Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Can making small changes REALLY make a difference?"

Gonna' make this kinda' short today...but wanted to make a point because you hear this all the time.

When I say that it's the "little changes" over time that can make the difference, consider this case in point:

Recently when consulting with a new client the question came up..."how can just ONE soft drink a day make any difference"?

I took out the calculator and showed her the following figures:

One 12 oz regular soft drink contains (only) 150 calories...I multiplied that times 365 days, which adds up to a whopping 54,750 calories a year!

It takes 3,500 calories, (above or below your daily needs), to add or deduct one pound of body weight! I divided 3,500 into 54,750 and showed her that just by dropping that one soft drink each day it was possible to generate a minus 15.64 pounds in one year!

The new client decided, with a smile, that water probably wasn't so bad after all!

It's like compound interest...except this is an investment in your health and fitness!


"What are 'assessments' and why are they important?"

Wow, another great question!
I always recommend that before beginning (or re-starting) a health, fitness, weight-loss program your Fitness Professional administer a few basic health, fitness, flexibility assessments, and base-line measurements to get a good idea where their client is starting from. That way your Fitness Pro can help set realistic goals for you, that will also be measurable as you continue your LifeStyle program.

Most basic fitness assessments include:
  1. A health/fitness history questionaire. To help determine your physical readiness to begin a fitness program.
  2. Basic health assessments such as resting pulse rate, blood pressure, and oxygen up-take. This will help identify any possible over-looked issues that need to be addressed by you and your physician.
  3. Your weight will be taken and recorded.
  4. Some method to measure your "body-fat percentage" (calipers, electronic, hydrostatic) is very important! Your body is going to begin changing, and the only way to be sure what is going on ('cause the scales are gonna lie to you!) is by checking in on that body fat percentage from time to time (about every 4-8 weeks...especially in the early parts of your program).
  5. Your body measurements should be taken and recorded including at least the chest, belly, butt, thigh, and arm.
  6. Some basic postural assessments (you know, like rounding shoulders, etc) should be taken to determine if there are structural issues that need to be addressed and possibly corrected as part of your program.
  7. Some basic strength assessments for upper body (push-ups), core (ab crunches), and lower body (squats) will help your Pro "fine-tune" your program by knowing where you are starting so you are not "over-doing", or "under-doing" it!
  8. And flexibiliy assessments, for example hamstrings, will help determine if additional stretching will help any issues you might be experiencing. For example tight hamstrings (behind the legs), which usually come from spending so much time today in a seated position, many times are the actual culprit that causes "low back" discomfort.

These are just the basics that you should expect when you have a Fitness Professional help you get started on a Safe, Effective Fitness Lifestyle.

Then every 4-8 weeks (or sooner if you or your Pro have concerns) it's a good idea to check back where you are with where you were, and with where you are wanting to go. If you are right on track, great...just get back out there and stay with it! If, however there are areas that are not responding as you and your Pro would like, those specific areas can be addressed, corrected if needed, and then you get back out there!

I really believe these basic assessments are so important that I include them in my package pricing...without them, you are just "shooting in the dark"!

I hope that's answered your question, and thanks for asking.

Bobby Morrow, cPt

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"How do I change my eating habits?"

"Bobby, I have always been very active, yet I have never really eaten right. Now, as my body has aged (mid 40’s), I am finding that things are working as they used to and like a light switch realize I need to change things.My question to you Bobby is, How? How do I change my eating habits. It’s not as easy as just picking the right foods and eating them. What foods are best for what time of the day? Vegetables, meats, fruits? What foods will help me with my exercising and weight lifting? At age 46, what weights do I need to use and how should I use them to make sure I don’t lose muscle mass and bone density. I hope this isn’t too much but you asked. Lol!"


GREAT QUESTION! (And thanks so much for sharing!)

I've found that the best way to change eating habits is to start small. Making smaller choices makes it simpler, less challenging, and are much easier to live with for the long run. Little changes like cutting back on sugar, and fat your food labels and make healthier choices between foods with lower sugar and fat levels than what you would normally choose. For example, by choosing 98% fat free sandwich meats...lower fat cheese, milk, salad dressings, etc. Choosing a cereal that maybe has only 2-5 grams of sugar rather than 15, 20, or more. Also choosing 100% whole grain breads and pastas rather than the old standard white breads and pastas. Etc, etc.

A really great place to start is this site will give you an estimate of the calories you need each day. Break that down into 3 meals, plus 2-3 snacks...for example, if the daily calorie requirements are 1,800...I would break it down to around 400 kcals per meal (total 1,200) and 200 kcals per snack (total of 600) for a grand total of 1,800 per day.

Try to have about 1/2 your calories from "good" vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dark rice, etc. And about 1/3 of your total calories from low fat protein...meats (fish, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, etc), dairy products, or eggs. The rest of the calories can come from fats/oil, but try to limit those to the healthier fats such as olive, kanola, oils...and try to add in some healthy omega3 oils that you can get from nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts (these nuts are also great snack sources...and are about 1/2 carbs and 1/2 protein.. with the good oils...but full of calories so don't overdo it!).

What you end up with is REALLY healthy "high-test" fuel in your body ALL DAY LONG...that way you really don't have to be concerned about what to eat for specific activiities...your body will have what it needs, whenever it needs it...and will begin to stop storing up "fuel" in those areas of the body where we don't want it.

I'll try to answer you "weights" questions at another time. :-) BobbyM

"On days when I'm pushed to get my workout in (namely lifting days) do I get the best workout in on a tight schedule?"

Another really great question!And for those days (not for long-term) when you just feel really rushed to get through your workout, I recommend you try the following: If you normally do multiple set (two or more) strength training...bump up your weight a tiny bit (5%-10%) and do just one set using the most-perfect form you can rustle up, breath properly (exhale on exertion, and inhale as you relax), use good tempo of movement (count a full "one, two" on the lift...and a full "one, two, three, four" as you lower the weight), and focus your mind on the muscle(s) you are working. In other words REALLY BE THERE IN THAT MOMENT, WITH THAT EXERCISE, WITH YOUR BODY...then move on to the next exercise. You will be amazed at the you will finish up a GREAT WORKOUT in half the time (or less)!

Keep those questions coming! BobbyM