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Is Eating Holistic Right For You

Is Eating Holistic Right For You

Have you heard about eating holistic and wondered whether you should try it? Most of the time, people think eating holistic is something bizarre with strange sounding foods and exotic meals. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. It’s all about choosing foods that are least processed, which are also organic and locally grown, when possible. Holistic eating eliminates highly processed foods from the diet and focuses on foods that are not just closer to their natural state, but also extremely healthy.

Eating a holistic diet can help lose weight.

If you matched the rise in processed foods and obesity, you’d see a direct correlation. One of the huge benefits of this type of eating is that it’s a great way to shed pounds quickly. Today many processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup, which by the way may even be labeled “no high fructose corn syrup,” but when you read the ingredients, says it contains fructose. That seems innocuous enough until you learn that the fructose may be a form of high fructose corn syrup—HFCS—called HFCS-90, meaning it’s 90% fructose, but still high fructose corn syrup, which is linked with obesity and changes to the brain that causes it. A holistic diet, one where you consume foods closest to their natural state and doesn’t need labeling, which can be confusing at best, deceiving at worst.

Holistic eating can help you be healthier with energy to spare.

Many food additives add to inflammation, which can cause high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol and even Crohn’s disease. There are links to heart problems and Alzheimer’s too. Eating specific whole foods, not only eliminates these additives, they also can help reduce inflammation. It can also stabilize your sugar levels to prevent sugar lows that make you tired and sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

You’ll look better on a holistic diet.

A holistic diet maximizes the amount of nutrients available for your body. Not all the nutrients are vitamins and minerals, although those are part of them. Some are phytonutrients, such as flavonoids. These provide many different health benefits and work in synergy with the other nutrients in the food to improve your overall health and even make your complexion look years younger. Lycopene, for instance, helps protect the collagen in the skin, while caratenoids provide protection from harmful sunrays. Both are in fresh tomatoes.

– Holistic foods can help alkalize your body to its proper pH, reducing the potential for cancer and Osteoporosis, diseases that thrive when the body is acidic.

– Don’t worry, not everything is eaten raw. Meat is cooked and the best type to use is fatty fish for the healthy fat it contains. Meat from grass fed, free range animals also contains fewer harmful pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, but do contain a healthier blend of fats, plus ones that are missing in grain fed animals.

– Holistic foods help eliminate toxins from the diet that can cause a number of diseases, ranging from chronic fatigue to headaches and infertility.

– Finding the best way to approach a holistic eating plan that matches your lifestyle isn’t impossible. A personal trainer versed in nutrition or nutritionist can help.


Benefits Of Green Tea

Benefits Of Green Tea

Water is so important to your health that I often sound like a broken record recommending it, but there’s another drink you should also consider. That drink is green tea. There are a number of benefits of green tea that are scientifically proven and will make you want to make sure you’ve got a store of it on supply for daily consumption. Of course, I still recommend drinking plenty of water, too. One Japanese study showed that drinking at least six cups of green tea reduced the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Green tea is beneficial for weight loss.

While it’s not a miracle that you can drink and then eat candy bars, fries and sundaes, it does help speed metabolism, while also increase fat burning when working out. In fact, according to one study in the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it increased fat burning by a whopping 17%. Green tea also boosts your metabolism. The caffeine in green tea is also shown to increase athletic performance.

Green tea can help boost your health.

Green tea contains many phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and catechins. These are potent antioxidants that can help prevent damage to cells from free radicals, which causes illness and aging. Green tea also contains EGCG— Epigallocatechin Gallate—a potent antioxidant that scientists believe have many medicinal properties. There are small amounts of traditional nutrients, such as minerals, in green tea.

You’ll improve your mood and even think better when you drink green tea.

Caffeinated green tea, the normal kind you find on store shelves, can help you think faster. Caffeine is known for it’s stimulant properties and while it doesn’t leave you feeling on edge or jittery, it does have enough caffeine to help block adenosine. Adenosine blocks the neurons from firing, as well as reduce norepinephrine and dopamine. It can improve the functioning of the brain, as well as improve your mood and memory. It also contains L-theanine, which coffee doesn’t have. That increases GABA, lowering anxiety levels in the process. It gives a buzz like coffee, but one that is more productive and less jittery.

– Green tea can lower your risk of specific types of cancer, such as breast, colorectal and prostate cancer.

– Green tea can help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

– Drinking green tea can improve dental health by killing streptococcus mutans in the mouth that are the top cause of dental carries and plaque.

– Green tea can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. One study in Japan showed that drinking five or more cups per day can potentially increase lifespan.


Workout Tips For Busy Moms

Workout Tips For Busy Moms

Mothers (and dads) have the hardest job in the world and receive the smallest amount of credit for that particular task. They give up personal time to ensure the family is well taken care of and their needs are met. Many moms work outside the home besides doing tasks around the house and being a mother. That leaves little spare time to attend to their own needs. The problem is, if Mom’s health needs and fitness needs aren’t met, she can’t continue to do the work because the energy just won’t be there. Here are some workout tips for busy moms.

You count! You’re important! Never forget that!

Moms tend to feel guilty when using time for anything for themselves, including fitness. It’s not selfish to workout regularly. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s selfish not to take care of yourself. If you’re sick, who will take care of the family AND you? When you workout regularly, you build endurance and can get tasks completed much faster. That leaves more time in your schedule.

Find quick effective workouts.

We provide workouts that only take 35 minutes of time, yet provide an hour of benefit. That’s a time saving bargain. Kettlebells are probably the most efficient total body exercise, plus they are amazing calorie burning routines to help you shed pounds faster. There’s no “law” that says you have to workout an hour to get maximum benefit, especially if you choose your exercise method wisely. You’ll save time and get quick results when you know the most efficient exercises to do.

Take a class and use what you’ve learned at home.

Maybe you can’t always attend the sessions at the gym, but you might be able to make it a special project for one boot camp, learning the routines and movements then using them at home when the boot camp ends. In fact, one mother attended boot camp and worked out with her kids at home, turning their basement into her next boot camp location. The kids actually loved it and they got to spend time together getting healthy.

– Get up a little earlier to exercise before the family gets up. It’s tough, but you can pack a lot into a short time if you know the right workouts. It also boosts your metabolism for the day.

– Check your schedule to see if there’s wasted time or an activity that isn’t necessary in your day. Sometimes we continue something out of habit, even though we’ve outgrown it or no longer enjoy it. This time could be used for exercising.

– Assign chores to family members. While you’ll hear a lot of yowling about doing chores, it not only will relieve some of your time crunch, it will help make the kids more independent, makes them an important part of the family and teaches responsibility. It shouldn’t all fall on your shoulders.

– Don’t forget to include good nutrition for both you and the family. If your lunch is a candy bar from the office snack machine or a donut you eat on the run, it’s time to change up and feed your body right.


Back To School Workouts

Back To School Workouts

There was a time when school starting meant more “me” time for mothers. That’s not true anymore. There are so many after school activities and many mothers also work, making the schedule even more hectic. Here are some back to school workouts that will save you time and can fit into almost any schedule. If you can’t carve out the full half hour, try ten minutes at a time. The key is to get your heart racing and get moving for at least ten minute sessions. Even walking at a brisk pace will do.

Find a way to exercise that fits in the schedule.

Set an example and walk your child to school. Of course, this isn’t possible if you have to go directly to work or live miles from the school, but a mile or two can make it happen. Put on your sneakers, comfortable clothing and give yourself extra time. If you’re out of shape and it’s over two miles, start walking with you child after school until you’re ready for the big route all the way there or home. Don’t just wait in the car for them while they’re at ball practice, do some walking while you wait. Change into comfortable clothing before you arrive and spend that time getting your exercise. You may even know the other parents waiting and get them to join you.

Start early burning calories.

Getting just ten minutes in the morning can boost your metabolism for the day. It gets your circulation going and can give you the energy to get your day started. A ten minute workout means you have to do quick intervals with little or no break in between. Always start with stretches and warm up exercises, such as headrolls, shoulder rolls, windmills, hip rock, knee roll then move onto something more strenuous. You can use lunges, a mountain climber or other type of exercise that gets you breathing hard for a set of ten. Add squats and lunges-ten reps each. Do some ab exercises such as crunches, burbees, cradle rock and V-sits-all ten reps each moving rapidly from one to another. Finish it with running in place, jumping jacks and/or other aerobic style exercise.

Fill in with every day types of activities that will get you breathing hard.

If you’ve never tried to sprint up stairs, especially more than one floor, it’s worth the effort if you want a good exercise. One small study included twelve women who lived a sedentary lifestyle. The study had them start by going up a staircase of 200 steps first, once a day and by the end of two months six times a day. The final result was that, although it only took 12 minutes to climb the steps (and ride the elevator down) they improved their fitness level and cholesterol level so much it lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 33 percent.

– Squeezing in ten to fifteen minutes of exercise can be done while watching television. Run in place while the program is on and get down and dirty, doing the tough stuff during commercial. If you watch a lot of TV, you’ll be fit in no time.

– Have fun with the family. After school, enjoy some time with the kids. Whether you’re shooting hoops or playing tag, all of you will get a workout.

– Carve out “me” time and workout at the gym at least three times a week. Getting time for yourself is important. We offer a 35 minute workout to keep it short and sweet, while getting the maximum results. This is the easiest way to get exercise because the plan is already laid out for you.

– Learn to use kettlebells. These are extremely efficient total body workouts that don’t require a lot of time to maximize the benefit.


Do You Have A Summer Bucket List

Do You Have A Summer Bucket List

Everyone has special dreams and things they want to do in their lifetime, but those are often large long term goals. You’ll get just as much satisfaction from life if you also create smaller ones you can achieve right now in just one season. Here are some ideas for a summer bucket list that you might want to add to your list that are fun, challenging and will make your summer special.

Start with getting fit.

Of course, you had to know that as a personal trainer, I would include that one at the top of the list. Even though we’re on the last months of summer, it’s not too late to start a program of fitness. Fitness programs are two fold. The first part is eating healthy, with the second half a program of regular exercise. Even though fitness programs are meant to be lifestyle changes, you can still dip your foot into the fitness waters this summer to get a taste of the wonderful benefits it brings. Many people sign up for boot camps to start their programs. In fact, we have a special 21 day program that can help you do just that. Once you get a sampling of how much fun working out with kettlebells can be and the rapid changes you’ll see in your fitness level, you’ll be hooked and ready for other physical challenges.

Is hiking through our beautiful area on your bucket list?

There are some beautiful areas to see and experience in Fairfax County and these could be great additions to your summer bucket list. The Cross County trail is one of them. It’s not groomed, but it is maintained as a trail, allowing you to get a more vivid picture of our area before it was populated. Walking Burke Lake Park’s trail or one of the segments of the Potomac Heritage trails could also be an exciting adventure. Make sure you’re fit enough to tackle the workout, by getting your body ready first with a program of exercise.

You’ll be glad you created a summer bucket list if you dive into creating healthy cuisine.

While working out and getting stronger is part of the picture, you need the right type of fuel to make your body operate at top performance. That’s where healthy eating comes into the picture. Healthy eating isn’t dieting, but making smarter decisions when it comes to food. It becomes almost addictive to find and test recipes that provide the maximum nutrients and least number of calories.

Having a summer bucket list will get you started on a more productive and active lifestyle. You’ll tackle things that you might otherwise put off as a “some day” desire and experience more out of life than you otherwise might.

Even though I focus on fitness because it’s my life’s work and love, summer bucket lists can include mental things, like finally reading a classic or learning to play an instrument.

Your summer bucket list can include very specific things, such as losing weight and fitting into those skinny jeans that have been gathering dust on the shelf or in the drawer for several years.

Writing out the things you’ve always wanted to do is the first step to doing them. Set down and create a list of things and pick two or three to accomplish this summer.


Document Your Successes

Document Your Successes

Whether you’re exercising, sticking with a budget or working on a scientific breakthrough, you need to document your successes, as well as chart what didn’t work. Both provide valuable information. It helps you understand what works and also what doesn’t work. Remember, there are no failures in the world if you use your findings, just information on what doesn’t work to solve the problem or get your body its fittest.

Documenting your progress is extremely motivating.

Rather than judging your progress on the scales, which sometimes is deceptive and doesn’t tell the whole story, people who track their progress have proof on paper that they’re able to do far more than they could when they started. It’s tough to remember how hard an exercise was when you started or how tired you were after doing just a few. When you have a written account it’s clear that you’ve gone from 10 reps to 30 or lifted 30 pounds when just five was tough at first.

Documenting progress can change a workout to a challenge.

It seems everyone loves a game and enjoys conquering it and climbing the ladder to new levels. You see people on the bus, waiting in airports and even in the office playing their favorites and enjoying every minute of it. When you track your progress, you’re creating a game, especially if you’ve built in benchmarks, indicating you’ve “leveled up.” It adds fun to the equation and makes you look forward to each workout that could take you to a new level.

Document progress for the same reason trainers do.

Trainers track your progress so they know when to make the workout tougher. With each workout your fitness level improves to a small degree and when that improvement is enough, the trainer adjusts the workout to reflect the new level of fitness. When you track your workout, you’re doing the same, looking for improvement to raise the bar. That way you’ll always be working at maximum potential.

Tracking your workout helps prevent that workout from being repetitive, which can lead to plateauing as the body becomes more efficient doing it.

You can see how long it took to see progress when you track and make adjustments to improve progress. It’s an important tool to get the most out of each workout.

Tracking keeps you more aware of your goals, helping you focus on it. Your head has to be into the workout as much as your body is to get the most benefit.

“Winners keep score” is an old saying that has merit. When you track, you’re forced to record your progress, so you’re more apt to try harder.


Drink More Water Effortlessly

Drink More Water Effortlessly

There’s a good reason to learn to drink more water effortlessly. Water is essential for survival! You can go three weeks without food, but only three days without water. This not so complex drink has huge health benefits and can also curb your appetite and help you lose weight faster. Not only does it help you feel fuller, drinking water actually helps boost the amount of calories your body burns. It’s called diet-induced thermogenesis.

Sometimes, you eat because you’re thirsty and not because you’re hungry.

The body is tricky some times. When you’re thirsty, it will do anything to get you to hydrate it, even make you feel hungry. Remember, food contains water. Think of those times when you were starved for a juicy piece of fruit. You might have just needed a tall glass of H2O. Dehydration has similar feelings to hunger. You feel slow and sluggish, totally exhausted. Your stomach can gurgle and you might even feel light headed. If you’ve ever had a hangover, much of the problem comes from dehydration.

When you drink extra water, besides weight loss and energy, there are other benefits.

Water helps boost your immune system, while also improving your complexion. You’ll be less prone to irregularity when you have adequate water in your system, which means you’ll be less prone to bloating. Water is also a great diuretic, helping to eliminate water weight gain. It helps relieve headaches and makes muscles less susceptible to sprains and strains. It flushes toxins out of the body, helps prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones too.

Boosting the amount of water you drink is easy when you keep it on hand.

Not all water tastes the same. Some of the members of Underground Athlete have water from wells, rather than city water. They say it tastes fantastic. Rather than buy water, they wash and refill empty water bottles and refrigerate them, making it easier to grab a bottle. Access to water is important. If you have it ready, you’re more likely to drink it. Flavoring water with a bit of lemon, an orange slice or even a leaf of mint or basil can make it taste fantastic. You’ll be more likely to think of it as a treat.

Get into the habit of ordering water with a meal, rather than soft drinks when you’re in a restaurant. It’s cheaper and far better for you.

Carry a bottle with you and sip on it throughout the day. If you have it, you’ll drink it.

Get a water filter to make water taste better and fill a pitcher for the refrigerator or put it in bottles.

Order a glass of water or have one ready if eating at home to drink before each meal. It will fill you up and not out.


Do You Know Your Portion Sizes

Do You Know Your Portion Sizes

Weight loss isn’t easy, but you can learn to choose healthy food and make it not only easier, but delicious, too. However, even when choosing healthy food, some foods need to be eating sparingly. That means you should have only one or two portions a day. In order to do that, you need to know how much is a portion. Do you know your portion sizes? It can make the difference between successful weight loss and weight gain.

Overeating is a national epidemic.

Learning portion control is a help in preventing overeating. While you may be able to load up at a buffet and go back for seconds, it doesn’t mean you should—even if you want to get all your money’s worth of food! Stuffing yourself not only jeopardizes your weight loss program, it creates other problems, such as bloating and stretches your stomach so you eat more afterward. You’ll learn to eat less and feel less hungry when you have portion control.

Your brain won’t help much if your body is hungry.

Studies show that most people’s sense of portions goes out the window when they’re body is starved for something to eat. That’s why learning a few tips can help make it easier, since most people won’t take the time to measure, weigh and calculate each portion. Let’s face it, I don’t want to do that either. It interferes with the enjoyment of the meal and makes you feel more like you’re conducting a scientific experiment.

Here are some quick tips on portion sizes that don’t require a scale.

When eating meat, poultry or fish, the cut should be as thick as a deck of cards. You can also judge it by your hand size. Look at the size of your palm without considering fingers or thumb. That’s a portion of meat. Pasta served with an ice cream scoop is one portion. (You don’t have to use one, that’s just a visual aid.) A serving of veggies is the size of your fist. Look at your computer mouse and you’ll see how big a potato should be. Those huge pancakes are far too big for a portion. It should be the size of a CD. Your thumb is a good measure for a stick of cheese, but for cubed cheese, one portion is the size of two dice. If you cup one hand, you’ll be able to pour in one portion of pretzels, chips or other snacks.

One way to help you maintain smaller portions is to use a smaller plate. The amount on the plate then look bigger.

Studies show that people drink less beverage when it’s served in a tall thin glass over a short wide one.

Drink a tall glass of water before the meal to fill you up and address any dehydration issues you may have. Sometimes, those can leave you feeling hungry.

You’ll have less tendency to overeat if you wear formfitting clothing. When your waistband starts binding, you’ll notice you’ve had too much.


Workout Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

Workout Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

workout mistakesIf you want to get the most out of your workout and see the results you want without working harder, here are some common workout mistakes that you can avoid. You normally see people doing these things at big box gyms, where there’s nobody to help. These errors can do more than just make your workout harder with slower results, they also can be the cause of injury. See if you fall into the group that needs to make some corrections.

Using the wrong form for exercises, including lifting is at the top of the list for common mistakes.

Using the wrong form has its consequences, the worst being injury that can set you back for months. When your form is off, you won’t get the best results and may spend twice the time you would to see your hard work pay off, which can be discouraging and dampen motivation. It often takes more than just watching the exercise performed correctly, you need someone to watch to insure you do the movements right. It’s easy to feel like they’re correct, but that doesn’t mean it’s so. Get help to learn the right way to prevent injury and boost your results.

Thinking if it hurts that it must be doing some good is a big mistake.

It’s one thing to work through some minor aches, but quite another to face a massive pain and ignore it. While some people don’t push themselves enough, others push beyond a safe level. They move too quickly, increasing the intensity and length of each workout to the point that it causes injury. It’s far better to measure your progress by number of reps, time it took to do them, intensity and amount of weight used for exercising than use the level of pain as a marker.

Failure to plan is one of the biggest mistakes.

Not only do you need to set goals, you need a plan to reach those goals and a way of tracking your progress to be successful. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to know when you’ve reached your destination? Goal setting and tracking helps you stay motivated, too. It allows you to look back on the progress you’ve made on those days when you’re ready to quit. It also gives you direction and keeps you on track, relieving you of trying to remember where you were at the workout previously.

While some people try to push their progress too fast, others don’t adjust their program, even after they improve their level of fitness. They miss a great opportunity to improve their progress and reach an even higher level of fitness.

Many people fail to include diet as part of their workout program. The right type of diet is important for more than just loosing weight. Since each person has different goals and needs, we provide individual help in nutritional planning.

Working out alone is better than not working out at all, but it can be a mistake. Having the support of a like-minded community can bring huge benefits to everyone.

One reason I started underground athlete is to provide people who are serious about getting into shape the guidance and help they need to get their fittest, fastest.


How To Stay Healthy On Vacation

How To Stay Healthy On Vacation

healthy on vacationIt’s that time of year when people start taking vacations. Some travel by car, while others hop on a plane to get to their destination. I can’t tell you how many times clients come back with extra pounds or a set back in their fitness program. You can stay healthy on vacation if you plan for it. Just making a few adjustments for time and dietary concerns can help you stay fit and even enjoy your vacation more.

Traveling long distances by car or in a plane can take its toll.

If you’re flying, eat before you go to the airport or take a healthy snack or meal along to eat while you wait for your plane. Not only does airport food tend to be highly processed and higher in calories but lower in nutrition at the food courts, it’s also quite pricey. You’ll save calories and money. Be prepared for your food to go through the security checkpoint by having it in a container if it’s homemade or tucked in your carry on if it has its own wrapper. For those driving, a small cooler of healthy snacks or small meals in a cooler are far better than stopping at an unknown or fast food restaurant along the way. It’s best not to eat in the car, but make a stop at a rest station where you can enjoy your meal. Eat smaller more frequent meals on the road.

Whether you’re flying or driving, get exercise with other forms of transportation.

While you might have to rent a car if you’re flying, that doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. Walking or renting a bike is an excellent option. Many places rent bikes for people who want to see the sites and enjoy the surrounding atmosphere. In Chicago, for instance, there are several bike rentals, which also include skate rentals and quadcycles, one of which is at Navy Pier. It’s the perfect way to cover a lot of territory, yet get an up close and personal view of the city, while staying fit. You’ll find bike rentals in many larger cities.

Prepare in advance by checking out the facilities or having a workout you can do anywhere.

Many hotels have workout facilities, so when you’re planning, consider that before making reservations. If you’re staying with family or friends or don’t have an available gym, plan your workout ahead. If you’re doing strength training, resistance bands take very little space and can help you get a great workout. Body weight exercises don’t require any equipment, so it’s another practical option. A trainer can help design a plan that you can use when you’re on the go.

Schedule your workout into your plans to insure you do it. You can use sightseeing and hiking for cardio workouts.

Stick with your dietary plan as close as you can, but allow yourself the luxury of splurging at a few meals. Sure, splurging will set you back a little, but if you’re in a town with a restaurant you’ve been dying to try, it’s worth the one-time splurge. You can still look for healthy foods on the menu.

Relax and enjoy. This is a vacation, remember? Take time to soak in everything, but don’t stress yourself out to do it. It’s time to renew yourself.

Visit the local farmer’s markets. You can often pick up a low cost lunch that comes right out of the garden.