Added sugars, which are essentially extra calories with no extra nutrition, are found in many prepackaged and processed foods. High levels of added sugar can lead to weight gain and other health complications. Many foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy, naturally contain sugar. However, these foods also contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients to nourish your body, making them a better choice over added sugars. Here are 9 tips for cutting down on added sugars to improve your health and maintain a healthy weight.
- Cut out table sugar including syrup, honey, and molasses. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add to things like cereal or coffee by half and wean down from there.
- Swap out the soda. Try swapping out your soda for sparkling water or green tea, or try cutting down on your usual number of sodas per day.
- Eat fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup. Drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess syrup or juice.
- Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of added sugars. Dairy and fruit products will contain some natural sugars. Added sugars can be identified in the ingredients list.
- Add fruit. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
- Cut back on serving size. When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often, you won’t notice the difference.
- Try extracts. Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts like almond, vanilla, orange or lemon to add flavor.
- Replace sugar completely. Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Substitute. Switch out sugar with unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas in recipes (use equal amounts).
by Abby Wilkerson
By Horton Doughton, MS, CSCS, Fitness Leader
The holiday season is upon us! It is a time of celebration, a time of thankfulness, and a time of merrymaking. With all the food, fun and friends, surrounding us this time of year it can be difficult to find time to go to the gym and exercise. However, that is not necessarily a problem. There are a great many things one can do at home in order to stay fit, even if you are pressed for time. Let’s discuss a few together.
Walking can be a great way to burn some calories when on a trip seeing family or friends. Just get those feet moving one in front of the other, go to a place, and then come back! It really is that simple. It can also provide an opportunity for conversations. Staying at home? That’s fine too. Simply take a few laps around the house for some extra activity.
2. Taking the Stairs
Pressed for time? It’s cold outside? Don’t know what to do? There is a solution: go up and down the stairs. Yes, that’s right. Stair climbing can be a super great way to get exercise and strengthen your legs. All you have to do is go up and down the stairs for a while and you will be worn out in no time! Make sure to hold onto the railing – slipping is not fun.
3. Picking Stuff Up
Turkeys, boxes, bikes, bags, cans…the world is full of heavy things and we can pick them up! Just grab something and lift it off of the ground. Then, put it back down again. Now, pick it up again. See, wasn’t that great? You can use this tried-and-true technique to strengthen your legs, back, arms…just about everything. Try lifting those cans of green beans over your head a few times. Grab that box in the living room and hoist it to the hip(with proper form, of course). The world is your weight room, and there is no shortage of challenges.
4. Jogging in Place
Watching TV? Why not make things more exciting by getting those feet moving? Keep enjoying your favorite holiday programming, just stand up and pump those legs. It really adds up!
5. Doing Push-ups
Have a spare 30 seconds? I did. I just paused from writing this article to do some push-ups. (I really did! Just ask me.) You too can do the same! Take a minute and challenge yourself with a pushing task. You can even do it with family and friends. Do push-ups on a counter, on the floor, on the bed… the options are limitless.
6. Sitting down and getting up
We’ve all done it before: sitting. At some point, we will have to stand up again. So, why not right now? If we simply shrink the time between sitting down and standing up to just a second or two, we can suddenly have a super fun workout we can take anywhere! It does not have to be long. Just sit down and stand up repeatedly for a minute and you will feel the fun!
The Holidays are full of music, and that is a good thing. It is easy to feel the rhythm and excitement in the air from our favorite melodies. So, why not get moving to the sound of the beat? Stand up, move those feet, and suddenly you are getting some great exercise and having tons of fun in the process.
8. Shoveling Snow
Winter weather may grace our doors this year, and that is great news. It means you have your very own customized workout delivered right to your door! Grab that snow shovel and dig our way out. You will work up a sweat in no time while performing this super fun, and very practical, task.
The Holidays can create many barriers to our normal exercise routines, but that does not mean there aren’t tons of ways to get in some exercise. The fitness options just around one’s home are nearly endless; all it takes is the right outlook. These festive fitness opportunities all matter. A minute of standing up and sitting down is infinitely better than not doing anything. Climbing the stairs an extra time is infinitely better than doing nothing at all. Lifting up that strange box in the corner is infinitely better training for your muscles than staying still.
Every step counts, every minute matters, and everything you lift adds up. I encourage you this year to focus on what you can do over the holidays, and use the world around you for some fitness fun.
Until next time,
Strength training and cardio are important aspects of any well-rounded exercise regimen, but many people skip over the most important parts of an exercise routine: the warm up and the cool down.
Why is it important?
- Gradually increases body temperature and blood flow to the muscles
- Prepares muscles, including the heart, for exercise
- Reduces risk of muscular injury
How should I warm up?
- Focus on larger muscle groups first, then move to smaller muscles or activity-specific exercises
- Start at a slower pace and gradually build up your speed and intensity
- Include dynamic movements to elongate muscles and increase joint range of motion
- Start with a walk or bike ride and slowly increase your speed for five to ten minutes
- For stretching, start with a small range of motion and work up to moving a joint in a full range of motion
Why is it important?
- Allows the body to safely transition from exercising back to a steady state of rest
- Gradually reduces heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
- Helps muscles return to optimal length and prevents pooling of blood to certain extremities, which prevents your blood pressure from dropping too rapidly
- Helps prevent muscles soreness and reduces risk of injury
How should I cool down?
- Cooling down should last between five and ten minutes and incorporate tapering off dynamic movements, such as a slow jog moving into a walking pace
- Use static stretches when cooling down, which involves holding a stretch in a specific position for 15-60 seconds
- Stretch larger muscle groups first then move into smaller muscle groups
- Stretches should be held in a challenging but not painful position, while focusing on breathing throughout the stretch
To learn how to incorporate warm ups and cool downs into your workouts, visit the front desk or contact us to ask about fitness instruction.
Meeting your wellness goals can be hard. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. Renaissance Periodization brings science based nutrition knowledge to the palm of your hand with a fully functional app.
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3) Sending notifications and reminders in support of the simple, easy to follow, nutritional plans
Take control of your weight management goals – whether it be to lose, maintain, or gain weight – with the RP APP and ongoing support from our Registered Dietician.
Enjoy the first two weeks FREE, and nearly 70% off of the monthly cost by using our affiliate discount code (stop by the front desk for details). The RP app may be downloaded via the Google Play store or from the App Store
You’ve seen the posts, posters, and flyers in and around the Wellness Center for Renaissance Periodization (RP). It’s time to take it seriously if you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight. RP is an app that simplifies your weight management goals.
When using the RP app you will find:
- Customized nutrition schedule for you
- Extensive list of foods that you may eat
- Regular notifications of when you should eat
- Simple, easy to follow, plans
- Easy integration to your day to day life
The RP app may be downloaded via the Google Play store or from the App Store. The first two weeks are free and a discount code may be given to you at the front desk for nearly 70% off of the monthly cost. This gives you 6 weeks of a nutrition coach in your pocket for nearly 12 cents a day.
If you’re serious about your health, weight management, or learning what is best for you, this app is definitely a winner.
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Muscle strains can happen to all – regardless of level of exercise expertise! Strains occur when our muscles are overstretched or torn and can result from fatigue, overuse, lack of warm-up or improper exercise form.
Severity and Grades
Grade 1 – Considered the least severe and characterized by minimal pull or strain to the muscle.
Grade 1 strains are accompanied by little to no pain. Individual may experience loss of range of motion, but general strength should remain.
Grade 2 – Considered moderate in severity. Individual will notice a considerable amount of swelling and pain associated with the strain. Characterized by decreases in range of motion and strength in strained area.
Grade 3 – Considered most severe. Individual could experience complete loss of muscle function until the tore fibers are completely healed.
RICE: Treating less severe muscular strains
The RICE method can be used to expedite the healing process of strains.
Rest: Let the muscle rest to prevent further damage.
Ice: Ice the affected area intermittently to reduce swelling.
Compression: Compressing the affected area can also cut down on swelling, and further expedite healing.
Elevation: Elevate the affected area to let fluid drain and further reduce swelling.
*Please consult with a physician on specific instructions for caring for severe strains.*
Recovery and Reintroduction
Listen to your body! Stretching the strained area can promote range of motion improvements (remember, the stretch should not cause pain!) and purposeful strength training can target the specific muscle group to hopefully prevent further injury.
Remember to be patient. Resuming exercise at a too strenuous a level can inhibit the healing process and increase your chances of injury in the future.
Our highly qualified and educated personal training staff can help navigate suspected muscle strains and post-injury care. Contact us at 828-266-1060 for questions!
By Dustin Oliver
Wheeler, Tyler. “Muscle Strain”. WebMD. 16th May, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/muscle-strain#2
“Muscle Strain”. Harvard.edu. Harvard Health Publishing. December, 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/muscle-strain-a-to-z
Summer can arguably be the best season of them all, especially here in the high country. Welcoming rays of sunshine entice you to walk through these hilly terrains to take your breath away. Although the great exchange for a crisp mountain breeze to fill your lungs with the best Carolina air is priceless. If only a portion of vacation’s rest could carry over into the fall and winter seasons, then it would be perfect. This month is the best chance to further train your summer body and improve in one’s sleep hygiene. According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost 30% of the adult population report sleeping in shorter durations (six or fewer hours of rest each night). This public health concern can lead to increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause morbidity (Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019). Hence, the demand to enhance one’s sleep quality remains at chief priority in hopes to reverse these unfortunate results.
As we all need some sort of time reset and rejuvenate the purpose of sleep is largely misunderstood. Some believe sleep’s true intention may be for memory consolidation, restoration, or even energy conservation. Some much takes place during the four stages of sleep, yet our main goal remains to only target criteria of time to rest to quantify it as sufficient. Specifically, the target time frames vary with lifetimes as infants should aim for 16-18 hours daily, young adults – adults seven to nine hours maximum, and those 65 years or older seven to eight hours daily. Other factors outside of duration do contribute to a better quality of sleep as well and may reduce wake times throughout the night or delay sleep onset (Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019).
Do you struggle to fall asleep after going to bed? Try practicing a routine before placing your head to a pillow, and be sure to adhere to a schedule. Attempt to awaken within the same hour each morning and use a journal to log your durations if necessary. For those tempted by a daytime nap, be sure to limit it to a half-hour at most before sleep inertia settles. Otherwise known as a period described as a diminished sense of alertness and decreased cognition after waking. One of the best and most beneficial routines to train your body to easily attain sleep is to exercise!
The importance to improve bodily health is impeccable, but failing to give attention to sleep hygiene may reverse those goals recently achieved in the gym. Always strive to sleep your appropriate duration and set your surroundings so that you may have the best potential rest. Relax and exercise and repeat so you may embrace long term health for lifelong bliss.
Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 12, 2019
Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 10, 2019
By: Javari Crowther