Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eat Right: 14 Health Tips

Food, Nutrition, and Exercise Tips

1. Eat Breakfast:  There's no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast.  Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit.
2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate.  Make 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables your daily goal.  Don't let winter stop you from enjoying produce.  It may be harder to find fresh options, but frozen and canned are great alternatives.
3. Watch portion sizes.  Do you know if you're eating the proper portion size?  Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size.  Using smaller plates, bowls and glasses can help you keep portions under control.  Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans.
4. Be active.  Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight.  Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time.  Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week.  You don't have to hit the gym---take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.  You could also join my BOOT CAMP, click here for details.
5. Fix healthy snacks.  Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals.  Whenever possible, make your snacks combination snacks.  Choose from: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts.
6. Get to know food labels.  Ever wonder about what the numbers in the Nutrition Facts panel really mean?  Or, the difference between "reduced fat" and "low fat"?  The Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on how food label terms can be used.
7. Consult an RD.  Whether you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, consult the experts!
8. Follow food safety guidelines.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one in six Americans gets sick from food-borne disease each year.  Reduce your chances of getting sick by practicing proper hand washing.  Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like bread and vegetables.  Use a thermometer to make sure food is properly cooked.  Refrigerate food quickly at a proper temperature to slow bacteria growth.
9. Get cooking.  Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective.  Resolve to learn some cooking and kitchen basics.
10. Dine out without ditching your goals.  You can dine at a restaurant and stick to your healthy eating plan!  The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully.  Think about nutritious items you can add to your plate---fruits, veggies, lean meat, poultry or fish---and look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed items.
11. Enact family meal time.  Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating.  Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week in 2014.  Set a regular mealtime.  Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk.  Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
12. Banish brown bag boredom.  Whether it's a brown bag lunch for work or school, make it a healthy lunch packed with nutrition.  Prevent brown bag boredom with these healthy lunch ideas.  They're easy to fix the night before and ready to go in the morning.  Try whole-wheat couscous with chick peas or black beans; whole-wheat tortilla filled with chicken, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes; baked potato topped with broccoli, low-fat cheddar cheese and salsa; or spinach salad with sliced pear, red onion and low-fat feta cheese.
13. Drink more water.  Our bodies depend on water to regulate temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, carry away waste products and more.  For generally healthy people who live in temperate climates, the Dietary Reference Intakes from Institute of Medicine recommend a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women.
14. Explore new foods and flavors.  Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices.  When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that's new to your or your family.  Choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods or find new flavors at community food festivals.  Try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.

All information was taken from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  

Please let us know if there is any topics you would like us to tackle or if you have any questions.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tweak Your Nutrition and Lose More

Easiest way to lose weight is to eat right.

              Exercising is an important part of weight loss.  Nutrition is also an important part of weight loss.  Together they can account for numerous gains in health and well-being.  Exercise alone has its benefits, however, if you are trying to lose weight then you must make good nutritional choices.  If you eat fast food and you pack on the calories, then you have to exercise that much harder to "undo" them.   According to the Huffington post diet makes up for about 75% of weight loss and exercise makes up about 25%.  

               Below is a basic guide/tips taken from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you get started with your healthier lifestyle.

Start with a plan for lifelong health.  Focus on the big picture: Achieving overall good health----not just short-term weight loss.
Set healthy, realistic goals.  You are more likely to succeed in reaching realistic goals when you make changes step-by-step.  Start with one or two specific, small changes at a time.  Track your progress by keeping a food and activity log.
Get a personalized eating plan.  If you have special dietary needs, consult a registered dietitian for a customized plan.
Eat at least three meals a day and plan your meals ahead of time.  Whether you are eating at home, packing a lunch or eating out, an overall eating plan for the day will help keep you on track.

Balance your plate with a variety of foods.  Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, about one fourth with lean meat, poultry or fish, and one fourth with grains.  To round out your meal, add fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.
Start your meal with low calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and salads.  These foods are packed with nutrients your body needs.  
Focus on your food.  Pick one place to sit down and eat at home.  Eating while doing other things may lead to eating more than you think.  Also, switching from a large plate to a smaller one may help you feel satisfied with reduced portions.
Know when you've had enough to eat.  Quit before you feel full or stuffed.  It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your body is getting food.  When your brain gets this message, you stop feeling hungry.  So, fast eaters---slow down and give your brain a chance to get the word.
Get plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.  Fiber can help you feel full longer and lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Watch portion sizes to manage your calorie intake.  This is the key to an effective weight management plan.  

Snack smart.  Include snacks as part of your daily calorie allowance and limit portions to one serving.  Plan for nutritious snacks to prevent between-meal hunger.  Keep portable, healthy snacks in your desk, backpack or car.
Find your balance between food and physical activity.  Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness---plus, it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.  If you are currently inactive, please check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise regime or an increase in physical activity.

  • Contact us for a variety of exercise options.
  • Please visit MY WEBSITE to view my Boot Camp option.
  • Alter your diet, baby-steps are the key.  Don't cut something completely out if you love it.  Just change the portion size.
"Take care of your body.  It's the only place you have to live." ~ Jim Robin

Saturday, March 22, 2014

10 Ways to Increase Your Energy Levels

1. Shake a Leg. Get moving.  Research indicates that being more physically active will boost an individual's energy level, just as engaging in a sedentary lifestyle will often lead to fatigue in a person.  In this regard, exercising on a regular basis can be particularly beneficial.  Not only can a workout trigger the release of feel-good endorphins but also can lower an individual's level of elevated stress hormones.  I've seen this first hand.  My clients love the benefits of a great workout program.  Keep in mind that working out does not have to be a chore.  Make it fun.  Contact me for more details (800.661.7272).

2. In the mood for food?  Watch what you eat.  Adhering to sound nutritional guidelines is integral to experiencing an enhanced level of get-up-and-go.  In fact, poor eating habits can elicit feelings of fatigue.  As such, the age-old caveats of "eat a healthy diet" (i.e. one that features an appropriate amount of vegetables, fruit, whole-grain foodstuff, and low-fat dairy products, as opposed to foodstuff with elevated levels of fat, sugar, or salt) and "don't skip meals" (particularly breakfast) remain as relevant and applicable as ever. Some good rules are:  1. If it has a commercial it's probably not good for you.  2. If it takes less than 1 minute and you don't have to do anything but put it in the microwave to make it, then it's probably not good for you.  3. If you can't pronounce a lot of the ingredients then it probably is not good for you.  4. FAST FOOD IS NOT GOOD FOOD!!!

3. Rest in peace.  Get enough sleep.  As a rule, most adults function best on about 7-8 hours of sleep.  In fact, not getting enough sleep or not experiencing quality sleep (i.e., relaxed restorative, undisturbed) is a common cause of fatigue during the day.  It also is important to note that it can take up to 2 hours for an individual's brain to become fully alert once a person wakes up.  Add a quick workout in the morning to get your senses awake and your blood flowing.  It will also help your metabolism speed up.  It is almost impossible now-a-days to get that kind of sleep.  Try to cut down on facebook time, T.V. time and get on a good schedule and routine.

4. Find inner peace.  Learn to relax.  Individuals should identify and address issues/problems in their lives that may be causing them to experience prolonged bouts of anxiety.  Studies show that constant anxiety can zap the body of energy.  One viable strategy in this regard is to learn and practice specific relaxation techniques (e.g., yoga or meditation) to help minimize the release of adrenaline.  Another possible step to counter any potential energy drain is to try to carve out some time each day to simply relax (i.e., do nothing).

5. Too much stimulation.  Don't overdose on caffeine. Too much caffeine, particularly in the evening, can lead to insomnia, which in turn can result in fatigue during a person's waking hours.  As a general rule, caffeinated drinks should be limited to no more than five per day.  In fact, as a pick-me-up, coffee tends to work in the short run.  On the other hand, ingesting an excessive amount of caffeine (i.e., the the exact amount is dependent on a number of factors and tends to vary from person to person) can cause a number of problematic side effects, including an upset stomach, irritability, accelerated heartbeat, and muscle tremors.  Also caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you and cause muscle cramps.  Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

6. Enough already.  Don't overeat or under-eat.  Eating too much can drain an individual's energy.  On the other hand, not eating enough can lower a person's metabolism level and cause them to feel lethargic.  The key for individuals is to consume enough food to meet their daily caloric needs (note: crash dieting is highly discouraged for anyone who wants to fire on all cylinders energy-wise),  but not too much.  Furthermore, snacking also can be an effective tool in an effort to maintain and/or boost energy.  Eating the right snacks at the right time over the course of the day can help prevent significant changes in the person's energy level. Calorie counting is extremely hard to do. Try to decrease the portion sizes when you eat.  Also if you like to have sweets (or cheat meals that aren't good for you but taste amazing) don't cut them completely out.  If you cut out stuff you love completely you are more likely to not stick to the "new" diet.  Just decrease the portions and eat it slower and enjoy it.  Snack recommendations:  Almonds, fruits and veggies.

7. It's just a job.  Reduce stress in the workplace.  More often than not, problems occur at work that lead to fatigue.  The key for individuals is to manage these situations so that these matters don't have a negative impact on their level of energy.  The first step in that regard is to put any problems into perspective.  In fact, no one's life is problem-free.  Every problem has a solution.  Every situation can be dealt with rationally, even if it eventually means finding a new job. Find ways at work to decrease your stress.  Get a small 10-20 minute workout in over lunch.  Leave work at work.  Don't take work home with you.  Write down everything that is on your mind prior to going to bed that way it is all out of your mind and on paper.  Then you can deal with it the next day and focus on getting good rest.

8. Lighten up on lighting up.  Don't smoke. In addition to being bad for a person's health, smoking also tends to be counterproductive to any attempt to have more energy.  For example, the body makes energy by combining glucose with oxygen.  On the other hand, cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, a substance that reduces the amount of oxygen available in the blood.  Not surprisingly smokers typically have lower energy levels than nonsmokers. From a medical standpoint smokers heal and recover from injuries and exercising slower than their non-smoking counterparts. It's proven that surgical patients that smoke take longer to heal. Smoking also has a negative effect (2nd hand smoke) on those around you.  Find a different habit.  Replace smoking with another habit that is healthier (i.e., boxing)

9. Laughter as medicine.  Incorporate fun in your life.  Individuals should do whatever they can to make sure that they have enough time for fun.  In fact laughter has been found to be a very effective energy booster.  Not only does it lift a person's mood and immune system, it also can elicit the release of beneficial hormones in the body. Schedule a get together with good friends.  Invite them over for tacos or rent a comedy and have them over.  If money is an issue then do things that cost little to nothing.  Make it a weekly or monthly thing.

10. A Cautionary note.  See a physician if it appears that nothing can be done to boost your energy level.  It is important to make sure that your persistent fatigue is not the result of an underlying medical problem. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting a Metabolic Panel (blood work) and adding a vitamin regime to your diet based on the results.  Consult your primary care physician and get this done.

Please visit my website PRECISION SPORTS TRAINING, LLC and find out how I can help.
E-mail and begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Information was taken from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  Written by James A.  Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM.  My comments are in blue.

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover or research.  Thank you for reading.  Have an amazingly wonderful and EPIC day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Over use Elbow/Shoulder Injuries in Youth Baseball

             Injuries in young throwing athletes are on the rise, and elbow and shoulder injuries are the most common. Thousands of children are seen each year complaining of elbow or shoulder pain. Damage or tearing to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) or growth plates in the elbow and shoulder are the most common injuries suffered and are often caused by pitchers throwing too much.  When any of these structures become damaged it can take weeks to months to rehabilitate (and, worst case scenario, surgery).  When athletes are forced out of any sport due to injury, it can jeopardize their chances of attending showcases and it can inhibit their overall performance if they are trying to play through the injury.

Elbow and shoulder injuries can be easily prevented.  Here are some easy steps to follow:
  • Warm up properly by running, stretching and easing into throwing
  • Rotate playing other positions besides pitching
  • Concentrate on age-appropriate pitch counts
  • If an athlete feels any pain while pitching, have them stop.  If the pain persists, have them see a medical professional.
  • Don't pitch on consecutive days
  • An athlete should communicate regularly about how their arm is feeling and if there is pain
  • Develop skills that are age-appropriate, for example, no off-speed (breaking type) pitches
  • Emphasis on control, accuracy and good mechanics
  • Master the fast-ball first and then the change-up second, before considering breaking-type pitches
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional (Doctor, Athletic Trainer or Sports Medicine Specialist) if you have any concerns about baseball injuries or baseball injury prevention strategies.
        Through proper injury prevention and sports enhancement training the risks of getting an overuse injury decreases.  Not only do you get injury prevention benefits through proper training, but your skills and deficits start to improve and your overall performance will be enhanced.  Athletes will notice an increase in control, velocity and strength.  The amount of time it takes to recover will also decrease. 

            Pitch counts, rest periods and pitch-age recommendations:

Source: From work by James R. Andrews, MD, and Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD.
AGES 15-18
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             Please contact me for more information about injury prevention and sports enhancement training.  Don’t let an injury get in the way of your future.  WEBSITE 

           Please contact me if you have any topics you would like me to research.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to prevent overuse injuries (in-season basketball specific)

Preventing over-use injuries in sports...

Don't let your season be cut short by an injury!!!
                As we enter the halfway point during the basketball season, a common question in sports medicine is: How does an athlete prevent over-use injuries? Some common injuries in basketball are knee and ankle sprains (of various degrees). With proper training and the combination of rest and good nutritional habits the likelihood of these injuries can be decreased.

                Rest and nutrition is an important aspect of training and sports. If your body is being over-worked on a regular basis and is not given the proper time to rest, this can lead to injury. An average adolescent needs 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Adding a day of cross training can be extremely beneficial for an athlete. For example, riding a stationary bicycle on a rest day can be added to change the regular routine and to help get rid of unwanted pathogens. Performing an active rest period can help the body heal and recover quickly. If your muscles are sore, icing for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times per day can also help speed up recovery time and prevent soreness.
                Nutrition is another important aspect of training and recovery. During training and sports your muscles are broken down and need to be repaired. The proper nutrients needed for maximum recovery is attained through an athlete's diet. If your diet consists of highly processed foods (fast food) that are stripped of nutrients and minerals then your body is unable to repair itself. If you eat foods that are rich with nutrients and minerals then your body will recover quickly (such as non-processed vegetables, grains, fruits and meats).
                During a sports season the priority of an athlete's training should be the sport itself. Lifting programs should be kept to a maintenance phase only. Rehabilitation can also be utilized for sore muscles to also enhance recovery and decrease the chances of suffering an injury.
                In conclusion, an injury can have not only physical impacts on an athlete, but it can also have mental impacts. An athlete can feel disconnected from their team; their motivation decreases and drive can be negatively affected. Practicing proper injury prevention techniques as listed above can help an athlete steer clear of injuries and/or decrease the severity of an injury. An athlete should listen to his/her body in an attempt to help catch the warning signs of a possible over use injury.  Please visit Precision Sports Training, LLC and contact us for injury prevention training options.