Posts from 2016-05

Hydrate Right


As the warm temperatures begin to rise; staying hydrated is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun.  Not only is proper hydration one of the most important aspects of physical activity, it’s also critical for heart health.  Keeping your body hydrated helps the heart pump blood easier to the muscles.  So essentially, if you stay well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.  Most of us do not drink adequate water and may be at risk for dehydration. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet and headaches to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. It’s also important to note; if you are beginning to feel thirsty, most likely you are already dehydrated.

How much water should you be drinking?

The goal is to minimize dehydration without over-drinking. Adequate hydration for healthy adults varies among individuals based on weight, and how much fluid you actually lose during exercise (sweat). Normal fluid needs for a healthy adult is 30ml for every kilogram of body weight.

Example: Weight 140lbs, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get = 63.6 kilograms (kg)           

                  63.6kg X 30ml = 1,908ml / 240ml to get = 7.95 cups. 

Water is best.

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated, especially prior to and after exercise. Sources of water also include fruits and vegetables, which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people doing high intensity exercise, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.


Warning signs of dehydration:         


Flushed skin

Premature fatigue

Increased body temperature

Faster breathing and pulse rate

Increased perception of effort

Decreased exercise capacity



American Heart Association, RD411,

Tip the Balance of Calories in Your Favor



You have probably heard that the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume; but have you thought about how much activity it actually takes to work off your favorite foods? Of course it depends on the type of activity you do and how long you keep doing it. For example, if a 150 pound person consumes a junior cheeseburger that contains 290 calories, it would take approximately 33 minutes of biking at 12 miles per hour to burn it off.  If the same 150 pound person ate that burger and then sat back in the recliner to read a book, it would take 7 hours and 36 minutes for those calories to be utilized. Keep in mind, these numbers are for comparison only, the actual amount of calories you exert is also dependent upon other factors such as your individual body weight. For example, the more you weigh the more calories a specific activity will burn.


            Thinking about how long and hard you may need to work to burn off an additional treat, like another cookie or an extra scoop of ice cream, may make those tempting foods seem less appealing.  Just remember there are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat. In order to lose one pound a week, you must burn 500 calories more per day than you consume. This can be done through a combination of decreasing calorie intake while increasing activity. Reducing portion sizes, steering clear of sugar-sweetened drinks, altering recipes to cut the calorie content, and leaving off cheese and high calorie condiments, like mayonnaise, are steps in the right direction toward limiting calories.


In addition, making a conscious effort to move more, even in the smallest activities, can make a big difference over time in the weight control battle. For example, instead of burning just 2 calories letting the dog out the back door, actually take the dog for a 30 minute walk and burn 125 calories. Instead of lounging on the couch and burning 4 calories while you talk on the phone for 30 minutes, take the call standing up and burn 20 calories. Instead of burning 0 calories on yard work by hiring a lawn service, do 30 minutes of gardening and 30 minutes of grass cutting and burn 360 calories. Do the math, if you start taking opportunities to eat a few less and to burn a few more calories here and there, it can lead to gradual, but significant, weight loss. Don’t miss these chances to tip the balance of calories in versus calories out in your favor. For more information on balancing calorie intake and output check out these websites:

Making Weight Loss a Success

scale 2

Do you find it difficult to lose weight? Have you lost weight in the past, then down the road found yourself back at your starting weight or even heavier? Poor eating and exercise habits can build up over time and can make change difficult, but change is essential to successful weight loss and your ability to maintain weight loss.

The best plan of action for weight loss is to incorporate healthy habits into your daily life so they become part of your daily routine. On average, it takes ~66 days to establish a new habit. Below are some simple steps to put you on the path to weight loss success.

·         Know the Facts

o   To lose one pound of weight per week, you need to:

§  Cut 500 calories per day from the amount of calories you are currently consuming

§  Burn up to an additional 500 calories daily from physical activity, or

§  Do a combination of both to reach your goal of a 500 calorie per day deficit

·         Keep a Food Journal

o   This is a great tool to help you track the amount of calories you are consuming daily

o   It also makes you aware of the types and amounts of foods you are consuming so that you can make needed changes to make your eating habits healthier

o   A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed that one of the most powerful predictors of weight loss was how many days per week that participants kept a food journal

·         Add Extra Movement to Your Day

o   Being physically active can help you lose weight

o   You should work your way up to a goal of accumulating at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week

o   Simple changes can help you burn a few extra calories during the day

§  Take the stairs instead of riding the elevator

§  Park your vehicle at the end of the parking lot and walk to your destination

§  Take your dog for a walk

§  Purchase a pedometer and count your steps

·         Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day

Maybe you have already been on the journey to successful weight loss and are wondering how you will maintain your success. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has been established to identify ways the NWCR members have managed to keep the weight off. Most members reported they eat breakfast daily, weigh themselves at least one time per week, watch less than 10 hours of TV per week and exercise, on average, ~1 hour per day.

Whether you are just beginning your weight loss journey or you have been on it a while, remember that persistence is the key.




Planning for Post-Workout Recovery

chocolate milk


Muscle rest isn’t the only important thing after a good hard work out.  One of the first things you should do after a workout is think about replenishing your nutrient stores.  There are a lot of tips/tricks being spread in society today about what the best post-workout recovery meal and drink are.  Before diving into the topic of what are the best things to eat post workout let’s get the basics of why nutrition is essential during this time.

During a workout, your body uses energy in the form of glycogen (which is stored in the muscles) to help you push to your max and achieve your workout goal.  That’s why it’s extremely important to get these nutrients back in your body as soon as possible after your workout.  Post-Workout snacks should consist of both carbohydrates and protein, with the focus being on protein.  Consuming these macronutrients post-workout provides your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen stores that your body used during your workout and helps rebuild the muscles.  Optimal post-workout snacks normally are to be consumed between 15-20 minutes post training.  

One of my favorite post-workout snacks is low-fat chocolate milk.  Milk in general is a great post-workout recovery drink due to the fact that it is made up of whey protein.  Studies show that whey protein is more quickly digested and absorbed in the bloodstream compared to other forms of protein.  Milk also has another protein called casein.  The casein protein found in milk has been shown to be digested at a slower rate than whey, resulting in a longer lasting and sustained source of amino acids for muscle recovery.  Many protein shakes and powders do contain both of these proteins and are suitable for post-workout snacks.  Low fat chocolate milk just happens to be my favorite due to the fact that it contains both carbohydrates and it is an excellent source of protein. 

Check out the list below for some other great choices for post-workout snacks:

-          Yogurt with berries

-          Eggs and Toast

-          Yogurt Smoothie with Fruit

-          Protein Shake with Fruit

-          Peanut Butter and Apple

-          Greek Yogurt

-          Tuna or Grilled Chicken on Whole Wheat Bread

-          Low Fat Cheese and Fruit


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Edition

The Hype on Superfoods


What makes a food super?

In the world of nutrition, a superfood is defned as a nutrient-rich food beneficial for health and wellness.  Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are typically packed with large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.  So which foods make the cut?  The list is surprisingly long; however, here are some examples.

1.       Fruits and vegetables: Of course, blueberries make the cut onto most top ten superfood lists. Studies show that blueberries contain greater amounts of antioxidants than any other berry; however, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries are not too far behind.  There is not one single fruit or vegetable that provides you with the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals for each day.  The key is: to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that aim to provide you with high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc. Aim for a variety of at least five colorful servings of fruits and vegetables every day.


2.       Fish: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week due to its rich source of protein, omega 3’s and low amounts of saturated fat. Fatty fish has been linked to optimal brain and heart health. Fish is also loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D.


3.       Complex Carbohydrates: foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in the diet are also a good source of B vitamins, which provide energy to the body. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, peas, lentils and yes, even white potatoes are examples of fiber rich complex carbohydrates.   



4    4.        Avocado, walnuts, sunflower and flaxseeds are all rich in mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fat sources can have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and replaced with saturated and trans fat.  Studies have shown these healthy fats can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute to vitamin E in the diet, an antioxidant most Americans need more of.