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Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom

The response to the last blog entry was overwhelmingly positive. So, why not continue the fun? Let’s consider this Part II…with a little twist. Following is a list of great finds that will help you cope with the stressful-excess-eating-pressure-filled-gift-giving-primping-indulging holidays.

The Holiday Hangover. You know the hangover is inevitable…but is it? This one is gold: Drink Before Elixir is a pre-cocktail beverage that claims “No hangovers & reduces redness”. The product’s goal is to “make it healthier and more comfortable for you to enjoy alcohol.” Giddy-up. Loaded with vitamins, potassium and amino acids, I was sold. So does it work? I say “Hell, yes.” Worked for me during a crazy weekend outing when drinks started pouring at 2 pm and the night ended at 3 am. Yep, I still got it. No hangover, no nausea, no problem. Find it on Amazon.

Loyalty Program. Who doesn’t love the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, especially for holiday shopping? I can’t keep them in the house. If I wasn’t enough of a loyal customer before, now they really got me. They started a new loyalty program where you pay $29/year for an on-going 20% off your entire purchase. If you receive this exclusive invite…jump on it. Pure brilliance. Here’s more info.

Learn How To Read Your Body. This one is key. Especially during the holidays. Note what causes reactions to your body. Are you unusually bloated after you drink dairy? Do you crash hard after eating carbs? Are you unbearable after eating sugar? Are you especially thirsty in the evenings or AM from not drinking enough water or eating too much salt? Are you super lethargic in the morning from over-eating at night? Listen to these triggers and avoid them. Keep a journal of these reactions and when they occur and you will have incredible insights on how to feel and look better.

Luscious Lashes. We think holidays and we think lash extensions and falsies. There’s a new solution. No more expensive applications or over-promising mascaras. Rodan & Fields just launched this product called Lash Boost with clinical trials resulting in 85% longer, 90% fuller, 63% darker lashes with results in 4 weeks. And they’re killin’ it. Forget the iris-changing, crazy side effects of Latisse. Started mine 2 weeks ago and the difference is remarkably noticeable. They are offering a holiday gift with purchase – free cosmetic bag and eye cream. And now that I have access, so do you (or your favorite gift recipient). Buy here.

Get Matcha’d: I have searched for a good, authentic Matcha Tea for a long time  – however, most of them (including Starbucks) are not the real deal. I recently stumbled upon Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea: made to “make you feel and think better”. For centuries, Matcha has prepared Buddhist monks for meditation and readied samurai warriors for battle. Ok, so I’m neither – but I do frequently adorn my Wonder Woman cape. This Matcha tea is supposed to be a powerful agent of health, wellness and natural energy. Sugars are higher than I would normally grab (13 per bottle) but no more than the natural sugars in my afternoon latte. Small handcrafted batches made up of sparkling water, Matcha green tea, honey, organic agave, fresh lemon juice, organic apple cidar videgar and natural plant extract. (found it at Kings)

Read The Label: The most important thing in weight maintenance is reading the nutrition label. All too often, especially during the holidays, we have this “all or nothing” mentality. “I’ll get back into shape after the holidays.” Which I never truly understood why you would sacrifice 2 months of your life to binge eating. It only results in a guilt-filled, reluctant New Year with unreasonable “now I have to make up for lost time” pound abolishing goals. Learn to read nutrition contents and ingredients and always practice portion control. You can start using 4th grade math: If a serving contains 120 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of saturated fat and there are 5 servings in the bag – and you eat the entire bag (and many of these bags are small and manageable enough to do just that), you have just indulged in 600 calories, 45 grams of sugar, 90 grams of carbs and 10 grams of saturated fat. Can you say sabotage?

Kill The Temptation. Want desperately to eat something on your plate you know is not the best choice? Spill water on it. Ever take a look at left-over food in the kitchen sink? Not very appetizing. Bet ya won’t want it anymore after it’s doused with water.

Talk In Code. We have all that partner in crime that we confide in at a holiday dinner. I mentioned The Skimm in my last write-up but what I forgot to mention was the kick-ass acronym cheat sheet they offer with the latest and greatest social uses. This one’s a must – read here (how fun to practice them over turkey dinner). And if you still haven’t joined The Skimm – do it now.

Burn Fat. There is a pretty good chance you will be indulging during the holidays (avoid making it a month-long habit). The key is to get your heart rate high enough to use up your stored glucose and get into the fat burning zone. How do you do that? Intervals. Workout example for a runner: Warm up 5 minutes at moderate rate (4.5 mph). Jog at a steady pace for 5 minutes (6.0 mph), then exert yourself running at a much faster pace (6.8-7.0) for 2 minutes. You should be breathing heavily and trying to catch your breath for those 2 minutes. Repeat that 5 min/2 min cycle for 30+ minutes, 2-3 times a week. This is the same concept of Tabata. High intervals with moderate rests in between. Adjust the times/pace to your level. Walkers walk for the 5 min and light jog/speed walk for the 2.

And that’s all folks. If you are looking for more tidbits or are interesting in a private nutrition counseling session, email me at dakarrat@yahoo.com. Happy, healthy holidays.

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Burn Baby, Burn

You might be diligent about going to the gym and spending hours doing cardo on a treadmill or eliptical machine – which is great for your cardiovascular health- but are you left without burn-fat-970x727noticeable results?

In a cardio session, you burn calories, but the calorie burn ends when you finish your cardio session. If you want to maximize your calorie burn, you have to take it up a notch and achieve something called EPOC, or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”. It is a “measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s ‘oxygen deficit.'”

What does that mean?

It means, “afterburn” – the continual burn of calories after a very high-intensity workout. It also means your metabolism, highest post exercise, is fired up much longer after you finish a workout session. Your body is working hard to re-coup a normal heart rhythm and resting state. You burn calories by consuming more oxygen. Therefore, the longer it takes you to regulate your oxygen intake, the more calories you are burning. This post-consumption state can burn as much as an additional 150+ calories throughout your day. More calorie burn & a higher metabolism = more results, faster.

So how do you achieve it?

Higher intensity workouts. This means bringing your heart rate to 75% or more of your resting heart rate. The longer you perform high intensity exercise, the larger the EPOC effect. It also means performing a high intensity workout for 30 minutes is much more effective than a steady state on a cardio machine for one hour.

Resistance training (with weights or body weight), especially with high intensity interval training, is one of the best ways to increase EPOC.

Guidelines to reach EPOC:

  • Perform at a high intensity (out of your comfort zone) – at least 75%+ of your resting heart rate
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes
  • Include resistance training in your workout
  • Incorporate interval training

Although high intensity workouts are effective, it is recommended that you limit this type of workout to only a couple of times/week as you need time to rest and recover your body.

Try to push yourself and work past your current limits and there’s a good chance you will start to see results much faster.

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What The ?

There are common terms used in the fitness industry all the time. It occurred to me that fitness professionals often speak their own language and that readers of these fitness concepts might not even comprehend what they are talking about…so how do you make a change if you don’t know what you’re changing?

Confused Geeky Woman

Well, let’s tackle it.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen”.  During aerobic exercise, adequate fuel (glucose, fats, etc.) + oxygen allow muscles to contract repeatedly without fatigue. You could perform aerobic exercise for a very long time. Great examples are walking, jogging, swimming or biking.

Anaerobic means “requiring no oxygen”.  During anaerobic exercise muscles rely on reactions that do not involve oxygen – typically involving lactic acid (glucose in the muscle) for energy.  You can only get energy in this way for a short amount of time. It typically occurs with short-spurt, high-energy activities where you can barely catch your breath and get fatigued. A great example is running sprints.

We basically use both conditions when we exercise. The proportion between the two changes depending on exercise intensity.

VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can utilize during intense exercise. It is the best indicator of an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.

Maximum Heart Rate is the theoretical maximum rate in which your heart can beat for your age. It is not recommended that you exercise at this rate! To calculate for a healthy individual, use the equation 220 – Your Age.

Once you have your maximum heart rate, you can calculate a target heart rate range (many gyms and trainers offer this as a reference for the level of your exertion). For example, if you are targeting to work at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate and your maximum heart rate is 180, 70% would be 126 beats per minute.

Metabolism refers to the chemical reaction of a cell or living tissue that transfers usable materials into energy (ie. fat into energy). “Raise your metabolism” refers to the rate you are able to use this energy.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of several methods to assess body composition (fat vs. muscle). It is calculated by dividing your weight by your height in inches. The controversy over using BMI as a “healthy” indicator is that muscle weighs more than fat and the ratio can fluctuate person to person. To get a true indication of your body composition, you should conduct a body fat analysis that is measured with calipers or other more sophisticated means.

Dynamic vs. Static stretching

Dynamic stretching is the recommended form of warming up your body before exercising. It includes slow, constant movement that mimics the workout you are about to do – not held stretches!

Static stretching is highly recommended at the completion of exercise. It is a method of stretching large muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, back) by holding each stretch for at least 6 seconds. This helps to relax and elongate your muscles.

Interval Training is a type of exercise program that combines high-intensity and low-intensity timed intervals in a single workout to maximize burning fat.

Plyometrics is a form of training that uses quick movements to increase muscular power (jumping up onto a box or high bench) and usually involves an explosive movement.

Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber

Dietary fiber is found naturally in the plant foods that we eat. It’s a carbohydrate the body cannot digest so it passes directly through the digestive tract.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel to help slow down digestion. It delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel fuller, longer. It also slows down the absorption of fats and sugars. Some examples of soluble fiber include oatmeal, lentils, flaxseed, beans, etc.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but rather absorbs water. It has a laxative effect and adds bulk to your diet, helping prevent constipation. Since insoluble fiber does not dissolve, it passes through your body in-tact. Sources include grains and vegetables such as whole wheat, bran, seeds, nuts, brown rice, cabbage, etc.

Type I Diabetes vs. Type II Diabetes

There is a lot of discussion in the fitness industry about how eating a healthy diet can prevent diseases such as diabetes. There are two types of diabetes, and only one can typically be improved by diet and fitness.

Type I diabetes is when you have a total lack of insulin to help process glucose (energy) in your body. In this case, the body’s immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body. It is typically genetic, cannot be prevented and requires insulin injections.

Type II diabetes is when you have too little insulin or cannot use insulin effectively. It can develop at any age and is often a result of an unhealthy lifestyle or diet. In many cases, it can be prevented and cured by maintaining a healthy weight, eating sensibly and exercising regularly.

If there are other fitness terms you would like us to cover, please email us at info@heelstolaces.com.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

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