now). Last week I hit a 200lb x2 deadlift and it felt awesome. Knock on wood… My back has been feeling great and I’m looking forward to killing it this week for training. This week’s warmup is deadlift inspired. Enjoy!

1. Foam Roll hamstrings, glutes, and lats- Lengthen before you strengthen!

Foam rolling your entire posterior line will set you up for success before you deadlift. You can release any soft tissure restrictions and get your muscles prepped for work.

2. Scapular Pushups – Shoulder girdle warmup, rotator cuff strength, should stabilizer warmup

It’s kind of tough to see in the picture, but you want to get into a good pushup position and focus on isolating your shoulder blades. Pinch them together and push them apart keeping your torso tight and your arms locked. You can even take this elevated or on all 4’s if it’s challenging for you. Having strong shoulder stabilizers is more important than you may think for deadlifting.

3. Cable Pull Throughs- Glute and hamstring activators

Set your cable weight decently heavy, and grab the cable rope between your knees as shown. Sit back as if you were deadlift until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes. Forcefully stand up straight and lock out into full extension with your hips and knees. Make sure you’re squeezing your glutes to get there.

4. Box jumps- Dynamic movement, plyometric warmup

If you have knee issues, be extra cautious with box jumps, or exclude them completely. However, they can actually help with knee health. If you do them correctly, you learn how to absorb force efficiently, which is very important. Before your jump, sit back to load the hammy’s and squat into your landing. As a cue I give alot in my classes, box jumps should be quiet- no one should hear you land.

Now get deadlifting!!

Enjoy!

-L

There are 3 things I will never understand in this world:

1. Why people bring bikes on the T

2. Why Say Yes to the Dress makes me cry (legit every time)

3. Why people still eat bagels and Frosted Flakes for breakfast.

Less carbs, more protein. End of story. Now this list is nothing revolutionary, but sometimes it’s just good to have a list of easy foods to refer to every now and again. And yes.. I know that some of these breakfasts have some carbs; but hey… it’s better than bagels and Frosted Flakes. Happy Friday!

1. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

2 Tbsp PB, 1 Banana, 6oz cup vanilla or plain low fat yogurt, ½ cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk, 4 ice cubes

appx 390 calories, 16g of protein

2. Strawberry Banana Smoothie (with greens)

4-5 strawberries, 1 Banana, 6oz cup vanilla low fat Greek yogurt, ½ cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk, 4 ice cubes, ¾ cup spinach – you can’t taste it I promise!

Appx 260 calories, 18g of protein

3. Chopped Apple+ Walnut Quinoa (1 cup)

Made with milk and seasonings of your choice

Appx 450 calories, 15g of protein

4. Regular Instant Oatmeal (Added Protein -1 cup)

Made with almond milk and 2 tbsp of PB or 1 scoop protein powder

Appx 450- 570 calories, 18g- 34g of protein

5. Greek Yogurt Parfait

1 6oz cup (plain), fresh fruit of your choice, sprinkled ½c KIND granola and cinnamon

Appx 215 calories, 23g of protein

6. Two salt free whole grain brown rice cakes

Top with 2tbsp almond butter and sliced ½ banana

Appx 300 calories, 12g of protein

7. 3 egg whites, 2 whole eggs + Salsa

Scrambled with Veggies of your choice

Appx 250 calories 23g of protein

8. Breakfast Pizza

Whole wheat English (Thomas light) muffin topped with 2tbsp low fat ricotta or mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and lightly drizzled oil

Appx 370 calories, 11g of protein

9. Breakfast Burrito

4 Egg whites, salsa to taste, 1tbsp low fat sour cream, guacamole (optional), wrapped in an 100 calorie flax wrap

Appx 330 cal, appx 22g of protein

Enjoy!

-L

To a certain degree, I would consider personal trainers allied health care professionals. I believe a good personal trainer helps his/her clients go beyond exercise. It’s pretty standard for a trainer to ask a new client about their nutrition; however I like to take it a few steps further and dig into sleep habits, water intake, stress levels, energy levels, and just life in general. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but I would be so bold as to guess that I have a much closer relationship with my clients than they do with their doctors. I need to get the whole picture to improve my client’s lives. Who am I if I’m not helping others?

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about a personal health journey.

A fellow trainer wrote a blog post once about how he ate an unusually unhealthy dinner one night, proceeded to get terrible sleep, and felt like crap the entire next day. Then it occurred to him that that’s some people’s normal.  And we just accept it as ‘it is what it is.’

For the past few years I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I have a mild case of hypothyroidism. I have a list of mild yet annoying symptoms that until recently I didn’t really put much thought into piecing them together. Obviously when I was younger, I just accepted these things as ‘it is what is it’ and that’s just how I am. When I started to think about it.. I wondered if all these things were connected in some way. Here’s what I came up with:

1. I’ve always had very dry skin. Even in the summer time I can’t go a day without putting lotion on or else my skin resembles the Sahara.

2. I bruise like a peach. Like… a super old peach. The littlest whack to the shin can cause a gigantic deep purple contusion.

3. My overall energy is not bad, but could be better. When I was in college (and clearly had too much time on my hands) I would take 2-3 hour naps DAILY. Obviously I don’t have anywhere near that amount of free time now, and I find myself barely being able to keep my eyes open on the T ride home.

4. My eyes get puffy and sensitive to unnatural light (especially fluorescent).

5. Most noticeably, my hair has gotten very brittle, and breaks very easily.

6. I have poor temperature control. I’m either sweating or freezing.

7. I’ve always been in a healthy body fat range, thanks mostly to good exercise habits (re: lifting) and a good diet. However, it takes a pretty significant effort for me to get in the teen range (usually entails two-a-days and VERY strict diet). Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.

About a year ago I had my doctor check all my hormone levels. According to her all my levels were ‘normal,’ and I had nothing to worry about. Yeah… thanks for nothing doc. An analogy I read while doing my research talked about the RDA for vitamin D. Basically, it’s just enough to not get rickets. But many people question if it’s enough for optimal health.

“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”  ~Hannah Green

But.. I figured doctors know best and it just… is what it is.

So a year goes by. One morning about 3 weeks ago I found my lab report for my  thyroid levels. I was on the low end of normal. I decided to type all my symptoms into Google just to see what popped up. Not surprisingly, every single result said hypothyroidism. I also have it in my family; my grandmother takes a thyroid pill every day of her life. But I thought… there has to be a better way. I wanted to get to the root of the problem.

So I did some more research. What are the underlying causes of hypothyroidism? Does it just get out of whack for no reason or can something be done to fix it? And then I found it.

Iodine Deficiency. 

Iodine is an essential dietary element because it aids in producing thyroid hormones. According to the WHO, a deficiency in iodine can cause hypothyroid-like symptoms,  miscarriages in pregnant women, or even mental retardation and brain damage.

Iodine deficiency is actually pretty rare for the standard American diet because we eat so much processed, high sodium foods. (Most of the salt we consume is fortified with iodine). However, if you eat a better-than-average diet with minimally processed food and lots of fruits and veggies, you can actually be missing iodine! My diet significantly improved after college, when my symptoms got more noticeable, so I put 2 and 2 together.

Now, supplements are good but real food is better. So the next step in my research was to find foods naturally rich in iodine. Big shocker: seaweed. Ahh, the light bulb turns on. So obvious. Needless to say, I got pretty pumped about where my research had taken me so I went out that afternoon and got me some ever-so-delicious kombu.

Seaweed soup anybody?

 

Luckily, I live in an area with a large Asian population and we have a gigantic Asian food market down the street. The seaweed was easy to find and pretty cheap. I’ve tried to consume some at least every other day for the past few weeks, and I can honestly say I already feel a difference. My eyes have been less puffy, my energy is better, and my skin is (slightly) less dry. All of the other things will probably take some more time to really see changes, and I will surely keep you updated.

Admittedly, I put ‘fat loss’ in the title to get your attention. Although everything about iodine, thyroid, and weight loss is true, the intention of this article is not to get you to think seaweed is the magical key to weight loss and you should go eat a crap ton and you’ll lose ten pounds by next week.  (Yes grammar freaks I realize that’s a run-on sentence. Cuff me.)

The intention of this article is to get you to take a second look at your health. Can things you just accept as normal be improved? I encourage you to dig a little deeper and solve your issues from the root instead of just putting a band-aide on them. Ask questions. Do research. Think critically. Everybody deserves to feel good every day.

“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”  ~William Londen

In Best Health,

-L

References:

1. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/idd/en/

2. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/iodine-deficiency/#axzz29f3jQqOp

3. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-visual-guide-to-sea-vegetables/#axzz29f3jQqOp

4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/336014-nutritional-therapy-for-hypothyroid/

5.http://jonnybowdenblog.com/thyroid-fish-oil/

6. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/kombu-egg-soup/#axzz29f3jQqOp

7. http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/what-to-do-if-you-are-low-in-iodine

8. http://freetheanimal.com/2010/01/the-hidden-benefit-of-the-sad-iodine.html

9. http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/foods-naturalthyroidhealth.aspx

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a great weekend.

My weekend was super active. Saturday, my roommates and I hiked Mt. Monadnock. It’s one of my favorite hikes, however, we didn’t get to go up my usual trail. Since we went in the afternoon, our usual parking lot was full, so we had to start at the other side of the mountain. The hike was longer, less steep, and had less viewing points. But we did get a great view at the top.

The Roomies- acting like we like each other

After the hike we did something I’ve been waiting to do all season…. Get Kimball Farm’s epic apple crisp!! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of it. We meant to, but we forgot because we were too busy demolishing it like we zombies on some kind of bath salts or something.

Probably what we looked like… except we had ice cream all over our face instead of blood…

Yesterday, I got the priveledge of participating in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk, and it was an amazing experience.

I went to support a client of mine- and when I got there, her husband came up to me, grabbed my face and thanked me for what I do for his wife. Moments like those are what my job the best job in the world. It will be a day I’ll never forget.

Any way enough about me… Here’s your warm up of the week!

1. Myofascial release under arches- SMR, ankle mobilization, posterior line mobilization, helps with prevention of foot cramps

Make sure to do this barefoot or with socks. You can use a golf ball, tennis ball, racket ball… anything really. Put as much pressure as you can handle and roll around the arches of your feet.

2. Toe to wall calf stretch- calf stretch, posterior line mobilization

Hold for 30-40 seconds on each side. You can also bend and straighten the knee for more of a soleous stretch.

3. Light Dumbbell/Kettlebell Deadlift

You can do this with your butt facing the wall so you can have some external feedback. Most important and getting your butt back and keeping your back neutral. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and stand up tall in part B.

4. Incline pushups- upperbody warmup, core activator, ‘push’ muscle activator, (good for bench press)

As with any pushup, make sure you don’t let your elbows flare to wide, and keep your hips from sagging. If your chest can’t touch the edge of whatever your pushing up on, you need to heighten your incline.

Have a great week folks!

-L