Thursday, January 5, 2012


You heard me right!!!! We have all done it, we get hung up on "weight loss" and rarely consider how that is different from "fat loss". Gaining muscular strength and lean body mass supports a hard toned body, increased metabolic rate and increased rate of fatty acid oxidation (fat burning).
The scale reflects total body weight which is a combination of lean mass (bones, joints, ligaments, organs, muscle & water) and body fat. Some tissues in the body do not fluctuate in weight; bones, joints, ligaments and organs, while others such as muscle, water and fat are highly variable. 
Stress, lack of sleep, sugar intake, sodium intake, hormonal changes (women), dehydration and air travel all contribute to water retention and subsequent "weight loss" or "weight gain". Fluctuations of 3-5 pounds are common day to day.
Why does our weight go up when we begin working out? Shouldn't it be going down?
Skeletal muscles are comprised of 70% water and after a period of inactivity, the muscle cells atrophy (shrink) due to a loss of cellular water and a subsequent weight loss occurs. Once you resume your workouts, the muscles hypertrophy (swell) and fluid is again retained inside the cell thus adding to the total weight of the body. 
The most effective way to truly evaluate your rate of progress is NOT by what the scale says but instead, by evaluating increases in energy, strength, how your clothes are fitting and how your measurements are changing.
Get your body fat tested by a professional.
The most accurate method for body fat testing is hydrostatic measurement (when combined with a lung capacity test and performed properly).  The BodPod is a relatively new measurement standard that may be accurate, but both of these standards require at least 20 minutes per test, must be done in specific attire and under consistent conditions.

The next most accurate method is caliper testing. Caliper tests are as accurate as the professional taking the measurement. They measure mm of subcutaneous body fat at specific sites and use a calculation to determine overall body fat percentage.

The SKYNDEX (Durnin formula) uses a four site measurement that is plugged into a computer chip inside the gun.  It calculates total body fat based on hydrostatic weighing.  

The measurements standards such as impedence (body fat measuring scales and electrodes) measure density, not body fat. They vary greatly measurement to measurement based on water retention. It is best to use a consistent measurement standard and have the same professional test your body fat each time you have it measured.

Start thinking about FAT loss, not weight loss. Get your body composition measured and focus on how much FAT your trying to lose; it may not reflect what the scale is telling you. It's the fat that you want to lose, and the scale doesn't tell you how much fat you have. You have to have your body fat measured for that. 

Weekly, bi-weekly and monthly readings should show your true progress as well as indicate if the diet you have mapped out is really working. There is no magic involved in getting your body to liberate stored fat. You must change the way you live and the way you eat. 

No body is perfect, so embrace yourself as you are beautiful! Be true to yourself and love your body.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hydration 101

My backpack is always "Hydration Compatible"

Climbing mountains in the most severe conditions, pushing your mind and body to the limit on a daily basis, for me the ultimate test of performance and overall toughness comes courtesy of Mother Nature.

Whether you are pushing your limits in the backcountry or in the gym, your body can lose as much as 4% of your entire body weight in the form of sweat potentially causing severe dehydration and hyperthermia.

Proper hydration is critical before, during and after your next trip into the backcountry or gym in order to maintain normal hydration levels, circulation and natural cooling of the body. As the body sweats, your blood becomes less fluid due to water loss, subsequently causing the blood to become thicker, therefore increasing the workload of the heart, which could potentially result in a heart attack.

Proper hydration is critical in the prevention of dehydration, hyperthermia and even heart attack.

What to consider before entering the field or gym

            Outside Temperature- The higher the outside temperatures are the more your body is going to sweat, the body’s natural cooling mechanism causing higher levels of water loss within the body that needs constant replenishment.

            Hydration Level- If you are already in a dehydrated state, you are in the great danger of suffering from severe dehydration or hyperthermia. Before your next trip into the field or to the gym, drink a minimum of 96 ounces or three quarts of water per inactive day and during days of high activity, double that amount or an equivalent of 192 ounces or six quarts of water per day. In the morning before you take your first steps in the morning, be sure to consume an additional 2-3 cups of water to boost your hydration level.

            Relative Humidity- When the air is saturated with moisture, the body loses its ability to naturally cool itself off by evaporating sweat efficiently therefore causing the body’s internal temperatures to potentially reach dangerous levels causing hyperthermia. Water intake is critical in humid environments. 

Did you know…

If you are thirsty, your body is already in a state of dehydration.
Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause sugar and food cravings, especially in the evening, so before you pick up a snack, drink a large glass of water.

            Mild dehydration may slow your metabolic rate by as much as 3-5%

80% of people suffering from dehydration have increased back & joint pain.
Dehydration can cause daytime fatigue, decreased motor skills, concentration and memory retention.

Dehydration can be attributed to an increased risk of colon, breast & bladder cancer.

Drink comparison

Drink                                                  Sugar             Carbs             Calories

            W.A. Hydrate & Recover                 0                                  6                      27
            COKE                                                  27                                27                    100
            ORANGE SODA                                 34                                35                    130
            CLUB SODA                                       0                                 0                     0

            GATORADE                                       14                                14                    50
            G2                                                       7                                7                      25
            POWERADE ZERO                            0                                 0                        0

            SOBE ELIXIR                                     26                                26                    100
            SOBE LEAN                                        0                                 1                     5

            APPLE JUICE                                      25                                27                    110
            FRUIT2O                                             0                                  0                      0

            MINUTE MADE LEMONADE            27                                28                    100
            CASCADE ICE                                     0                                  0                       2

            LIPTON ICE TEA                                21                                21                    80
            LIPTON UNSWEETENED ICE TEA   0                                  0                        0
            GLACEAU VITAMIN WATER           13                                13                      50
            SNAPPLE ANTIOXIDANT WATER   12                                12                      50
            CRYSTAL CLEAR VIT WATER          0                                0                        0
            PROPEL ANTIOXIDANT WATER     2                                   2                     10

            PLAIN WATER                                   0                                   0                     0


Other FACTS:
1)      One can of soda per day = additional 15 lbs per year
2)      Start drinking soda at 2 years old (1 can per day) = 250 lbs as a teen
3)      One 12 oz soda per day increases the risk of obesity by 60%
4)      Average Recommended Daily Allowance for “added sugar” (at an 1800 calorie per day intake) = 6 tsp

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wahoo Style Chicken & Rice with Spinach Salad

 Nutritional Information

Food Choice & Serving Size
Almonds 7 grams
Mozzarella Cheese 15 grams
Fat Free Ranch Dressing (Free limit 2 per day)
Salad Total
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 4 ounces
½ Cup Cooked Brown Rice
½ Cup Black Beans w/ Red Onion and Pineapple Bits
Meal Total

Food Preparation

Black Beans:
Finely chop ½ Red Onion and sauté in pan with a couple Tbsp. of Unsweetened Pineapple juice, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Once the onion has softened, add unsweetened pineapple tidbits (one small can) and black beans.
Simmer on low until hot.

Chicken Breast:
Finely slice boneless skinless chicken breast into strips and sauté in fry pan that has been lightly coated with Pam cooking spray.
Season with garlic and pepper to taste.

Brown Rice:
Boil water then add rice as directed on box.

I like to mix up my chicken, beans and rice together and top with a Peach , Pineapple Salsa (Safeway brand makes a yummy one) and a tablespoon of fat free sour cream or greek yogurt. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nutrition Tips for the Holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us and it is more important than ever to pay attention to your nutrition. You don't have to put on that 5 or 10 pounds this year!!! 
  1. Be realistic about the "Holiday Season"- Holiday eating can start as early as Halloween and end at the Super Bowl. That is 3 full months of treats and parties!
Halloween- If you must indulge in candy, have a few pieces of your favorite treats. Don't keep indulging for three days on a few pieces "here and there".

Thanksgiving & Christmas Dinner- This is one meal, not a week long holiday. Eat what you want during that meal, have your favorite dessert and that’s it.
  1. Don't "save calories" or skip meals to save up for the party or dinner that night. If you skip eating during the day, your body will want to make up for it in the evening (increased feeding drives), making it much harder to make the right food choices at the party or social event.
  1. Always eat breakfast, especially before working out in the morning! This is no old wives tale; eating breakfast not only increases your metabolic rate by 10% for the day, but also gives you the energy you need to have a great workout.

  1. Try to eat small meals throughout the day in order to maintain a nice even blood sugar level. This helps cut down on cravings for carbs and sugar, especially when they're lurking around every corner during the holidays!

  1. Check out Cooking Light and look for holiday recipes that are low in fat and sugar. Make your holiday a healthy one without sacrificing the fun. Many recipes can be modified with lower calorie substitutions such as light margarine instead of butter and Splenda instead of sugar.

  1. Be aware of what you're eating; "unconscious eating" happens a lot during the holidays simply because there are more treats around. If you are baking, don't keep anything extra in the house AFTER the party; send extras home with guests.

  1. If you want a treat, have it! Just make sure it's worth it! Don't knock out a few great workouts with some treat that wasn't even that good! Choose treats that will leave no regrets. 
  1. Alcohol is loaded with empty calories and sugar. For instance, a typical serving of wine is 3.5 ounces and has 85 calories. Restaurants typically serve 6 ounces per glass, which equates to 170 or MORE additional calories per glass of wine. Mixed drinks are loaded with calories and sugar. To try and cut down on calories, try flavored alcohols such as vodka coupled with soda water or diet.

  1. Get in a few extra cardio sessions to balance out the extra holiday food! Any extra cardio session you do will make a difference.

  1. If you overdue it, don't punish yourself. Simply get your next meal back on track and move on.

  1. Get your body composition checked before the holidays. Having the body fat information in the back of your mind can help curb the desire to give in and go for it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Are Carbohydrate Restricted Diets Effective for Fat Loss?

I love carbohydrates; potatoes are one of my favorite foods. There are many "quick weight loss programs" that suggest eliminating carbohydrates from our meal plans in order to lose weight quickly. Can cutting my favorite food out of my diet really help me shed those unwanted pounds? Sounds simple and seemingly works fast, but what you don't know can and will hurt you.

Why is it easy for so many people to buy into this quick fix for weight loss?
When people see the scale decreasing they perceive weight loss success, what they are really seeing occur is water loss and lean mass degradation.

Lean mass (anything in the body that is not fat) is constructed of over 70% water, 21% protein and 9% minerals. For every 115 grams of carbohydrate restriction, a subsequent loss of 1 pound of WATER will occur.

Imagine your body as a sponge. When you carbohydrate restrict your meals, it is like ringing out a sponge. When fluid comes out subsequent weight loss from water loss occurs.

There is a huge difference in WEIGHT loss and FAT loss. Most of us hit the gym in order to become leaner and firmer, not just a smaller, dehydrated version of our fat selves.

Let me share with you why you should not eliminate carbohydrates from your diet to lose excess body FAT.

The brain and nervous system rely exclusively on blood sugar for energy. Once you severely restrict or eliminate carbohydrates from your meal plans, your body's blood sugar levels are depleted and your body gets the perception of starvation and is forced to create internally the same fuel that you have eliminated from your meal by restricting carbohydrates.

In turn, your body begins to cannibalize eating crucial lean muscle tissue (your fat burning engine), fat-burning enzymes, antibodies and collagen. During this process your body converts those amino acids to the necessary fuel, glucose in the liver (Gluconeogenesis).

Fats Burn In A Carbohydrate Flame

Removal of carbohydrates from the diet not only cause protein degradation but also adversely affects fatty acid oxidation (the fat burning process).

For every pound of fat burned in the muscles, a proportionate amount of glycogen (carbohydrate) is required to be burned as well. This makes carbohydrate consumption the key component for fat loss.

What are the long term affects of carbohydrate restriction?

The speed of your metabolism is based on the amount of lean mass that your body has and as your body is forced to cannibalize lean muscle the result can lead to a substantial loss in lean mass and muscle protein, decreasing your body's ability to burn fat efficiently.

Restriction of carbohydrates at any given meal and or throughout the day can decrease energy levels, promote sugar cravings, and snacking, all which can result in severe food binging, ultimately leaving you with a higher percentage of body fat, making you a smaller overweight version of yourself, with less metabolic machinery (muscle) to burn fat in the future. All which result in decreased energy, strength, performance, feelings of weakness, lethargy and exhaustion.

With this method are you programming your body to be lean, fit and healthy? I think not.

When the proper ratio of macronutrients, including carbohydrates are consumed the blood sugar remains stable and fat is directed into the muscle cells of the body enabling them to be used as a source of energy.