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Things to Avoid

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Where Do You Rank?

Most of your know about my previous crusades to tackle the disappointing lunch choices that our children are offered in school. And, that the average American diet has been a point of contention …known to be full of processed foods, artificial ingredients and a lack of nutritional fruits and veggies.

A recent article in the NY Times this month provided some very interesting facts. “The top four sources of calories in the average American child’s diet are grain-based desserts, pizza, soda and sports drinks, and bread.” One-third…yes, 1 out of every 3 children, eat fast food every single day and more than 90% do not eat enough veggies.  And, one of the driving forces of this trend relates back to the $2 billion a year spent on advertising unhealthy food and beverages directly to children. Of course they want the Happy Meal that gives them a “free” Star Wars figure!

The article included a chart from Business Insider of “25 foods that make up most of the calories Americans eat”. Number one? Desserts – cakes, cookies, pies, donuts…”. The chart can be found below:

food chart

I struggle every day with what to do with this information. Why is it that there are not more regulations being put on food packaging? Why are we not educating the parents more?

Are some efforts happening? Yes. But ever notice how slow it is taking? Big food giants are not going to let that happen so easily. “It’s all about the money, money, money.”

The US Gov’t just released their new dietary guidelines…which happens every 5 years. It does support some key common denominators: Less sugar, more healthy fat, more non-processed protein, more fruits & veggies, lower sodium and a healthy balance. Gold star to big gov’t on the effort…but how does this get communicated more effectively to our children?

I believe our children do need to be educated and the schools are the place to start. I also believe a lot of it stems from the parents. I find many parents are trying to make smart choices – they exercise, try to eat fairly clean and avoid desserts and processed foods. However, much of this does not translate to their own children.  It is so important for parents  to practice what they preach for themselves and their children. If they would never eat chicken nuggets, neither should their children.

I want to do my small part. I am running another 6 week fitness and nutrition program for children ages 9-12 from Feb 19th – March 25th in Summit on Fridays from 4:15-5:15. If you are interested, please visit my Facebook page or email me directly: dakarrat@yahoo.com.

Youth fitness class flyer 1-16-16 FINAL1

 

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Keepin’ It Real

If you are reading this, chances are you are a fellow gym enthusiast. Whether it is at a boutique gym or big box, following are myths debunked for everyday gym situations:

You try to a new boot camp class and within 3 minutes you realize you bit off more than you can chew. You should leave now.gym-newbie-confused
False.
Keep calm and carry on.  Try not to be intimidated – you can handle most any class, you might just need to make modifications. Make eye contact with your instructor and ask them for alternate moves.

If I wait to get the equipment I need for a class until the class starts, I’ll be fine.
Not so much.
Try to prep your gear prior to when a class starts.  Not only is it a bit disruptive to your workout to try to grab your apparatuses (weights, bands, gliders) when the exercises begin, you may get behind and a little lost and it will cut your workout short. It’s OK to ask the instructor what you will need prior to class starting.

I can get sick from using sweaty equipment someone used before me.
True.
There are lots of bodily fluids exposed at the gym… and yes, you can catch a sickness. Not to mention we are headin’ into the sick season. Try not to assume someone else will wipe the equipment when you’re done. Just as if you would want it cleaned before you use it, wipe it clean after you’re done. Better yet, wipe it before and after you use it. Most every facility has wipes or spray bottles close by.

Stretching is not important.
False.
At the end of a class or session, it is very important to stay for the stretching. Your body is all fired up and your muscles will coil up like a slinky on a staircase if you don’t properly stretch. This is the optimal time to stretch and elongate your muscles and keep some of the next day ache away. In addition, when someone from class leaves during the stretching (relaxing) portion of the class it can disrupt the vibe.

Chatting during class is fine. It’s a social atmosphere, isn’t it?
False.
Total no-no. No one wants to hear someone having a conversation in a class – whether it’s on the phone or in person, especially when the instructor is giving instructions. Plus, it’s pretty indicative your not working hard enough. Be mindful. Save it for before or after class.

Always mute or turn off your cell phone during a gym session.
True.
Turn-it-off or put your phone on silence. For you and others around you. This is your time.

It’s ok to show off all my assets when working out. After all, I look hot.
Uh, False.
Keep it tucked in – pick a workout outfit that holds it all in tight (read: bras). It will help with your performance. Last thing you want is someone gawking at your goodies while you are working out.

Gum is dangerous to chew when working out.
True.
There is really no good reason to chew gum while working out. Most likely, it will end up being swallowed and you can choke or lose your breath during your strenuous sessions. It actually can affect your breathing pattern. Plus, no one wants to hear someone crack-a-lackin’ away during their workout.

Flying through my workout can actually have adverse effects.
True.
Slow it down. Moving as quickly as possible during exercises can be detrimental – not only to your workout but to your form (aka injury). You are MUCH better off contracting and focusing on each movement then racing through. You will see definition much quicker.

Exercising is so much more important than how well I eat.
False.
Diet is 80% of the equation. Working out is extremely important for cardiovascular, muscular and emotional health, but eating can make or break your results. Try to keep your diet as clean as possible. It will double your efforts and you will see a much faster, more noticeable impact on your body.

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Nod To Mod

The summer is a time for relaxing, adventure and a bit of excess. Once again, the rhetoric of “after the summer, I will get back into gear” echoes from the mouths of many.low acid

Often, when you are in “excess mode” you think “what’s one more?” (dessert, drink, hamburger)…can it really hurt me? But when do you know enough is enough?

When your body starts talking to you…it’s time to listen.

Our bodies have a natural pH balance (the measure of acidity). In simplicity, it’s the way our body regulates the imbalance of things we ingest to keep our bodies in harmony. Your pH can be measured in your stomach acid, urine, saliva and your blood.

Generally, our normal body pH is 7.0. A pH below 7.0 is acidic.  Anything below a pH of seven is considered “acidic”, and anything above seven is “alkaline” or base. However, it is not the same in all parts of the body. Every body part has its own pH levels and its normal functioning depends upon maintaining normal pH.

Blood pH
The pH measurement of blood is found in the range of 7.36 to 7.42.

Urine pH
The pH level of urine may range from 4.5 to 5.0-6.0.

Stomach pH
Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid therefore the pH of your stomach varies, from 1-2 up to 4-5. When you eat, the stomach releases proteases and hydrochloric acid to aid in digestion. The proteases break down proteins and work best in an acidic environment or low pH, so after a high-protein meal, your stomach pH may drop to as low as 1 or 2. Buffers quickly raise the pH back to 3 or 4. After the meal has been digested, your stomach pH returns to a resting level of about 4 or 5.

Sometimes, when we overindulge, we can cause our bodies to try to work harder to maintain the acidic balance in our stomach. An overly acidic stomach pH can occur from an acid forming diet (alcohol, processed foods, high fats, etc), emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients.  The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals.  If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate there can be a buildup of acids in the cells.

Acidic pH levels in your stomach can start to have an adverse affect on your body and cause things such as bloating, heartburn, irregular bowels, weak nails, etc. These are signs that you may not be feeding your body well.

I can attest first hand to this scenario. After a summer diet high in excess food, alcohol and advil (to counteract the two prior items), I started to feel very sick with severe stomach aches and heartburn. After an endoscopy, it was determined I gave myself an ulcer. Go figure. The girl who is known for living and breathing good health. I fell into the trap of excess…assuming a little “more” couldn’t hurt me since I was so conscientious in every other aspect of my diet/life.

Once again, a nod to my father and the premise he has always preached…”Everything in moderation.” Even if you over-index in one or two aspects of your diet, it can have detrimental affects on your well-being. In my case, too many summer cocktails and too many Advil to counteract the morning after. Ok, and maybe a little excess stress stirred into the mix. Your body is a miraculous mechanism that will give incredible insight to any imbalances. It’s important to listen to the message.

It’s ok to indulge but know when enough is too much.

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